With the influx of new technology, running a business has changed. The increased reliance on smart phones means that mobile apps are now a crucial part of any business strategy — irrespective of size, product or service.
Reports indicate that in 2020, mobile apps will generate around 189 billion U.S. dollars in revenue through app stores and in-app advertising.
An overall online presence is important, too. Making sure your brand has a consistent design is vital and your website is definitely the place to start. But advancements in the mobile development space have meant that users are turning towards apps as a single platform to engage with a business or brand; including making purchases, looking for offers and promotions, and exploring new products or services available.
Having a functional app is one of the best ways to create growth for your business and access new audiences. Here are some things to consider when creating yours.
Joel Spolsky, creator of list-making application Trello once said: “Design adds value faster than it adds cost.”
Successful mobile apps have good design at their core. That includes of course, the visuals and aesthetic — but also a well-designed user experience, otherwise known as UX.
Good design is user-centric. Putting the user’s perspective and experience at the centre of every design choice will make the app, as a whole, easier to navigate. Which means that the user is then more likely to stay on a purchase or service journey to get to where you want them to be — whether that’s a sale, contact form, or redirection to a social media page or website.
Navigation and ease of use are also key elements when fostering a sense of trust with your customer. If your mobile app isn’t well designed, why would your product and service be? If a customer can’t easily navigate a site, make a purchase or resolve a query, then it might make sense for them to go somewhere else.
That ‘somewhere else’ is your competitors — who you can expect will have already invested in good design. As mobile use increases, and apps become more popular, businesses are flocking to agencies and freelancers - or hiring their own in-house designers and developers - to create their own. With great design, you can stay ahead of the competition - and keep your audience engaged.
Social media has become a key part of consumers everyday lives. Studies show a steady increase in social media usage; in 2018 it was reported that more than 3 billion people around the world were accessing social media every month — with 9 out of 10 individuals accessing it via their mobile devices.
A key feature of any great app is its ability to integrate social media into its functionality. The ability to use social media websites like Facebook to sign into other apps - for example, Tinder and Instagram - has increased in popularity. Benefits include ease of use for user login, as well as the ability to draw from user’s media content, like photographs, across different apps.
It’s also possible to develop in-app social sharing. A business app can benefit from having its Twitter or Facebook feeds featured live within their own app. This is a great place for their users to access news, but also has the added benefit of exposure, and potentially new followers, for their accounts.
There are many more features to consider that will improve the design and functionality of your business app — and lead to growth in your business overall.
Whether you’re selling a service or product, an in-app purchase feature is a must. Push notifications keep your customer informed of news and offers, and increase usage of the app. And customer loyalty programmes, whether that’s through a points systems or bonuses, keep consumers coming back to the app again and again.
Well-designed apps to explore
There are many other great apps to review when designing your own for your business.
For travellers, there’s Kayak — an all-in-one holiday planning app. Kayak amalgamates flights, holiday activities and hotels into the app, as well as sourcing the best deals and offers. It’s a great example of the benefits of integrating other websites; users can do what they need within one location, never having to source information or options from outside the app.
If it’s a gaming app you’re thinking about designing, Wink Bingo’s mobile bingo app is a great example of solid design and UX. As many people now play games through their mobile phones on-the-go, the app allows them to enjoy their favourite Bingo games from wherever they are. The cross-platform functionality of the app is something other apps can learn from; access via an Android, iPhone or tablet, allows for a range of different customers who may enjoy playing on or using different platforms.
Trello is another fantastic example of a well-designed app. Built to help its users with productivity, the app allows its users to drag and drop tasks over boards and lists. Based on the website version, Trello’s mobile app has great navigation and offers the user an array of options in board styles to suit any preference.
For sports fans, ESPN’s Fantasy Sports App is the place to go. It’s also a solid model of a thoughtfully created app with UX and data organisation at its core. Through the app, fans can keep updated strategies, teams, sports and players through any season. The simplicity of the layout and design is definitely something other businesses can learn from.