Designing effective multi-channel user experiences, is essential to all enterprise application development scenarios, whether B2E, B2B, or B2C. Yet, few IT teams have implemented multi-channel design best practices, leading to subpar UX that negatively impacts app adoption and user productivity.
Responsive app design is one approach for delivering multi-channel user experiences that drive adoption and successful business out comes. It has grown in popularity in response to the continued increase in types of devices and form factors.
With responsive app design, the app’s UI elements automatically adjust their visibility, size, and layout to adapt to the different screen sizes and orientation of different desktop, tablet, and smartphone devices. This approach offers the following benefits:
- Consistent Look and Feel – Because responsive app design automatically adjusts the application’s layout for different screen sizes and orientations, the approach ensures a consistent look and feel, as well as functionality, across any device type.
- Lower Development Time and Cost – Rather than building multiple device-specific apps, IT teams can build one app that runs on any device, saving development time and money. App maintenance is also simplified.
- Reduced App Fatigue – Responsive apps help combat “app fatigue,” as users don’t need to install yet another app on their mobile device(s).
Responsive App Design Is Necessary but Not Sufficient
While it has tangible benefits, Responsive app design also has its drawbacks. For example, when it comes to applications for consumers, there is a lack of discoverability in-app stores and the need for constant connectivity. Also, when end-users have different devices, responsive app design doesn’t account for the fact that the same user will have different expectations and requirements for each device type. For instance, an insurance claims adjustor will have different needs when using an application from his mobile device versus in the office; and these needs should dictate a unique set of features for each device type such as a camera, location tracking and support for gestures.
In the end, providing a consistent look and feel that adapt to device form factors alone isn’t sufficient. For most enterprise app scenarios, your users will require more tailored experiences and capabilities by device. At the same time, you’ll need to ensure a high degree of cohesion across that continuum of devices. By that, providing consistent data and functionality when users switch from one device to another, so that they can continue where they left off, without having to re-enter data or start over.
Augment Responsive App Design With Device-Specific Experiences
With enterprises looking to build a growing number of applications to drive operational efficiency, customer engagement, and revenue growth, the stakes are high for delivering great user experiences. To ensure successful adoption, IT teams need to focus on more than just look and feel; they must create desirable, contextual, and highly usable apps that provide a consistent multi-channel experience.
The key is to leverage responsive web design as a foundational element for multi-channel UX and augment with device-specific experiences to make users feel truly at home on each device. Responsive design provides a fast, efficient way of ensuring UI consistency on any device, but great multi-channel user experiences must also factor in a user’s needs and behavior on a given device to provide tailored device-specific capabilities.
For best practices, download our Brief “Four Principles for Great Multi-Channel User Experiences.”