Why the Future of App Design Relies on Multi-Device Experiences

Why the Future of App Design Relies on Multi-Device Experiences

If information is a key driver to success, then accessing said information should be held in extremely high regard. For many of us, connecting with relevant information has become as easy as jumping online, however, the vehicles through which we access data has grown over the years. 

With the ubiquity of smartphones, tablets and personal computers, users have a variety of avenues through which to reach their desired destination. This diversification of devices and the changing ways we access them is likely to continue, especially as voice UIs continue to go from strength to strength.

Because of this, app designers need to ensure that their products are taking a multi-device approach. Yet, how do we ensure that our development teams are taking this into account? 

The Three Cs Framework

In Michael Levin’s seminal work Designing the Multi-Device Experience, the senior UX designer describes an extremely useful framework for working towards a multi-device experience known as the ‘three Cs’. These, Levin notes, are the three essential elements to creating a quality experience across a range of devices.

Consistency

When it comes to brand image, consistency is vital, however, it also an essential component in user experience, especially across multiple platforms. While you will inevitably have to make changes to cater to specific devices, having a set of core elements that span every platform promotes consistency.

Continuity

In order to create a well-designed user experience that promotes a seamless approach, continuity is key. With this in mind, it’s essential to plan and design the entire customer journey, creating a continuous path from start to finish. Every interaction with your product is an interaction with the brand so it’s essential to ensure a comfortable user experience. 

Complementary

Connectivity is a huge driver in multi-device applications, which is why it’s so important that developers shift their thinking towards a product where platforms complement each other. For example, fitness trackers need to be able to collaborate with a phone in order to offer the user data sets. 

Consider the user 

Never forget that, whatever the end goal is, the user needs to be at the heart of design. Multi-device users aren’t looking to bend over backwards to figure out how your application works, instead, they’re expecting you to meet them in the middle with an intuitive and easy to use application. 

With this in mind, spend time empathising with the average user and understanding the context in which each device you’re designing for is being used on a daily basis. Chris Risdon of Getaround suggests creating ‘empathy maps’ which highlight how different devices are used at different times. Collating these maps will inevitably bring up patterns which can help you to create a unified experience.