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The App Revolution: The Impact of Mobility on Product Development

Whether it’s in PGi’s product designs or our internal technology and productivity, mobility is top of mind for me as I know it is for other CTOs and CIOs around the globe. My teams are constantly on-the-go, and smartphones and tablets are a ubiquitous part of our everyday personal and professional lives. By 2015, there will be an estimated 1.3 billion mobile workers across the globe.

The popularity of these devices has given rise to the app, indispensable pieces of software that leverage the increasing power of our mobile devices to keep us connected, entertained and productive. The proliferation of apps has created something of an App Revolution, where software and product designs have been impacted by the intuitiveness and simplicity of the apps we use every day.

Savvier (and More Demanding) Users

A few short years ago, the kinds of technologies that we now carry around in our pockets were unheard of or at the very least reserved for a select few. Today, parents and grandparents are on Facebook, young children are downloading and playing their favorite games and people are staying connected anytime and anywhere. This has created a workforce that is increasingly tech savvy. They’re comfortable with this new modality of technology and expect that comfort to translate across personal and professional lines.

As product developers, it is up to us to both cater to and leverage this newfound comfort level with technology, providing experiences that align with the intuitive, straightforward mobile tools that the average smartphone and tablet user have come to expect. It also demands consistency across platforms. While the differences in input methods may affect certain features, users don’t want to launch a desktop app and find themselves staring at something unrecognizable from the smartphone or tablet version.

At PGi, we strive to provide consistent experiences across laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets, ensuring that GlobalMeet® and iMeet® users have the same intuitive online meeting experience at their desks or on the road.

The Power of Simplicity

Software, particularly business software, is often measured by the numbers of knobs you can turn. In other words, to be considered powerful or “full-featured” enough to get the job done, there have to be features piled upon features to cover every possible business and use case. Take a look at your standard spreadsheet program, for example, an application that almost every employee will touch at some point during their careers. These programs are notoriously complicated to use, so much so that there are entire books, web sites and even instructional classes dedicated to the subject.

And yet, one of the most powerful effects of the App Revolution is that people are appreciating—and demanding—simplicity. Mobile apps have simplified every aspect of the software process, from installation to launch and usage. Minimalist, intuitive designs have become the new standard. This is a lesson we at PGi have experienced firsthand; the first iPad® interface for iMeet was so well-received that we retrofitted it to the desktop product. The demands of the mobile user are extending well beyond their smartphones and tablets, and product teams have to take notice in order to create engaging tools.

Simplicity does not equal limitation, and power does not equal complexity. The true challenge is creating engaging tools that strike the balance between functionality and simplicity, and it’s what we at PGi strive towards every single day.

Interested in more insights on mobility’s impact on the future of business? Download PGi’s free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration” today!

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