This is the easiest and hardest item
on the list. Easy because it should already reflect everything your
business or brand has already done to get here. The devil, however, is
in the details and that means that the purpose of your app should
somewhat be different from what your website is already doing. Ask
- What problem does your app solve and how are you solving it differently?
- If your
app doesn’t solve a problem (think games or Spotify), what value does it
add to your user’s life whether as a service or entertainment?
- What conveniences do you want to offer with your app that can’t be addressed on a PC?
- What in your strategy and delivery sets you apart from everyone with this app?
The success of the rest of the items on your list are contingent upon your app’s purpose
so this is usually the longest step to get right and often needs to be
revisited throughout the process. Aim to make your app describable in a
1-2 sentence snippet. After all, you can use the description when you
submit it to the App or Play store later.
Websites are great at delivering a lot of content. Apps are better at delivering accessible, need-to-know-now content.
That means that the amount of information that you put in an app should
not be overwhelming and certainly should not be a translation of your
website. Things like a subscription page or a “meet the team” page can
be scrapped for the sake of simplicity and efficiency. Your app should
serve as a corner store in your user’s phone so making services and
support accessible with “one tap” is crucial.
There’s a positive correlation with
good content and amount of “time spent in app”. Since content is king,
it’s important to make sure of the following things:
- Make your content relevant.
That means putting scores up on the homepage of your sports app or
making an interactive venue map accessible in “two taps” if you’re a
- Put pertinent information at the top. Readers
have a shorter attention span when they’re in need of critical
information. This is doubly true when you they’re on-the-go reading from
their smartphones. Make sure you answer or provide relevant information
within the first paragraph or two of each page.
- Short and concise. When your
screen is 5 inches tall and 2 inches wide, it’s difficult to read blocks
of texts. Tighten your writing and deliver short, powerful messages in
2-3 sentences at a time.
- Images > text. Studies
show that mobile users stare longer at images and videos than text
itself. This doesn’t mean you can’t have written content but you should
be using visuals either as a background for your text, a break from it,
or a way to explain to the user what they’re reading.
Your app should an extension of your
brand. Everything your design team implements, from your logo to the
placement of each feature, should account for user experience.
Here are some design tips that Mobile Roadie uses to ensure the best UX
- Understand the capabilities and limitations of the hand. We optimize tab navigation so that it’s one-hand and thumb-friendly.
- Use the “3 tap rule”.
Some complex apps have a lot of content but Mobile Roadie adheres to
the belief that every piece of content should be accessible in 3 taps.
From the home screen, we ensure that each section has a maximum of 3
tiers of categories so that users can intuitively navigate through
- Utilize obvious call-to-actions. All
of our apps use an attractive navigation bar at the bottom of the
screen that’s thumb-friendly and directs users to the features of an app
like an activity feed, interactive map, search bar, or support page. It
ensures that your users are getting the most out of the app by calling
their attention to navigation buttons.
- Map out everything manually. Create wireframes, layout user stories, and chart experience maps to understand the motivations and feelings of users when they see a screen or interact with a certain feature.
4. TARGET AUDIENCE
Knowing off the bat who your users
are (age, gender, location, demographics) will allow you to design and
create content appropriately. If you own a single-purpose app (think of
when Facebook made Messenger a stand-alone app), your audience might be
those who need to access it quickly and often so cluttering it with
excessive content or a complex design won’t work.
You can get a better grasp of your audience by creating personas (imaginary characters made up by the expected interactions with your app) and user scenarios (imaginary situations and what people would do step-by-step to solve them).
Sometimes, you might have two
different audiences. Take for example, an app created for a school and
meant to be used by both students and parents. The former might need a
map of the school, schedule of classes, and sports schedule while the
latter might need access to report cards, school forms, and
parent-teacher conferences. In that case, Mobile Roadie ensures that
both parents and students receive group-specific information and have
access to shared news by creating accounts for every user. This way when
each user logs in, the app will populate content specific to the
student or parent.
No, we’re not talking about the most
valuable player although you’re pretty awesome. The minimum viable
product is the absolute bare bones release of your app limited to only
its basic features. It is one of the most valuable (see what I did
there?) tools to receive the initial round of reviews and comments so
you know what direction to improve in before continuing with
development. Mobile Roadie actually developed an app that allows you to
preview what your app looks like in real time and experience the
features for yourself. Called Mobile Roadie Connect, our version of an
MVP “app previewer” also helps you figure out:
- How easy is it to use your app?
- What fixes do you need to make to bugs found in the MVP?
- Does your app still align with business and customer values?
- Is your app ready for the app store?