Mar 19

Mobile Enterprise Errors (Unintended) #4 and #5: design clever/implementation stupid

The following Mobile Enterprise Errors (Unintended) come from the advertising and retail sectors, courtesy of Velti. They are remarkable more for the lack of follow-through and proofing of mobility apps than anything else.  They demonstrate that even the most savvy of marketing organizations can ‘get it wrong’ when it comes to mobile, with a negative price.

In the first of these advertising/retail Mobile Enterprise Errors (Unintended) a major camera manufacturer commissioned an app for smartphones and tablets to communicate how elegant and special its products were.  The developers produced the desired slick app which was readily made available to possible customers. The problem was that the app referenced other informational material located on the manufacturer’s web site — and that required the user to have Flash.  Thus a user with an iPhone or iPad, which are not able run Flash, would interact with the app on the smart device, select an option that went to the web site for the additional information — and produce an error message (plus the request to upgrade to the latest version of Flash which is impossible).  In a moment all the good achieved with that app was destroyed, for there was no way forward.

The second example is, possibly, even more annoying — but occurs all too often.  Imagine a retailer creating an app which a user downloads.  The user may interact with the app (which connects to a back-end server or the Internet) at an airport before boarding the plane .  When on the plane, now disconnected, the user finds that the app cannot be killed: it remains on the screen and will not go away.  Even restarting the device may not remove the app screen, thus preventing or inhibiting the user from working with other apps.  (This is doubly annoying if it is an ad, which is most often when this occurs.)

What is common about both of these examples is that building an app for mobile devices has not been thought through and tested throughout all mobile scenarios (like boarding a plane, entering a building with connectivity, etc.).  Whether marketeers or advertisers or IT, the effectiveness of ‘good apps or ads’ is easily ruined, producing instead a negative effect rather than the desired positive one that all  desired.


[NB.  If you know of or come across other such unintended business idiocies ‘introduced by mobile technologies’, please feel able to email me at or DM me at @charlesbrett on Twitter. ]

Previous Mobile Enterprise Errors (Unintended):




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