By Paul Swaddle, Chairman of Pocket App
Mobile applications are fast becoming a necessity for modern businesses, regardless of industry or size. A mobile app can increase the visibility of your company, act as a powerful marketing tool, and provide a straightforward channel for both customers and employees to engage with your business.
As a result, app development is a hot topic in today’s business landscape and a vast number of companies are developing their own bespoke apps. So if you are considering creating an app for your business, be mindful that you already have considerable competition, and that it would be wise to step back and make sure you have fully considered your options before embarking on what is unlikely to be a cheap or instant solution. To help guide you through this thought process, here’s my take on what it takes to create a successful app.
1. Ask yourself if you really need an app.
Is the app you are aiming to create innovative, clear, imaginative and will it be able to stand out in what is already a highly competitive market? As of June 2016, there were 2.2 million apps available to Android users and 2 million in Apple’s App Store, so it’s safe to say that mobile apps are not short in supply. You need to ask yourself: Does the app add value above a mobile site? Does it make the most out of a phone’s features? Does your app allow offline access for remote workers? It is simply not enough to make your website into an app. It needs a clear purpose and must have add value if it is going to be successful.
2. Encourage your staff to be involved.
The people that work within a company will know the business far better than anyone hired from an external company, so take time to ask for ideas from your employees. They will more than likely be able to offer valuable opinions on the design, creativity and target audience that should be taken into consideration when building your app. Not only do your employees have extensive knowledge of what you are trying to achieve through a mobile app, they are also likely to be consumers themselves, and will be able to offer an opinion on what would stand out to them. Take time to gather and listen to as much advice as possible from within the company, and then approach the external designer with a more complete image of what your company requires in an app.
3. Make allowances in your budget for all possibilities.
Mobile apps require constant maintenance; the creation of the app is just the start. Whether it’s through servers, updating your design for a newly released smartphone or to implement software updates and roll out new features, there are a lot of things to consider within the budget besides the initial design of the app itself. Make sure that you have the means to cover these costs so that you’re prepared for any surprises, and that you can ultimately guarantee the mobile app development can survive without funds becoming an issue.
4. Plan for delays and disruption.
Deadlines are important in any aspect of business, but sometimes, forces beyond your control come into play and plans have to change. When creating an application, we would always advise to give the development stage an extra two to three weeks to allow for any unforeseen setbacks, delays and server fixes. It’s never a good idea to plan an extravagant launch or marketing campaign too far in advance and finding your plans interrupted or delayed. There’s always a lot to be said for being prepared, and in the ever-changing world of app development, the best way to achieve this and to ensure the best use of your funds and resources, is to expect the unexpected.
5. Collate reviews from users and make it clear why your app matters.
Internal feedback is crucial for the success of any app being launched. Be open to all reviews, positive and negative, and actively encourage feedback of all kinds; not only so that you can improve your app, but also to let your colleagues know that their opinion matters to your business. Remember that the key to a successful app is how well it meets the needs of the business. The mobile app industry is so fast paced that you need to be open-minded and flexible to ensure that your app remains relevant. Pocket App always embed analytics in the app so that we can fully understand what users are doing or not using in your application. This helps ensure that the app is continuously up-to-date with relevant information creating a long-term successful mobile app.
App development is an exciting landscape, and when executed correctly, a mobile app can be a turning point for your business. At Pocket App, we believe that these five considerations are key to achieving mobile success, and are confident that by bearing them in mind, any business can create an app that increases brand awareness, customer and employee satisfaction, and ultimately, boosts your sales.
Learn more about the skills required to create mobile apps with these helpful courses from HOW Design University: