Developing an app is a great way to add real value to your business, as well as engage with new and existing customers.
“An application can enrich customer experience with additional functionality that is harder to replicate with a basic website,” explains Mark Bucknell, Director of Built With Code and Founder of CodePen Hull.
An app provides potential customers with a unique way of interacting with your brand or business.
In 2021, it’s expected that there will be over 350 billion app downloads. We already saw over 25 billion iOS downloads in 2016, alongside 90 billion Android apps, so it’s an exciting time if you are looking into developing an app to boost your business.
However, before you jump straight into it, there are a few key things to consider:
Why an app rather than a website?
As we’ve mentioned, applications are a brilliant tool for adding something extra to the customer experience surrounding your brand.
Nonetheless, apps are also a lot tricker – and thus more expensive – to develop in comparison to websites, so you’ve got to be sure that it’s worth your time and investment.
“With an app, you can achieve so much more. For example, you can base a user’s experience on their location, integrate camera-based features and even incorporate Augmented Reality,” Mark enthuses.
So, if you’re searching to offer your customers something other than what is currently available on your website, an app is the right choice for you.
To give an example, if you’re a company that sells bicycles, instead of developing an app that lists the products you sell, create one that tracks your customer’s cycle routes, or recommends the best places to bike.
Another way of doing it, especially if you are a restaurant, is to offer customer incentives to those that download the app, such as a discount on their next meal.
It’s all about developing that extra layer of customer interaction.
What makes your app different?
There’s an app for pretty much everything right now, so you’ve got to consider how you’re going to stand out from the crowd.
“You’re competing for a spot on someone’s home screen, against contenders like Facebook and Instagram. Give your customers a reason to download and keep your app on their devices.”
If your app is similar to one that is already on the market, think about ways in which you can improve that service. It could be making the information even easier to access or it could require thinking outside the box to offer something else.
Who is going to be using it?
Understanding and refining your target audience is a crucial part when designing anything.
The most obvious reason to pin down an ideal user is so that you can tailor the branding and User Interface to appeal to that particular group of people.
Meanwhile, app design calls for the finer details to be ironed out. For example, over 55s – who make up over 39% of users – are more likely to use two hands when navigating applications; this could be a game-changer when developing an application that is user-friendly.
Are they actually going to use it?
It’s all well and good coming up with a fantastic app idea, but you need to put it to the test in order to find out who is actually going to hit the install button.
This can be uncovered in focus groups and through extensive market research. Even if they love your idea, this discovery stage can be extremely valuable when generating ideas and getting feedback.
What devices should it be compatible with?
It’s a good idea to know where you want your app to be available from before starting the process. The two main Operating Systems are Android and iOS, with Android currently enjoying a 67.09% market share and Apple having a 31.67% share. (*Correct as of April 2018. )
You may wish to only target Android users, however, we’d recommend covering both bases and having as wide a reach as possible.
“You can create two different apps to suit the individual platforms natively or opt for a hybrid cross-platform application,” Mark reveals.
This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list of things to think about before developing and designing an app. If you would like to have a chat about the next steps, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.