Applications Services Blog
Get the latest thought leadership and information about the role of Applications Services in an increasingly interconnected world at the HP Blog Hub.

Two Apps are better than one – but not when you’re all thumbs

thumb.jpgBy:  Konstantin Gress, IT Architecture Consultant, Hewlett Packard Company

 

Implementing one App twice sounds familiar. But this post is not a technical discussion such as building one native App for iOS and one for Android. This is a common mistake: selecting technology before evaluating requirements. Requirements for mobile Apps cover areas like business value, user scenarios, design patterns and personas. This article is about how and where the user uses an App.

 

For a user, an App is an intermediary. It is between the user and the accomplishment of a desired task in a certain context. The user’s context has a massive impact on the App and why one App should be implemented twice to satisfy expectations. Context-awareness is about including situational and environmental information about people, places and things (see Gartner definition). Different devices and technologies by themselves do not create contextual relevance. The obvious context “device type” is not a context by definition. The distinction between touch and the well-known keyboard/mouse combo is not the reason why you should implement one App twice. So when should you?

 

Context characteristics require two versions of one App

One of the context dimensions is “place”; where you use the App. Typically you include the current location and offer a location-based service. But for a good user experience there is another meaning of “place”: whether you use the device indoor or outdoor. When talking about devices, a smartphone is used anywhere; indoors but mostly outdoors – on the street, in the park, in the taxi/bus/car, in a café, and so on. This applies to tablets too, but you don’t carry them around as you do a smartphone. The true mobile anywhere/anytime device is a smartphone. The others, although part of the modern systems of engagement, are mostly used indoor.

 

A tablet is in-between, but also mostly used indoor. Couch surfing is the biggest tablet use case along with point of sales in a store. All other devices are even more stationary by design. You carry a laptop only from your desk to the meeting room. A desktop, kiosk or a Microsoft PixelSense desk will never be moved. Why does this matter? Outdoor usage has much higher requirements in terms of font, contrast, and design simplicity.

 

One major impact of devices is the size. The screen size itself has a major impact on how information is displayed. But the distinction of consume vs. create content is not relevant any more. You can do both on any device. The many experiments like “30 days only with my smartphone / iPad / whatever” demonstrate that you can do nearly everything you need to with one device. But the size results in another significant difference. A smartphone is mostly used with just one hand. Thumbs play a major role here. Most other devices are used with two hands. One finger or two hands indeed makes a big difference. Gestures and complex inputs are not possible; a thumb, however, can easily reach main areas on the screen without contortion.

 

The following graphic shows two main characteristics when designing an App: one hand vs. two hands and outdoor vs. (mostly) indoor usage.

 

 body graphic.png

 

The result is the need to implement two versions of an App based on the place of device usage:  outdoor-enabled (e.g. one hand optimized phone App) and indoor-enabled (e.g. two hands for a larger screen App). The payoff for implementing two versions of the same App based on these characteristics is that your users get the experience they want where they want it.

 

Sure, you can run smartphone Apps on tablets. But neither looks good nor can be used as expected on iOS or Android. Windows 8 has completely separate operating systems for exactly that reason. In turn, Apps designed for larger screens cannot shrink everything down to a 4-inch smartphone screen and be still clear and readable.

 

What to do

To manage this situation, incorporate the tough smartphones requirements into your design guidelines. Enhance your Design Guidelines to include requirements such as:

  • narrow and readable screen font
  • high contrast/color requirements that make the screen readable outdoors in the sun
  • button arrangement that is compatible for one-hand usage (thumb)

 

A recommended first step is to initially design for smartphones. This will help determine what the most important content is, thereby improving the user experience. Design the desktop last, since it has the most screen real-estate. When going hybrid with web technology, you can likewise use one version for tablets and PCs.

 

Two Apps for the best situation-aware user experiences

To summarize, both types of Apps have totally different design requirements. Incorporate this in your design guidelines and implement one App for each scenario, starting with a smartphone. This will enable your Apps to provide the best experiences for your users for any device in any location.

 

Your thumbs will thank you!

