Bench Mobile is about providing the opportunity for people to be unconstrained from sitting at a desk. A mobile app allows them to reduce the process of visiting Bench's website, logging in, reading a message, and responding to a task. Now wherever they are, they can ask questions, respond to messages, and help bookkeepers complete their books.
In mid-2016 we started to develop a mobile app. Without knowing exactly how Bench should exist on a mobile device, we built a significantly trimmed down version of our web experience and watched how beta users were interacting with it. Over time we refined the experience and built new features after learning from our research. In early 2017 we launched to our existing clients, and are soon to publically release our app.
I was the lead designer on this project
It was an interesting opportunity to bring messaging to a mobile device, now from wherever someone is, a client can messaging about their small business's financials.
While working on our messaging system for our web app, I also worked on building the messaging system to be responsive for mobile. Having this approach it was fairly easy to transition our messaging structure onto a mobile device. That same process applied for our categorization UI (Learn more here). minor UI adjustments were made to maintain a consistent experience across all our platforms.
What information, and how it should be represented on mobile was a challenge. We wanted the experience to be as simple as possible, and be a complimentary tool to our web app when someone was away from their computer. After exploring usage in a beta program, we slowly started to introduce additional functionality, with the goal of designing for how people are actually using a mobile app when they're interacting with Bench.
While we continually expand our feature set, we need to have a system that will allow us to build additional pages and features without having to change the design of the app with every new release. We decided to create a modular page that would allow us to include new features, monitor their usage, and then when justified integrate them more deeply into the UI.
The greatest design challenge of mobile was to create a system that allowed for the continual expansion of new potentially unknown features while maintaining consistency across the app. We built out a strong framework that will evolve as mobile develops a stronger identity within our ecosystem.