Interfaces Going Mobile: Tiny Fingers Needed

December 31, 2018

Folks are expecting more and more information to be at their mobile fingertips, even communications with their employers. TechTarget posits, “What’s Driving the Next-Generation Mobile User Experience?” Reporter Maribel Lopez describes several advances she says have prompted organizations to offer efficient ways for their workers to communicate and collaborate through their mobile devices. She writes:

“Most organizations’ mobile efforts have evolved beyond the basics of a mobile-friendly website and an intranet accessed via a secure browser. Companies want to create contextual and predictive mobile experiences that delight customers and employees. Yet, many aspects of developing a compelling mobile user experience have changed with the introduction of new devices, computing processors and software. Mobile experiences today must move seamlessly across devices with multiple operating systems….

Preserving context has always been a goal; now it’s an imperative. But a next-generation experience is more than delivering the same information to each screen. It doesn’t make sense to cram all of the functions of an application on a smartwatch. A strong mobile user experience provides the right information, to the right screen, for the task at hand. Application developers must define which data and workflows are appropriate for each device. For example, you can enable a speech interface on a PC, but it’s more useful on a mobile device where hands-free operation may be required.”

The article goes on to detail four advancements that have made the most difference in this employer-employee relationship. First is the evolution of ways to input data. What started as fingertip-touch has grown to include pens, gestures, docking stations, and, naturally, voice input. In fact, voice assistants like Alexa and H.R. chatbots bring potential for “deeper engagement,” we’re told; engagement that is sure to grow more engaging (intrusive?) as machine learning and analytics technologies progress. Improved hardware itself is a factor, of course, with smartphones now able to quickly process an astounding amount of data. Finally, there is the development of 5G cellular tech, which allows networks to keep up with the demands of those evolving devices.

Naturally, companies would not invest so much in mobile interfaces if they did not help their bottom lines. Though they are billed as a boon for employees, is it really beneficial for workers to relate to algorithms instead of flesh and blood coworkers? Depends on the worker, and on the company, I suppose.

Cynthia Murrell, December 31, 2018


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