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Design Debate of the Day

MARTIN COOPER – Inventor of the Mobile Phone
Originally uploaded by Mark Berry – Photographer & Graphic Designer

Over the past several years, mobile computing has exploded on palm sized devices. The most obvious of these is the iPhone, but numerous other providers (HTC, Motorola, etc) are hot on the trail as Google and Microsoft also provide app stores. For individual developers, the choice of platform is usually a personal decision and one that is clear cut. For the enterprise developer, this choice is usually dictated by external factors as well as management.

In sizing the requests for next year’s initiatives, there was a separate project request to enable mobile access to some core resources on our intranet. Mind you, there are some heavy initiatives that will be changing the information architecture of the site, as well as potentially the content management system. When you are making those kinds of changes, it would be nice to design in mobility from the start.

My dilemma is this – it is more expensive to design in mobility considerations than to ignore them completely. Produce too high of a price tag and the project won’t make it past the budget review (or will get slashed in the process). With the separate mobility project, I have to make assumptions about the current state of the platform – so I have to pretend that I didn’t size in mobility considerations into the other request.

Whatever the case, I will have to design for mobility regardless on whether that particular feature gets funded. That’s just the right way to do it in my mind. You can only go into Best Buy and look at those fancy High Definition television sets for so long until you bring it into your house. And if you aren’t set up with the baseline infrastructure to support it (HD programming, HDMI cables, mounting hardware, etc) it will end up costing you considerably more than the price tag on the TV indicated.

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