This time you are the guest

This time you are the guest on their mobile devices
Photo by Kevin Dooley

A little topic came up during a client meeting this morning and I’d like to share it here. Until now when we developed for the web, users have been our guests. When you have guests over, you try to make them as comfortable as possible. They are also expected to respect your way of life, diet, how you arrange your furniture, how you recycle your trash, and how you like to dress up. Likewise your business websites and web apps follow your philosophy of branding and usability while you do the best to accommodate your users and do everything you can to make them welcomed and appreciated. After all they are giving you their money and some love.

Desktop and mobile space however belong to your users. When you build an app and they install it, you are the guest and they are the host. That means you need to respect their space and expectations or else you will be … umm … uninstalled!

So respect their environment by not trying to be intrusive. Always ask for permissions before you access any of the local resources such as microphone, camera, geolocation data, list of contacts, or photos. Always respect their privacy. Also don’t go against the usability conventions of the native operating system, whether it be iOS or Android. People are fond of their platform of choice and often quite loyal to it. If you try to change the usability conventions and metaphors, then you are being disrespectful to your hosts. Both iOS and Android have published usability guidelines that you can follow. Also if you are in favour of a particular platform, don’t try to introduce the conventions of one platform to another. Not everyone has to be an iOS or Android fan. People are diverse and there is room for everybody in the mobile space.

Be a respectful guest, look your best, and have something great to offer. That way you are more likely to be invited to your customers’ parties or on their mobile devices at least.