Suitable Application Types for Mobile Phones

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You should also consider how and when the applications you build for a mobile phone will be used. In most cases, the user will be on the move, instead of sitting at a desk, and perhaps not in an ideal location for interacting with an application. Other factors, such as ambient lighting, noise, movement and vibration, and even interaction with other people, are common when using a mobile device.

Applications that are not likely to be successful on a mobile phone are those that have a complex interface, require multiple input steps to complete a task, or are unintuitive to use when adapted to a small screen. Users expect to be able to perform tasks quickly and without error in any environment, and they expect to be able to return to the application after interruptions, such as an incoming phone call.

The types of consumer-oriented applications that work well on mobile phones are entertainment applications such as games, music players, photo viewers and video players, and social interaction applications that perform tasks such as sending messages, updating status information, or posting photos to a website. For business or enterprise oriented applications, the following are common scenarios that lend themselves well to the phone form factor:

  • Messaging applications, such as email and SMS text messaging
  • Collaboration applications that allow users to access and modify documents from the phone
  • Meeting planners and calendaring applications
  • Task-oriented applications for activities such as booking facilities and travel planning, service and schedule notifications, completing expense forms, obtaining approvals, or simple data-entry tasks that can be accomplished using the limited UI offered by the phone platform
  • Specialized applications for specific industries, such as those used for viewing stock availability, for warehouse order picking, for placing sales orders, or for updating data in response to changing requirements
  • Mobile-oriented and location-aware applications, such as those used for satellite navigation, delivery confirmation, surveying, or tracking vehicle movements


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