It’s no secret that, after years of predictions, we have reached the era of mobile Internet. In 2014, comScore, a leader in digital big data, reported that more than half (52%) of digital media consumption is through mobile apps.
That means that if your organization is forward-thinking, it’s very likely considering deploying a mobile app to better reach your customers. However, it’s important to stop for a moment and think strategically; building an app for the simple sake of building an app, can do more harm than good.
With that in mind, here are five strategic considerations to think about before you launch that mobile app project:
1. Know your customer.
Customer profiling is a critical first step in this process. An organization must understand its audience before it starts to build something with them; after all, the point of an app is, at some level, to increase engagement with customers. You need to understand what they do on their smartphones. What are their media consumption habits and behaviors? Additionally, it’s important to know basic demographic information such as age, gender and geography. As you dig deeper, a picture of their lifestyle begins to emerge. This enables you to build the use case scenario for how they’re going to use your app.
2. Know your device.
There is a significant difference between mobile phones and tablets. A mobile phone is typically used for tactical tasks – the user is going to one or two screens, posting something to a social network, answering email or taking photos. Tablets are a more leisurely device, which allow the user to consume more content. And, of course, the introduction of so-called “phablets” (larger smartphone devices) has blended these two arenas. You need to consider what information you want to present to the audience, and therefore, the best device for displaying your content.
3. Craft your features.
A successful app is a mobile tool, not simply a reiteration of content that can be found elsewhere. The features on your app need to provide value to the user. It’s vitally important to consider the feature set that will work best for your users. We recommend doing some prototyping. Get real customers to start to test the app, use it and provide you feedback. There are a number of tools you can use to make this happen.
4. Be interactive, and be short.
Look at the features, and look at the time users are spending. Generally speaking, mobile apps need to be tactical in nature. Remember, this is not a book, and it’s not a movie. Part of the reason for this is bandwidth considerations, but more importantly, it is the bandwidth of the people you’re targeting, i.e., their attention span. You have to tailor app content to this reality.
5. Allow for user customization.
One size does not fit all. Different people consume information in different ways. The best apps provide users a lot of options to do things the way they want, when they want it. You have to acknowledge the consumer’s mindset, and allow them the opportunity to select the information they see and the rate at which they’re going to consume it. This is a matter of timing and volume.
6. Make it human.
People want to feel that the message is being directed to them. They enjoy that personal feeling, and they expect it on their devices. For instance, “I just did something, why didn’t the app say thank you?” If it was a person, the person would’ve said thank you. The app should speak to the user as if it’s a human. Your mother was right – being polite can help you win friends.Interested in learning more? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.