Nowadays the user experience could be the central defining characteristics that determine whether a product lives or dies. Regardless of how great the feature set may be, if the product doesn’t fit seamlessly into our daily routines then it will likely be replaced by one that does. We don’t want to think about technology – just reap its benefits.
Look at products like Nest, which is replacing antiquated dials with sleek thermostats connected to smartphone applications that are easily navigable and allow for real-time remote temperature adjustments in the home. Or Google Glass – though still a fairly nascent product that has a lot of kinks to work out, the concept itself is brilliant, removing the “hugely inconvenient need” for people to pull smartphones out of their pockets to check email, get news updates or take a photo and post it to Facebook. Connected cars are also becoming all the more prevalent, replacing physical switches and knobs with touchscreen interfaces that resemble the latest smartphone. All of these technological advancements are aiming to provide user experiences that complement – not disrupt – your current routine, and early adopters are intrigued by their possibilities.
This was the impetus behind our creating Parallels Access app for iPad. Before it was first conceived in 2010, our team at Parallels was using other remote access applications to work via mobile devices. We all had a common lament –while the ability to access our desktop applications on mobile devices was great, the user experiences of those applications seemed foreign and inefficient. Basically they were replicating the desktop experience on mobile, without taking into account the devices’ different form factors, touchscreen capabilities and gestures already ingrained within users’ minds (or fingertips) when working in a mobile environment. Beyond that, the experience on 3G connections and even on public WiFi networks was terrible - tapping on a button then waiting for that agonizing minute for the app to react. Switching between different networks was also far from optimal.
Below is one of the early concept drawings of how Parallels Access could deliver better user experiences. Next to it is a screen shot of this vision realized with the App Switcher, one of the many groundbreaking user experience features of Parallels Access that make it easy to be more productive on the go.
When designing Parallels Access the task was fairly straightforward (but very challenging at the same time) – design a product that focuses on user experience above all else. It was the exact same paradigm that we used when creating Parallels Desktop for Mac. For Parallels Desktop we focused on letting people use Windows apps while experiencing them as if they were made for a Mac (essentially blending two environments together – the best of both worlds). For Parallels Access it was much the same. We focused on giving users full-featured desktop apps on their tablets, but letting them experience those apps as if they were made for a tablet – again, the best of both worlds. Now our users can effectively and conveniently work on their iPads, while getting the necessary desktop features and apps.
But like any technology today, we need to constantly innovate – lest we go the way of the old-school thermostat. We are continually working on ways to improve the Parallels Access experience, so please feel free to let us know of any new or improved features you’d like to see in future versions. We’re all ears.
We’ll be posting more stories and facts on Parallels Access in the coming weeks. Subscribe to Parallels Access RSS to get the latest stories. In the meantime, download a FREE trial of the Parallels Access app for iPad and download a FREE trial of Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac so you can experience these critically acclaimed and award-winning products for yourself.