It looks like apps are the new Web. And so the various divisions of AUVA (the Austrian Workers’ Compensation Board) developed more and more smartphone and tablet apps for various use cases. But there were no design specifications – unlike for print and internet applications, the wheel was reinvented with every app. From a user point of view, this is hardly ideal, because the various apps of the same company looked differently and had to be used differently. Not to mention the high development costs.
Clear guidelines. What sounds simple was a challenging process. Simply developing corporate design specifications wasn’t going to cut it because apps are such a young type of media. So we also had to define what is actually possible in the “mobile“ area and what the terminology is: What exactly is a Web app? What is a mobile app? What is a mobile version? What is a hybrid app? We had to find answers to these and other questions. Of course including reliable diagnostic systems, to find out which implementation form was the right one in each case - responsive, Web app, native app. And finally we had to establish general and specific CD specifications to make uniform and recognizable mobile applications within the group possible.
We planned the project thoroughly and then we implemented it, combining theory and practice. To get to the point: We combined consulting on the strategic use of technologies with graphic design for the CD specifications. We also took into consideration how to deal with apps that were developed parallel to this project.
Requirements Analysis and Stock-Taking
In several workshops, we sorted and analyzed the requirements for the “Mobile Style Guide” on the part of Marketing, IT and the target audience as well as the already developed apps.
Development of a Guideline for the Correct Use of Implementation Forms
Based on the analysis of currently developed AUVA apps and of external examples, we developed guidelines that will make decisions easier in the future: With which implementation forms can AUVA best reach its target audience? Which media type fits the application context? Should it be a “responsive design” website or an app? How can implementation costs be evaluated? Should a hybrid or a native app be used?
Definition of General and Specific CD Requirements
Based on the corporate design and the web design style guide, we defined the specifics of mobile applications and developed general CD specifications. Examples for this are the use of the logo, app icons and splash screens, font sizes, colors/weighting. To this we added design examples to ensure the transfer to practice. And we also took into consideration specific implementation forms: examples of this would be the use of native input elements and fonts of the corresponding operating systems.
Advising the App Development Team on the Use of the Mobile Style Guide
Life went on during our project: Apps were developed and launched. To avoid major deviations from the future guidelines, we were in close contact with the app development teams. In regular meetings, we collected requirements and defined specifications in the ongoing process. Of course, we were available when the teams had questions on the implementation of the “Mobile Style Guide”.
Corporate Design for Mobile Applications as Part of Integrated Group Communications
Mobile applications are used in a completely different way than conventional websites, and this has an impact on usability. Experts call this application context. But from a technical point of view there are also peculiarities. Web design style guides used by many companies for the CD-compliant development of websites are not sufficient for these specific requirements.
Surge of Innovations at AUVA
There are not yet many models for “mobile style guides”. Therefore we broke new ground and transformed this assignment into an innovative, exciting project. This resulted in a surge of innovations for AUVA in its handling of new media.
A Common Understanding within the Group
Now everyone knows what the deal is, because the same concepts are used all over the group, and there is a mutual understanding on the strategic use of mobile applications. This makes it a lot easier to reach the set goals.
Uniformity and Harmonious Integration
Mobile applications now fit seamlessly into AUVA’s overall line of communications.
If one cannot use what has already been achieved as a base, then every project needs lengthy enquiry and acceptance processes. With the binding specifications set down in the guidelines, the developers can start from a much higher level. This saves time (and therefore money) and thus increases productivity.