As mobile usage continues to grow, some companies may come to think that having a mobile app is expected and necessary. However, building an app without a clear strategy “just to have one” is not a recipe for success. If anything, it’s investing money in a plan that doesn’t have a proper endgame.
For a mobile app to be successful, the company needs to first make sure it’s really needed and have a solid plan for its use. Below, 12 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss some of the key elements that a business should be mindful of when developing a mobile app.
1. The ‘Why’
It’s all about the “why.” The ability to make an app isn’t an imperative to do so. Apps have to fill a legitimate need for the user, have a business case that merits doing all the work for the app’s entire life cycle, and be proven to be sufficiently engaging to the user to actually meet the need. – Joseph Smith, Reflexion Health
2. Your Goal
Before deciding to build a mobile app for your business, you should first ask yourself what your goal is. If you’re just building an app because other businesses have them and you think it’s cool, that’s not a good reason. On the other hand, if you want to build an app because it will improve the customer experience and save your business money in the long run, that’s something you can measure. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
3. The Problem Being Solved
Popular apps are successful because they offer a clear solution to a problem, and often the simple answer is the best one. For example, Venmo, Uber and Lyft each do one thing, but they do them so well they have become verbs: “I’ll Venmo you later, after I Uber home.” In my experience, defining a problem and working backward to an easy, user-friendly solution will always win out. – David Wenger, Bridge Connector
4. Customer Mindset
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Understand a day in their life, their emotions, what they’re trying to achieve and what bothers them to better understand their mindset when using your future mobile app versus other ways they engage with your company. Understanding your customers’ mindset will give you clarity on what your mobile app should try to help them achieve and how. – Guy Yalif, Intellimize
5. How It Benefits Customers
Creating a mobile app must be envisioned with the end-user in mind. Twenty-five years ago, we created a DOS program to exchange data with our clients, overlooking the fact that most didn’t have a computer. Consumers of this digital age are more selective with the memory space software takes up. The benefits should exceed the inconveniences caused by leaving a mobile Web browser and entering an app. – Tammy Cohen, InfoMart Inc.
6. UI/UX Design
Your app’s user interface and experience design are crucial for success. Developing interactive and easy-to-follow functionalities between users and your brand will ultimately enhance client satisfaction and loyalty. Think about it this way: don’t just aim to build a software product, but rather strive to create meaningful connections with people. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev
A business needs to consider the practicality of an app and understand what its customers would want to use it for. While filing an auto claim for a fender bender on a mobile device is a very practical use case, it is not the same for a death claim. For the latter, the experience should be more personal given the circumstances. – Thiru Sivasubramanian, SE2, LLC
For users familiar with the website, it should be seamless to navigate through your app. Consistency regarding the user experience is key to building a successful app and will result in creating a great user experience that can ultimately boost sales. – Amit Ojha, Green Wave Ingredients
It’s important to remember a mobile app is an extension of your company’s image. While the UI look and feel are important, functionality is king. If you rush to market and deliver an incomplete or buggy app, it creates a negative association with your brand. When building a mobile app, it’s critical for companies to invest the time and care it takes to design and build a robust user experience. – Joelle Brock, Leading EDJE
10. End-User Experience And Motivation
Just having a mobile app for the sake of having it can be a waste of time and resources. In fact, it can backfire when it comes to the user experience if the app is not designed as intended. Developing a clear strategy for a mobile app is imperative when it comes to understanding the workflow of your end-user and how it can contribute positively toward improved user experience. – Jahn Karsybaev, Prosource IT
11. Offline Access
In a perfect world, we would have permanent internet access. Unfortunately, this is not the case when a user travels outside of a data coverage area. When developing a product that caters mostly to frequent offline users, such as foreign travelers, it is best to choose a native app over a responsive website, as a native app can leverage device storage capability to allow for offline access. – Christopher Yang, Corporate Travel Management
12. The Advance Of Progressive Web Apps
Consider progressive Web apps (PWAs) over native ones. PWAs are growing in popularity because they create a better user experience. They’re smaller in size, load faster and are more secure, and users can access them the same way as apps downloaded from app stores. Some of the industries already moving to cost-effective PWAs include financial services, medical manufacturing, construction and others. – John McDonald, ClearObject