Think Mobile: The art of making killer apps

Have you ever used apps like Facebook Paper or Yahoo News Digest! If you have, you already know what I am talking about. There are some apps out there, which can blow your mind away. You will use it even if you don’t have to. Ever wondered what makes these apps so tempting? The answer is simple—User Experience.

mobile apps

You have an App idea! Great! What next?
Creating user experience that brings life to your idea is one of the most tedious tasks.

“There’s always room for better app. Every kind of app has been done a hundred times already, but there’s still a place for apps that are truly simpler, and better, and easier to use.” – Matt Gemmell, Speaker, Founder, Instinctive Code

Make the idea grow with you. Search for apps, which have already been developed with similar idea as yours. Study them, and make sure your app idea can solve the problem more easily and efficiently. Discuss it with your friends and family. Their simple queries can sometimes make big differences.

“Don’t fall in love with your ideas. Always look for ways to prove yourself wrong.”
Aaron Hillegass, Chief Learning Officer, Big Nerd Ranch

It’s a Mobile phone, not a PC or Mac
This is very important. You might be experienced in developing or designing software for PC or Mac, but it doesn’t count here. The mobile is an entirely new breed of software. You can’t expect the user to be on it all the time. When designing an app, do keep in mind that your targeted audience might not be sitting at a desk; for all you know, they might be skydiving, clicking a selfie while doing so and posting it on Facebook! Phew! Obviously there are many things you have to take care of when executing the plan.

Keeping it simple
Every app is created to solve a problem. Make sure your app addresses that problem in the first place. Always make sure you keep that part as simple as possible. Make sure your app doesn’t go out of the scope. It’s good to add nice features and animations, but never lose focus on the app idea.
Always use well-known UI patterns like Navigational flows, List views and Detail views, tabs etc. It makes it easier for the user to operate the app. Stick to the basics. Android, iOS and Windows have their unique features. Make sure your app complies with all of them. Yes, they are all mobile phones, but the user experience is way different in each one. So it’s always good to go with the native workflow.
Make your audience feel smarter. You don’t have to keep things extremely narrative and explanatory always. Users are intelligent enough to understand things from icons or short descriptions. You don’t have to elaborate things as you do in desktop or web apps. Keep it short and precise.

The Challenges
Believe me; creating an app for mobile is much more complex than any other platform. A small screen, fat fingers, single hand, bandwidth, battery, offline, background tasks, notifications, long release cycles and what not—imagine these challenges!

You need proper execution plan before starting the development process. The first thing you have to do is hire a designer. Some people think that a developer can easily create the screens while developing.

Yes they can; but with the help of a UX designer, the developer can create wonders! UX designers can visualize your ideas and convert it into wireframes, which will help the developer in the initial stages of development. Once you have a decent design, you can start worrying about bandwidth and battery.

Remember to cache data and images all the time. This can help in reducing internet usage, thereby saving bandwidth and battery. Manage memory carefully so that you app doesn’t crash.

One of the major issues mobile apps have is that they have to submit it for review on every update. It can take up to a week to finish all the procedures and deliver the app to the audience. So when releasing an app make sure you are going out with the best possible app. Ensure the app has gone through proper testing.

First impression is the best impression—clichéd, but true

Report says that 19% of users open an app only once. So the first time user experience should be as good as possible. Users must feel that this is the app they were waiting for. If not, there will be hundreds of alternatives. So when developing apps keep in mind that you have got only one chance to impress the audience. So it really doesn’t matter if the planning and development stages became a bit lengthier than expected. Try using the product from users’ point of view. If you are downloading it as a user, will you use it? If the answer is “No”, keep working on it, the world can wait.

About the Author:
Rijo has been working as senior iOS developer at Suyati Technologies for close to a year. He has experience in working on large complex enterprise mobile projects. Starting from estimation and designing, to coding and deployment, Rijo has a wide range of mobile development expertise. He has a passion for pushing mobile technology to the limits; and crush on coding drives him! Rijo loves reading about gadgets and technology when he’s not working on apps.

Author : Rijo George Date : 19 Mar 2015