The development of digital applications (Apps) use has become mainstream, and most businesses use them to interact and engage with their customers and clients. For payment, shopping or just fun, Apps have become the main means of mobile engagement for many out there. You do not need a background in development or technology and the design and build of your App can be outsourced, however you do need to know the following for your App to be all it should be.
The global App market reached $106 Billion in 2018 and is expected to reach at least $400 billion by 2026. Ecommerce has been the major driver of this growth and as the pandemic forced even more retailers to think of innovative ways to join the online marketplace, it has become a booming sector of the online marketing and sales process.
1. Know your Audience and the market
Before you develop an App, you need to thoroughly research your audience. Who are you making the App for? What is their normal means of mobile communication and choice of technology? Without this knowledge you will be unable to design your app accordingly. The specific point here is to make sure that you understand that your App will not be for everyone. Various groups have different interests and needs and as such your app will need to identify with a specific user group or have design options and changes to meet the needs of specific groups.
Spending some time researching your possible and perceived audience will be key to starting your App development in the right direction. It is a user centric approach and is the foremost suggested means of approaching your App development.
Part of completing your audience research will be conducting market research, as you will need to understand where this audience currently accesses the information or activity that your App brings to the fore. Of the demographic sector you have identified for your product, you will need to know how many would be interested in the App, are they employed, and will they afford your app and the in-app purchases? This is all vital information and must be gathered before you start the App development, all of this information will direct the manner in which the App is focused and what you will offer via this mode of digital communication and interaction.
2. Test and Improve the App
The more you test the App before its release, the fewer problems your users are likely to encounter. The better the App works, the less uninstalls you will have, limiting bad reviews and ratings. The three main aspects to test for will be :-
Design and aesthetics:- Does everything show as you want it to, in both landscape and portrait. Check and test the selection of fonts that you have chosen and ensure that you are comfortable with the overall styling.
Usability issues:- How do users navigate and experience your app? If there are links, these need to work seamlessly and should any of these be to e-commerce it needs to be via a safe link.
Access problems:- Can those who you want to get onto the App, access and use it. Do log in credentials work and is it fast and easy for new users to log in.
Once the App has been released you will need to set up a schedule to keep testing and improving the App and its functionality. The App industry is incredibly fast moving, only continuous improvement can keep your App popular and in use. Part of the process for testing and improvement must include customer or user feedback. You must have a process of collecting and collating feedback from the users of the app to improve its functionality.
3. Think of Accessibility
App accessibility for all is an aspect that many app developers have neglected. Thus, if you ensure accessibility, this can be the one thing that allows you to stand out from your competition. Your App must be accessible to people with disabilities. Using audiovisual translation by Verbit is a prime example of how to increase such accessibility and allow those with sensory impairments to both access and easily use your App.
Both the App functionality and material must be accessible to all. This is law in most regions and if you do business in the UK, then the Disability Act will guide you, while in America the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Telecommunications Act are both clear in that providers of telecommunications services and equipment must ensure they are accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
Another means to improve accessibility is to simply add captions, which can boost the accessibility of your app and increase your user numbers. Providing access to the App to those who are both hearing and visually impaired will increase credibility and usability.
4. Design Apps for all platforms
Build for Android, IOS and Windows as well as for mobile and webservice. Designing specifically for Apple will be different from designing for Android. Using a cross platform App development process will allow your app to be accessed by larger numbers of people using any operating system and on any device. The App must feel comfortable to navigate and feel native on both operating systems and across devices. You may need to be creative with the specific platforms unique guidelines to ensure that the App feels and works the same across platforms.
5. Provide Sufficient and Obvious Levels of Data Protection
The aim is to get as many people to use the app as is possible. However, a key decision to take is whether the app will be public, with access granted to all, or whether there are certain private feeds. Perhaps there will need to be a sign-in for the entire App. Once you have decided who can access and use the App you will need to be able to guarantee their mobile privacy and safety when using the App.
There must be a means of gaining consent from users before you gather and store their data. Your App must additionally be able to provide a secure means of moving data between devices as well as storage of any client data in the Cloud.
Be sure to be aware of the data protection legislation in the country where your app is accessed and used. This may be different to the legislation where the app is built and maintained, so do your research to ensure that you do not breach data protection and become liable for any financial penalties.
If you keep these 5 aspects of App development in mind you will be able to design and create an app that will meet your audience requirements and better your competitors. Animation, advanced coding, and marketing of the App can all be added, once you have provided a solid foundation based on the 5 tips mentioned above. One key factor to keep in mind is that the information required in this development stage is and will be different for the various regions in which you intend to release the App for use. The market is not one homogenized whole and you must be able to determine the geographic region you are aiming at for the above steps to improve your App development, usability, and functionality.