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Design your application with a tablet user in mind and be surprised

Please take one of your recent functional design discussions in mind. Do you remember what it looked like? Was it fun or long lasting and rather boring? Did the end result satisfy every participant? As you know such discussions can lead to very complex application designs, if you try to satisfy everybody’s needs. We know from our own experience it’s often hardly possible to satisfy everyone involved. As discussed before we believe it’s possible to reduce software development costs dramatically by skipping exotic features. But when you design the application with a big screen in mind we seem to feel we have to fill that screen. That’s why we recently chose a different approach while (re)designing some of our client’s business applications and we were astonished by the result.

What would you offer your user on an iPad?

We requested different clients to think about their end user only using an iPad. Knowing all the recent queues of people waiting for an iPad2 an increasing amount of people fortunately realises what this means: focus on simplicity and usability combined with a intuitive design. All our clients liked the experiment and started thinking about their application in a completely different way. They all instantly concluded they would have to take the limitations of a mobile device into account (whether this is true or not doesn’t matter). Simplicity, became the keyword, whereas in normal functional design situations the sky is the limit. Fortunately, a lot is possible on a mobile device as well. Just have a look at one of my favourite Apps, Twitter for iPad, below. 20110325-081757.jpg

Think about the key features your client needs

Together we managed to focus on the essential functions of the applications. After defining the mobile application an important question remained: “What to do with the features we didn’t describe yet?”. “They are hardly ever used” was often the surprising answer. We were allowed to skip many of them. We managed to stimulate our clients to focus on the essence of their business and how to support it best. In some of the examples existing desktop and web applications will be replaced by a mobile version.

We believe it works

We are still surprised by this amazing result. We firmly believe in all cases it will reduce development costs and even more important it will result in new business opportunities and a better usability of the new solutions. Less is just more! Do you believe this approach could work for you? Will you give it a try? Please share your opinion and experiences below. I would like to discuss them with you online as well via http://twitter.com/Goyello or @PetersOpinion.

VP Software Development Europe for Aspire Systems. Sociologist and electrotechnical engineer, a great combination that stimulates him to look for the best working software solutions for clients. Passionate about converting great ideas into new solutions. Married and a proud father of 3 great sons. Training for and participating in triathlons/runs to stay fit.