Mobile BI Design Framework: Introduction

Successful mobile business intelligence (BI) solutions demand a mobile mindset. When we design for mobile BI, we aren’t just building a report or a dashboard. We’re designing to deliver a superior mobile user experience each and every time. This means we need to consider all facets of user interactions and take a holistic approach when dealing with all aspects of the “mobile user life cycle”. This life cycle starts before installation and does not end after the mobile asset is downloaded and consumed.

In this new series, I will be covering many aspects of the “mobile BI design framework:” from installation to user interface (UI), from functionality to performance. But as anyone who designs professionally can tell you (whether interior designer, technology consultant, or product specialist), design is both art and science.

Actually building the end-product is the science part. How we go about it? That’s completely art. It requires both ingenuity and critical thinking, since not all components of design come with hard-and-fast rules that we can rely on.

You Can’t Design for Mobile Like You Do for a PC

In order to design an effective solution, we need to first get a sense of what mobile BI represents. Although your perception of mobile BI will be influenced primarily by your understanding of BI, there are fundamental differences between mobile design and traditional, PC-based BI design. Some of these changes may be obvious and others are more subtle.

Understanding these distinctions is critical and must come before we write a single line of code. So I’ll explore some of these contrasts in this series, and include examples to illustrate different design concepts for the benefit of both the layman and tech savvy.

Great Mobile Design Requires the Right Mindset

As designers, we must embrace a certain mobile design philosophy that will be unique to each of us and the environments we work in. This is important because that philosophy will be our guiding light when best practices alone may not be enough to help us navigate in uncharted waters.

To me, mobile design requires a mindset that embodies human ingenuity in order to generate excitement for new ideas that can lead to mobile solutions to address unmet needs. Therefore, I always argue that mobile BI must draw its strength from a desire to go beyond the basic capabilities of a mobile device to deliver actionable insight for faster, better-informed decisions.

In this context, I view mobile BI neither as a fad nor another project that we charge to a cost center. Instead I think of it as a critical driver for growth and profitability.

What excites you most about mobile BI design?


This story also appeared on the SAP Analytics Blog.