The Future of the Mobile App Experience12 min read - Insights
The mobile app experience is evolving fast. New technology presents new business opportunities and more integrated experiences. But it’s essential that new technology brings some kind of value to both you and your customers or employees. Identifying the opportunities that mobile presents is just the start. You often have to balance two opposing sets of needs to find a solution that benefits everyone.
Watch: Paul’s presentation at the Executive Leaders Network
Sonin MD Paul Jarrett recently spoke about the evolving app experience at the Executive Leaders Network. There, he explored how mobile will impact the future of customer service and employee engagement. Because no matter who your mobile app is for, there are several core points you will need to consider:
- Define the value proposition: Map your user’s journey and pinpoint where an app would provide the most value to them.
- Unite your goals with your user’s needs: Your users will often want something different to you, so undertake user research to bring your values together.
- Create a Minimum Desirable Product (MDP) not an MVP: Users rarely re-download an app they didn’t like the first time. So, you need to provide delight from the initial download.
- Prototype, test, refine and repeat: Like any good product, an app is never finished. It needs continual refinement to keep up with changing user needs.
In this article, we take a look at just how much mobile apps have changed. And how, looking forward, they will evolve even more. Becoming increasingly integral to our day-to-day lives and acting as the touch point for so much exciting tech.
The Beginning of Apps
What we call apps today started with the iPhone. Before then, all we had to go on was the web and experiences design specifically for it. So, people built apps with the aim of capturing people and keeping them locked in. Many early apps were more like smaller versions of websites. Native apps were often full of hidden menus, confusing navigation and crammed-in content. Because of this, early app experiences were inefficient and frustrating.
But over time, it became clear that app users are very different from web users. And today, we understand that mobile app users are much more task-oriented. When we download an app, we’re looking to achieve something specific. Whether it’s checking our bank balance, sending a message, or catching up with our friends and family. So, the in-app experience evolved to match this and that’s how we moved towards a more slippy user experience.
What Is Slippy UX?
The slippy user experience is less to do with engagement, and more about how fast a user can complete their task. On the web, there’s a focus on sticky experiences like how long can we get users to stay on this page? But brands often ignore a big problem with the sticky experience. Are users staying because they’re engaging with your content or is it because they can’t find what they’re looking for?
Slippy UX solves this problem by taking a more user-centric focus. App users are typically task-orientated. So helping your user do more faster may mean less time in your app, but you’ll be giving them a more valuable experience. One that is much more likely to become an integral part of their day-to-day.
Recommended reading: 6 Steps for Great UI & UX App Design
Finding the Value Proposition
A user-centric focus is a great approach to app development. But an experience that’s solely focused on the user and doesn’t bring anything to the business is pointless. Doing everything to meet user needs without considering your business goals is a recipe for disaster. You’ll end up with a great app that isn’t aligned with your business goals.
Instead, you need to find the point where both you and your users’ needs meet. Because connecting your user needs with your business goals is essential if you want to ensure a return on your mobile investment. This may sound simple but it’s where so many brands miss the mark. They end up with a great app that has no business strategy behind it. Or a goal-orientated MVP that gives users little reason to download it.
Recommended reading: Enterprise Mobility That Supports Your Business Goals
MVP vs. MDP
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a common concept in the digital space. The idea is to get a product to market as soon as possible, meeting the baseline needs only. But today’s users don’t want their baseline needs met, they want to be amazed from the very first time they open your app.
So, businesses should focus more on the minimum desirable product (MDP). Because if your product doesn’t delight your users, then there may not be enough reason to come back. And once people have turned against your app, it’s very hard to get them to come back. New users don’t care about the promise of future updates or upcoming features, they want a great user experience from the get-go.
Meeting User Expectations
These changes are affecting all kinds of mobile apps, both consumer and enterprise applications alike. But too many brands approach business apps with the mindset of “if we build it, then they’ll have to use it.” This just isn’t the case and it’s the number one way to waste your mobile investment. You can even end up in a situation where your employees are carrying out their work as normal. But then trying to type up notes and re-do tasks at the end of the day within the app, dramatically decreasing efficiency.
