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FCW : July 30, 2013
ExecTe c h Mobile usability: Targeting the tool to the audience Employees and customers are an increasingly mobile lot, so developing apps and websites that deliver the goods on the go has become a pressing issue for agencies. Mobile technology calls for research and planning, pref- erably in an iterative process that involves early user feed- back and testing at key points during the design phase. The goal is to enhance the user experience, which makes adoption and productive use more likely and justi es the cost of development. In the quest for a better user experience, designers and developers grapple with a number of issues, starting with determining which mobile platform is best suited to the job. Answering that question and those that follow requires a certain amount of homework. But the extra effort could be the difference between a successful mobile outreach effort and one that stalls. Why it matters In an Appcelerator survey of corporate C-level executives and technology managers released earlier this year, 72 percent of respondents said it was likely or very likely that mobile development would outpace traditional Web and desktop development in 2013. That shift, of course, is driven by user adoption of mobile devices. The Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reported in June that the percentage of American adults who own cell phones passed the 90 percent mark for the rst time. The organization noted that 91 percent of American adults own a cell phone (including 56 percent equipped with smart phones), and 34 percent have a tablet computer. And if general software development trends were not enough, government directives have made paying attention to the mobile experience increasingly important for agen- cies. In May 2012, the Of ce of Management and Budget issued the Digital Government Strategy, which instructs agencies to mobile-enable at least two customer-facing services and identify best practices for cultivating a mobile- tailored experience. Agencies can attest to the uptick in mobile activity. In May 2011, the National Cancer Institute's Cancer.gov site reported a little less than 600,000 page views via mobile devices, but by year's end, the mobile tally had surpassed 1 million. That spike in traf c led the agency to create a mobile strategy. "We've placed a greater priority on the mobilization of our content," said Jonathan Cho, chief of NCI's Commu- nications Technology Branch. NCI launched its mobile website, m.cancer.gov, last year. The fundamentals Organizations seeking to boost the mobile user's experi- ence need to gure out which delivery platform --- or plat- forms --- will do the trick. The main options boil down to optimizing a website for mobile users, developing mobile apps or pursuing both paths. In the mobile apps category, further choices include developing an app that is native to a particular mobile operating system (such as Android, iOS or Windows Phone 8) or building a cross-platform app using HTML5. "Doing everything can be challenging," especially in light of agencies' resource limitations, said John Land- wehr, vice president of digital government solutions at Adobe Systems. ExecTe c h BY JOHN MOORE Optimizing the user experience is a key consideration as agencies ramp up efforts to reach the public via mobile technology July 30, 2013 FCW.COM 27
July 15, 2013
August 15, 2013