An eMarketer report estimated that the number of worldwide smartphone users would total 1.75 billion this year. By 2017, 69.4% of the global population will have a mobile phone. The numbers are increasing at an astounding rate, yet a mobile-first approach to design is lagging.
A Piecemeal Approach
Enterprise employees depend on mobile devices every day to get the job done from wherever they are. They rely on collaboration tools such as email, instant messaging, and conference calls to stay connected to the office. Many of these tools started as desktop versions and have been modified for viewing on a mobile screen. The problem is, that’s not good design.
What Is Mobile-First Design?
Hacking and splicing features to suit smaller screens doesn’t take context into account. Where is the user? How do interactions translate into touch gestures? How can applications work together to switch seamlessly from one app to the next, from an IM chat to a conference call? How can you share your work easily while in that conference call? This is what defines a mobile-first design.
Reflecting How Business Works
Business is fluid and flexible. The collaboration tools for doing business should be the same. Impromptu instant messaging conversations can generate ideas that deserve immediate discussion: mobile collaboration tools should facilitate business on the fly. Anything less only limits and frustrates the mobile user.
What Do You Need?
Collaboration apps for enterprise need to seamlessly integrate into everyday tasks for mobile users, and they need to do so securely. For mobile employees, safety is also a factor. Calls are often taken from a car, so mobile apps should make it easy to join and participate with little interaction with the mobile device. The option to share screens and messages during a presentation is also key when taking the desktop experience to a mobile device. Although the interaction might be different, you should expect the same features. Look for apps that have been designed with a “mobile-first” approach to deliver on these expectations.