What Not to Do When Creating Mobile Apps

    April 3, 2011

Businesses seem to struggle with building mobile applications. Sometimes it seems they rush to get a mobile product up, and other times, they seem to use exactly what they have, which doesn’t usually work on mobile devices.

What have you found to be the most challenging part of creating mobile apps? Please share.

Aaron Forth, the VP of Product at Mint/Intuit, admits that building mobile apps is no “light endeavor” and pointed out that the mobile platform is completely different from desktop computers.

“It’s building a whole new set of functionality for a whole other platform, and in many cases, for entirely different use cases,” he said.

He went on to say that businesses that try to use their current website on mobile devices are really just setting themselves up to fail. Businesses need to understand that the interaction, the form factor, the use cases, and the screen are all very different on the mobile platform.

As he explained, businesses can take some of what they already have, but they need to re-create a lot of aspects to make it compatible with mobile. Designers often enjoy creating the new features because it means that are able to get rid of a lot of old processes that aren’t necessary.

Mint, in particular, has been very successful with its own mobile app. The app allows users to be in touch with their financing while they are on the go, which is an element that Forth believes “makes more sense” on mobile than it does on the desktop.

Although the mobile app would continue to be an extension of the desktop version of Mint, he said that it would also have its own individual features.

“We don’t really think of mobile as a different thing, it’s just, it is Mint. It’s an appendage of our service,” he added.

Mint is also working on an iPad app, which Forth said further visualizes Mint’s goal of visualizing finances.