Apps must disconnect to survive

Developers urge function over form

If your mobile application can’t work inside a lift, or crashes though train tunnels then you need to back to the drawing board, says one Windows Phone 7 developer.

Apps that rely on Internet connectivity are half-baked, according to Built to Roam director, Nick Randolph, and there are plenty of them.

He says users will be frustrated with applications that crash or lose data when connectivity breaks because they cannot synchronise changes both online and offline.

“One of my grizzles with apps is that they have to work offline. The majority of apps rely on [constant] connectivity and offer substainally-reduced functionality offline,” Randolph said.

“There is a lot more work in designing applications to run offline, and there is a lot more to building mobile applications than understanding (Microsoft) Silverlight.”

Randolph said business for application development has boomed in the lead up to the Windows Phone 7. He urged developers to put extra effort in building applications, and said they soud be designed to work across multiple platforms.

UX designer, Shane Morris, also an application developer, said many businesses fail in application and web development because they underestimate the importance of the user experience.

“It’s really easy to build an app that you like, but you are not a sample user. Get out there and understand who the user is and what their motivations are,” Morris said.

“Many businesses don’t think about what they want to achieve and jump straight into functionality design and getting the colours right, but the graphics come last.

"You need to communicate the experience, rather than just an exercise in decoration and visual design.”

He added developers should test early and often, and quipped that “red and green should not be seen without a colour in-between”.

Randolph also agreed with the necessity for ensuring application graphics didn't impede on the experience.

“If you start adding gratuitous graphics everywhere and insist on the bouncing ball in the corner, you will slow down your application.

"Mobiles are low-powered devices, and people won’t like you if you chew up their battery life."

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