As we begin a new decade, it is good to reflect on the one we have left behind. Over the last 10 years Shortcut has had the privilege to consult our customers on the design and development of over 200 mobile apps, and we are ready to help you set your Mobile App Resolutions for 2020.
Although every app is different and serves a unique purpose, there are some general questions you might ask before we dive deeper.
Why do you need a mobile app?
There are currently over 4 million apps within the App/Play Store. It is a great opportunity to interact with potential new users and create loyalty with existing users. Having a mobile app increases user engagement, but most importantly is a great marketing tool and can, therefore, help increase revenue.
Who are your target markets?
If you have a product to sell or a service to offer, you first have to know who your target market is. In order to succeed you have to build your brand while keeping who your customers are in mind every step of the way.
- Who buys your product?
- Who else would benefit from your service?
- What problem is your app trying to solve?
- Who is your app helping?
- Who would want to use your app?
- How would a person use your app?
Now that you’ve reflected on these questions, let’s discuss the broader features of mobile apps. These are 5 resolutions we think every app should consider in 2020.
Notifications are a great way to interact with app users. As most of us are app users ourselves, we’re probably all familiar with the app that sends too many push notifications, so it becomes annoying rather than useful. This is something you want to avoid. The consumption that more notifications = more usage is incorrect, and to ensure that the user doesn’t disable notifications altogether, you want to find the balance between too much and not enough. Alerts and important updates should most likely be notified, but generalized messages should be kept to a minimum depending on the purpose of your app.
Optimizing An App For Offline Access
With 5G quickly becoming a standard there will soon be little need for offline access, but everyone has intermittent connection issues from time to time. By creating a User Interface that has static information that can be used without internet access, you can create a better experience for users with slow or unstable internet connections.
This can, for example, be achieved by, syncing a local database (SQLite) on the phone with one in the cloud. This allows the user to interact with the last known updated piece of content.
An increasing amount of devices are now using biometric authentication, which is something developers should certainly take advantage of. Biometric authentication allows for a seamless and secure way to access a mobile app. For devices without biometrics, a PIN-code is the next best thing. Small changes like this can make your app stand out amongst its competitors, and provides a more seamless user experience.
Since the early 2000s, advertising and GPS tracking have been in the mobile world. Targeted advertising based on mobile devices allows more information about the consumer to be transmitted, not just their interests, but their information about their location and time. This allows targeted advertisements to cater to a user’s day to day schedule and a more specific changing environment. GPS provides a grid location of exactly when and where that mobile user has been. This unspoken agreement where you give free apps information about you in exchange for not having to pay for the app has been a key marketing point. Android and iOS have been cracking down on this by notifying the users that apps are tracking your location and if you should turn the feature off or allow the app to continue tracking.
Then comes beacons, small wireless transmitters that use low-energy Bluetooth technology to send signals to other smart devices nearby. They are one of the latest developments in location technology and proximity marketing. Put simply, they connect and transmit information to smart devices making location-based searching and interaction easier and more accurate.
Using location-based services enables incredible values for both you and your users if used responsibly. For example, if a user is walking near a store that sells a product they can get a notification of that happening or maybe to remind them to book an appointment. Whatever the use case is, location-based services are something that should be used in an app with moderation.
Mobile technology is increasing every few months with the latest chips and newest technology. When the user is looking to buy a phone they look at how long the battery will last at a given time. Therefore it is key to make sure that the mobile app is not draining the user’s battery. Within the battery settings on a mobile, a user can see what apps are consuming the most battery and if it is an app the user doesn’t actually need, it will quickly be uninstalled.
Optimizing the app to save battery can be endless, but commonly the OS can put a frontend, notification, or backend process into time slots or levels of battery access.
None of this is trade secrets, but a lot of it is critically important and often overlooked. A lot of apps are focused on how unique their product is and fail to make the user experience painless.
Mobile apps will increase the traffic to a product, but it can also tarnish the brand if it is done wrong. Even if an app is built, it doesn’t mean the users will actually use it. The app ecosystem is competitive, and users are increasingly picky when looking for an app they're willing to commit time to. It is in the best interest to make sure the mobile app is respecting the user’s time by giving them an easy to use solution and reasons to use the app.