Great user interface and user experience design is only as good as the research and testing it’s built upon. Style over substance, will not deliver you success. Sounds obvious but it’s simple to fall into the trap of cutting corners to go straight into design. If your business is keen to build an app here’s my advice to ensure you avoid the pitfalls.
Focus on doing one thing and do it really, really well.
Determine the one thing it is your app will do and be true to it. To be clear I’m not talking features or functionality, I’m talking solution. What solution will your app provide to help its target audience? This is the most important decision you’ll need to make before building your app so don’t second guess.
- Do your research. Use it to support, help and shape the decision you make;
- Listen to your audience. Let them help you to understand what your app needs to be;
- Assess the competitive landscape. Understand the success and failures of others.
Map The Journey – Define User Flows
Map the journey you envisage your audience taking to get to what they want. Map it in as many ways as you can – look at it from every angle. Be thorough, your objective is to find pitfalls and the paths of least resistance.
Test and Learn In The Real World – Go to Market Fast
You can do this with a minimum viable product. An MVP is the version of your app that can be experienced by your target audience with the least investment required from you. An MVP lets you find out what people think about your app before investing too much into it. Importantly it gives you the opportunity to test, learn and then develop accordingly. It is much better to do this early into the apps existence as opposed to when your entire budget is spent.
Make the User Experience Simple
It goes without saying if people can’t get to what they want they’ll go somewhere they can. The priority for any new app is traction, getting people onboard is the priority so do not block their way. Let people experience the value of the solution your app provides. Let them discover for themselves. Providing they like it they will be much more prepared to give you their information in return.
Produce Content for Mobile
An app is not a website re-formatted for a phone, that’s like squeezing an elephant into a phone box. Your content must be optimised for mobile. With smaller screens and a browsing behaviour that’s predominantly on the go, content for mobile needs to be bite size. It needs to serve the individual content via micro interactions. Burst of information conducive to an intermittent browsing behaviour.
Prime your audience in advance
Creating an app that’s really good is great but if your audience doesn’t know about it somethings wrong. Apps need marketing, they need a communications strategy to drive awareness and engagement. You should be marketing your app as far in advance as possible. Create build, drive a sense of anticipation in lead up to the big day.
So, your app is live, the marketing is working and people are downloading. It’s always reassuring to see this but please do not make it your measure of success. Having an audience is most definitely a positive but now you’ve got them, how will you keep them coming back for more? Retention needs to be your measure of success. This I’ll detail in my next blog. To recap:
- Do one thing really, really well;
- Test and learn in the real world – go to market fast;
- Make the app user experience simple;
- Produce content for mobile;
- Prime your audience in advance;
- Define your performance measures of success.