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As probably many of you, I use to experience limited capabilities in mobile apps. Until we talk about small websites and services, I got that probably they have to set some kind of cap where the most important indicators are the price of the software development, and the cost of the software maintenance. I imagine how User Experience is kept back in such cases. But when it comes to huge enterprises, I'll mention two web/mobile apps as examples, I can't believe that they can't afford to handle all functionalities of their services on mobiles too.

Ex. #1 Paypal. With their mobile site/apps you can't handle controversies, you must log onto the website with a minimum requirement of 960px wide screen in order to surf the complete website and use all of its functions.

Ex. #2 Eurobet. If you try to log into the website through mobile or use their iOS app, you will not see a lot of per-event bets. Let's say that for a match from the most popular football (US based please read: soccer) leagues such as Spain, England, Germany and Italy, you will have 50 betting options on the mobile app and 150 on the desktop website.

Now, until we talk about a small site running a Fantasy Football League for 1000 customers and earns €30000 an year, I won't expect they work on the mobile versions of site and apps in order for the customers to have full ease of use in mobility too. But the two examples I mentioned have both almost no limits of expense, I think, as they are both global money services with huge enterprises behind them.

So why would they choose that while in vacation I should struggle to get access to a PC to make my businesses as I'd like while at home? I am curious about what's the decisions leading to this type of choices, because as from my user point of view they make no sense for me.

I am sure some professionals in here, maybe customer relationships manager, maybe customer experience designer, might help me to solve this arcane.

Edit #1: Stackexchange has similar limitations too. I don't know on Android, but on iOS you can't handle reviews, badges, and probably something more that right now I don't quite remember.

  • In larger companies like Paypal, it can take more than one team to implement functionality for a certain feature for the end user, since the feature that the mobile app team is implementing relies on the team that created that feature to implement the required functionality for the mobile app to interact with it. – MoonRunestar Sep 18 '17 at 10:44
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    Although they have "almost no limits of expense", they have to make the choice to allocate that expense to the development of their site/app. The people responsible for allocating expenses are often people who only look at the bottom line and not at UX principles. With a large company like those there are often dozens/hundreds of projects going on, the ones that will not increase the bottom line get pushed to the back burner. – DasBeasto Sep 18 '17 at 14:24
  • @DasBeasto just for clarification you mean the total earnings of the company right? :( – Marco Sep 18 '17 at 14:26
  • @Marco That'll depend on the site and the business but at a broad perspective yes the earnings of the entire company are disseminated by the stakeholders in whichever means they see fit, often the most profitable. So even if all of the money is coming in through the website/app they may funnel it all back into marketing instead of further app/site development. – DasBeasto Sep 18 '17 at 15:03
  • TY for your contribution. I think that's as sad as it is true. – Marco Sep 18 '17 at 15:04
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I'm not sure this is due to UX limitations, more product management and general commercial reality.

Mobile apps are relatively hard and expensive - "relatively" at least in terms of comparison to websites. It's generally been established by now that native apps deliver the highest user satisfaction when built well, but they are particularly hard and expensive. Cross-platform tools and hybrid approaches help, but fundamentally native apps require different and more expensive skillsets, typically include at least some degree of code duplication across platforms, and means working with a more complex and fragmented runtime environment compared to browsers (which tend to conform more closely to well-defined standards).

Given that most companies MUST provide a full-featured web interface, and the mobile app is an optional extra used occasionally by some users who will probably still use the website anyway (i.e. they can't eliminate the website), it is quite difficult to deliver positive ROI with a mobile app. Many companies are still experimenting, trying to understand their particular situation as it relates to ROI on mobile, and then will invest further in those areas that are proven to be of value. Until then, they deliver only a subset of features to minimise cost.

Typically, the features that are provided in a mobile app are the features that deliver the most value to the users, the company or a mix of the two - probably judged by analytics and/or valuation model that is applied to their mobile efforts.

  • Of course I figure out that PayPal won't improve its ROI because of their mobile app's features, because people will make heir payments anyway. Not sure this applies to Eurobet, though. Anyway, reading your answer I understand that mobile development and maintenance is so expensive that is expensive even for such big realities, right? – Marco Sep 26 '17 at 13:31
  • I decided to post on UX because that's exactly what happened to me: -sold an item and received Paypal's mobile app notification. -logged into the app, and I didn't see the money. -looked into my mailbox, and saw that the buyer did open a controversy. -logged into PayPal desktop website and saw that there was a question mark on the transaction, and thus the money were frozen. -logged back in in the mobile app and found 0€ and no traces of the transaction. -on the desktop website I fixed the controversy. -on the mobile app the transaction and the money reappeared. Here my bad UX was. – Marco Sep 26 '17 at 13:38
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    Every company, no matter how big, has a certain amount of resources and multiple priorities competing for those resources. Paypal must have a huge infrastructure and a huge codebase to maintain, so lots of competing projects. – Nigel Flack Sep 26 '17 at 13:53
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  • Lack of foresight
  • Lack of technical knowledge on how to design and build responsive interface
  • Plain laziness, as it is not technically "broken", there is little incentive to fix it.
  • Those interested in creating a quality experience on a mobile device have a tendency to develop apps, which gives them more control over things like notifications, location, etc.

There are no technical reasons whatsoever in 2017 that justifies not being able to create a responsive quality mobile interface for any website (amazon, ebay, stackoverflow, etc).

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    This feels more like an opinion rather than an answer. – Shreyas Tripathy Sep 20 '17 at 4:26
  • @ShreyasTripathy Aren't opinions acceptable answers to questions? I can't see any factual / peer reviewed study showing causality that could answer that sort of question. – U0001 Sep 21 '17 at 22:33
  • You should probably read the Help Center article on answering questions. This isn't a forum so pure opinions aren't considered as viable answers. If you can't back-up your points with references or studies or actual facts then it should be posted as a comment rather than an answer – Shreyas Tripathy Sep 22 '17 at 4:49

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