The user experience for navigating large amounts of data still really sucks in most enterprise apps today. The hierarchical list of categories, sub categories and sub-sub categories should have been left on those complicated web screens where we had the screen space and user patience to finagle with them.
Going mobile means changing the way people interact with their information. The whole ‘intuitive interface’ means the user expects to touch and interact with the data, not just flip between screens to narrow in on what they’re looking for. Yes, having a search field for combing through that data is helpful but it doesn’t solve the problem.
This sort of information architecture is a new concept for most designers — we have to take what has historically been lots of text and somehow make it visual and tactile. One of the big challenges with apps is the need to navigate large amounts of information quickly and then take action, without scrolling through screen after screen of details.
This information architecture problem has been around since the advent of touch based interfaces. What makes the iPhone so intuitive is the ability to touch something and directly interact with it. Up until now that has typically meant touching an entry to jump to another screen for more details and then navigate further to take action. 3D Touch will change how we interact with information to make it even more touch centric and intuitive.
Now, users will be able to touch information and rather than lifting their finger, the user can press with different amounts of pressure to move into the information they are touching. If they press a little, they see a preview. Press harder and they jump to a more detailed view. They are still directly engaged with their point of interest. This can also quickly pop up an overview of the item in question and then use a quick gesture to take action immediately. This can take something that previously was 3 taps and make it 1 press and swipe instead.
For example, in a CRM app, I may be looking at a list of customers. By pressing firmly on one of the customers their information can pop up directly on screen. If I’m done, I just release and it goes away. If I want to take immediate action, like calling the customer, a simple swipe to the left or right can initiate that phone call when their detail is present on the screen.
Adding the element of pressing into a point of interest is going to allow designers and developers to create even more engaging and intuitive apps for the enterprise.