Many businesses have created a dedicated mobile application and often this has proven to be a major benefit to those businesses. But what is the difference between the apps that succeed and fail? Often it comes down to strategy – are they using the right mobile strategy? According to a new Econsultancy/Adobe survey, less than 33.33% of North American companies even have a defined mobile strategy that goes out at least a year.
Since many businesses do not have an effective mobile app strategy, they will be lucky to achieve the results they want, no matter how much money and time they spend. Shoehorning a website into a mobile application won’t help you grow your business.
If you look around the school, office, train, shopping mall, or workplace, you will realize mobile activity is already common place. Whether it is a smartphone, tablet or smartwatch, people are carrying at least one smart device at most times today. By 2020, it is estimated that 90% of world’s population will use smartphones.
This sends one clear message: the future of businesses is mobile. Do not be tempted to say that mobile is not that important in your industry because you are a brick and mortar type of business. If you do not already have any mobile strategy you are implementing, you are definitely going to be late to the game.
Econsultancy/Adobe survey reveals that nearly 31 percent of businesses in North America have a mobile strategy, leaving 69 percent of companies without any mobile strategy.
So let’s take a closer look at some of the best strategies to keep in mind for mobile apps.
#1. User Experience Should be First Priority
According to Paul Adams, Vice President of Intercom, just focusing on “mobile first” is not necessarily as important as it used to be in the past. While you can still use this approach, you cannot just create a mobile application and mobile website and claim to be done with your mobile strategy. Adams believes that “mobile first” may already be outdated. That is why mobile app driven businesses are now designing complimentary web apps (apps designed for larger screens). Information via screen not device is the key idea.
In other words, your mobile app strategy isn’t complete if it does not address the increasing importance of user experience across the board. A user’s personal experience outplays anything the developer is attempting to communicate. Therefore, the experience your users have on your apps should be given the first priority.
So to effectively reach the largest number of people and grow customers, your apps need to work well when accessed from a range of devices.
#2. Have Clear, Focused Content
Most people these days use their mobile phone while on the go. Combined with a small touch screen, it does not make for easy navigation or search. While designing for a great mobile experience minimalism is key, be sure to keep clutter at minimum. Crowded screens are difficult to use and understand. Each page, including the homepage, should have only one central focus.
#3. Make Things Easy for Users
What users want is for designers to design apps that are easy to use and meet their needs. Many developers believe they are artistic geniuses and often do not make an effort to make their applications usable or do not follow UI standards. The better your user interface, the more your customers will like to use your application.
Also, use color carefully in your application. One challenge is that some of your users might be color blind, meaning if you are using a certain color to highlight something on the screen, they may not be able to notice it. So you will have to do something else to cater to the needs of these people.
#4. What are the Basic Features any Business App Should Have?
Allow for customization. Ensure that there is a clear way to adjust settings for your application, font sizes, colors, and most importantly, privacy settings. If you let users to customize your app as per their own preference and taste, you will improve engagement.
It is important for your users to offer feedback on your application. Whether it is a link or button to open an email does not matter. The important thing is that you offer your users a quick way to provide suggestions, write reviews and report bugs. Their criticisms, reviews and suggestions can help shape the future of your app.
Other must-have standard features include notification tools and settings, user sign-ups and social media login such as Facebook Connect. Keep this in mind as you develop your mobile app strategy.
#5. Quality and Speed
Quality and speed are both important. You need to build a high-quality application that customers want to use. You do not want to spend all this money and time for something that no one is downloading because it only hasa 2-star rating.
Speed and quality should be given attention in the mobile app development space. With over 1.6 million apps in the Play Store and Apple Store, there is a high competition for attention, and to be one of the applications that gets downloaded on users’ phones is a hard work.
Basically, when you release an app you need to make sure that it works as perfect as possible. It should be fast as well. If not, users who have downloaded your app are going to be frustrated, hence giving it a low rating.
One last thing, lay emphasis on features that are most important to build some kind of connection with your clients. You can always add new features and update the app whenever you are ready.
By developing a great strategy for your mobile application in a spirit of collaboration with users, you can better meet their needs. The better your app fits the user expectations, the less of learning curve it has and the more downloads you will get. A strong mobile application strategy can also accelerate your business’ growth on a promising path. And whatever may be your purpose for building a mobile app, one thing that is for sure at the moment is that no business can do without one today.
Images: “Media technology illustration with mobile phone and icons/Shutterstock.com“
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