 

Related links: 

 

 

About the author

 

Konstantin_Gress.jpgKonstantin Gress, IT Architecture Consultant, Hewlett Packard Company

Konstantin is an IT Architecture Consultant focusing on Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Mobility as well as Application Transformation. He helps customers in applying innovative and disruptive information technology for business purposes.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

We encourage you to share your comments on this post. Comments are moderated and will be reviewed
and posted as promptly as possible during regular business hours

To ensure your comment is published, be sure to follow the community guidelines.

Be sure to enter a unique name. You can't reuse a name that's already in use.
Be sure to enter a unique email address. You can't reuse an email address that's already in use.
Type the characters you see in the picture above.Type the words you hear.
Search
About the Author
About the Author(s)
  • Business Development leader for HP’s Testing Practice in Americas and TaaS Global Capability Leader
  • Anthony works in the ES Apps Enterprise APJ . He is a self-motivated and well-disposed individual. He is a certified SAP FICO consultant. He has over twenty years industry experience in business transformation and Information Technology consulting (SAP). With excellent, interpersonal and communication skills, Anthony is able to influence and motivate at all levels. An empathic team player, He derives fulfilment in contributing towards others' development. Anthony possesses good analytical and problem-solving skills. He is a quick thinker, remains calm under pressure, handles multiple tasks, and accomplishes objectives with excellent time management. He is flexible and accustomed to meeting high standards and deadlines. Anthony possesses practical knowledge of business processes and concepts and has a keen eye for detail. He is aware of the importance of an effective system and quality management.
  • Bryan Coapstick is the Director of Mobile Innovation at HP. In this role, he is responsible for driving strategic mobility initiatives and key industry partnerships to enable clients the ability to leverage the mobile channel to effectively reach their customers. Bryan’s expertise lies with several Fortune 200 companies in both public and private sectors that focus on business technology and emerging strategies. Bryan demonstrates innovative leadership though public speaking, panel discussions and blogging on the various ways mobility is changing our daily lives.
  • Benjamin Romberg has over twenty five years experience in the IT industry, the last twelve of which have been as a testing professional. He has experience as a test analyst, performance tester, automation specialist, test lead, test manager, test consultant and test executive. He has worked on all types of testing engagements ranging from small web based applications through to core system upgrades. Benjamin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Genetics, a Post Graduate Degree in Software Engineering and an Executive Masters in Business Administration. Benjamin now leads HP’s Testing and Quality Assurance Practice in Asia Pacific and Japan.
  • Over the past 5 years, I have participated in the different stages of delivering Microsoft Enterprise Applications to customers as large as 40.000 concurrent users across Europe with a focus on the public and call center sector. During this period, I worked in numerous technical (lead) and business consultant roles. Using this experience, I am currently a certified Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 expert which specializes in guiding enterprise customers and implementation teams through the process of implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
  • Craig has been with HP for 10 years working on the solutioning side as a Solution Architect. Primarily works with Microsoft technologies and has for the better part of 16 years. This past year Craig has worked mostly with Windows AZURE and the mobility side of Windows Phone 7/8 and Android.
  • Master Business Consultant and Distinguished SE with 35+ years of IT experience, specializing in SOA and Integration.
  • Daniel Amor (EMEA, AMOD, Cloud, Portals, Web Apps and SOA domain expert): Daniel has designed, won, led and delivered large-scale, complex applications-related projects by acting as a trusted advisor to clients. Daniel conducts regular training and client-facing sessions, and he has authored six books and numerous articles in European and US-based magazines and newspapers on IT change. He is a regular lecturer and he speaks on Portals, E-Business and Cloud.
  • Global HP Microsoft Business Applications Practice. Microsoft Dynamics CRM subject matter expert. Based in Manchester, United Kingdom. @DarrenCRM on Twitter
  • Solutions Architect working at HP since 2002 with focus on Applications Modernization, located at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Managing Consulting specialising in Business Transformation and Value Management for Defence, Healthcare, Public Sector, Criminal Justice and Telecommunications.
  • Guido Arndt is since May 1997 business consultant and project manager @ Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services. Main focus is strategic and organizational alignment of logistics, sales and production processes in the automotive and manufacturing industry as well as business performance projects in finance and telecommunication industry. Guido has experience as change agent and transformation manager in people-driven merger & aquisition projects focusing government, consulting firms, manufacturing plants and consumer brands.
