We have a workforce made up of Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives and a new term on the horizon, Mobile Natives. By 2025, not one member of the workforce will not have grown up with a mobile device being their main form of interacting with a process. Are you ready?
Between the iTunes App store and Google play there are 3.5 million mobile apps available to the consumer today. But only a tiny percentage of them will ever be installed and only a further smaller percentage will see regular usage. In fact according to Localytics nearly 62 percent of applications will only be used 11 times or less. What this means is that there is a glut in the app market that is struggling to retain its users. This, in turn, has lead to a slowdown in the app market with investors hesitating to bet on new apps and programmers daunted by the high barriers to app adoption both for the consumer and the enterprise.
In this economy where capturing the attention of new consumers is next to impossible and retaining them is a further herculean task your app needs to be perfect right out the gate. Here are some things to keep in mind whether you are deploying pre-built apps or building your own.
1. Getting attention is an uphill battle and always will be: App adoption is heavily skewed towards the top. The apps that become popular, stay popular and simply getting discovered can seem like a pipe dream. It’s a vicious cycle, the apps that get featured are the ones with the most downloads but you need to get featured to get downloads. Marketing your app in a store is also a challenge as you will only be able to use screenshots and texts to convince people to download. This is where change management and marketing by your internal process/technology team is so important. Your reviews are also likely to skew negative, as typically a negative experience is more likely to motivate someone to write a review, so you’ll have to put in more effort to cultivate a great review. The point of this is that you will have just one shot. If your app isn’t satisfactory the consumer can and will drop you and all the effort that it takes to just get to the point where you will have the capacity to prove your app will have been wasted. Chances of getting them to try the app again after abandonment is slim to none; so remember, LAUNCH IS CRUCIAL!
2. Make it usable: This, of course, goes without saying, but your app can not be buggy or broken by the time it’s ready for usage. It can also not be the desktop app only available via a mobile device. There may be flaws that will crop up and need to be ironed out, but if basic functionality isn’t there it’ll be dead on arrival. That having been said there are factors to consider beyond this. Every mobile phone on the market today has some bugs. Be sure to test your execution process across a number of platforms to avoid download failures. Not only will they cost you adoption but it’ll hurt the reputation of your app and overall system initiative if it is found to be inoperable on certain models.
3. Make the download process easier: The biggest difference between apps and websites from a business POV is the level of difficulty in accessing them. The download and setup process represents a major convenience barrier when it comes to apps. that websites do not have to deal with. This is why despite the fact that the app market is only 6 years old compared to the 20 of websites, it’s easier to build a business online since the consumer will browse far more sites than they’ll ever download apps. Going forward, easing this barrier may just be the industry’s most important task. Google is taking steps in this direction with the advent of Instant Apps, which will simplify the launching process to just one click of URL. Another way to offset some of this damage is to provide incentives to consumers willing to share and recommend your app with others in the workforce.
4. UI vs UX.Despite often being lumped together and both starting with a U, User interface and User Experience are two different things. UI is the look of the app, it’s primary purpose is to be visually appealing to the customer. No one wants to download an ugly app. UX, on the other hand, is all about ease of use. UI is not to be ignored, especially for a new app still looking to grab eyeballs. Good aesthetics go a long way towards attracting new users, but to retain their favor past the initial download you need a good UX as well. A good UX must provide the user with a sense of flow. Going from step to step should be easy, users should never have to search for more information . Users should not have to repeatedly input relevant information, the app should be able to predict their intent and provide useful suggestions. A great way to fine tune your UI and UX is A/B testing. In essence, you put out to versions of your app with different UI and UX and see which one is more satisfactory to the consumer. Good UX is vital not only for consumer apps but also if you intend to create business software. An enterprise application with well thought out UX can improve workforce satisfaction, reduce error rates, reduce the need for training and thus increase efficiency.
This can not be stressed enough, the app market is crowded and it is not friendly to newcomers. Your best bet is to deliver quality and to deliver it fast. Make an app that will make people want to use it, shift your metrics from adoption to addiction and drive further addiction by making them glad to keep using it.
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