Since the release of the iPhone, and subsequently Android, there have been headlines decrying the ascendency of mobile, how mobile applications will change everything, and why YOU should have a mobile app (or ten) for your company or you will quickly become a dinosaur. This has led to a flurry of apps developed and released within both the enterprise and commercial environments, and, ultimately, the failure of many of these applications in serving their intended purpose, whether that be through monetization or greater employee efficiency.
The question, though, is not whether you need an app for your business, but whether users will utilize that app, and there’s a lot that can get in the way of that, specifically bloated or overly complicated applications.
Phones Aren’t Desktops
A common source of inspiration for mobile apps comes from the desktop/web world where applications can be highly complex and serve a multitude of purposes. Mobile apps are then made that attempt to contain all of these features in a mobile environment, which inevitably backfires.
Think about what you yourself use a phone for: information and communication. The most successful apps utilize this and do so simply; people come to their phones not for creation or processing, but to find a restaurant, see a picture, or send a message. In the business world this is no different. The most utilized apps are those that act as aids to the user, enabling them to make better decisions, automate tasks, and communicate more easily with others. Applications attempting to bring large-scale desktop applications to phones have had little success.
User Experience is Everything
So what then makes an app successful? It’s not enough for a user to find an app useful; they must love the application, enough to incorporate it into their daily routines.
This is where User Experience, or UX, comes in. Not only do you want an app that delivers information or enables communication, you want it to do so seamlessly, in a way that the user doesn’t even notice.
For example, look at Instagram. When you take a picture and prepare to post it the app uploads it in the background while you decide upon your edits to the photo. This allows the picture to appear in your feed instantaneously, without the upload delay.
The same principle can apply everywhere: strip down and automate your application so that the user has the bare minimum of effort to perform their tasks. Don’t overload them; make them enjoy they experience.
Do You Build an App Then?
So, should you build that app for your company? Will people use it? The answer can actually be yes much of the time. At Bluefletch, we build apps from the user up, looking to deliver highly productive and accessible applications that seek to enable users, not hamper them with difficult learning curves and additional time spent entering data.