As digital reach expanded beyond the desktop and mobile adoption grew astronomically over the last decade, we’ve seen brands invest more in optimizing mobile experiences by adjusting their website design, releasing downloadable applications and optimizing streaming video.
Developer teams needed to build mobile applications more efficiently so they could perform on many devices and run with different operating systems rather than developing a new one-off app to suit each unique scenario. Enterprise companies began investing in mobile application development platforms (MADPs), which enable developers to create a mobile app in the backend and automatically customize the user experience across multiple interfaces regardless of device type. Many once believed we were headed toward a mobile-first (or even mobile-only) future, but in reality, the world took off in many more directions.
From Mobile-First to Multiexperience
We’ve seen the standards of customer experiences stretch far beyond mobile and desktop screens with the rise of new technologies like voice assistants, augmented reality devices and wearables. This meant our development platforms needed to expand as well. Customers have grown more accustomed to the convenient, user-friendly experiences they receive from brands like Amazon or Netflix. They’ve come to expect all brands to recognize how, when and where they prefer to engage across multiple channels, devices and means of communication.
Multiexperience depends on building an immersive landscape for customers where the technology itself basically becomes invisible or irrelevant. The aim is that whether a customer sends in a help request via an email to your support team, files a ticket on their smartphone or asks a question to their voice assistant, they are met with the best answer. Businesses need to execute a seamless multiexperience strategy that is customized to the intent of the individual. However, more devices and channels gaining traction each day makes it more challenging to get multiexperience right.
This often creates issues for global enterprise brands that have multiple, siloed teams of developers creating apps for specific channels or interfaces. Not only does this system waste IT time and resources, but it can cause the user experience of each app to have an inconsistent look and feel across its content. Rather than recreate each process over and over, brands need to leverage a centralized platform where experiences can be created once and replicated across any channel, including those that are yet to come. This proliferation of digital channels and interfaces means that more brands are now turning toward a multiexperience development platform (MXDP).
What is an MXDP?
In 2019, Gartner introduced its first Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platforms (MXDPs). MXDPs provide developers with a central system to build and scale application development across a wide range of devices and channels. Both MADPs and MXDPs leverage a front-end framework and a server that communicates data and content to the front end through several integrations with other data sources and APIs.
Leading MXDPs provide developers with a selection of front-end development tools, low-code capabilities and common development languages intended to increase productivity and simplify the DevOps workflow. MXDPs typically leverage reusable back-end services to support and scale their ability to integrate with different data sources more efficiently. Common capabilities included in many of today’s well-known MXDPs include:
- Integrated tools to build and deploy architecture for voice, chatbots and wearable devices
- Software development kits (SDKs) for both native and third-party app development
- Capabilities to create progressive web apps (PWAs)
The aim of the MXDP is to simplify the application development workflow for DevOps teams through reusable front-end tool sets and components. Through a series of connectors and integrations, these development platforms work by deploying multiple applications simultaneously to all available customer interfaces from mobile to smartwatches and, most recently, to augmented reality and virtual reality environments.
The Difference Between MXDP and DXP
Just as mobile development matured into multiexperience development, digital acceleration also led to the rise of digital experience platforms (DXPs), which offer more holistic functionalities to create meaningful connections with customers beyond traditional web content management solutions. Both DXPs and MXDPs have the same ultimate goal of delivering the best user experience. However, an MXDP focuses on the actual build of the touch point, the front-end user interface. On the other hand, a DXP goes beyond just that presentation layer and provides capabilities to manage and orchestrate data and content that will feed the applications.
An MXDP needs to connect with other systems to receive actionable data that can inform how each experience is conveyed to the end user. It can achieve this through integration with third-party data vendors or by leveraging a platform like a DXP with centralized customer data management that communicates data throughout all of the different user interfaces.
Put more simply, an MXDP primarily addresses the activation need, giving brands the ability to deliver experiences across more modalities and locations. However, a DXP leverages data and content to ensure that the digital experience that is being delivered is relevant to the end user. The experience can be as slick as it gets, but if the information provided is not relevant to the user, the experience is poor.
An Open DXP: Multiexperience Informed by Customer Understanding
A DXP with a robust developer cloud and front-end site building framework can provide the same advantages of an MXDP when it comes to multiexperience development. Low-code site building solutions, like Acquia Site Studio, empower developers to build and deploy applications rapidly through a design-system approach that offers one common set of reusable code and components that can be shared across hundreds or even thousands of applications. Drupal lets developers embrace a composable content strategy so that content can be shareable and reusable across any digital channel.
On the other hand, if an organization is already leveraging an MXDP for their application development needs, an Open DXP gives organizations the freedom to integrate with the necessary customer data and marketing channels, such as a customer data platform (CDP) and a personalization engine, to add that layer of customer intelligence to predict and interpret the next best action to serve each customer. A DXP serves as the anchor of multiexperience strategy and supports a total end-to-end customer experience.
To learn more about how an open DXP delivers meaningful experiences across multiple channels and devices, get our e-book: Why Digital Experience Management Needs an Open Platform.