Why it’s bye-bye fat apps, hello skinny

Date: 12 Nov 2019

Author: Gabriella Barbara

I’d like $10 for every time I get asked if Jemini has an app. As if it wouldn’t.

And I’d also like $10 every time someone asks us for a long and comprehensive list of app functions that, in reality, they’ll never use. After years in the HCM software game, I’m going to put it out there that in reality less than 5% of customers use all of the features available to them.

Which begs the question, why do we bother building feature-fat apps?

Well, we don’t. While it may feel like we’re all glued to our smartphones and use them to do everything, not many of us actually do. Why? Well, the screen is too small, the content too complex, and the chance of you needing access to every single feature, every hour of the day, is remote. And not all of us are blessed with dexterous fingers and keen eyesight, or even great technical ability. In the end, nice-to-have is not the same as need-to-have.  


Kissing overblown mobile functionality adieu

Now don’t get me wrong. I strongly agree that mobility has its place.

But equally, I disagree that an app needs to fully replicate a desktop or a tablet by providing overcooked functionality that’s never used.

When we designed the app for Jemini we didn’t just guess at what people genuinely needed. We took a good look at what people want to do on the go because it’s easy, convenient and useful.

Talking about holidays with mates? Check out how much leave you have and book some time off. Out on the road and feeling unwell? Log some sick leave and head home. Worried you’ve forgotten some KPI reviews? Request a task list.

What we don’t expect users to do though, is to try to restructure a 400-person roster on their phone, evaluate complex business goals or scan long lists of transactions. Life’s too short to think you’re going to do a good job on a phone.


Designing functionality that’s fit for purpose

Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time and money developing full mobility for some of our HR and payroll solutions (hey, this is not new territory to us). And frankly, the user uptake has been dismal.

So, it’s made us challenge market expectations and decide to not build a pile of functionality that looks good on paper, but never gets used on screen. Instead, we’ve deliberately developed three specific levels of Jemini functionality; desktop, tablet and mobile.

When the available browser area is larger than 1440 x 865px (a tethered desktop device), we deliver the ‘Full Jemini’ (FJ) experience. This includes navigation nodes, full drag/drop, complex tables and others. FJ is the most complete Jemini experience to manage complex data.

When the browser area is smaller than 1440 x 865 but bigger than 1080px landscape (think laptop, large tablet), we deliver the Simplified Jemini (SJ) experience. SJ removes nodes, complex tables and other elements that cannot fit the screen and replaces them with streamlined versions.

And lastly, we have the Essential Jemini (EJ) experience for when the available browser area is less than 1080px landscape, i.e. smartphones. EJ delivers the need-to-have-and-will-use Jemini experience including viewing payslips, personal profile, contact details and the ability to view and apply for leave. Based on your role, you can also access a list of employees and their contact details, payslips and pay summary including occupancy, tax, KiwiSaver and bank metadata, team leave (approval) and aspirations, performance and upskilling dashboards, pay cycles, and view org and position charts.

And what’s more important still, EJ comes with Phil, our AI bot, to help you with basic tasks and data input, and act as your advisor and counsellor for basic processes. (Check out my last blog if you’d like to learn more about Phil).


Why and how does Phil enhance mobility?

Well, Phil uses voice commands (think ‘hey Siri/Google’) to simplify interactions and reduce the amount of data that the app needs to manage. You can ask him to book your leave for you, and even populate your leave application form. Or you can ask Phil how many staff resigned over the last month and ask for a list of the positions/roster gaps you need emailed to your inbox.

And of course, if you’re sight or speech impaired, Phil has the potential to be even more helpful. Over time, Phil will fully democratise every user’s access to their HR and Payroll information.

While we may add in a few more features as time goes by, it won’t be on a whim or because a customer’s RFP (request for proposal) demands it. It will be based on research, real feedback and from further development of the personas that are at the heart of Jemini.


Go skinny!

With lean and mean 5G connectivity arriving soon, smartphone performance and speed will be even better. Especially if you’re not running an overweight app.

Not trying to app-shame anyone here, but we’re championing skinny!

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