To some people, building an app is an impossible dream. Try as they might, they just can’t get the hang of this coding lark.
But to others, it’s not the strange words and characters that make up computer languages which present the problem, no, the real challenge is how to get people to notice, download, install, and use your app.
While we may not be able to provide answers for everything, we do try and give you an insight into the strange and exciting world of building and marketing an app.
In this interview, Eran Kinsbruner, director, mobile technical evangelist, Perfecto, outlines some of the key requirements of building a successful app.
EM360: How can businesses manage their search appearance and promote engagement with their apps?
Eran Kinsbruner: Fundamental to ensuring that your app is getting noticed and used is making sure that it works.
There are different ways to get your app noticed, including SEO for app stores and web, paid app promotion, enhancing it with add-ons and download access through alternative channels such as YouTube – but users will not be encouraged to download or use a poorly reviewed and poorly performing app.
One high street bank came to us after its mobile banking app outages had generated an unprecedented volume of angry customers venting on social media, in turn fuelling news coverage – its app was getting noticed, but for the wrong reasons.
Performance is not simply a question of how fast your app loads; it’s how it performs in different environments and user conditions.
How does it work when switching between apps and screens? How does it handle changing from Wi-Fi to 3G / 4G network connections? Is it available and functional across the device types and OSs users are likely to be looking for and using it on?
The key to organically promoting engagement is to have an app that is, quite simply, easy to engage with. This means usability; the end user needs to be able to easily find and execute the main functions of the app without waiting too long or having to click through too many screens.
An extension of promoting engagement is ensuring your app has a competitive edge. Utilising innovative features such as voice or touch ID can make it easier for users to interact with your app.
Thorough testing of apps in simulated real-life user environments, across the right platforms, and continuous development of functionality and usability will therefore be key to helping your app be the most downloaded and engaging one within its space.
What are the challenges of managing the app’s user engagement from a CIO’s point of view?
When it comes to the challenges of managing app user engagement, what tends to keep the CIO and CDO up at night is the question of how efficiently they and their app will be able to respond and react to immediate and future needs.
These challenges can be divided into two categories: a) how well teams and apps can react to existing performance issues and roll-out fixes, and b) how fast it can respond to market changes, such as upgrading to new features and OS updates.
Performance management and improving the user experience of apps is a continuous quality challenge. It can be reactive to user complaints and performance issues and bugs that arise, but organisations will be better positioned to deal quickly with such problems if they have the systems in place to monitor user experiences and be proactive in fixing them before it negatively affects the app user’s interaction with the product.
By proactively monitoring their app, one high street bank was able to gain visibility of its mobile app’s behavior in production and gained almost immediate awareness of application failures, minimising the end user impact.
App engagement can be impacted by market changes. To keep up with the challenges that this can cause, it’s important that development teams and CIOs or CDOs have the right agile development structures in order to support and adapt in a timely manner to the market.
For users to stay engaged, they need to be able to keep up with the market and not have their apps’ usability impeded by things such as OS updates.
How can businesses best evaluate and choose which applications / languages / platforms to develop apps for?
The most important things for businesses to understand when evaluating which platforms and languages to develop their apps for is their own business, market that it operates in and its customers’ needs.
At the core of such an evaluation, is the business’ understanding of its customers, what the requirements of the app are, and what you need it to accomplish.
The main criteria to evaluate when choosing your approach to app development will be the user experience and performance, and the scale of deployment needed.
If your primary business need is performance and user experience, and it doesn’t need to rely too heavily on constant internet access, developing a native app may be the best option.
However, if you need your app to function across a range of user conditions, various devices and be deployed on a larger scale, a responsive web app may be better suited, faster and more cost effective to develop and deploy.
Specific business needs may also arise from certain events or market changes. A large sports news centre may have a high performing native app, but a large sporting event such as the Olympics could mean that users will be accessing the apps from new locations, different environments and may also need information in other languages – creating the need for increased focus on a responsive app or even a hybrid approach.
A good development and testing partner will be able to help identify the specific application needs of your business based on your customers, priorities and circumstances.