In an earlier post I outlined several key questions to answer before dashing off and investing in a mobile app strategy.
Assuming your answer is a resounding YES, how might you approach developing an app that actually has traction? One that wont join the legion of “me too” applications on the App Store. One that your target consumer would never consider deleting from their phone?
A quick checklist then…
Design for the device. Seems obvious but too many applications begin as web experiences ported over. Please don’t do that. Use the native functionality of the device to augment the experience. What could SLIDE, PINCH, DRAG do that point & click can’t.
Design for one key audience. If you’re building for a mechanic, design in ways that are intuitive for a mechanic, not a school teacher. Don’t use off-the-shelf code from your last application thinking it will save time – unless, of course, your last application was for designed for Mechanics.
Design for interconnectivity. Stand-alone applications are fun but one’s that connect to other devices, networks or objects are better. More fun, more utility = less chance they’ll be deleted. Consider how WiFi improve your application? Bluetooth? Could it use mobile wallet in some fresh way?
Design for all. Okay, this contradicts #2 but the thought here is design for those who don’t speak English, have limited sight, are hard of hearing, have arthritis and aren’t as dexterous. All those groups are potential markets for your application – don’t forget them.
Design to make a difference. Use your application to improve something. It needn’t cure cancer but think of use cases where your application can make a laborious experience faster, a cubersome one smoother, have less friction, reduce stress, enhance an experience. Heaven knows if your app shaves 2 minutes off the line-up at Starbucks Monday morning that’s huge.
Design for Now. Consumers will very quickly cotton on to the fact your application utilizes outdated OS. New functionality is evangalized so quickly that if your app doesn’t use it, consumers WILL notice and your app is toast. Additionally if you’re using the latest OS your app will run faster and lighter…and who doesn’t want that?
Design at least one surprise. I mentioned “me too” earlier and its true, there are a host of copycats on the App Store. However, if you can create just one unique feature or function in your application, that can often be enough to differentiate your app. There’s a 100 applications for prospective Homeowners out there, I think this one is pretty friggin neat.
Design for longevity. Perhaps not applicable for all apps as I pointed out previously, but you should proactively design for content refreshes, functionality enhancements and product upgrades. Aim to stay ahead of the fickle nature of your audience by providing new enhancements before they get bored and push DELETE.
Certainly not an exhaustive list. More like a number of guardrails as you start your application design.
Have I missed any key ones? What would you add to this checklist?