Nearly everybody designs their website with responsiveness in mind. When it comes to mobile support, people no longer wonder about responsive design vs. native app support. The real question is: when it comes to building a native mobile experience, how does one decide what features to include? Just to clarify, there are applications within certain categories (e.g. games, social media, etc.) that clearly should be mobile-centric (duh), which are not the applications I am talking about here. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on the B2B or B2C enterprise solutions that see native mobile experience as a strategic way to increase user adoption and retention.
First, some context. The EyeCue team recently built a native mobile application that (for the sake or brevity) functions like a job portal. It supports two types of personas: job seekers and employers. The client had a limited budget, but their initial intuition was to mimic everything that the desktop has to offer. I mean, why would you leave any one of these two core personas out?
Well, it’s actually not that black and white.
When we sat down with the client to decide which features should go into the mobile experience, our approach was to look at the percentage breakdown for the usage of product. In this case, it is safe to say that since there are more job seekers, the initial native experience should be designed for those users. Our reasoning is that most jobs outside of high tech industry are very location-based, so making use of the user’s physical location to push relevant job postings in real time would be a great fit for the mobile’s use-case.
But doesn’t it make more sense to also first build the native experience for the employers? After all, if a job portal site is a B2B enterprise product, wouldn’t the focus automatically go to the users who pay for the service?
As it turns out, the native mobile experience doesn’t automatically equate to a “better experience” in every scenario. Our findings show that most people feel more comfortable writing job descriptions or reviewing resumes in an office setting. And it is more important to track the status of large volumes of job applicants at a quick glance on the desktop, than having the ability to do so on a smartphone.
Ultimately, given enough budget, anyone can do almost anything. But at EyeCue, we tackle projects with the MVP approach. We find that it’s more critical to take the time and really understand your audience, than to take a wide, blanketed approach before you go “native”.