In the “early days” of computing (a few decades ago), updates to operating systems or applications arrived on disks.
IBM, for example had CSDs (Corrective Services Disks – marketing speak for bug fixes).
Recently we had CDs (round things with good aerodynamic properties) that could be used to install or reinstall software.
In our connected world our mobile devices can be updated at any time and anywhere.
A message will usually appear telling you an update to a certain app is available on your phone or tablet. You tap – Install/Accept and within the blink of an eye (depending on you broadband speed) you will have a nice new sparkling version of your favourite app available.
This app may have had security patches installed, bugs fixed and even new features added to make your life even easier.
New features are OK. Changing or removing features – that’s a different ball game.
Although we can all learn how to tap, pinch and swipe our mobile devices, the mobile UI of iOS and Android devices provides little help in finding or using features that have been added or changed.
Unlike desktop applications there are no common keyboard shortcuts or right-mouse click options to find out how to do something. As vendors still find their way around mobile devices it is common for changes to be made because “…we had feedback that…” or “…we noticed many users weren’t using that feature…”.
Sometimes if a feature is moved or removed there are other apps that can be used – some may be free, some may cost.
A less appealing outcome of updates and “feature enhancements” is removing a feature’s settings options, and then using a default that you find does not work the same way on all devices – specifically the device you own.
The particular pain of finding that an update has changed a feature that had been used for weeks, months or longer in a business process is not necessarily ours but our clients’.
When a client has 50 engineers on site and they have all had their tablets updated with a new version of an app and the feature they most need to complete a form for example has gone walk-about or been removed then the situation becomes serious to their business efficiencies.
So, before you update your apps (on mobile or desktop) check what features have been updated.
If possible do a test install on a device before rolling your business critical app out across the entire organisation and do a check that all works as expected. You may save yourself valuable time and money; and you will probably add years to your life by avoiding the stress!