By Gabriel Shaoolian, MD & Founder at Blue Fountain Media
It has become increasingly apparent that a website is not enough anymore in terms of growing your business and taking it to the next level of success. The use of mobile devices has been growing steadily in recent years, and so far it shows no signs of slowing down. Today there are over 4.7 billion active mobile users worldwide; Statista expects that number to grow to 5.05 billion by 2019.
Companies are becoming more aware that they need to start focusing on mobile app development if they want to expand their customer base and keep them engaged. With the increasing number of mobile users, multiple financial opportunities arise as well. But, if you want to reap the benefits of going mobile, you need to have a strong strategy in place that will allow you to oversee the process from beginning to end.
Developing a mobile application from scratch takes time, research, and a lot of hard work if you want the results to be effective and benefit your business.
Below, you have the most important steps that should be taken when deciding to expand business accessibility on mobiles devices. This blueprint can help ensure that your strategywill reach its full potential.
Outline Your Business Needs
Before making any decision, you need to determine where your business is right now and what it needs to move forward. Ask yourself why does your company need a mobile application and how will it be beneficial. Will it bring something new to the table? Will it optimize or facilitate some processes? Is it useful for your employees or your customers?
Those are few of the questions you should be asking yourself at this stage. Your app needs to have an innovative factor so that prospects find it useful and convenient. Even if your audience prefers using a mobile device, if the app isn’t easy to use, then they might just stick with the desktop version.
Your app should also complement your business. You can conduct a simple SWOT analysis to see where your strengths are and where there is room for improvement. Once you have a 360-degree view of your organization, then it will be a lot easier to envision the perfect mobile app with the best UI and UX design.
Know Your Target Audience
Similar to when designing a product or your website, it’s vital to know a bit about the potential audience that will be using your app. People will undoubtedly have certain requirements and expectations, so you need to ensure that your application will meet the majority of them.
That being said, know that you can’t please everyone – nor should that be your goal. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to cram as many features as possible to please users; instead, you should focus on building something helpful and accessible. Before designing the app, you can conduct a small research effort to see what your audience needs and how a mobile app could make it easier for them to use your services/products or solve their problems.
Choose the Right Platform
Now that you know what kind of app you want to create and who you are building it for, the next step is deciding which platform is best for developing it. Mobile devices work on various operating systems and the OS you choose should be able to support all the functionalities you want the application to have.
Android and iOS are the largest and most widely used operating systems out there, with Android dominating about 87% of the market. Blackberry and Microsoft also have their own OS, though they’re not used as frequently.
Again, take a look at your audience and determine which OS they are more likely to use. It wouldn’t make sense to develop an app for iOS when most of your customers are Android users. If your resources allow it, you could develop your application on multiple OS to ensure a wider reach.
Focus on User Experience
Developing a mobile app isn’t that much different from building your website. Similarly to your site, the app should be simple and intuitive. Don’t clutter it with unnecessary features and functionalities. Focus on a few essential options and ensure users have a simple way to get to those services.
The whole point of mobile technology is that it’s easy and comfortable to use. Your UI design should have a fresh, clean look that is appealing to your audience. Furthermore, all the possible operations your users can do inside the application should not require more effort than a few taps or swipes. Remember, if your app is not user-friendly, then you’ll have a pretty hard time selling it.
Test It Before Launch
It should go without saying, but you would be surprised to learn how many companies don’t test their applications thoroughly before making them available to their customers. Test your app under different conditions to make sure it performs as desired. Even if you think it’s 100% flawless and you have complete faith in it, it takes just one bad review to make all your hard work irrelevant.
Don’t get the wrong idea: not everyone is going to like your app or find it useful. But, ensure that as far as design, user experience, and functionality are concerned, your app is as perfect as it can get. By testing your app from A to Z not only will you be able to fix what doesn’t work, but you’ll also be able to figure out what can be improved or added to its design. In the end, this provision will make sure you have a better product.
Over to You
Developing a mobile application from scratch takes time, research, and a lot of hard work if you want the results to be effective and benefit your business. It’s vital that your app be part of a broader strategy, and reflects your company’s visions.
Use these tips and remember that your application doesn’t have to tackle everything right from the start. Nothing is stopping you from updating and adding features to it, especially once you get a sense of what your audience would like to see next. To learn more about app development visit Blue Fountain Media.