Having worked on an app for our CRM software Sage ACT! for the last year or so I was especially amused to see last night’s The Apprentice and their attempts to design and release an app in just 24 hours.
The world of mobile is certainly here, and it’s a fast moving one. It’s all about apps, accessing data, accessing the mobile internet on the move and using the device of your choice. Yodel, a leading research company in this field helps businesses understand mobile through a simple lens, say “Mobile” for a business is being able to communicate, interact and supply a service to your audience or customers at any time and at anyplace” and they encourage businesses to think outside of the box when interpreting Mobile – “Mobile is your tablet, your phone, your Kindle, your MP3 player, GPS… “
For businesses it’s important to capitalise on having a mobile app but also to ensure that customers can access their business through the mobile internet. The first is a bigger step change for businesses, than repurposing or changing an existing website to be mobile friendly and compatible. However, across the globe there are now 700,000+ apps now available from Apple and Google app stores with a breathtaking 13bn downloads to date. In the UK market, 33% of UK mobile users are already using apps of the 45 million aged 18+ mobile phone users.
The opportunity is clearly there for small to medium sized businesses and most now are already capitalising on the opportunity that mobile presents; through the usage of apps to improve business efficiency, communications and market to their customers. Helping their customers to find out information or complete a task quickly and simply.
For a business venturing into the mobile app space for the first time, it can be quite daunting. So to help you along the journey here’s some tips on how to design the perfect mobile application for your business:
Flesh out your idea
- What do you want it to do – It can be a game or something for your business but make sure it satisfies a need or customer want, is supported by research and doesn’t offend anyone.
- Who you want to attract - local to global new and existing customers
- What your commercial model might look like – You might offer it for free to start with. Think additional functionality, tiers and revenue opportunities going forward
- Building your app – You’re not alone. There’s a vast community of mobile developers and “build your own” tools that can help you get the mobile app for your business at the price you want.
Designing your app
- Easy to use - get it right first time. Successful apps are really easy to use and deliver on the need
- How it looks on the device – the look, feel and use of the app all important to the user. Use effective icons, design for touch and help the user get results quickly and effectively
- Personalisation – Users may want to personalise the way they use or see the app. Provide users with some capabilities to do this with early releases of apps
- Choose the devices, platforms and app stores for your app – You’re not in control of the device, platforms or app store your current and / or future customers use. Understand what’s hot and what your customers use and build solutions for these.
Getting your app out there
- Post it to the app stores – Your apps built, press the button and launch it the app stores of your choice.
- Provide a description to support your app – Describe your app in a short punchy strapline. Something that will instantly turn on your users and get them to download the app.
- Promote your app – showcase and communicate your app to everyone. There’s some great technology websites who can help you and a recommendation, as opposed to a mention can mean the difference between a few downloads and millions.
So, be inspired by The Apprentice and start work on your app today. If they can, anyone can!
We’d love to hear how you’re getting on with your own app.
Guy Clack, Sage ACT! Team