Mobile applications are continuously evolving. Initially, mobile applications were too primitive, lacking UI flexibility and UX vision. As mobile applications started to advance, developers began thinking about reusable products or components, cookie cutter applications, and one-time applications, this led to an increased focus on UI and UX.
What is Needed in a Mobile App? This question is very generic and broad, but there are a lot of underlying factors to be considered.
An Open Mind to Embrace Change
Be it adopting to new technologies or an integration that might need research and analysis, every company should be ready for change. It could be the way in which clients are presented with the sales pitch, or the handling of a global crisis like COVID-19, or productizing a new idea - we need to continuously think of innovative solutions.
UI and UX
I would like to give credit to our Creative Services Director, he explains the importance of UI and UX to our clients’ which makes a huge impact on development. Starting with the basics, usage of consistent brand elements like color, shape, and gradients from a client’s marketing catalogue is key. Collaborating with clients on the design dash and collecting their feedback as a user group generates lots of ideas and clarifications that will strengthen the application.
Creating entry points to features in an application is no simple task. You need to identify where the feature is placed in the app and on which screen. It also matters how many touch points the user must take before ending up on the desired screen. The fewer touch points to open a feature and the quicker you get a user to engage, the better. For example, an ecommerce application should quickly drive the user to checkout as soon as the user is ready to pay, if there are too many touch points, the user may either get confused or backout.
Usage Stats (Buildfire, Buildfire, n.d.)
- 21% of Millennials open an app 50+ times a day
- 49% of people open an app 11+ times a day
- Average smartphone users use 10 apps per day and 30 apps each month
Most mobile applications are published to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. The Apple App Store holds the app submission for review as they analyze important API’s and features, and request explanations when needed. In early 2021, the Google Play Store started following Apple’s footsteps and tightened their review process for app submission. The review process and unexpected delays must be considered when generating timelines for project management.
App Store Stats (Buildfire, n.d.)
- The Apple App Store has 1.96 million apps available for download
- The Google Play Store has 2.87 million apps available for download
The number of app downloads worldwide has continued to increase over the years.
Image Source (Statista, n.d.)
Ability to Capture Behavioral Data
Data insights are the key to success for any client engagement. The amount of data collected, how vast it is, and how quickly you link the user to various engagements and journeys that are performed in the app, will help enable communication for clients. The more quality data and KPI’s you drive out of the app, the more elevated your company portfolio will become.
Regulations Related to Data
The architecture of data flow in mobile applications should meet local and federal guidelines and regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA. Ignoring the optimizations of handling data might create hurdles later in development or scaling. Combined with data orchestration tools and visualization giants like Tableau and Google Data Studio, you can architect your data in a well-organized way and prove that it is collected ethically.
Once you have collected the data, you can start targeting users with relevant information. You can do in-house segmentation based on the data or use tools for push notifications which enables the product to target users.
I mention the word quality in testing because without quality, an application will have a difficult time reaching stores. If the application has quality and stability, users are going to shower the app with high ratings and raving reviews. Testing must cover a wide spectrum, including simple to complex use cases and happy paths and un-happy paths; automating test scripts and stress testing also gives stability to the app.
Anticipating Change and Thinking About Scalability
Most clients want to change their content in-house, without having to submit requests to the app stores. The more the app is linked with a content management system (CMS), the more flexibility you can give clients to change or present users with relevant content. When it comes to scalability, it is part of the way in which the app is architected, including the backend support, infrastructure setup, the amount of flexibility in the CMS, and the ability to integrate and reuse third-party engagements.