There has been a running debate for years within the mobile
ecosystem on what approach yields the best result for an end user trying to
access complex information resources. Complex information resources can be
something familiar to most consumers such as on-line shopping, scheduling a
flight, or checking a Facebook status, to something more business-centric such
as adding a new application or workflow to the panoply of capabilities we all
seem to carry around on our mobile devices.
So assuming the objective is to deliver a compelling user experience that encourages
your customers or users to return, then the questions becomes (as noted), to web, or not to web?
To web: we’re basically talking about a web-centric user experience, and by web
I mean a site that is rendered on a mobile device via html 5. There is nothing for
the end user to do but point their browser at a website, and assuming the baseline
software on their device is current, they’re good to go. This is easy, convenient,
and works well for occasional use where the threshold of sophistication requirements
are relatively low. Where it does not work as well is where the process is consistent
that is, routinely transactional), or critical to your day to day (that is, your job depends on
it). Vendors that deliver critical services through an html5 interface are doing their
customers a disservice, their customers are looking for depth, and they’re not providing it.
Not to web: in this instance we’re talking mobile apps. When the requirements get complex, when
you’re dealing with dense data (e.g. tracking sales KPIs as part of a workflow process), or when
you’re dealing within anything in the IT space, such as service management, the app approach
is critical to ensuring the compelling event everyone expects. This is where applications
like BMC’s MyIT come into play; navigating complex information resources should not be complex,
your users have enough to do without forcing them to deal with the limitations inherent in an
html5 interface. Treat your customers with the respect they deserve, and give then a mobile
app that is specific to their requirements.