5 keys to developing a successful smartphone app

The smartphone, this mini-computer in our pocket, is now an integral part of everyday life. Where would we be without them? However, there is nothing more annoying that an app that doesn’t work, runs super-slow or seems impossible to navigate.

Here are a five keys to avoid user aggravation:

1. Define your UI brand signatures

Make sure that every user interaction with the app reflects your brand-story. It should increase your customers brand awareness. If you are all about fairtrade, make sure that message is communicated through the features, visuals and wording. Everything you do should increase customer loyalty and enhance your brand values and story

2. Revisit the main purpose

Sometimes we can get carried away with the possible features, clever graphics and witty strap lines. Whilst there is nothing wrong with these things, if we focus too much on the additional benefits, we may lose sight of the initial purpose. For example, shopping apps can include fashion videos, socialising and reviewing, however, the customer still needs to be able to easily find what they are looking for.

3. Understand your products and platforms

Often, when you have limited time or resources, you have to make hard decisions about your design and optimisation. If you are launching several products at the same time, across multiple platforms, it can be helpful to work out which product and platform is likely to give you the greatest return. For example, if most of your customers use androids and you have one product which is popular and high-value, you should invest more resources into a polished app for the android. As opposed to spending all your money and resources equally across all platforms and products.

4. Optimise UI flows and smart loading mechanisms

Although they say us Brits are good at queuing, we still don’t like to wait and the same can be said of your customers. Make sure you have optimised individual screens, flows and UI elements, to ensure that users don’t feel they are wasting their time. The way you design your app can make this possible. Smart loading, including what we often call ‘lazy loading’ gives the user the impression that they are not waiting as long.

5. Ensure good communication between teams

Everyone in your team; designers, coders, developers and marketers all need to work together to ensure that performance expectations are agreed. It is only when the different teams communicate well that an app performs optimally. 

 I recommend that you spend a bit of time thinking about what you need your app to do? Who will be using it? What kind of device will they be using? And where are you likely to make the most profit? Have a think about the apps you regularly use, what works and what doesn’t. Try to put yourself in the customer shoes!