  • Horia Slușanschi serves as an Agile Coach leading the HP Agile Mentoring Office and the HP Software Engineering Profession. He is passionate about helping teams and leaders to find joy in work in the pursuit of customer delight.
  • CISSP, Open CA Master Architect Technical Consultant with 28+ years of IT experience specializing in Application Security, Solution Architecture, Portals, Social Business, and Integration
  • Jim has been with HP for 33 years and currently leads a global Strategic Capabilities Management team, with a specific focus on Business Analysis and Configuration Management. Jim also manages a team within the US State, Local, and Education division of HP. He was a member of the IIBA committee that created a Business Analyst Competency Model and he participated in the development of IEEE standards. Jim graduated from Harvard University, the University of British Columbia, and Ottawa Theological Hall. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada.
  • SAP Technologist from APPS GD SAP Practice - Manila covering SAP NetWeaver EP, SAP Mobility and general SAP solutions.
  • WW product marketing manager for HP Applications Modernization and Transformation Consulting Services. 35+ years of IT technology and services experience.
  • Laurence has over 35 years experience in the IT industry and has spent 27 years delivering knowledge management (and before that became fashionable, Artificial Intelligence and knowledge-based systems) transformation projects to clients in Government, Industry, Manufacturing and Telecomms industries. He has developed and implemented knowledge management (KM) strategies for HP's clients and for business areas in HP (for BPO and for our Consulting business) and believes that KM strategy is essential for an effective KM practice.
  • . . Service Systems . .
  • Lori Lewis leads Global Digital and Integrated Marketing for the Applications and Business Services division in HP’s Enterprise Services. The organization is focused on providing clients with enterprise applications services and solutions to solve some of their most pressing business problems. For over 2 decades, she has championed innovative communication approaches to drive and grow market share and build motivated, empowered teams. She is a compelling, passionate ambassador of the art and science of marketing and the amazing results it can achieve when done with integrity and passion. Ms. Lewis’ credentials, track record, and enthusiasm are essential ingredients her team relies on as they work together to establish HP as the undisputed leader in information management and analytics services.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution architect, C# developer, MBA, husband, father, Auburn man. Follow me on Twitter @lucas_is.
  • CRM enthusiast, avid techie
  • More than 10 years of experience in developing effective and innovative marketing and communication strategies. Recently I have studied the effects of social media and disruptive technology on business, marketing, and culture. Follow me on Twitter: @micaelaraimondi
  • Agile Champion and coach. Passion in software development using lean and agile techniques. Software is a people business!!
  • Have 11 years of experience in SAP Consulting, Solutioning and Account management.
  • I have over 20 years of I.T. experience predominantely in applications development. In addition to my I.T. experience I spent 7 years as the Director of Store Services at Canada's third largest grocery retailer.
  • Shafraz Nasser is the Lead Microsoft CRM Architect with HP Enterprise Services in the South Pacific Microsoft Dynamics Practice. His focus is on selling, architecting and overseeing delivery of Microsoft Dynamics CRM based implementations within New Zealand.
  • Shefali Dua is leading Worldwide BPaaS Strategy & Solution Innovation team at HP Enterprise Services as the Solution Innovation Manager. Her focus is currently assisting in planning and delivery of industry solutions for verticals like social media, big data, mobility and security on the HP Enterprise Cloud offerings for CRM Technologies.
  • Steve Petruno is a Product Manager for HP’s Global Oracle Services with over 24 years experience in the Information Technology industry, project Management, Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits, ERP implementations, upgrades, acquisitions and divestitures.
  • I have worked for HP as a business consultant for seven years, providing process, strategy and business transformation advice in the Financial Services and UK Government sectors. As part of this I have used Lean and Continuous Improvement techniques to assess and improve business performance, ensure regulatory compliance and improve environmental sustainability.
  • Tom is the Global Product Marketing lead for HP's Cloud Applications Services. Tom has over 20 years of experience in information technology and a proven track record for implementing innovative client solutions in several industries including government, healthcare, and telecommunications. He thrives on developing services and solutions which result in business process improvement through greater systems efficiency.
  • Vijay Seetharaman is an Enterprise Architect within HP Enterprise Services - Industry Transformation Consulting practice, focusing on Cloud and Mobility


Follow Us