Transform the Device; Transform the Experience

Author: Jim Lundy
Date: July 19, 2013
Topics: Mobile; User Experience
Research Note Number: 2013-23

Issue: What are the best practices for harnessing the power of mobile computing?
Issue: What trends are affecting how information is presented to users?

Summary: Due to touch, voice, gesture and motion sensing, a mobile device can become an extension of the user’s personality. Natural and intuitive user experiences are as essential as feature and function, and redefine how people interact with IT assets and processes. The mobile app personality matrix enables new classes of applications that can transform industries.

Computing is becoming far more intuitive and accessible than ever, and much of this progress lies in the mobile domain. A key element driving the proliferation of smartphones and tablets is their innovative user experience. User expectations have moved beyond menus, mice and windows, and will continue to expand. Tied to the device capabilities listed in Note 3 below, these new, more engaging mobile interactions open up new realities and redefine what we can do with our tools.

Voice, handwriting, touch and gesture input, together with location, motion and orientation awareness and other real-world “senses,” are revolutionizing the user experience and making mobile devices far more engaging than PCs ever were. Enterprises that develop business apps for mobile systems, especially those with emerging form factors like Google Glass and the “smart watch,” should focus on using touch, gesture and voice to create interactive scenarios that leverage this new user experience.

Not only do smartphones and tablets have new ways to engage with users, they give users new ways to engage with apps as well. A defining aspect of mobile devices is the tight integration of software functions with the device hardware. This allows a well-designed app to take over its device in a rich, integrated way to create an app personality. The device takes on the operational and interactive characteristics of the app, immersing the user in a comprehensive “app experience” and making the device itself seem invisible.

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