The future belongs to the mobile and if its a clear expectation of the customer base, it is important for businesses to have a mobile app. If designed correctly, a mobile app is a blessing for both the customers and the businesses as it can provide all the information about the business – including special sales and promotions – right at the fingertips.
Through push notifications, the businesses get direct interaction and can easily remind customers about their products and services. Once a customer downloads the app, it stays as a constant reminder of a brand on their mobile screens, the same mobiles that they use for at least 3-4 hours a day. Just by getting the customers to download their app, businesses can leave a lasting impression by creating brand awareness and recognition through their app.
But what is equally true is that as long as your app isn’t adding some real value to the customer’s life that too in a hassle-free manner, he’ll not think twice before deleting it and making room for a more useful app, most likely that of your competitor.
Because every business today has an app, it is important that yours stand out in terms of functionality, usability and operational convenience. If you are a startup looking to enter the profitable ‘App Club’, below are a few tips that can help you build a smooth app right from the beginning.
Design a Flowmap before a Wireframe
If you begin designing your app without a flowmap, chances are that you will end up having confusing and overlapping user-flow that would hinder logical navigation on your app. The well-thought flowmap will help you build your wireframe or design map in the most reasonable way that will also help the users move smoothly, once they are inside your app.
It will help you place key features where they are visible to your users at the first go instead of them being buried deep inside your app.
Functionality Over Design, Always!
Sometimes it might happen that a designer goes overboard while creating design for a function and that might add a lot of production time for the developer to bring that design to life. Or a designer, in order to see his brilliant new design idea executed, might compromise on the simplicity of a feature. In such cases, it is important that any decision taken is governed by the user-experience of the app.
An innovative design that is leading users confused or increasing the bounce rate of the app is better left unimplemented to prevent complexities in the future.
Keep the App Server Driven
A lot of people might also advise you against this, but then most of them would have been the creators of lousy apps. One of the most basic yet useful lessons that anyone can give you when you build your app is to keep it server driven.
Furthermore, try and keep the API’s small, hence, fast. This will help your app perform better in subpar network conditions. Rather than having one API call transferring a lot of data, it’s better to have multiple server calls transferring smaller amount of data. Also, always ensure that your API’s are secure and no unauthorized usage can be possible.
Keep the Users Busy
Always try and find a way to keep your users engaged with your app, even when the app is loading or processing. Otherwise, a user may just get irritated staring at a blank screen and never come back to your app. Also, try to minimise the loading time of your app itself which might be possible by using lighter/less animation and design elements.
But if you do have to use heavy animation or design elements, make sure you add indicators for users to keep them engaged while the app loads.
Keep it Simple
Simplicity is a very underrated virtue especially in the app world where everybody seems to focus on glamorous design elements to woo the users. While a trendy app, with great design elements and complex features, might just help you set apart from everyone else, it might as well add an unnecessary performance pressure to accommodate to the upkeep and updating of such an app. The best bet is to keep your app simple to use and easy to navigate through.
The most successful kind of apps are those that take the users from the cycle of ‘requirement’ to ‘delivery’ in the shortest possible time with the least amount of thinking effort required on users part. Try to cater to this basic requirement and you will be on the right track.