While the majority of companies’ IT teams have a long standing knowledge of desktop and web development, mobile is often completely foreign. This is because mobile is new and extremely complex. The amount of carriers, locations, operating systems, and so on has made developing a mobile app that works difficult and expensive.
However, while it may be a more foreign animal opposed to other software – it is booming now. Companies’ execs are pushing IT to have a mobile app developed… yesterday. The push for mobile is hard and this is where mistakes come in.
Chris Murphy of InformationWeek highlights “treating mobile development like desktop development” as one of IT’s biggest mistakes:
“CenterPoint is a developer and manager of industrial property, and it has some veteran application developers who know the business well. The kind you want. But when it came to building a mobile app, that knowledge of the business recently got the better of the IT team. CIO Zimmerman describes it this way:
‘So when we created our first mobile app, we wanted to surprise/impress our business colleagues. We let enthusiasm cloud our judgment, trying to think through requirements for them. Initial adoption was disappointing. It ‘looked cool’ but didn’t meet their ‘mobile’ needs. We failed to recognize that people often perform business functions differently in the field than at their desk.’
That realization forced the team to redo the app, and it’s what reminded the IT team of that golden rule of software development, and the importance of working closely with the application end users. The app is back on track.
Mobile app dev is serving up a lot of tough lessons. Few enterprise IT teams have deep experience with the technology and languages. And there’s almost always an impossible time pressure, as marketing wants that mobile app this quarter rather than next year.”
Once an IT team can distinguish mobile needs from desktop needs, the development process is a lot more successful. Mobile is on the go – and mobile app features must be fluent and easy to use, or end users won’t have a need for the app. Understanding and testing the app’s user experience is crucial.
The rush to develop mobile app puts a tremendous burden on internal teams to get the company’s app developed and tested. Having to red-do an app isn’t the worst thing that could possibly happen, but it can be avoided with the right testing.
What is your biggest struggle with mobile development? Share your thoughts in the comments section.