Responsive Design is the backbone of next-generation mobile BI. Responsively designed BI apps enable you to deploy one application to all devices – one design that adjusts to any screen size, keeping development simple and maintenance efforts low. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when designing responsive content for a mobile interface.
1. Use tiles or panels
Design content in a series of modular tiles or panels. The tiles can then form a grid layout, which makes it easy for users to scan the app for relevant content.
2. Think symmetry
When designing tiles, make them symmetrical in terms of height and width. In so doing, you’ll be able to rearrange content easily and even re-use it between multiple BI apps.
3. Shrink your work
Not every piece of content visible on a large screen needs to be present on a smaller tablet or smartphone screen. Pick out the most relevant content for a mobile audience and hide unnecessary features that only make sense on a desktop app.
4. Shrink images
Remember that smaller devices such as smartphones have limited bandwidth, so stick to images that can be resized proportionately and downsized to a lower resolution to save space.
In the wake of the BYOD movement, organizations are challenged to support multiple devices for accessing business information while providing the best mobile experience for end users. Seamless mobility is now an expectation for many knowledge workers who rely on smartphones and tablets to do their work. With arcplan 8, our latest release, we offer unparalleled flexibility for mobile business intelligence deployments for developers and users alike. arcplan 8 was designed with the principles of Responsive Design in mind. Developers can use our HTML5 client to build state-of-the-art BI applications that only need to be designed once, yet can be deployed on any mobile device. Let’s examine the 5 principles of Responsive Design – design principles that are simple and effective, and can be used as a guideline for developers to create responsive mobile BI applications:
1. Design with mobile in mind.
Designing with mobility in mind leads to a better user experience across all devices and platforms. When designing a BI dashboard application, think of the charts as modular tiles. These tiles will need to be rearranged depending on the device’s screen size and orientation, so it helps if they are designed with similar widths and heights. Desktop monitors and tablets in landscape orientation can accommodate all the tiles arranged in two rows, but smartphones and tablets in portrait mode will be better served by tiles stacked on top of each other so the charts are large enough to be understood without too much zooming.
2. Start with the smallest device first.
In honor of arcplan 8‘s official release today, let’s talk about Responsive Design and its importance for business intelligence and planning applications. The latest version of arcplan’s platform is focused on mobile BI with a new HTML client that supports Responsive Design, which enables arcplan applications to automatically adapt their layouts to appear optimized on the end user’s device.
Responsive Design is something you’ve probably heard about when it comes to websites, but it’s just as important to application design – especially as organizations are challenged to support multiple devices and provide the best user experience possible on each of them. Responsive applications, like BI dashboards, rearrange their layouts and navigation to fit properly on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. It’s not automatic; there’s no algorithm in the background figuring out the best layout. That is done by the application designer ahead of time. With arcplan, we have implemented “Views,” which define the breakpoints for each type of device. The designer then rearranges the application elements (charts, tables, filters, etc.) for each View. It’s quick, simple, and even better, all of the layouts are contained within one application. Changes made to an object are filtered down to each View/layout. There are no separate applications to maintain for each device. Just one total, no matter how many Views are defined.
So now that I’ve established how cool Responsive Design for BI is, let’s get into why it’s essential now.