The essential elements of a great enterprise mobile app

Mobile devices, whether you’re talking about smart phones, tablets, or other form factors, present unique development and design challenges. The kind of information, the actions you can take, the way the interface looks and works, needs to be fundamentally different in a mobile environment.

Which is why we’ve identified what we believe are ten essential elements that can help you create more than just a good business app, but a great enterprise mobile app. An app that solves real business problems to help employees be more productive and more connected to anything, from anywhere.

Here’s a quick overview of the first five elements:

1. Solve a problem in a mobile-first way

If you are looking to build an enterprise mobile app, start by finding a problem in your workplace and solve it in a mobile-first way. That’s the fundamental difference between a good app (that solves a problem) and great app (it solves the problem in a mobile-first way).

2. Easy access to relevant and related information

Great enterprise mobile apps are designed to give the user immediate access to the primary record for which the action will be performed on, but also the ability to see related records and relevant information all within a swipe or tap of the finger. This relevant information may include both organisational (private) and social (public) data.

3. Eliminate typing without limiting functionality

Let’s face it, no one enjoys typing on a small screen – especially on the go. Great enterprise mobile apps eliminate typing wherever possible, without reducing functionality. In fact, really great apps improve the user experience by eliminating excessive field input.

4. Ship the Minimal Viable Product

A minimal viable product (MVP) means a product that meets the minimum requirements of the customer that users can get their hands on and offer immediate feedback to the developer team to iterate on. This feedback should be reviewed and, if appropriate, included into the next build of the product. Shipping the MVP frequently can also make the user feel as if they have had input into the app’s design.

5. Get inspiration for mobile

Popular responsive design UI frameworks like bootstrap or foundation take a lot of the heavy lifting out of building HTML5 mobile front ends and require little more than general web development skills. These frameworks, plus design inspiration from sites such as Ads of the World and Behance, and even design bidding community sites like 99 Designs, make good design just a few clicks away.

This is taken from the recent Salesforce.com eBook '10 Essential Elements of Great Enterprise Mobile Apps; A Guide to Building Incredible Mobile Experiences'. Download the full copy here.

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