Twitter’s recent(ish) developer crushing announcement got me thinking. While a lot of independent developers might not like their new rules, Twitter does have the right idea in as much as they want to deliver a consistent experience across all platforms and devices. Shame there’s no sign of that in their own mobile & web apps just yet but that’s another conversation.
These days I’m an Android user, not by choice but I’m going to live with it for now. I used to have an iPhone and since switching I’ve (where possible) downloaded the same apps for my Android that I had on the iPhone, only to find that they are in every single case so far, completely different. Why are they not the same? Where is the consistency? Why should I have to learn how to use something all over again? I shouldn’t. The same app, even if offered on a different platform should offer the same user experience.
Cross platform is an afterthought
I suspect the reason for this lack of consistency is that going cross platform is an afterthought for most developers. A developer will make an app, say for iPhone and if successful will then go about creating an Android version or getting someone else to do it for them and so on. This leads to two (or more) completely different apps which share one commonality, their name.
Getting it right
Getting it right by creating a consistent experience across devices isn’t going to be easy because the development platforms and the physical limitations of Operating Systems and their associated SDKs vary so much but that shouldn’t make it impossible. Surely it’s just a case of sitting down and planning your app first with all options in mind. Think about how each feature or function would work and what you would have to do to achieve that same experience across all platforms.
Am I wrong?
I’m certainly not an expert in mobile app development so I’m happy to hear any comments from those that are and wish to put me right on this one. I’d also like to see some examples (if they exist) where there is complete consistency across devices.