Development Platforms Define the User Experience
And that experience should be omnichannel
In the world of low code and no code there are a lot of acronyms with different meanings, especially in the Gartner Magic Quadrants. You’ve got mobile application development platforms (MADP), which is almost the same as mobile and web application development platforms (MWADP?). There is also a high-productivity application as a service.
Many of the same names are in these Magic Quadrants. That shouldn’t be a surprise, as the criteria for MADP vendors evaluated for this year’s report and the criteria for the previously released hpaPaaS report share some striking similarities. That’s because many of the tools used to develop enterprise applications are also useful for developing mobile and web apps, and vice versa.
Although I don’t believe Gartner is quite ready combine hpaPaaS and MADP into the same quadrant, the MADP report does make this statement: “Today, MADPs are still primarily used to address those diverse mobile app requirements, but they also increasingly support responsive web app development, conversational channels, wearables, and immersive devices (see "Technology Insight for Multiexperience Development Platforms).”
Are You Multiexperienced?
So, what is this multiexperience developer platform (MXDP) Gartner references, and how is it different from the acronym bingo we already have to describe the many ways we can develop user-centric applications? In a Gartner blog, Jason Wong describes MXDPs as app development platforms that are used to develop chat, voice, augmented reality, and wearable experiences, as well as mobile and web apps.
This is an interesting thought, but it is important to specify what “experience” means here. To do that I think we need to consider the difference between “multichannel” and “omnichannel” because these two words refer to a different kind of experience. And the way you use either of these kinds of experience is important to your business and the way you communicate with your customers.
Multichannel vs. Omnichannel
The term “experience” is a noun and a verb. As a noun, it means “practical contact with.” In the context of apps, that would be the app itself and its physical presence on different devices. As a verb, it means to “encounter.” In our vernacular, it is the sum total of the interaction; was it good; was it bad? Can you dance to it?
One uses “multichannel” when talking about interaction points as a thing. In other words: multichannel means the user has different ways to contact your company, maybe with different experiences.
With omnichannel, your user has a number of ways to contact you and has the same great experience everywhere. Interestingly, the term omnichannel is frequently misused to mean multichannel, but omnichannel actually refers to the experience on all channels, because when done correctly, the user experience remains high regardless of the medium.
Enter the Right Development Platform
This is where the development platform comes in. Just because a development platform can help simplify development across multiple experience channels, doesn’t mean that the development platform does a good job at creating the experience (verb form). And keep in mind: the feeling should be equally as important as the medium. If a web application is great and customers love a brand enough to download its app on their mobile device, then it should look and work as well on their mobile. After all, they’ve come to expect it to work from the web, so why not mobile? Multi-ply that across the brand’s chat, wearables, IoT, and channels, as well.
A Final Thought
Assuming you’re on board with this “experience as a verb” idea, here’s another thought.
If multichannel is a “thing you experience,” and omnichannel is a “way you experience things,” then it is certain that an application development platform optimized for a consistent experience across multiple channels should be an omni-experience development platform. That’s OXDP, yet another acronym!