5 Rules to Build an Amazing App
Building a great app is about following a very rigid discipline that requires insight, planning, execution and constant refining. A well-designed app addresses the user’s needs and keeps users engaged over time. Keep these 5 rules in mind before you set out to building an app.
1. Identify the Problem
It should go without saying that the problem should be well defined in advance. Many companies set out to building an app without having a real problem; a problem that the app uniquely addresses. Having a cool mobile app that does not solve a real problem is a short-lived app and is not a smart reason to invest money, time and effort. Just having the mobile app to supplement your website is not a good idea either as your website should already be responsive. Your app should serve a unique purpose for an existing problem, leveraging unique features suited for mobile devices.
2. Know your Users
Understanding how your targeted users are going to interact with the application is crucial. We use journey maps among other tools to gain in-depth understanding of who is going to use our app. Are users going to be checking your app frequently during the day for short bursts of time, or will they be spending more time with your app opening it a few times a week? Will they be walking while they are trying to read information on your app, or will they primarily be sitting still? The way your app will be used will directly impact the feature set and experience design. Since you only have so much real estate on a mobile device, you need to be able to maximize that space to deliver a clean and user-friendly experience.
3. Create an Amazing User Experience
Users do not want to have to search for things in apps. If your app has a steep learning curve, there is a good possibility that users will delete it before exploring all the app has to offer. Also, experience has shown that functionally overloaded apps do not take off. The Swiss knife principle does not work for mobile apps; it actually has the opposite effect. Easy navigation, shallow view structure and a delightful presentation are our drives. Your app should be something that you would want to use.
4. Integrate Analytics
Decide what and how to measure your app before finishing the initial build phase as you will want to measure how your app is used from the get-go. Setting up and measuring the metrics of your app will allow making additional features and improving the user experience a much easier job. Some of the key metrics are listed below.
- Users/Session Length. The best way to create deeper engagement is by understanding how many users you are getting on your app and how long they are staying.
- Time In App. While session length measures each session individually, Time in App will measure how long a user was in your app over a select timeframe.
- Retention. How many users return to your app? If your retention rate is low, then you need to figure out how to keep users around.
- Functions Used. What app functionalities are used, how often and which ones are not? These metrics will help determine which functionalities to focus on and which ones are not needed in future releases. Put it simply, it assists with your product roadmap decision-making.
5. Create a Feedback Loop
Apps are created for users, thus why not allowing users to help you to refine your app? Allow users to submit feedback -good or bad- to help you constantly improve your app. Make sure you collect and categorize comments and suggestions and use them as your input for new releases. Users’ needs and demands are constantly evolving. Stay up to date with consumer and app development trends to keep your apps relevant, be ahead of the competition and keep your users engaged.