Creating a branded app is an essential step to take to maximizing your company’s reach — especially since more than 42.4 percent of the population of the UK now owns a smartphone. Apps dominate mobile web usage, with more than 86 percent of mobile web time dedicated to app usage, and only 14 percent of web time accounting for mobile web browsing. If you want to create a mobile app that is associated with your brand that functions well, looks good and becomes popular with users, the following tips will help.
1. Offer Utility
If you’re creating an app, you want it to offer users utility — not just information. That means that your app should actually DO something — like allow your customers to order products, play a game or access a service. Apps that merely offer information are of no use to mobile users, and your company is better off without an app than one that does nothing.
2. Make Sure It’s Designed for Mobile Usage
You don’t want to simply convert your entire website into an app. Instead, only include functions and features that make sense to access on-the-go. For example, FedEx only offers a very basic set of functions on its app (ship, track, etc.), while offering extensive features and research opportunities on its website. FedEx gets it right in that it only includes things people will want to do when they’re out of the house or the office — nothing involved or overly complicated.
3. Include All Platforms
The iPhone, released in 2007, was the first smartphone that introduced us to the idea of apps. Today, however, apps can be used on multiple platforms, including the Android, which is actually more popular than the iPhone (in fact, tech experts estimate there are three Android users for every one iPhone user). When you create your app, don’t just design it to be used on the iOS. Also take into account the Android OS, where many of your customers will be accessing it.
4. Test, Test, Test
When you finish creating your branded app, you want to make sure you test it out with an audience of potential users. Beta testing your product can show you how people like it, where bugs are and how the overall UX can be improved. Start out by offering friends and family members early access to the app in order to get their feedback. That way, once it comes time to release the app to the world, it will have been tweaked and refined.
5. Make the App Intuitive
One of the most important things you can keep in mind when creating an app is that it should be intuitive to use. When people are on the go, they don’t want to take the time to read detailed instructions or walk through a complicated tutorial. Make sure buttons are clearly marked and follow traditional UI patterns. According to design expert Heidi Pungartnik, “Use patterns you see in popular apps to help users learn your interface, like red for errors, envelopes for messages, and so on.”
If you’re creating a successful branded app, you want to make sure that app is pretty, easy to use and helpful to users. Once you’ve created an app that works, you’ll find that it will make your current customers happier — and bring in new ones as well.