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insight Encyclopedia

Mobile BI

Mobile BI refers to the recent trend of business users accessing their data and dashboards on mobile and tablet devices. This change is forcing designers to re-evaluate the user experience (UX) and replicate the same relevant content usually seen solely on desktop devices on mobile.

It’s important to know the differences in desktop and mobile application development. Since the mobile market is constantly changing in terms of devices, operating systems, and support for different types of content, the QA process can be tedious and time-consuming. Developing mobile BI apps that comply with web standards like XML and HTML5 and work across multiple user platforms can make or break a product.

You’ll also want to utilize user interface elements like responsive design so visualizations look great regardless of mobile device, as well as functionality native to those devices – like clicking on an address to search for the location in Google Maps, or clicking on a phone number to start dialing. Even the inputs need to be mobile-friendly so users can easily access, type, and make changes to visualizations on a smaller screen.

Finally, it’s important to differentiate the goals of your desktop applications versus your mobile applications. If the desktop application is meant to show summary reports with tons of drill-downs for manager types, while the mobile application is meant to enable workers in the field to create orders and fire off automated emails and alerts, then the functionality as well as look and feel will be very different.

Look for a BI tool that supports both types of applications so you can reuse as much content as possible without sacrificing functionality or ease of use. With the right features, mobile UX can be fast, agile, and simple. Features like responsive design, scrolling, and “swipe” will surely propel this trend forward for the next several years.