On Designing UX for Mobile Enterprise Apps

Author(s): Kati Kuusinen, Tommi Mikkonen
Venue: Software Engineering and Advanced Applications
Date: 2014-08-27 - 2014-08-29

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Class/Experience Level: Professional
Participant Selection: UX designers, developers
Data Collection Method: Survey


This paper by Kuusinen and Mikkonen focuses specifically on the domain of designing user experience (UX) for mobile applications. They believe that interactions with devices should be designed in a meticulous way such that time spent on a mobile device is much shorter than spent on a desktop app. Their reasons for wanting to execute carefully designed mobile UX is three-fold: users' actions must be simple yet focused; interactions must be accomplished with ease -- only requiring a minimal number of keystrokes or finger presses; mobile platforms impose stringent restrictions regarding the extent and limitations of UX.

In interest of the reasons listed above, the authors report results from a study determining how different "actors" of UX are addressed and highly utilized in the development of mobile enterprise apps. It seems that mobile app development differs quite greatly from general-purpose software development with respect to a few key issues. First, mobile apps should have focused functionality, including features that are necessary, not wanted, for the app's overall effectiveness and success. This contributes to the importance of creating a more "coherent" UX design in the beginning stages of the project. Second, the more complex the project is, the more UX specialty is needed.

In conclusion, the study indicates that the best UX designers for simple apps are the developers who understand the platform specific restrictions, whereas for more complex apps, a UX specialist will better flourish at understanding how to design a workflow for more simplistic usage. On this note, smaller screen sizes greatly influence the UX, and require the use of highly experienced UX specialists. Lastly, the authors also reiterate again and again that one of the most important design concerns when building an application is maintaining the consistency of user experience.