Saturday, May 17, 2014

CLI is to Desktop as Desktop is to Mobile

Reliable Internet Troubleshooting Agent c. 1998
Command line interfaces are great for managing systems. The reason Sys Admins love command line interfaces is because they are simple, scriptable and accessible. Thanks to SSH, they did not have to be tied to a single machine - ever.

CLIs are mediocre for managing Data Centers.   A good UX that provides information on many systems visually is an selling point for even the most jaded of BOFHs. You'd never use your system CLI as the starting point in developing the Desktop app, would you?

Then why do you think a responsive browser interface is enough for mobile?  

A responsive web page is a proof of concept, not a design. Some things I've noticed lately.

  1. Use Case details matter. Your user is mobile for a reason. The experience of checking an alert over a pint is not the same as standing next to the CEO explaining why file & sync isn't working.    
  2. The experience changes when I rotator type. The available space is different.
  3. Hands are different. Zoom, swipe, & drag can be better than point & click.    
  4. Bandwidth! I want to use as little as possible to get what I need done. 
  5. Security. Most of the devices are BYOD. Build in the safeguards from day one. 
Break out of the box. Your customers already are. 

I'm certain there is a better set of rules out there... Comments & Pointers welcome! 

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