Targeting a Wide Range of Devices with Your Application (1 of 4)

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In this post we will be looking at options that are available while building applications that target a wide range of devices.

Selecting a solution would be based on factors like – target user’s preferred device (desktop, tablet, smartphone etc.), minimum required functionality set, technology infrastructure and cost. This is a whole different topic of discussion, perhaps for a later post.

For now we will just look at the options, talk about their pros & cons and ways to implement them. But before targeting devices and form factors, let’s start with the three core factors that define the usability of the mobile application:

Functionality
While building any mobile application, it is always a good idea to think about the set of functionality that the application delivers to its mobile users. There are high chances that it will be a small set of the functionality available in the web application for desktop browsers or the desktop version of the app. The time spent in identifying what the users care most about goes a long way. So the way to start would be to select the functionality that makes the most sense in the mobile application and bringing it front and center.

User experience
How easily are those functionalities accessible? How intuitive is the navigation? Is the JavaScript animation preventing access to something rather important or the swipe handler responds after the user has already swiped for the second time? Keeping in mind that there is no mouse pointer, it might be difficult to tap that link or copy that text. There are endless such things that need to be considered.

Performance
Browsing the internet from a wireless smart phone might not always be a pleasant experience depending on your coverage, the wireless network or the resources of the device itself. Would the application be able to handle a lost connectivity or spotty connection gracefully? The application should transfer bytes over the network in small chunks, rather than multiple sections making their own server calls all at the same time. Depending on what the application does, it might be worthwhile to enable offline working on the application.

In the following posts we will explore options that are available to target mobile devices with your application. Throughout the series we will keep the above mentioned factors in mind.

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