User First, Not Mobile First
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”- Antoine de Saint Exupéry
One of the common refrains from software companies regarding application design is “mobile first.” This is in response to perceived changes in the applications market that is driven by the popularity of smartphones and tablets as computing platforms. There is no doubt that mobile platforms are starting to have an effect on the business application environment. It is not mobility per se that is driving these changes though. Yes, the fact that a computing platform can move around is providing opportunities for applications to use location to enhance user experience. More profound changes are coming from the limitations of the platforms. With small screens relative to desktop and laptop screens and less memory and compute resources, application designers have had to rethink the user experience. Part of this redesign has been to pare down applications to the most necessary features or create several applications for the same system that target different types of knowledge workers. The latter especially is a good way to approach application design, effectively eliminating the monolithic, one-size-fits-all, interfaces that confuse knowledge workers who need to use common business applications.
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