2017 is ending and more people than ever are using mobile apps on their phones for day-to-day tasks, both at home and in the office. The business app market is booming and a well-designed app can improve a person’s daily efficiency 10-fold.
In 2018 we are bound to see even more companies delving into the mobile market. It might even be something that you and your company are thinking about doing. If that’s the case then there are a few key points you should keep in mind about creating, marketing and maintaining your mobile app.
- You get what you pay for
App development and maintenance is not cheap so if you are not prepared you may end up with financial problems before development even gets anywhere. If you want to make a good app it is going to cost, no way around it, so just make sure you have the funds for the project before you end up with massive losses and zero gains.
- One size Rarely fits all
There are so many apps out there it may seem more cost efficient to just use a pre-made app. While this is true, you may find that a simple off the shelf app does not actually fit the exact requirements you need, or might not be as efficient as you want. A benefit of designing and developing the app yourself is that you get to tailor it to your specific needs. You get to make it fit you.
- Plan for Perfection
Planning is a large part of app development and needs to be pulled off extremely well or you risk the whole thing falling apart. Everything from design and usability to execution and support is vital. Without proper planning you run the risk of the whole project falling apart and a huge loss in productivity and finance.
- User Experience is Key
No one wants to awkwardly shuffle through menus and feel their way through a maze of options, even less so when speed is vital. So if you want to keep frustration to a minimum and keep your users happy then the user experience needs to be fast, easy and efficient. If you feel like your app is clunky then it probably is, so fix that as soon as you can and make it an essential part of the office lifestyle.
- Make it Look Interesting
Connected to the previous point, a big part of the user experience is the design of the app. If an app is visually unappealing or confusing you are more likely to have users disengaged. You wouldn’t want your brand to be bland and confusing so don’t let the apps associated with them be either.
- Straight to the Point
And one easy way to keep an app looking simple is to have one key core of the app and focus on that. Universal remotes often always look confusing and can overload the user. You want to avoid this with your app and so it is best to keep it specific. Especially if your app is for company use as it is easier to justify making multiple apps or one-off apps for special occasions that you’ll then throw away, rather than one super-app that ends up with a ton of useless elements.
- Not just a one-trick pony
With that said, when building an app you need to think about what extra you can get out of it. While the app is fulfilling its role in life what bonuses are you as a business reaping from it? Could your app be monitoring user input or productivity based on how they use the app and how often? Could your app be a good way of gathering HR data by having individual logins? While the apps core idea should be focused on one thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t build it in such a way that a little extra data might come your way.
- Multiple Pathways and Zero Dead-ends
An extra feature of app design that will help improve that user-experience is the concept of Deep Linking. With Deep Linking you can use web links to open up to specific areas of an app rather than just the title screen. The benefit of this is to always keep the user going forward and keeping them engaged. Don’t arbitrarily stop the user by sending them to the beginning or forcing them to backtrack through the menus. It will only make them backtrack out of the app!
- Know thy Enemy
Maybe ‘enemy’ is a little harsh, but there is quite a bit of competition out there in the app development world. There may already exist an app out there that does what you want to do but don’t let that be a discouragement. Take their app and ask yourself how you would make it better. Check the reviews to see what users liked and didn’t like. If you want your app to survive then you need to make sure it is better than the rest but that means understanding what the rest actually entails.
- Consistently Coherent
You may find the need to make multiple apps at once or new apps after the success of your first. In this case, if you want to make things easier for your user base then you should keep in mind a consistent design across all your apps. Do the menus of both apps function the same and is user-input treated in a similar fashion? By keeping up a consistent design like this it makes the transition from one app to another smooth and your users aren’t left fiddling around for minutes trying to get use to a new layout. It also helps to keep cohesion amongst all of your apps.
Jumping into app development can be a scary thing. There are so many factors to be wary of from price to planning. But if you keep these ten tips in mind when starting then the whole process will become a lot easier, for you and your eventual users.