Responsive Mobile – a Strategy to Unify the Web and Mobile App Experience

June 6, 2013 Mark D'Cunha

Much has been written about Responsive Design, a technique for developing a single website that uses fluid grids and flexible images to deliver an improved user experience, irrespective of device and browser. It is considered a useful but only partial solution to the challenges in mobile computing.

At Xtreme Labs, we excel at the strategy and development of mobile products: websites and applications that reach across all forms of devices, which increasingly include smart televisions, gaming consoles, health appliances, automotive dashboards and specialty devices like Google Glass. We have also developed machine-to-machine interactions, where user experience is less important than reliability and transaction performance. Our approach to developing award-winning mobile products is called “Responsive Mobile.”

Responsive Mobile means putting user experience and performance at the forefront of everything we do – from conceptual design through development, deployment, management and performance of the mobile product. This article examines some of the factors we consider when designing a responsive mobile solution.

Latency

The responsiveness of an app or website is a critical measure of quality and user experience. Being slow has a cost, and in mobile you pay for it with the loss of demanding users. Amazon found that every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found that an extra 500ms in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%. Your app or website should have a reliable performance profile that is not sensitive to latency.

Mobile Readiness

Enterprise systems and consumer application databases are not always ready to handle the protocols, formats, connectivity and volume associated with mobile applications and websites. You may need middleware or connectors to off-load your systems from the massive impact of being connected directly to a large number of consumers. Availability and scalability are much more demanding in mobile solutions and a proper application delivery architecture is paramount. Having a proven framework for enabling your data via APIs and secure authentication ensures a robust solution.

Responsive Content

The content and business data you display need to be relevant, properly sized and optimally delivered in order to be usable. Sizing of images and videos, use of a Content Delivery Network to reduce latency, and the controlled distribution and download of data during synchronization are important factors in designing a responsive user experience.

Responsive UX Design

Responsive UX (User Experience) Design is a technique that enables layout and content to adapt by expanding, contracting and resizing to appropriately fit a variety of screen sizes. The Responsive UX concept applies in mobile app design as well, by optimizing layout and controls based on the device. By applying properly sized layouts and formatted content, your users can have a much better user experience across devices. As apps expand to consoles, car dashboards, smart TVs and other environments, Responsive UX is becoming increasingly important. In examining consumer behavior, Google found that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal.

Responsive Performance

The release of a web or mobile app is not the end of the project. Ratings, feedback and rankings are some of the basic measures that are used to gauge user sentiment, find bottlenecks, prioritize enhancements and improve usability. In addition, you must continually measure average and peak transaction length over time using convenient cloud-based services like New Relic.

Responsive Web

Your mobile strategy needs to include a roadmap to move to a responsive web implementation. Without it, you’ll soon be left servicing a dwindling customer base or facing a competitive disadvantage in marketing, advertising and support costs. It’s pretty apparent that customers expect a multi-channel approach and it provides the best reach for your product and marketing communication.

Responsive Mobile Platform

A great mobile strategy is more easily implemented on a responsive mobile platform that is open, flexible, scalable, secure and cost-effective. At Xtreme Labs, we have the knowledge and experience to help you with your mobile strategy and platform selection, so click here to contact us.

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