Should I build a mobile version of my existing product?

I’ve been consulting with Soltech, a provider of custom software solutions, and recently wrote a blog post for their client corporate blog about the challenges, opportunities, and a common-sense strategy for mobile application development for your current products.

A blurb:

Functionality and Constraints

So let’s assume you have a mobile-friendly version of your site but your product is either a traditional web application or desktop application. Should you build a mobile version?

The mobile device, due to its constraints, presents some challenges:

  • It is hard for the user to enter data as the on-screen keyboard is slower and error-prone
  • Due to slower network speeds it is harder for the user to consume large content or have to click multiple times to find the information they need
  • The smaller overall form factor means that visually intense or detailed information is hard to consume

Yet mobile devices, due to their features, offer some opportunities as well:

  • The accelerometer (the magic part that allows the device to tell which direct it is tilted) can be exploited to present completely new experiences
  • A touch screen provides fast intuitive access

The mobile experience is different due to typical use patterns:

  • People use their mobile devices during leisure time as well as work time
  • Users are out in the world while using mobile devices so location-based data can be exploited
  • Mobile users like to try new things out more than the typical desktop user (easily searchable marketplaces and free apps help this)
  • People have their mobile devices with them all the time so this increases the amount of advertising or usage that can happen
  • People are more likely to be interacting with other people (and new people) when they have their mobile devices instead of sitting in a cubicle or at home

Check out the full post here.