It was only three days ago that Phillip Easter, director of mobile applications at American Airlines Inc, dictated his three do’s for the new wave of mobile applications in the enterprise.
The first in the list hints at the importance of the look of User Interface. Philipp does not linger over the subject, so we will try to elaborate further on this ourselves, hopefully interpreting correctly his thoughts.
Three main principles make UI design in enterprise apps particularly relevant:
- The boundary between private and working life is very subtle with the most workaholics of us checking mails in the pauses between appetizers and starters. Enterprise mobility enables employees to accomplish their daily activities through their smartphones and tablets. As you leap from your iTunes playlist to your CRM remote access, you want to experience the same beauty and professional touch Apple is able to deliver.
- Apps are always more often used to fulfil tasks in front of clients. Taking notes and showing a catalogue during meetings, showing a presentation or calculating a quote, exchanging contacts… Your app in this case represents the front line connecting you and chances are you don’t want to miss any occasion to make a good impression.
- Design drives ROI: when you invest in an app, both for internal and external use, you most likely want as many people as possible to use it. Widespread usage allows you to spread your costs over a larger usership and enjoy the productivity gains from all of them. Having a pleasant, easy to use App is the first step to convince people to use it.
The suggestions that originate from this are straightforward:
- Steal with pride: be inspired by your favourite consumer apps and combine their flair with a sober approach
- Develop apps that convey your brand’s personality and are consistent with the positioning you show in every customer touch-point.
- Keep it flexible, analyze usage data and redefine your app UI according to what you want your users to do and what they already do.
Keep in mind: great UI differentiates the best app developers from the crowd and make users’ life easier.