There’s An App For That
We need an app. Those are dreaded words for any business. And if they are not, they should be. It’s all too common we get caught up in fads without doing some proper due diligence and taking some perspective. Let’s face it, most apps are terrible. That gets even worse if you think about the amount of time and money businesses have invested in getting those apps developed, tested and rolled out, not to mention the continuous updates you must perform just to make sure things work after every update. There is nothing wrong with having an app, just make sure its an app worthwhile downloading. Here are a few things to consider when being part of those early brainstorms.
Weigh up the performance of your mobile site versus the value of an app. If your app is purely to target a mobile audience, with the sole purpose of offering a mobile experience of your website? Then you are looking in the wrong place. You are being redundant, and any time spent on your app could be better spent on improving your mobile site experience. This is a very common trap most businesses step into and one that can be easily avoided if it is challenged early enough in the process.
So, now you have, wisely, decided that your app is not a repackaged mobile site, now what? At this stage, you really need to start looking at the user experience. Why would someone download your app in the first place and, more importantly, continuously engage with your app? The best way to approach is to look at those who do it will, inside your category and outside. For this part of the process, it is probably wise to start involving app developers to make sure you are grounded and are able to explore ideas that are worthwhile expanding on.
A few of the most successful apps offers ease of use versus the traditional way of doing things. Take banking and all the fintech apps for example. They provide a more accessible, on-the-go experience of something that usually was quite cumbersome to do, like checking your bank balance. Add fingerprint authentication, and suddenly you have a killer app. Or take all the food delivery services, being able to track your delivery just makes the whole consumer experience 100% more pleasant. Or ride-hailing services that let you use a service without having cash on you. Think of all the apps you love to use and distil why they are so good.
This is the key, what about the usage of an app, in relationship to your business, makes life easier and more convenient? That should be the cornerstone of your design. Be bold and brave, you might even get to the conclusion that the app only covers a part of your business. Trying to stuff in too much capability in a single app does not only overcomplicate design but will also prevent you from testing and learning in an agile way. As with any other design, the core rule of KISS still applies. Keep It Simple Stupid.