If you’re thinking of creating a mobile app for your business, then you’re already ahead of the game. Mobile internet use is on the rise, and users flock to applications in droves as long as they serve a purpose and are functional.
In today’s consumer climate, it has become more important than ever to have an app for your company. Apps give users a dedicated platform to connect with the products and services that they enjoy without having to worry about web browsing.
But, you’re not the only business to realize this. The mobile app market has become fiercely competitive, with hundreds of companies vying to be the top dog in their industry. That’s why it’s important to know what goes into creating a successful mobile app, to give yourself a jump start advantage over the competition.
By entering the app development phase armed with a working knowledge of what exactly makes an app work, you can maximize your downloads and increase your profits immediately upon deployment.
Here are a number of ways in which you can get a leg up on your competitors by developing a smart, focused, and functional application that has a wide appeal for your target audience.
Solve a Specific Problem
Who is this app for? What’s your target audience? And, most importantly, what problem is your app solving for them?
All apps need to solve a problem. Whether it’s for fitness, shopping, or just a game to stave away boredom, you need a purpose. You need a problem to solve.
That problem can be as simple as “how do I pass time while in the waiting room at a doctor’s office?” or it could be something more complex like, “how do I effectively budget my monthly income?”
This problem should directly relate to your audience. You need to pull demographic information first. Identify who they are, what issues they face in their every day lives, and how your app can help them.
You need a clear vision in your mind before the development process even begins. An app without a clear purpose becomes irrelevant. Understand the pain points of your demographic. Identify the barriers that they place around purchase decisions. Then, use those insights to determine the problem that your app is intended to solve.
Have a Clear Focus
Apps that try to do too much end up failing miserably. A successful app does one thing, and it does it exceptionally well. Unnecessary features tend to make the user experience cluttered and frustrating. For example, if you’re a weight loss tracking app, you don’t need games in there. Focus on weight loss tracking, nutrition tips, food diaries, etc. Everything needs to come back to that initial problem that you’re trying to solve. Save your resources and focus them on the task at hand. Doing so helps to solve a specific need and deliver value to your users.
It’s important to always keep that focus in sight. But you also need to focus on your competition. How does your app differ from theirs? How is it superior? If you’re a fitness tracking app, what can you offer that MyFitnessPal can’t? Are you improving upon the concept, or just being a cheap knock-off?
To be successful, your app has to perform differently or better than competing apps. That might mean more features, or just different features. Remember, you can learn as you go and update, but you can’t put out an inferior product at launch. You only have one chance to make a strong first impression, so don’t blow it immediately.
Better doesn’t mean more complicated. Your app needs to improve upon a user’s life, not make it more stressful by delivering a user interface that’s overly complex.
Remember, the purpose of a mobile app is to accomplish a task and declutter processes. That means that everything should be simple and straightforward. Put yourself in the shoes of an average user. You might be an expert in the use of your application, but the average user is not. Everything needs to be easy. The more that can happen with a single click, the better.
Provide your users with a clear path to work their way through your app’s functionality. A convenient and simple user interface that is easy to navigate will keep your audience engaged and lower your bounce rate.
Simplicity goes hand in hand with being user friendly. Ease of navigation and being visually pleasant are also vital to creating a successful app. Ensure that you’re meeting the pain points of your users in a way that is not overly complicated and you will keep them from straying and seeking value from your competitors.
Your app has to perform. I know this sounds like a fairly obvious point, but the app can’t launch with bugs and problematic issues that cause repeated freezing and crashes. Remember that negative user experiences will be reflected in your reviews on the Google Play store and the Apple App store.
Users will only be so patient with an app. If it can’t deliver on its promise, there is another app out there that will. That is both the blessing and curse of a competitive app market. You can catch users that are fleeing a poorly functioning competitor app, but if you’re not on top of providing excellent performance, then you’re pushing your own users right into the arms of your competitors.
Performance level is dictated by launch times, bugs, crashes, and speed. You want your app to boot up right away, or with very limited load times. Once on the user interface, users should be able to move freely around, navigating with little to no lag time. And, obviously, if you’re app is crashing every few minutes, that’s a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
Release on Android and iOS
Together, the Android and iOS platforms make up 99% of all mobile phone users. That’s more than an overwhelming majority. Android has a larger slice of the user pie, with 87%, but Apple should never be ignored.
Use cross-platform development tools to control the time and cost of development. Working on both at the same time will cut down your overhead costs and allow you to release your app in a more timely fashion.
To stay competitive in today’s technological world, you need to have a mobile application. By adhering to these five key points, you can ensure that, at the time of launch, your app will be ready to go and make a huge splash in your industry.