I read a quite staggering statistic recently which articulated that 91% of UK millennials now own a smartphone, making my generation one of the premier segments of smartphone owners in the country. However, despite this incredibly high rate of device usage, very few mobile applications actually stand the test of time with this most demanding peer group.
So for many mature enterprises entering the market, or even those challenger brand organisations in the formative years of their inception, that are trying to make a positive impact and garner good favour with millennials, there are a number of challenges laid out before them in their quest to optimise mobile applications that appeal to and capture the millennial audience.
As an organisation well steeped in the design element of enterprise mobile applications, having worked with leading clients such as Coca Cola, Samsung, W Hotel and Adidas to name but a few, and as a proud millennial myself, I’m going to take a moment to discuss three key elements of application design that should be observed when producing mobile applications for my generation.
1. All mobile, all the time
For an app to be truly mobile, it has to work full force across all platforms, in all contexts of the user’s daily life. We millennials are comfortable in front of any screen and it’s essential that our apps offer cross-device flexibility to accommodate that, as any reduced functionality will result in user frustration.
This means that the app needs to run just as smoothly on a tablet as on a smartphone — and also that an organisations website should be designed with its mobile app’s functionality in mind, and vice versa. Streamlining the user experience across all platforms will not only familiarise users to the system and optimise function, but also keep your audience on your app, no matter where they are.
2. High expectations on UX
This may seem a given, but the application has to work and work well. We millennials have exceptionally high expectations around user experience. In fact, in a recent Nielsen survey, millennials ranked “technology use” as the most significant thing that makes our generation unique. Millennials are so confident in their technology skills; they are often unforgiving when it comes to mistakes in this area. Therefore, it’s critical to meet expectations around content and functionality before rolling an app out.
We also not only want, but demand that applications get us the content or service we want quickly and easily. With this in mind, think about keeping design minimalist and basic, giving us just what we need to accomplish tasks, whether that’s buying something or browsing news stories. By doing this, you also reduce the cognitive load, making it likelier that we’ll be able to finish what we were doing and complete a mobile page goal.
You have to remember that competition is fierce for the millennial audience and with so many mobile applications out there, and with us millennials notoriously not being the most patient bunch, you have to appreciate that if your app is slow or has any glitches there is every chance that our first touchpoint with your app will indeed be our last.
3. Personal touches
You should never underestimate the importance of personalisation not just using our name, but making the experience about us and our content. Suffice to say, millennials have grown up in a digital and connected world. We have come to expect efficiency, relevance and convenience from the products and services that we choose and we are increasingly willing to trade personal information for a customised experience. For optimal success, enterprises must look for opportunities to provide highly tailored, relevant experiences and services that meet the user’s needs.
A 2015 report from Statista relayed that the top performing app categories for millennials are games, social networks, music, utilities and chat/messaging. So it would appear good practice to assume that as you convert your enterprise product into a mobile application, you should look to other popular apps within these categories to find design cues and common elements that can guide you in creating a product that will be immediately recognised by your millennial target customer.
We know that the millennial generation is famed for wanting everything immediately and as such there is no room on the market for average products made by average people. But with an annual purchasing power that is estimated to rise to $200 billion by 2017, it is obvious that my generation should not and will not be ignored. The morale of the story is therefore, if you are planning on producing a mobile app to attract the millennial market, make sure you partner with an expert app development company who can lead you through the myriad of challenges.
By Jake Davis, Design Director, Pocket App