June 15, 2016
It feels like a long time ago when everybody wanted a website. Now there is an increase in the potential to reach out to customers through their phones. There are plenty examples of businesses starting with websites and, later, moving on to mobile apps.
If you are thinking of taking the plunge, I’ve compiled the list of most important considerations to address.
1. Understand why you need the app
Users care about their experience with a company. If a user’s experience is bad, or is not seamless across platforms, he/she is likely to go elsewhere. Developing a cross-channel user experience is the reason why brick-and-mortar companies start with the Web, then go onto mobile apps.
It’s up to you to decide how exactly you want the cross-channel user experience to be implemented across platforms. You may capture all your website features in a mobile app or let the app perform a limited number of functions. You can even add a functionality that doesn’t exist in the Web version.
2. Evaluate your existing Web experience
The most essential step is to analyze what works and what doesn’t with a user’s web experience. You can use this insight to increase both the website and the app user experience.
Let us take the example of Facebook: it started with a website and then a Web app. Over a period of time, it created a native app with simplified user interface, with some core features from its site.
3. Identify your audience to target
While analyzing your existing Web experience, you’ll also gain a fair idea of who your existing users are. This would be the time to decide if your app should target the same audience or a different demographic. The result of assessing your website may lead you to identifying a group of potential users your website was missing or the limited interaction your current users may have with the site.
4. Reflect on the Use Cases for Apps
It is important to understand that each user is different and every user’s experience, expectations, needs and sense of urgency would be very different when they use an app.
It is important to address issues such as whether your users would access the app in a crowded place or if they are less likely to use a convoluted app after a long day of work. It is important to ensure the experience you are delivering is not just great, but also fits your users’ needs.
5. Define clearly the goals of your app
Take a close look at why you need to create an app. An app can increase brand recognition, visibility and reach. It is important to remember that creating an app is a huge investment both in cost and time.
Only invest in an app if you believe that there is something for you and your users to gain from its development. This can only be decided after an analysis of your website, audience and use cases.
6. Refine your app functionality
This is where you decide what features you want your app to have. Rather than trying to cram everything on the website into your app, try to incorporate some must-have features. This would depend on your app goals and use cases. Facebook, for instance, has multiple apps such as Messenger, each with their own core functionality, that work together to improve the overall user experience.
In conclusion, mobile apps can offer great operational efficiency. Mobile platforms also offer possibilities for user engagement that websites often do not, such as, push notifications, gratification features, and location-based actions, all developed natively.
To decide if this is the right move for you, follow the above tips to determine if an app can help both your business and your customers.
Henry David is a blogger and technologist, who loves to write about trends and technology. Currently, he works with Cumulations Technologies — a mobile app development company.