Have you ever had “the talk” with your kids? Not the embarrassing discussion about the birds and the bees, but the life without the Internet talk?
Just like kids don’t understand a time when there were three or four broadcast TV channels, they cannot imagine what life was like without the Internet. No ready access to music videos, people doing stupid things, news and esoterica on Reddit and catching up with friends on Facebook. For them, the Internet is just there, as much a part of life as breathing.
In the same vein, can you imagine how your business could operate without mobile apps? Businesses today must be more nimble than ever, and mobile apps are how an increasing number of companies manage inventory, interact with customers, communicate with employees and run their businesses.
But an effective app must do more than fulfill the needs of the business. It also must be intuitive and easy to use. Find out how to accomplish both aims by downloading (link) our e-book, “5 Ways to Design Apps with User Experience and Business Needs in Mind”.
Considering I’ve recently written on the business needs aspect of the design process, I thought today I’d focus on user experience (UX).
UX should be a critical consideration for every app, not just those designed for the consumer marketplace. But designing with user experience in mind doesn’t occur at the final stage when the heavy lifting of the development process has been completed. Rather, UX starts at the time the business app is first envisioned.
We recommend a mobile center of excellence that guides all app development and the use of standard technologies, frameworks and processes to help ensure an app meets the needs of the business and the user. This also allows a company to catalog components of various apps that can be mixed and matched on future apps without having to design from scratch, saving both time and money.
Maybe your company is small or doesn’t develop that many apps, so something that sounds as grandiose as a Mobile Center of Excellence isn’t needed. Regardless of company size or project size, standardizing development will help you avoid bottlenecks that can cause unnecessary delay, unnecessary expense and degrade the user experience.
Who drives app development at your company? Although IT should be involved in the effort, the appropriate product manager should provide the direction. This helps ensure the app does what it is intended to do, without additional functionality that adds no value. Your IT staff should be on top of development trends and recommend potential features, but the final decision should rest with the product manager.
Using the proper development architecture from the start also helps respect users and conform to the devices they are carrying. Most devices can use apps, and all have different screen sizes, operating systems and functionality. A standard architecture that abstracts the user experience, user interface and business logic from the underlying architecture through a well-designed application programming interface will make an app as device-agnostic as possible while leveraging the unique capabilities of each platform.
Apps should work unobtrusively, load quickly and link to the necessary back-office systems (where appropriate) with the proper authentication to safeguard sensitive information. Again, recognizing up front what features an app should have will smooth the development process and make for a better user experience.
For more tips on how to design effective apps, download our e-book, “5 Ways to Design Apps with User Experience and Business Needs in Mind.”
Thoughtful, up front planning is the best way to avoid a bottleneck.