Five things to consider when planning an app: Usage, UX, and more

Five things to consider when planning an app: Usage, UX, and more Ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing and Social Media influencers, Dan Purvis is passionate about bringing content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences, in order to deliver tangible business value and ROI. Dan is also a Media Champion for the Alzheimer's Society and has raised nearly £10,000 GBP for the charity since his father passed away from the disease in October 2016.

The app designing process will be a bumpy road if you don’t take a methodical approach. Your business doesn’t just need an app: it needs a user-friendly app that provides substantial value. If you know you want an app, then break out the whiteboard and start drafting out your plan.

There are some vital considerations you’ll have to make during the formative stages of mobile app development to assure that things stay budget-friendly and none of your efforts are wasted. So read on and make sure you can answer these five questions – whether a business or consumer app.

What is the point of your app?

Apps should have a focused purpose. What do you want people to use your app for? What convenience will it provide them? An app that’s too broad many be confusing to use, and an app that’s too narrow may not be perceived as worth downloading. And what about in-app advertising – worthwhile having, or a frustrating experience for users?

Keep things simple, but make sure that your customer base will have practical ways to utilise your app in their everyday lives. Don’t waste your app development budget playing with concepts that have only been half-conceived.

Who is going to use your app?

Websites and branding are all designed to appeal to particular target audience segments and demographics. Apps need to be designed with the same mentality. If your business primarily serves people of a certain gender or age group, make sure the design and functionality of your app will be favourable to your target audience.

For simplicity, the general rule of thumb is that millennials – of similar ilk – won’t appreciate oversimplified apps that don’t really do much, and people in higher age groups may not appreciate an app that’s too complicated. Always design the app for the user.

How will your app differ from similar apps?

If you want people to select your app over your competitor’s, you need to make that choice obvious and easy. Research your competition’s apps. You need to make sure that your app stands out. Offer things that they don’t offer, and build on the areas that users of those apps have critiqued. Above all, put customer experience at the centre of your planning.

If people don’t like something about your competition’s app, they won’t like it in your app either. The failures of your competitors can simplify your trial and error process. Researching competitors’ apps is key, especially when you are attempting to enter a competitive and well-established market.

If you have a great idea for the incredibly competitive travel or holiday planning market, then be sure to not only check out the established big players – the likes of Airbnb, Orbitz, Expedia and – but also a newer entrant to the market. See what works well for them or doesn’t. Learn as much as you can about the pros and cons, and see just how much apps have disrupted and improved the travel industry.

Quite simply, apps are helping consumers in every industry and are driving innovation in even centuries-old industries. Take a look at taxis and the impact of Uber – it’s clear that ridesharing apps alone have led to massive transformation within the transport industry.

How are you going to test your app?

While your app is in development, you’ll need to do a lot of test runs. You have to check for bugs and other problems throughout the app. You’ll also want to make sure that people actually enjoy using it.

You don’t want to find out that users hate your interface a few hours after the app is launched, so it’s virtually impossible to do so much testing. You can hire experienced bug testers or a small test group that mimics your desired demographic, through a site like Fiverr, or Gumtree, or more.

How do you plan to release your app?

Do you want to hold an event that leads up to your launch? How do you know your launch won’t occur on a same day as a major event for a competitive company? Do you know how many platforms you’ll need to optimise your app for?

You can have the best app in the world, but failing to release it properly can cause it to become lost in the abyss of the app stores. Set your release data, and spend as much time as possible building up interest and anticipation in your app. Whether with competitions or adverts, emails, or through the media, a viral loop campaign or social media, you need to make the most of your launch. Make sure that on launch day everyone who wants your app will be able to download it.

Conclusion? Go create your mobile app!

This article is just the tip of the iceberg. Apps are invaluable tools for customer service and brand relations. They may be able to significantly drive sales, particularly if you give users the option to purchase things through the app. Just don’t forget that the quality of the app is what will make it most enticing to users. Keep an open line of dialogue with your customers about what they would appreciate in an app.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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