Updated : October 14, 2022
We can all agree upon the fact that, over the last decade, we humans have become too accustomed (and in some cases even dependent ) on some or the other kind of mobile app/s. The mobile app we use the most adds some kind of value and aids our day-to-day lives and routines in general.
But if we observe more closely, it’s not just about value, it is also about the features and user experience of the mobile app that prompts us to use it regularly.
So, what really should a good mobile app entail, and what can make your mobile app unique among millions?
Before we go into depth, some wise words from Don Norman regarding the features of a good mobile app.
Complexity probably increases as the square of the features: double the number of features, quadruple the complexity. Provide ten times as many features, multiply the complexity by one hundred.
Since mobile apps have become such an integral part of our daily lives, it is important for product owners, designers, and developers to know that the features of a mobile app need to add value to the users. In fact, every product owner should ask themselves how will the development of this particular mobile app will holistically benefit the users and add value to their lives.
To a great extent, usability is defined by the app’s context of use, which means it is important for the mobile app owner and developer to know and understand the app’s implementations, its target customer base, and customer behavior.
For example, if a person or a business is interested in building a menstrual healthcare app, they need to understand and define the context of use. In this particular instance, it could mean deciding whom this menstrual healthcare app would cater to. Would it just be for people who identify as women, or would it include all the menstruating people?
Laying down these main points and deciding the context of use before deciding the course of action the digital product team has to undertake is crucial while defining the usability of the mobile app.
Each user has their own unique personality and preferences, and the mobile app owners, designers, and developers should the mobile app in a way that enables users to experience the app as per their needs and likings.
Every mobile app has the scope of rendering personalization to its users. Personalization is all about integrating users’ needs into the mobile app to make their mobile app user experience as enriching as possible.
For example, if you wish to build a retail mobile app, you can do so many things to make the overall user experience as personalized as possible. If we observe carefully, in recent times, retail apps, to a great extent, have been helping people make purchasing decisions. Hence, offering a personalized mobile app user experience with intuitive app features.
Retail apps are rendering a more personalized shopping experience to build customer loyalty and relationships. They are doing it by giving more product-related information, recommendations based on their search history, coherent product reviews and ratings, product comparison, and even personalized push notifications.
Many retail brands have started taking the help of augmented reality to ensure a more immersive experience for customers, and one of the major highlights of using this technology is the virtual try-on feature.
Implementation of gaming elements enables your app to stand out in the market. It helps in increasing user satisfaction and engagement.
For example, the gamification feature is a great element in mental healthcare and education apps. In mental healthcare apps, gamification features might help users keep themselves engaged whenever they feel unstable. Mental healthcare mobile app designers and developers can design gaming app features in such a way that might help in the diagnosis or track progress with respect to their mental health journey.
In education apps, games could be an add-on feature, apart from the lessons, that allows the user to learn something new while playing games. It can also be used to test how much progress the child has made with regard to the lessons.
In essence, the gamification feature is a great way to unlock the creativity of the user, increase the mobile app retention rate, generate installs, etc.
Despite having a wonderful mobile idea, in the end, it all boils down to the user interface of the mobile app. The mobile app designer and product owner have to be extremely careful and intuitive while designing and developing the user interface. It is because the end-user has to be able to comfortably operate and peruse through the mobile app and really extract the value and benefit from the services it has to offer.
If we look at the UI/UX Material Design guidelines for Android, we would realize one common underlying thought—that each element of the mobile app interface should contribute to a seamless user experience.
For example, Navigation is crucial to any mobile app interface to complete tasks. If we look closely at the Material Design guidelines for Android, it comprehensively explains the three types of navigational direction: Lateral, Forward, and Reverse Navigation.
The guidelines state that the mobile app developer and designer have to be mindful of the mobile app design and architecture while devising and building a navigational structure.
Data Privacy is a pressing concern with respect to mobile apps. It is because they have access to various types of personal and sensitive user information. Therefore, it is important for mobile app owners to follow lawful practices, take informed consent from mobile app users with respect to plausible data usage, and be transparent about their data privacy policies.
Privacy is a fundamental right and we build it into all our products and services at Apple. You should be in control of your data — not the highest bidder. https://t.co/oON1YRd8vI
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 18, 2022
Ensuring the implementation of robust security measures is one of the most significant aspects of a mobile app. A few ways to achieve that should be source code encryption, safeguarding backend servers, avoiding storing sensitive user information, etc.
Today, many mobile apps are also upgrading their encryption techniques and using secure data-in-transit channels such as SSL or VPN tunnels.
Not many mobile app owners, designers, and developers are mindful of this aspect, but in today’s time and age, it is one of the most significant factors to consider while building a mobile app.
One of the ways could be by building mobile apps with scalable designs, which means that the developers should always leave room for new app features and be compatible enough to respond to new technological developments and changes. This way, the apps would consume less energy and hence, would be more sustainable compared to the mobile apps that don’t accommodate energy-saving virtues in their developmental process.
Onboarding is when the user first time shows interest in your mobile app. Therefore, it is important for designers and developers to ensure that the mobile app onboarding experience should be as seamless as possible.
As soon as the app is installed, it should not take long for the user to understand the application and its services. The mobile app design should be reflective of the value the mobile app will add to their day-to-day lives and, therefore, must have a positive first impression.
We are witnessing the emergence of new technologies every day in the field of mobile app development. It is important to choose the right technology to build your mobile app. After all, the type of technology you choose will decide the user compatibility and success of the app. The use of the latest and fast technologies helps to build effective and efficient apps which ensure a supreme user experience.
Let’s discuss some of these emerging technologies:
These technologies are quickly taking over the tech world. AI and ML technologies are already being adopted and implemented in the various mobile app development sectors.
They are being put to use in sectors such as gaming, eCommerce and educational app building, image recognition, language translation, voice and pattern recognition, and much more.
Augmented Reality is a form of immersive technology and is slowly gaining traction among mobile app developers. We have already been witnessing its use on social media networking through branded AR filters. This technology is actively being used as a marketing tool by businesses. Other than this, AR technology has become a huge hit in eCommerce and fashion retail, wherein with the help of virtual try-on, brands are improving engagement and creating fun, immersive experiences.
This form of technology is a decentralized system that enhances the security of the mobile app and reduces the risk of data hacking. It is actively being utilized by mobile app developers to make the application more secure for users.
This technology is helping technology developers to make your wearables—such as watches, sunglasses, etc.—into smart devices. This technology has been revolutionary in terms of how it is transforming our daily use of devices.
A human-centered design is crucial while developing mobile app features. This approach urges mobile app owners, designers, and developers to conduct thorough research with respect to the target audience of the prospective mobile app.
Conducting Human-Centered Research enables the designers and developers to build the mobile from the end-user’s viewpoint. It renders a more holistic approach to mobile app development and the user problems it aims to resolve. A human-centered approach allows more effective implementation of agile methodologies while building web and mobile applications based on user feedback. Thus, ensuring an intuitive user experience.
In a nutshell, a good mobile app is the culmination of intuitive design and development, human-centered research, and the type of technology used to build the app. With thousands of mobile apps available, it is necessary, more than ever, to build apps that not only stand out but also serve their users better with their exceptional features and services.
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