So, to avoid this scenario and secure a ROI, you need to consider everything that’s been discussed so far. This means intuitive interactions and engaging experiences from the very beginning. As a starting point, look towards your existing services. 73% of consumers will switch brands if they don’t get a consistent experience across different devices. So, either your mobile app must match your existing platforms or you need to think about revisiting your legacy systems at the same time.
Recommended video: What’s the future of mobile in the enterprise?
The Post-App Era & Proactive Mobile Experiences
Paul’s presentation at last year’s Executive Leaders Network focused on the impact of the post-app era. And what it means for the future of app development. To summarise, it doesn’t mean the end of apps! Instead, the the post-app era is all about the change towards more proactive mobile user experiences. And looking forward, you need to focus on enhancing your users’ day-to-day rather than distracting from it.
Providing a proactive UX means enhancing your user journey at every stage. How can you combine your data with a slippy experience to make it easier for users to carry out their tasks? For example, many major e-commerce companies already combine their customer insight with personalised push notifications. Targeted push notifications get up to seven times the response rates. This makes for a more proactive purchase process but it still requires action from the user. So, how can you use mobile to go one step further?
Recommended whitepaper: The Post-App Era – The driving force, the technology and the business opportunities
Zero Touch Experiences
Voice assistants are some of the most intuitive user interfaces available. Which is why people will provide 66% more information with voice assistants and chatbots. Ultimately, your customers and employees want less friction and voice assistants are the natural answer to this.
More and more brands are introducing voice recognition tech to their user and customer journeys. Older, more manual processes will soon become dated and old-fashioned. The next billion will grow up expecting zero touch experiences where apps and interfaces are able to much more with less input. So, how can you use voice assistants to enhance your customer journey, empower your employees and provide personalised user experiences?
Recommended reading: Using Chatbots & Voice Assistants for User Research
Personalisation, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
An essential part of the post-app era, and the key to creating a successful app, is delivering a truly personalised experience to every user. According to Gartner, by 2022, our personal devices will know us better than our own family. Over time, you can build up a detailed profile of each employee or customer. This helps you to understand their wants, needs and preferences. How can you use this insight to transform their experience from a task to an intelligent journey?
For creating tailored mobile experiences, one of the biggest tools at your disposal is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The possibilities of AI in mobile are endless! And as we move forward, machine learning will lead to much more natural user experiences.
Recommended reading: AI Image Classification Tool
Related Sonin Create: Sharing with Bots
Where To Start With App Development
The change of pace in the digital space is fast, so it can be hard to know where to start with mobile app development. The first step is understanding what it is you want to achieve. What are your specific business goals? Here are some of the ones we’ve helped our clients with over the years:
- Increasing your revenue
- Improving your efficiency
- Engaging your employees
- Streamlining your customer experience
Whatever your business goal is, you then need to think about the interactions your target audience is going to want to carry out with your brand. Whether its customers wanting more personalised recommendations, or employees looking to streamline their workflows. Once you’ve established those core interactions, you’ll be in a much better position to implement new tech. This means you can move fast and gain a competitive advantage over slow-moving competitors.
The next step is defining your user journey from the very first point of contact. At this stage, you’re comparing how your users’ expected interactions match up with your current user journey. Because by mapping out your user journey, you can quickly identify the pain points your users are experiencing. And the gaps where your user needs and business needs are not aligned. You can then start to work on a unified process that benefits everyone.
In this article, we’ve taken a look at the evolving mobile app experience, how you can align your users’ needs with your mobile offering, and the next step in the post-app era. No matter what the technology you’re looking at using, mobile is often at the centre of it. It’s now an integral part of so many people’s day-to-day, so it should be a cornerstone of your business strategy.
Are you interesting in exploring the opportunities of mobile to your business more? Do you want to enhance your customer experience or better engage with your employees? Then we would love to talk to you! You can get in touch through our contact form or give us a call on +44 (0)1737 45 77 88.