Creating an app is time-consuming, but the work doesn’t stop once you’ve released it to the world. To see your company’s app succeed, you need to engage users with useful content and be careful about how much information you share. Just because someone downloads an app doesn’t mean he or she will use it. Here are some tips to help you design a successful app.
1. What problem is the app solving?
When you start up a new app, it’s important to know what needs or desires your users are going to have fulfilled once they download it. Ideally they will be downloading an app because they expect it to make their life easier or more fun in some way. This initial value proposition is the foundation of your app. Think about what problem you’re helping users to solve, and frame it in a way that reflects their needs more than your business’ needs.
2. Support for multiple devices
With more people using data-enabled mobile devices to connect to the internet, make sure your new app works on at least iOS and Android. If you’re going to have a significantly different experience on the Kindle, Windows Phone or other platforms, call that out in your marketing materials.
3. A strong value proposition
This is particularly important for free apps. Why should users download your app over more established competitors? What does it do better? How does it stand out?
4. Consistent user experience
Mobile apps have a different usage context than the web or other platforms, so don’t try to translate a desktop site’s functionality directly. Think about how someone is going to be using your app and design for that. If there are key actions users will need to take or key information they’ll need to access, make sure those actions and information are available on every screen. Do research – talk with your target users, watch them use other apps, look at competitor apps. Once you understand how people of different backgrounds and needs will be using your app, you’ll know what screens are essential and how to prioritize them.
5. Optimized for performance
A great app needs to be fast, responsive and engaging even when it’s doing something sophisticated under the hood. Otherwise you risk frustrating users with slow load times, dropped connections or other errors that break their flow. Users are much less forgiving of these kinds of interruptions on mobile devices than on PCs, and you’ll need to design your app accordingly.
6. Integration with other services
Most apps aren’t built in a vacuum – they’re meant to be part of users’ larger lifestyle or workflows, which increasingly rely on online services. This is especially true for mobile apps; if you can integrate it with other apps people use every day, they’ll be more likely to keep coming back.
7. A data plan for your business
It’s not enough to release an app and walk away; you need to engage with your users, learn from them and make your product even better for the future. For businesses, engagement often means sending customized push notifications based on users’ activity or behavior within the app. But mobile apps typically eat up a lot of data, which can be costly for both your company and the user.
Think about how many notifications you want to send each day, and using what service. If you’re sending a lot of notifications via email, which uses little data but the user has to open it, consider replacing that with push notifications which are more interactive on some platforms.
8. Social integration
Social media is another backbone for many mobile users, so it’s a good idea to have some form of social sharing or user feedback built in. Depending on your app, this could be as simple as having Facebook Like buttons or other engagement widgets built into the interface, connecting with customers via Twitter replies, or using a more sophisticated social framework.
Zara Raza is the Head of Marketing at Sunvera Software. She has written several blogs on technology, software, marketing, education, business, and more.