May 23, 2012

Bridging the Experience Divide with Mobile Apps

Mobile applications are a great way to connect with your users in a manner that they have already welcomed into their life.  Users get very comfortable with the way their device works and feel much more at ease when presented with a familiar method of interacting with your application. This poses a problem and several opportunities for application providers.

As a mobile application provider, you’re faced with a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach or a tailored experience developed specifically for each device type. The first approach generally abstracts the interface from the device using html or Adobe’s AIR framework. Unfortunately, abstracting the interface also abstracts the experience and tends to create apps that just don’t seem to belong; depending on the goals of your app this can present a real problem. An application that provides value in a way that still feels as if it is a natural extension of the user’s device can, however, quickly become a lasting part of their digital life.

Tailoring the user interface of the application for each type of device can at first seem like a costly endeavor. A well thought out approach and a great product has kept us in a great position to do just the opposite of a lowest common denominator approach and keep cost from repetitive work to a minimum. Thanks to MonoTouch and Mono for Android, by the folks at Xamarin, we are able to achieve maximum code reuse without sacrificing our ability to really tailor the user experience for the application ecosystem that it will live in.

Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .Net framework, which we have a great skillset in, so using it for cross platform development is a natural fit. MonoTouch and Mono for Android bring the ability to use a ‘write once, run everywhere’ model when it comes to business logic and web services. They do this in a way that exposes every bit of the underlying device’s functionality to our code. This means we can get the business details nailed down and turn all of our focus to building a great user experience for each platform (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)!

As you may have guessed, our passion for providing value and meaningful customer relationships for our clients means that we take user experience to heart. Using great frameworks like MonoTouch allow us to bridge the divide when it comes to releasing a quality experience across all platforms while still getting our message across in a cost effective way.

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