April 24, 2014
Mobile is the new language of commerce, marketing, communication, and entertainment, so businesses assume that moving into the world of apps is the key to remaining relevant. But marketers and professionals are often left with the question: Do mobile apps increase revenue?
The answer seems far from a simple yes or no. Multiple factors, such as industry and the type of app you build, all play into the effectiveness and efficiency of the final product. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts for navigating app development with your company.
Do Make It about the Consumer
The main advantage of mobile marketing is that it is a way to reach your consumer anytime, anywhere. Part of what makes mobile more effective is that not only can businesses target consumers, but customers can talk back to the brand as well. Application developer Blue Rocket, which has developed apps for companies like Chipotle and WebMD, notes that a business app can “enable consumers to talk to the brand, instead having the brand talk to the consumer.”
This happens as the user’s experience is enriched with sophisticated media, games, mobile coupons and payments, location-based services and offers, product descriptions while in store, feedback loops, surveys, and online chats about new product ideas. By improving the customer’s engagement and experience at the point of sale, a company app can better leverage brand support and consumer interaction to ultimately increase “purchase intent.”
Don’t Forget the Flow Map
When approaching application design, it is imperative to put a lot of organization and forethought into planning the app. Mashable.com recommends developing “a well-thought-out user flow ready to go before wireframes and designs begin. Even simple applications should have a well-considered flowmap in place to help ensure a logical and reasonable navigational structure.”
It is also necessary to consider functional screens and navigational elements. Making a clear and uncluttered design helps keep users engaged and interested with the app and, by extension, your brand.
Do Design Differently
Designing for a mobile device is very different than designing a program for a PC namely because of the additional capabilities available on a smartphone or tablet. Features like a camera, GPS location services, additional data, touchscreens and other capabilities are something to take advantage of when it comes to development.
Along with more features, mobile also frees designers from certain constraints to be able to think more creatively and outside the normal box. Think about the possibilities of an app that utilizes facial recognition or some other unique feature of a mobile device.
Don’t Cross Platforms Willy-Nilly
When designing a business app, you will probably want to offer versions for both iOS and Android, possibly even BlackBerry, too. But rather than simply exporting the original design to these different platforms, it is important to target each unique platform differently in order to deliver an optimal experience no matter what device it is downloaded on.
While consumer apps have freedom to be individualized, corporate apps may want to maintain an air of standardization to make working across multiple devices seamless. No matter how you want to handle different versions—either making the app the focal point or bringing the device to the forefront—there are basic fundamental assumptions to be honored when working with various operating systems and designing an app’s basic interactions.
With insight into the stages of development from brainstorming to design, businesses can reach a wider base more effectively through a custom mobile application.
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