How to transition from a desktop product to mobile? (Infographic)


Article updated 11/112020

Should I move my business to mobile? You already know our answer, but the question is, how to transition from a desktop product to a mobile application. In terms of user expectations and usability, a mobile app is a different product altogether. Because we make a point of accompanying you every step of the way, here are a few elements to have in mind when looking to make this oh so important switch.

Restructuring / rethinking

Your finished product for the desktop internet might be flawless but, switching to mobile is likely to involve some restructuring. This is precisely why a mobile application is entirely different from an adaptative website. A mobile application if you prefer, is one step further. Think of it as an entirely new product. 

A mobile product should be more than a mere declination of the desktop version of your product. When creating your mobile app you really should think mobile-first and foremost. Some businesses are even going mobile before they launch anywhere else, even in the physical world. This gives you an idea of how powerful mobile is nowadays, in case you needed a reminder ;)

So, what are the specifics of creating a mobile product? It starts with screen sizes, which, whether you like it or not, are going to dictate your every decision. You might have to reorganize content and features. Design is key when it comes to rethinking your product for mobile: a storyboard can come in handy to define usability. Also bear in mind the mobile gestures you wish to implement. Whether you want to enable portrait and landscape mode (both or one or the other). Finally, remember that you are building a product for different OS, devices requirements, and finally the app stores requirements (more on that below). 

Pleading our own cause here, but this is actually where an app builder can be a great asset as it generally covers most of those specifics!

Catching up

This might sound obvious, but, in order to create a successful up to date mobile product, you should be using your device often yourself. This is the best way to keep up to date with new trends and to understand people’s expectations when it comes to mobile. Download new apps, give them a test run, watch new developments. To stay at the top of your game you need to try and be one step ahead of your users’ expectations. You need to be all in. One could go as far as saying that you need to "believe" in mobile, this will impact the story you are telling and ultimately reach out to your audience in incomparable ways.

Updates are also inseparable from the mobile experience. For your app to stay on top, you need to incorporate new mobile gestures as they surface, integrate new features, shake up your design from time to time. You need to constantly find ways to put your app on the map, in the stores for one thing, but also in your users' phones. Because once your app has been downloaded, the race isn’t over. You need to find solutions to retain them .

Timing is everything

If you already have a desktop product, chances are you’ve gotten used to the rather instantaneous nature of the desktop web. Sure, making changes to a website can be a time-consuming endeavor, but once you’re good to go, you have the say on when you publish it. 

For a mobile application, you have to go through the grueling submission process to the stores. A process that you will have to comply with for updates over time as well. This is a factor that you must take into account when scheduling the launch of your mobile product, especially with the App Store and its rather extensive set of rules to avoid rejections . To avoid delays make sure that your app complies with the store's requirements. All in all, it is an imponderable, sometimes unpleasant business, but the view at the top is worth the effort!

Mobile isn’t something that businesses nowadays can afford to do without. As Benedict Evans puts it: "Mobile is eating the world". So it’s time you cut yourself a piece of the cake ;)
Want to learn more about what goes into creating an app? Check our article on how to make an app in 7 easy steps.

Original article 12/21/2015