When you break it down, mobile apps are really about people. Afterall, apps are downloaded, used and rated by living, breathing human beings. So, it makes sense that app development should be centered on people, their likes, their dislikes and sometimes their morbid curiosities. Too many mobile developers end up building apps to impress their colleagues, while completely overlooking the audience. Users are not going to be impressed with flashy, cool graphics or HTML5 features if it continually crashes on their phone. Let’s take a look at some key mobile app development “dos” and “donts.”
Four Common Things People Look for in a Mobile App
1.Readability & Clickability – The actual text on your apps need to be easily read. If users have to put on glasses, squint or turn on the lights to read the text on your app, it is officially difficult to read. When it comes to mobile app development, readability and clickability are key components that go hand-in-hand. If the text and features are easy to read and understand, then text and other design elements will be easy to click on. When in doubt, get feedback on app features and fonts to ensure they’re easy to read and click on.
2.Interactive Content – Bottom line: the content built into your app needs to be interactive. Whether that’s in the form of clickable phone numbers or an interactive game/entertainment experience, the user needs to be motivated to engage with your app. Users aren’t interested in clogging their phone’s memory with apps that simply read like a boring eBook.
3.Straightforward Design – Web developers have been banging the “intuitive design” drum for years, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Innovation and complexity are not necessarily the same things. In fact, some of the best mobile apps on the market are simple enough for a child to navigate through.
4.Top Shelf Customer Support – Users need to know that they have someone to go to when things go wrong with your app. Have a built-in option for users to contact customer support via email, SMS or by phone. It’s also important that you don’t mislead the user. Only use contact mediums that can result in quick, efficient app support for your users.
Four Epic Fails in MobileDev
1.Crash and Burn – The funny thing about mobile apps, is that at the very least they have to work properly. Apps that crash on a regular basis, or spit out annoying user errors, usually get sent to a smartphone’s trash bin.
2.Confusing Layout – If you thought web users had short attention spans, think again. Mobile web users have zero patience with confusing design. If the navigating the app requires a tutorial, it’s too complicated. Simplify it, and then try again.
3.Over the Top Advertisements – The worst of the worst in mobile app development involves shady advertising practices – disruptive banner ads, annoying flashing pop-up ads and other ridiculously unprofessional mobile ad experiences.
4.Repeating Content – When a company advertises a mobile app, the mobile app should actually have fresh and new content not found on the company website.
Focus on the User Experience (UX)
As any mobile dev professional will tell you, app development is a lot trickier than it sounds. Bloggers and thought leaders in the mobile dev space often throw around ideas like “maintain a balance between UI and UX-focused development.” While there is some truth to that, it overlooks the big problem–users are actually humans and their collective tastes are constantly evolving. App development for businesses will never be a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Smart mobile developers test, retest and then test some more. Understanding your potential users will result in a better app.