OWA 2013 on Mobile Devices

By Nuno Mota, [Published on 14 March 2013]

The OWA interface has evolved to the point that it is now touch friendly, making it usable in tablets and mobile phones. As we know, desktops/laptops, tablets and mobile phones have different UI requirements. Ensuring a consistent experience across all these devices is no simple task, but Microsoft has honestly done it. The new OWA "adapts" to the device the user is using to access the mailbox:

  • In desktops or laptops, OWA projects a UI optimized for mouse and keyboard input. This mode is known as Desktop;
  • In tablet size screens, OWA projects a UI optimized for touch input - mode known as touch-wide;
  • In mobile phones, OWA projects a narrower UI for touch - touch-narrow mode.

Because all these 3 modes are very similar in function and look-and-feel, users will not have to learn how to manage e-mails or calendars in different devices.

Besides a nice interface, using OWA instead of the default e-mail application of mobile devices, provides users with many Exchange features not available in these apps. For example, it allows users to read and compose IRM-protected e-mail [Information Rights Management], view other user's calendars, server-side search, access their Exchange archive mailbox, etc.

OWA on tablets is almost identical to the one on a desktop or laptop, which is great considering the fast proliferation of these devices. Another great feature, something users I have worked with always requested, is the ability to see other users' calendars on mobile devices such as iPads, for example. This is now possible and it is as simple as when using the Desktop version of OWA.

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Will tablet and Smart phone use be a big part of your OWA 2013 deployment?