The apposphere of the world is made up of millions of apps but only a handful of them can make their mark and qualify to be titled as a successful mobile app. Mobile Apps are the new visiting card and nearly anyone who wants to start a business has one. They are in no way wrong in assuming that apps are important to reach a larger market. Apps are easy to access as they sit right in the palm of your hand. You could forget a website’s name, or get it wrong while looking for it, but once you’ve downloaded an app, it will sit pretty in your phone reminding you of its existence.
If not today, then tomorrow you will end up opening and spending your time and maybe even money on that app. That is the end goal of the creator of that app.
Lately, every new entrepreneur has decided to go the app way. It seems as if secret entrepreneurial societies are handing out memos to create an app along with the starter pack for a startup or any business for that matter, an app is just thrown in there for good measure. The relevance of the app for the target market isn’t being thought of. The sole focus lies in coming up with ideas and transforming them into apps. The point being missed out here is why would an app be more suitable for their venture instead of just a website? Why is an app even needed in the picture or why another app?
For an app to really draw a user’s attention you need to ask yourself what value your app is providing to the user? Why would someone use your app? It could be entertainment they are after or work-related apps that could keep them coming back, or an app for socializing the millennial way. Is the app solving the customer’s problems? The why needs to be dealt with before the how of app making. Here’s a handy guide that can help you go the “most wanted app” way.
1. Problems, problems– Focus on the pain points.
With hundreds of millions of apps around, why would someone care about your app? The real reason why alternatives exist is to help solve the problems that plague the competition. The reason why people download your app in the first place is that it solves the problems that they have today. Focus on the pain points of your target audience to ensure that your app fills in the gaps that other apps left out.
The reason why apps have a higher churn is that most app developers fail to listen to the problems of existing users. Finding out the problem is the key to success. Find the problem, solve it the way the user wants it solved and voila! You have a winner on your hands. It is really that simple.
2. Who am I? Defining the user persona.
Emulating the prospective users of your app is as important as actually creating the app. When you define the persona of a user, you delve deep into user behavior, putting your psychological abilities to the test. A usability research exercise can help you learn more about your users, defining them and understanding them so that you can best emulate their actions. In the end, what will count is how well you understood your users and their persona.
3. Using GPS – Creating a Customer Journey map
A customer journey map is a very important tool because it hands you the shoes of the user, so you may tread their path. In simpler words, a Customer Journey Map helps you visualize the process a user may undergo to accomplish a goal. Once you create a Journey Map, you look for the large obstacles a user may find on his way and remove them to make the customer journey as smooth as possible.
4. Through the looking glass – finding your target audience
The best products in the world can miss their mark if directed at the wrong people. For example, creating a car for senior citizens that accelerates at a very high rate might not find many takers, even if the product has the best engine in the segment. The needs of the target audience of your customers must be well researched, defined and integrated into the product vision to ensure that your customers get what they need to succeed.
5. Be the Indiana Jones – Explore and Research
Competing with an existing app? Know your competition better than your own product. Explore and research their product’s capability and set that as a yardstick for your own product to ensure that you are always able to one-up the competition.
Creating your own space in the app-o-sphere? Explore the needs of your customers, the market conditions and the paradigms of the space you are planning to develop in. understanding market needs is an important part of innovation and must be done at the right time to make an impact.
6. Expert opinion – always recommended
A product can never be successful until the idea has been showcased to and vetted by a domain expert. As domain experts have a wealth of knowledge and have built this knowledge using deep insights and experience in their domain, they can offer strategic information that your product think-tank might not have the means to possess or fathom.
7. Know your competition – study the other apps out there
When you try to innovate in any space, your competition is always your best guide. The problems your competitor’s customers face could be the starting point that will guide your product development roadmap. A product that listens to its users and their pain points is always a product that is preferred over feature-laden products.
8.Empathize – understand the needs
Creating an empathy document is usually a step in the right direction. As companies strive to innovate, they also need to understand that good design has its roots in the understanding of the person it is designed for. Keep the following in mind while designing your product or a feature
Needs: The needs of your end-user help you overcome the initial challenges of design. Needs are the verbs (the activities and the desires) of your target users. Needs can either be inferred directly from user traits or from contradictions between two traits.
Insights: Insights are realizations that can be leveraged to solve design challenges. Insights usually stem from contradictions between two attributes or behaviors.
9. Use-cases – ask your customer
The best way to solve the problem is usually to ask the sufferer what they would want the solution to be. Deep insights and user-focused research have always resulted in the development of outstanding mobile applications that make users stick. For example, the pain of most users around the world was the ability to communicate without annoying ads or the inherent costs involved. WhatsApp successfully exploited this use case and created an application that currently has virtually no competition in the world. A simple, easy to use interface that serves the very basic needs of its users is its biggest selling point.
10. User Validation and User acceptance – Testing the waters
User validation of a product is as important as the product itself. Testing your product on a control segment allows you to test pre-production samples at various stages of the development journey and get user inputs on the final product to ensure that you are on the right page. End users can often give valuable feedback that product teams can overlook, ensuring that you cover all your bases before you head out into the marketplace.
User acceptance testing is a great way to ensure that clients and key stakeholders of your project can test your app before it is finally released to the public. Significant deviations from the product specification and any misconceptions of use cases can be handled without launching a half-baked product in the market.
11. Planning your MVP
A central tenant of the LEAN development methodology, an MVP follows a build-measure-learn process that involves providing immediate benefit to end-users and then using user-generated data to create value over time.
Ensure that you take care of the following while planning your MVP:
A. Identifying the business needs
Understand the need to develop the product. The ultimate business need for any product is its success. Identify the criterion that will determine whether your product is a success or a failure.
B. Mapping user journeys
Mapping user journeys involves identifying the users, their end goal and the actions the user performs to reach the goal.
C. Creating Pain-gain maps
Every action that a user performs might involve a pain-gain situation. While some actions are a major pain point, others might be again (lead to the desired result).
D. Mapping pain-gain maps to opportunities
Taking advantage of the pain-gain map is the first step to success. Products that exploit the pain areas and map them into gain areas are the products that users prefer. Understanding how your product can fix the pain areas is a good way to estimate if users will stick to your product.
E. Deciding features be built
Using the steps mentioned above, you can easily use the statements in maps to gauge opportunities. These can then be leveraged to understand the features that need to be added to the product and to create a product roadmap that contains these features. You can use a prioritization matrix to prioritize these features within your product.
12. User Experience – the new buzzword
These days, nearly every app focuses on solving customer pain points. Companies take up a problem-solving approach towards development, ensuring that they identify, tackle and solve user pain points, ensuring that the app is what the users really want – logically. What matters most to an end-user is the actual user experience of the mobile app.
For a successful mobile app, it should be an amalgamation of being able to identify and solve user pain points along with providing a first-rate customer experience that can enthrall your users. Ill-Designed user experience will cause users to dump your app, no matter how feature-laden it might be.
We have discussed nearly every aspect of a quality mobile app and how your mobile app can make its mark in the app world. If you think of your users, understand their pain points and work towards solving your user’s pain points, you are on the right track. A successful mobile app must ensure that it maintains a balance between fantastic user experience and the number of pain points it addresses. This approach has proven to be successful for every app that has made it big in the app marketplace today.
We are confident that following this guide can help you create the next app that goes viral in the app store. If you have a great idea and you believe it can solve a use case or a user pain point that has not been addressed by any app to date, get in touch with us and we can help you create an impact through technology in the app world. Our experts at Volumetree can help you create an app from the ground up that is backed by our extensive experience in mobile app development.