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December 7, 2016
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Key Features of Successful Mobile Apps

By Kimber Johnson

Mobile
Figure 1: A collection of mobile apps

With the incredible sales of smartphones, tablets, and wearables, mobile apps have turned into vital tools for commerce. A mobile app has to be taken into serious consideration when brands think of marketing.

If you are thinking of incorporating a mobile application into your business model, you need to include a number of essential features that reflect your brand's persona and values. It is worth noting that these features of a successful mobile app do not depend on the kind of business you run. So what are these key features of a successful mobile app?

Purposeful

You should not develop a mobile app just to please the eye of the user. It needs to do something. Otherwise, it will end up getting forgotten or deleted. Many businesses have developed mobile apps that do nothing more than display products and services—not something customers will use to solve their problems or fulfill their needs. If you want to build a mobile app, it is important that your app is purposeful. In addition, understand what problem your app is solving. If not, users will simply delete it.

Once you optimize your app to become something that customers rely on to manage some part of their daily life, it will be difficult for competitors to prove that they have a better option. Therefore, if you are looking for an idea for your mobile application, start with this approach.

Targeted

Knowing your target audience is very important in every field of business. It is a vital step in the building and marketing of a successful mobile application. For mobile application developers, the correct identification of a target audience is of utmost importance due to the lack of face-to-face sales opportunities. Identifying your mobile application's target market involves conducting research before, during, and after the actual development process. By knowing who is most likely to use your product, you can plan the functionality and design around their preferences.

Once you have figured out your target market, you can design your application with that information in mind. Although that may result in a relatively small market, the users who make up that market will be more likely to download your app and interact with it on a regular basis. The users will stick around, provided the application offers a unique value for those users. Identifying your audience can also be a big advantage when marketing your products and service through your app.

User Friendly

As major app stores become more crowded than ever, developing high quality apps has become very critical. Your mobile app ought to be innovative, informative, and user-friendly. In other words, your focus is to have an app that not only meets the requirements of the target audience but also is interactive and easy to use.

But what makes an app user-friendly? When developing a mobile app, the first thing to keep in mind is usability. A quality mobile app must sport an interface that focuses on usability. The easiest way to do this is to follow the example of widely used apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter. Not only should an app be easy to navigate and work as expected, it also should be simple to use. You do not have to make it complicated. Just keep it simple. It does not make sense to throw dozens of features into your mobile application simply because you think they are cool. Only include the few basic but important things that users want.

Adaptive

As a business, it is important to know that an effective mobile strategy involves more than just creating an app. Your app needs to adapt with your customer's needs, behavior, and preferences. It should be able to deliver what a customer wants. This way, it will be easier to deal with their concerns. This is especially true if you are a small- to medium-sized business. It should be able to showcase your products and services and offer instant and one-step access to your offering. Offering them options according to their needs and preferences encourages them to visit your app on a frequent basis. Having an app that adapts with your customer needs will produce the right results for your brand because it will result in more downloads and return customers.

User Focused

A user experience is the entire experience that users perceive as they interact with every facet of an app. If the user experience is bad, the user is likely to develop a negative perception of that application. As a result, the user will likely tell his/her family and friends about their experience, hence discouraging them from downloading and using the application. The same chain reaction occurs with positive user experience. That's why you need to focus on user-centered design when creating your app. Basically, user-centered design is the process of involving users or your target audience, more specifically, testing with users of your application during the app design process. Designing an app that works for your target audience will also work for your business. Remember, your app users are the ones who will need to navigate your app, find information, and of course, complete tasks. Thus, you need to make the user experience better. This may include having the relevant information on the app, making navigation easy, or reducing load time. An understanding of the user preference and needs with respect to goals, a task, or features on an app, becomes the set of user experience requirements. That's what keeps applications going and makes them popular.

The Bottom Line

People like to use mobile apps that are easy to use and fulfill their needs. This is what you ought to keep in mind while building and designing your app. A good app will be user-friendly, simple, innovative, and solve problems. It is about encouraging users to use your app. A great app is the one that satisfies the end user.

About the Author

Kimber Johnson is the co-founder of ASPEN App Design, which is a sister company of Vanity Point and Pacific App Design. He has worked within the Web development, graphics design, mobile application development, marketing, and advertising fields for over 17 years.

This article was contributed for exclusive use on Developer.com. All rights reserved.


Tags: smartphone, business model, user friendly, wearable app, mobile app creation, adaptive




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