Your Application Is Already Mobile

May 25, 2019

A while back, we were planning some mobile app development with one of our clients for several months. We would essentially be porting two web applications to native mobile apps. We discussed what functionality is useful to people in the mobile setting, security, what device and network to use, etc. Exciting stuff, and a scenario many people are involved in right now.

Along the way, we had a critical and (in hindsight, obvious) revelation: these apps are already out there. The applications you have in production are already available to mobile device users, and likely being used in that way. Tablet web browsers are nearly on par with desktop browsers. VPN from a device is easy. Fast wireless coverage is nearly ubiquitous. Two factor authentication often starts with mobile devices, so this is no barrier. Even desktop apps can be accessed by a plethora of remote desktop technologies.

This turns the whole topic on its ear. Your app is already out there. Does it look the way you want? Is it accessible in physical locations that are security hazards? Is it frustrating users in new and terrible ways when they access it on their iPad or Galaxy Tab?

The news isn’t all bad – this is opportunity. In some cases, we may not need mobile apps at all, just some refinement of existing systems. Most importantly, we don’t have to build mobile apps to start learning what we can do with mobile. It’s time to re-evaluate your portfolio of unintentionally mobile applications!