People are undoubtedly spending more time using mobile devices than ever before. As these devices evolve, grow, and become more sophisticated, we’re able to use them for more advanced activities. Studies have shown that in the US alone, on average people are spending a minimum of 3 hours per day using mobile apps.
The question is, what is it that makes a mobile app popular? The answer is usually because many of these apps provide a core function that provides a service or solve a problem for the end user.
Examples of Apps that provide a core functionality:
- Google Maps
- Spotify music streaming
- NetFlix Movies
- Facebook Social Media
When mobile application design and development are done correctly and to a high standard, any new mobile app that meets the needs of the target audience it was designed for will likely be in demand. In short, the key to developing a successful and popular mobile app will always be the value that it offers your customers. If this value is meaningful and genuine, your app will be a popular success.
- On average we spend a minimum of 3 hours per day using mobile apps
- Many apps provide a core function that satisfies the target audience
- Mobile apps designed with a core function and high quality stand every chance of success
There are more than two million apps in both the Google and Apple play stores. This means that competition is fierce and that your app will really need to provide something special if you want it to stand out against the rest.
One of the first things you will need to do if you want your app to be successful is to understand five basic functions that your customers will be looking for.
1. A Rich Experience with Unique Functionality
It might sound like a tough thing to achieve but if you cannot give your customer’s a user experience that is different and unique to what they can find elsewhere, your app might struggle.
You shouldn’t be developing an app just because everybody else is doing so but developing an app that will provide value to your customers. Also, try to avoid replicating something that a user can get by simply using their browser.
- Ask yourself this: Why would somebody download your app that will take up space and resources on their mobile device when they can simply use their browser instead?
Whether your app is being designed to provide entertainment, a solution to a common problem, or simply to provide a more efficient way to complete tasks, it has to give your customers more value than the competition.
2. Intuitive and Easy to Navigate
Did you know that one in six users will delete an app if they find it difficult to use?
Ease of navigation, in particular, is key if you want to avoid having users delete your app. Apps are meant to provide usability and ease of use simply because they are designed to be used on smartphones and tablets.
- Minimize the number of clicks a user has to make in order to perform a function
- Include the use of swiping to perform functions where possible
A good example is the Netflix app which offers the perfect combination of ease of navigation and functionality. It keeps clicking to a minimum and provides an easy-to-use interface which compliments the value that the online firm already provides its users.
3. A Decluttered Checkout
Another major turnoff for customers is a checkout experience that is arduous and frustrating.
Of course, any checkout will require certain information but it is important to only request the absolute bare minimum of the required information. Typing out and filling out dozens of information fields is not easy on a small screen and can be frustrating to users who might just give up halfway through.
Think about these points:
- Customers input their full name into a single field instead of one each for first and last name
- Ask for their zip code first so that you can have their city and state auto-filled into their required fields thus saving time for your customer.
Also, once a customer has made one purchase, allow them to save payment methods, information, and shipping addresses so that future payments can be done even more conveniently.
4. Enhanced Personalization
Personalization is another core element that customers like to see from their apps.
It is a powerful tool to include in your mobile app. The ultimate objective here is to make the user feel like the whole experience has been tailored around their own personal tastes, which by using personalization you will achieve this objective.
Some good examples of personalization include:
- Netflix, YouTube or Spotify use personalization to suggest content based on a user’s previous behaviour
- E-commerce sites might offer you products based on your previous purchase
- It can be based on the location of a user, their age, or even gender
It also makes it much easier for them to find content that they might like rather than having to search for it themselves.
It is better to provide something simple and uncomplicated as opposed to including dozens of worthless features that clutter the app, increase development time, and users may not use them.
Including too many features may leave your mobile app feeling clunky and will also affect the ease at which it can be navigated and used. Instead, simply identify the core function that you want your app to provide and spend your time developing this key feature.
- Make the app and its features easy to use
- Try not to add too many complex functions
- Test the app to iron out glitches or places where it hangs
Once the core functions work, and you have positive feedback, you can then consider whether any additional features can be included to add further value to your app.
Is a Mobile App Right for Your Business?
You should remember that an app is not going to be right for every business and that there is no need to think about developing one unless you feel that it is.
Sometimes a well-optimized and functional mobile website will be able to provide more than enough for your mobile users.
That said, if you do feel that a mobile app can add to your customers’ online experience when interacting with your business, then the above five tips above should be included in your mobile application development project’s design and development outline plan.