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Apr 27, 2015

Resist the Urge to Build One Enterprise App that Does it All!

In the rush to go mobile, it can be tempting to build one enterprise app that does it all. While it may seem like a good idea to give mobile users access to a full suite of options, it comes at a steep price—usability. In the mobile environment, you can have too much of a good thing. Apps overburdened with features are a burden for the users. With only one small screen to work with, a user can only absorb and interact with a limited amount of information at a time.

Keep it Simple

The solution? Keep it simple. Instead of developing one app that does it all, release a suite of simple apps that each focuses on a primary function. Last year Ashish Toshniwal, CEO of Y Media Labs, revealed in an interview with Business Insider his secrets to mobile app success. Among his top tips is to “focus on one or two use cases and do them really, really well.” Elaborating on that same point, Toshniwal, who can name PayPal and Lonely Planet as clients, emphasizes that users should understand the purpose of the app within five to ten seconds. Dozens of informal studies and interviews with leaders in the mobile space back the theory that simplicity plays a major role in the success of a mobile application.

Take a note from Instagram

Instagram is easily one of the most prolific mobile applications of the digital era. With over 150 million active users, it is also a prime of example of simplicity translating into success. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has released updates to enhance existing features, such as filters and basic editing tools, but the primary function of the app has remained the same. Instead of incorporating new features into its core application, Instagram has instead opted for a wider suite of applications that are able to work in conjunction with one another. Released in 2014, Hyperlapse allows Instagram users to upload high-quality timelapse videos to their feed. The company’s latest release, Layout, will add collage functionality to the app suite. This approach allows Instagram users both new and old to share in the same core user experience. At the same time the introduction of new features through separate apps works to attract additional users without compromising the original user experience.

Think in Terms of Mobile

Resisting the urge to build one enterprise app that does it all is the first hurdle in achieving mobile success. Before launching a mobile initiative, isolate one or two specific use cases for your mobile app to address. Avoid replicating existing PC applications and come up with an interface that is specifically designed with mobile users in mind. Using the same approach you can then add features through additional apps.


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