You have a great idea for a mobile app—one that is going to boost your business to new heights. You just know it.
Your app will address a real need your customers have and solve a problem for them.
So you build this great app and get it out to your users … and it flops. No one uses it.
What went wrong?
It’s possible someone else beat you to market. By the end of this year, the number of mobile apps downloaded worldwide will reach 258.2 billion. That’s a lot of competition.
Most likely, though, users didn’t love your app for one of five reasons:
- They had trouble using it. Either the user interface (UI) confused them, or it didn’t deliver a good user experience (UX).
- The application performance frustrated them. It kept lagging, crashing, losing their data, or just didn’t work.
- Your application wasn’t secure, and they got malware or had their data stolen.
- You failed to engage them after they downloaded your app.
- You ignored their feedback.
In other words, the app met your customers needs, but not their wants. You didn’t wow your users.
Each of the problems above can be addressed by paying attention to five key mobile development areas.
UI & UX
UI and UX are two separate, but closely related, elements of mobile development. The UI (user interface) is the look and feel of your application. It includes your color choices, along with the graphics, buttons, blocks, and other visual elements.
UX (user experience) is about how easy your app is to use. The UX includes navigation, screen flow, performance, CTA, response time, features, and so on.
Here are few reasons why you should keep UI and UX at the center of development:
- It improves user engagement. Users decide within a few seconds whether or not to navigate further into an app, depending on the appeal of the UI and UX.
- It improves brand visibility. Word of mouth promotion is still the best way to get in front of new customers. When your applications look good and are easy to use, customers recommend them and rate them highly in the marketplace.
- It saves development effort. When you spend time designing a good UI and UX up front, it means less rework later.
- It improves application performance. Many correlated metrics get enhanced with a good UI and UX, like the number of downloads, average time spent on the application, number of screens navigated, and more.
You can improve the UI and UX of your application by maintaining uniformity, improving screen load speed, making the application interactive, and using conventional and straightforward elements. Always think from your audience’s perspective.
Generally, in mobile applications, performance testing remains the last priority. Any application which passes the functional tests gets pushed to go live.
Here are some of the reasons you must not ignore application performance:
- Users love responsive apps. No one wants to tap on a button and wait for a response. A load speed of more than two seconds might cause users to abandon the app.
- Rigorous performance testing helps you reduce errors like images not loading, blank content feeds, timeouts, screen freeze, and upload failures.
- App ratings directly correlate with app performance. Users judge the quality of the application with its reviews and ratings.
Application performance testing must be a key consideration of mobile app development. There are many performance areas to test, like application speed and uptime, end-users transaction speed, performance under load, and more.
Mobile Application Security
Have you ensured the safety of your customer’s data on your mobile app? A study conducted by IBM revealed some eye-opening facts:
- 50% of companies have zero budget for securing their mobile applications.
- 40% of the companies do not scan their mobile application code.
- On average, companies test less than 50% of the apps they create.
- 33% of apps don’t get tested for security vulnerabilities.
These stats provide incentive for hackers to exploit existing security gaps. Multiple ways hackers can breach your application include:
- Injecting malware into your application or at the server location
- Intercepting information from the network
- Identity theft
The security of customer data is paramount. You must protect your application from external threats and digital fraud, or you risk losing the confidence of your customers—not just in your app, but also in your brand.
There are multiple security checks to ensure a bug-free and secure mobile app, like choosing a robust architecture, minimizing application permissions, protecting sensitive data with proper encryption, certificate pinging, not saving passwords, implementing session logouts, and applying multi-factor authentication. Rigorous penetration testing can also identify security weaknesses in your app.
A push notification is a message you send to your users. It is short, media-rich, and can be sent to users even when they are not using your application. The root of the push notification goes back to Blackberry, but it was Apple that popularized it and changed the notification game altogether.
Push notifications can only be sent to users who have downloaded your application and have provided the required access to send the alerts.
Why are push notifications important?
You know how difficult it is today to reach out to users through outbound channels. If you send them brand emails, they are caught by spam filters. If you call your customers, caller identification or voice mail services block your calls.
App marketing through push notification has proven to boost brand engagement and user retention, thereby improving revenue. Some studies show that push notification can boost user engagement by up to 88% and customer retention up to 50%.
With the right message at the right time, push notifications can amplify your app’s success—and therefore your brand.
Application development is an iterative process. Almost every software maker frequently releases new versions. Why? Because they’re learning new needs and wants from their customers with each release through continuous user feedback.
Listening and understanding user feedback can help you improve customer satisfaction, increase software adoption, boost overall performance, and minimize security risks.
Make sure you build in some way for users to provide you feedback on your app, either in the app itself or through an external mechanism, such as email or a form on your website. Once you start getting feedback, pay careful attention to it for trends and feature requests from multiple users.
Consider Your Customer
To make a successful app, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Customers love good-looking apps that are easy to use, respond quickly, and can be trusted with personal and financial information. Remember, the launch is the start, not the end; listen to your customers and constantly update the application based on their feedback.
By keeping these five areas in mind, you stand a better chance of wowing your customers with your mobile app.