As the mobile workforce continues to grow, mobile business intelligence (BI) has become an increasingly critical business imperative. In fact, a recent report from Market Research Future projects the mobile BI market will expand at a 23 percent CAGR from 2016 to 2022, reaching $13 billion by the end of that timeframe.
As the demand increases for quality analytics on any screen, development teams are tasked with delivering and optimizing mobile BI. As with any mobile application, a great user experience and value-adds are critical to ensure adoption and continued usage. With that in mind, here are a few common pitfalls to look out for if your team is developing a mobile analytics solution.
1. Forgetting the Audience
Above all else, developers should always stay aware of the general differences between desktop and mobile users. Many workers will jump between these categories at some point through their days or months. Desktop users work at, unsurprisingly, desks. These employees are looking at data at a work or home office and may rarely have a reason to view analytics on a smaller screen.
On the flipside, mobile users are typically out in the field or working in roles that require them to be on the move for much of the day. Maybe these are sales representatives that do a lot of traveling or factory workers that rarely stay in one place for long, but need to be able to easily view and interpret data throughout the day. These are the employees that benefit most from well-designed mobile BI applications.
2. Information Overload
It is simply not possible to relay the same amount of information via mobile BI solutions as you can on a desktop. If you try, you’ll inevitably compromise the user experience.
With mobile analytics, developers need to treat the small screen as precious real estate that should convey only the most critical information. Trying to cram too much data onto a small screen makes it difficult to distinguish between elements and comprehend the information quickly, which is the entire purpose of mobile BI in the first place. Developers can use tactics like hiding certain data and controls, making them visible only when relevant to the specific user. And any mobile solution should always include responsive design.
Even when leveraging these kind of tactics, developers will still have to reduce data quantity and design elements for mobile. Many developers start with the full desktop dashboard and take away elements to pare the view down, but some will find it easier to start with a blank slate when wireframing mobile BI capabilities and add in only the most crucial elements one at a time.
3. Leaving QA for the End of a Project
Too often, the application development process exists in silos, which is a recipe for inefficiency and UX challenges. By bringing the QA process into the rest of the fray, you allow for continuous feedback and optimization, translating to a better experience for the mobile analytics user down the line
When development teams leave QA as a last step before rollout, they risk having to go backwards to address any challenges the QA team uncovers. Having QA weigh in repeatedly during development allows developers, designers, and any other employees on the project team to make adjustments in near real-time, saving potential future headaches.