Bring your own device (BYOD) and mobility have taken on a new spin in the defense sector. Instead of trying to manage your employees’ mobile devices and all available applications, defense agencies like the U.S. Army have embraced the development of their own mobile applications store. This is not meant to compete with Apple or Google Play; rather to streamline the use of apps in an efficient and secure manner.
The Connection Soldiers to Digital Applications initiative gives personnel access to tested and approved applications to be used Army-wide. Not only has the Army embraced mobile technology, but it also understands the benefits of giving the war fighter accessibility on the go through smart devices.
From developing new training approaches to learning anytime from anywhere to accessing critical information at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods, the Army’s new arsenal of apps is creating greater efficiencies across the organization.
We expect that other agencies will implement a similar model in developing customized apps for employee use. It gives the agency greater control over the information that users share. However, it also requires that agencies implement policies and best practices to ensure that personal smart devices with agency information on it are not at risk of being hacked. In addition, if a device is stolen or misplaced, sensitive information must be properly secured to ensure that the information cannot be accessed.
Many of our customers are starting to have conversations with us about this approach. As a result, we are constantly searching for new and more efficient ways to enable our customers to create their own App Stores. Many wonder if this approach is right for their organization. Before you go this route, here are a few things to consider:
Know your Audience
Understanding and knowing what your customer or end-user needs in terms of functionality is critical to rolling out any application. If the end-user is unhappy, or if it does not meet their requirements, then you could kiss that app goodbye. After an app gets a bad reputation, people won’t use it.
If your app is too large in size (typically over 20mb) then you would most likely need a Wi-Fi connection to download and install. The larger the application is in size, the more limited you are with your potential download audience.
It’s About the Look and Feel
Remember when you were told that looks don’t count? When it comes to applications, the look and feel is critical to satisfying the end-user’s wants and needs. The app should have that “pop” and look visually satisfying to ensure that the end-user engages and uses it often. For example, a typical IOS app background should be 640px X 960px. You would think it would be smaller, but that is not the case.
Update, Update, Update
Understand that your app will require regular updates. Listen to your audience and the feedback they provide. By optimizing the application in real-time and making critical adjustments along the way to improve your app, will go a long way in terms of usability.
Especially when it comes to the defense community, it is critical to test often and ensure that information is up-to-date. When a warfighter needs to use information through an app, they need to know immediately if that information is old or out-dated.
Make it Easy
Where the agency decides to place the most critical controls or information is a big deal to the warfighter in the field. Humans naturally gravitate toward the top of any page or document to look for the most critical information or controls. The same holds true with an app. Make it easy for our troops out there to configure any settings for apps with the controls toward the top of the screen.
Have any other questions about best practices in developing apps for your agency? Leave a comment below.
Apple > Army App Store > Bring your own device > BYOD > Connection Soldiers to Digital Applications > Google Play > Iron Bow > Iron Bow Technologies > mobile security > mobility > mobilizing warfighters > Ryan Sobel > U.S. Army