Friday, May 18, 2012

The Importance of a Focused Mobile Strategy

For the past few years I have been speaking in several conferences about social and mobile solutions for organization for different industry verticals and I am surprised that I still get asked this question. “Does our organization need a dedicated and focused mobile strategy?” I have 2 words. Yes, Yes and Yes. Oh wait that’s 3!

Here is a sampling of stats:
1 billion of the world’s 4+ billion mobiles phones are now Smart Phones
Over 85% of new handsets will have Web access

Usage - What are mobile users doing:
95% send or receive text messages
65% access the internet on their mobile device
48% have accessed a social networking site on their phone
20% have purchased something or charitable donation their mobile phones

Social Impact
Over 1/3 of Facebook’s 600million + user base uses Facebook Mobile
Twitter has 165million users and 50% of them us Twitter Mobile
A whopping 200million + Youtube views occur on mobile devices per day
Not my research!! Women aged 35 - 54 are the most active group in mobile socialization

Traditionally we are used to accessing information via desktop and mobile web browser (more like WAP)

Then came the wonder of Apps. The app revolution got developers to build native apps using C# or objective C or vendor approved programming language.

But the tide is really riding on the app revolution where the next generation of apps are a combination of apps called Hybrid apps. Which is a combination of native code and open html framework.

The different kinds of apps presented great opportunity to exploit the ways developers can present their data. But it also presented a significant challenge. The need for a common toolset, which can provide a platform to develop these mobile apps and an overall strategy. Q1 2012 IBM acquired Worklight to enhance their mobile arsenal. Worklight, offers an open platform that helps speed the delivery of existing and new mobile applications to multiple devices. Essentially it gives a great platform to develop all service level mobile applications.

I wont go in details of the product but here is a quick overview of IBM Worklight

Worklight and iPad
While working for our customers on the mobile app development using the Worklight, a colleague of mine (@VishSinha) had to create to have Split view layout for tablets specifically iPad. There are several ways to achieve it but the need was to create a unified User Experience that is seamless if accessed via non-tablet devices. So he decided to use jquery mobile Split view plugin for IBM Worklight, to achieve the split view look and feel for iPad version of app. Here is a quick approach to it.

Two Panel Split View Layout
To build a two-panel layout, called menu (left navigational links) and main (contents) panels for iPad, there are two divs inside the body tag of the main App.html page. Menu div panel is mainly responsible for handling all the navigation links on the left hand side and main div panel is mainly for rendering/loading the contents on the right side of the screen once user clicks on the left side navigational links.

Here is a preview of the Prolifics homepage of the iPad Split View:

The HTML code for the menu div panel looks like this:

The point being, everyone knows mobility is very important but it is almost imperative to use a platform for development of mobile devices that can scalable and can support multiple formats of mobile applications.


Niral Jhaveri is the VP of User Experience at Prolifics and has extensive expertise in the IBM Lotus, WebSphere and Rational family of products. He has played a key role at several strategic clients by providing technical leadership. Niral has an extensive background in the design and development of IBM WebSphere Portal, SOA and Web 2.0 applications with a proven track record of consulting and architecting solutions for several industry verticals like Finance, Retail, Insurance and Technology.