Mobile First with Liferay Screens

Maarten van Heiningen over UX, Usability, UI en Design Thinking

Mobile First with Liferay Screens

Mobile has changed the world and will go on doing so for the foreseeable future. A stream of new mobile devices and operating systems is putting pressure on organisations to meet the high expectations of users, who expect a mobile digital experience that also matches their personal behaviour, history and profile. Keeping up is not enough now mobile has become the dominant communication platform. With Liferay Screens, organisations can give themselves a head start. And keep it.

Digital experienceOpen a site and view static content? This is not what modern users expect at all. Users are accustomed to literally being able to shape their digital world themselves. If they show interest in a subject, or their profile matches a particular group, then they expect content and functionality to be geared to this. Users count on the right access at the right moment, for example to relevant information, events and interesting downloads. In short: they want a personalised and consistent digital experience – on every device and in every application.

Native mobile app development toolThe Liferay Digital Experience Platform has been designed to achieve this digital experience. One component is the Liferay Screens mobile app development tool, which makes it possible to present functionality and data from the Liferay platform in a native mobile app. This means that we can directly make use of standard Liferay facilities, such as login or search, from an iOS app or an Android app. And that a form filled in and sent via the mobile app can also be found on the portal and vice versa.

Smartphone, laptop or PC – in this way, the content for all devices and applications is provided by the same Liferay platform. The result is the coherent and uniform user experience that today’s users demand.

Why native?Can we also create a digital experience of this sort by means of a responsive site, for example? The answer is: yes. But native development is the only way to optimally satisfy the requirements of app users. This is a question of speed, and also, primarily, of user-friendliness. A mobile site or HTML5 or hybrid app just has a different ‘feel’ than a native app.

Unlike a hybrid or HTML5 app, a native app also gives full access to all components of the device. Interaction with other apps on the device is possible as well.

On a responsive site, navigation can be a tricky issue. The most relevant information is not always presented primarily. Liferay Screens works with a single source and a single administrator, just as a responsive site does, but the presentation can be geared for 100% to the device and the wishes of the user.

How Liferay Screens worksLiferay Screens works with reusable components, screenlets, which use the Liferay content and web services for native mobile apps. Screenlets can be compared with the plug-ins of the Liferay platform; they contain the functionality necessary for, for example, a list or detailed display of content from the CMS. This functionality is formed by four elements: View, Theme, Connector and Mobile SDK. By combining screenlets, we can bring together different functionalities in one flow, for example displaying content and entering comments or ratings.

The theming is reusable, too, and also simple to modify. This makes the development of follow-up native mobile apps based on Liferay Screens considerably faster and easier.

With Liferay Screens, we can provide access to information both from the Liferay platform and from other enterprise systems, and combine this in the app. The tool is open source and fully compatible with Android Studio and X-code. Naturally, the connection with Liferay gives a development advantage to Liferay developers.

More advantages of Liferay Screens

  • Optimum security The authentication in the app matches that of the platform. So users who access the data provided from the Liferay environment are always known.
  • Liferay permission system is available. The roles and permissions are the same for app and website.
  • Extensive possibilities for branding The Liferay Screens app gives complete control of the interface and the device. This makes branding easy to implement, both internally and externally.
  • Content available offline Users can obtain access offline to the information they need in their work.
  • Out-of-the-box connection to the Liferay server.
  • Standardized apps architecture.

Componence gives organisations a head start Liferay Screens is an indispensable link in every mobile strategy based on Liferay. In combination with the standard functionalities of Liferay and suitable implementation of the platform, this tool makes it possible to provide a consistent inter-device user journey: from the desktop and the portal to the smartphone and the mobile app.

The strength of Liferay Screens is the reusability of components. Componence has already developed large numbers of these screenlets, with which we can completely eliminate the generally higher investment on native development. Our screenlets are at the service of organisations looking for a head start with native mobile apps that satisfy all the requirements and wishes of modern users.