Mobile is a big deal these days. The usage of mobile devices is skyrocketing. CAD and PLM vendors increased their focus on the development of mobile applications. For the last year, we’ve seen quite many new apps. Autodesk is probably the leader in the development of mobile apps. AutoCAD WS was one of the first available. I noticed very interesting application ForceEffect that allows you to merge application experience with external photos. Other vendors also released mobile apps – Whindchill mobile, TeamCenter mobile, SolidWorks eDrawing and others.
One of the most challenging pieces of a mobile device (smartphone or tablet computer) is the user interface. With a smaller screen real estate and touch screen, mobile device always challenges developers and users with how to get it right and provide a good user experience. In order to do so, mobile app developers need to be laser focused on the scenario and needs of the end user.
Couple of months ago, I posted – Mobile PLM gold rush: did vendors miss the point? One of the conclusions I’ve made is that some PLM vendors are on the runway to say we have “mobile PLM” products. It is certainly good to get eyeballs online, but I doubt it will provide a good service to end users. To make “all tablet” won’t work for product development software. To stop and think about a specific productivity apps that can solve a particular problem is the right way to go.
Recently Google introduced Google Now product. I can see it as a good example of contextual user experience. Google Now provides set of cards (traffic, public transit, next appointment, flights, sports, places, weather, currency, etc.) These cards can be used in a contextual way to present right information to the user at the right moment of time.
What is my conclusion? Back in 90s, the concept of UI was “Workbench”. Everything you need was placed in a single screen to simplify the access. Modern paradigm shifts the concept towards the event driven, contextual UX. I can see them more intuitive and easy to use. The introduction of Google Now and discontinue of iGoogle is one of the confirmations to that. Just my thoughts. What is your take? What is your future list of product development and manufacturing mobile apps?