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People-First vs Mobile First Design

Two of the most common buzzwords in today’s business software environment are “any device” and “mobile first.” These buzzwords reflect a trend toward ensuring that applications can be used on phones, tablets and desktops, and that the mobile devices are given priority. This mindset is useful in creating consumer-oriented applications with broad appeal, but can be detrimental to the user experience for enterprise apps. A “people first” design philosophy will help ensure wide acceptance and a quality user experience, particularly for business applications dealing with the document approval process.

People-first software developing prioritizes providing a natural user experience on all platforms. It’s something enterprise developers just don’t do since they’ll always prioritize data integration and feature completeness over beautiful screens and a fast, responsive UI. Customers should be free to design their online forms and document flows to fit their business needs, without having to worry about the idiosyncracies of individual devices.

Online forms software can provide an intuitive, easy form builder using which customers can focus on how people use their apps rather than having to worry about individual devices:

  • Bigger controls, icons and buttons – They’re easier for users to select and click using their finger.
  • Responsive – Web form and approval workflow screens need to adjust automatically to different screen sizes (desktop, smartphone, tablet etc.). By freeing the business user from these considerations, the web form builder software becomes easier to use and less frustrating.
  • Task lists – Task lists should be tailored for the screen sizes of various devices, making them easy to access and use.
  • Aesthetics – The application should look pleasing and provide a natural and enjoyable user experience on the small screen of a mobile device or the larger screen of a traditional computer monitor.
  • Navigation – Long screens should be broken up into multiple pages for mobile devices, making them easier to navigate.
  • Device specific controls – Take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile devices, such as GPS, camera, touch screen etc.

Online forms and automated document approval processes can make businesses more productive and efficient, eliminating costs associated with paper documents. Creating document management applications that are easily usable via traditional desktop or mobile devices will only enhance the utility of these applications.