Top 10 Most Common #Mobile App #Design Mistakes

The mobile app market is saturated with competition. Trends turn over quickly, but no niche can last very long without several competitors jumping onto the bandwagon. These conditions result in a high failure rate across the board for the mobile app market. Only 20% of downloaded apps see users return after the first use, whereas 3% of apps remain in use after a month.

If any part of an app is undesirable, or slow to get the hang of, users are more likely to install a new one, rather than stick it out with the imperfect product. Nothing is wasted for the consumer when disposing of an app – except for the efforts of the designers and developers, that is. So, why is it that so many apps fail? Is this a predictable phenomenon that app designers and developers should accept? For clients, is this success rate acceptable? What does it take to bring your designs into the top 3% of prosperous apps?

The common mistakes span from failing to maintain consistency throughout the lifespan of an app, to attracting users in the first place. How can apps be designed with intuitive simplicity, without becoming repetitive and boring? How can an app offer pleasing details, without losing sight of a greater purpose? Most apps live and die in the first few days, so here are the top ten most common mistakes that designers can avoid.

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Only 3% of mobile apps are in use after being downloaded.

Common Mistake #1: A Poor First Impression

Often the first use, or first day with an app, is the most critical period to hook a potential user. The first impression is so critical that it could be an umbrella point for the rest of this top ten. If anything goes wrong, or appears confusing or boring, potential users are quickly disinterested. Although, the proper balance for first impressions is tricky to handle. In some cases, a lengthy onboarding, or process to discover necessary features can bores users. Yet, an instantly stimulating app may disregard the need for a proper tutorial, and promote confusion. Find the balance between an app that is immediately intuitive, but also introduces the users to the most exciting, engaging features quickly. Keep in mind that when users are coming to your app, they’re seeing it for the first time. Go through a proper beta testing process to learn how others perceive your app from the beginning. What seems obvious to the design team, may not be for newcomers.

Improper Onboarding

Onboarding is the step by step process of introducing a user to your app. Although it can be a good way to get someone quickly oriented, onboarding can also be a drawn out process that stands in the way of your users and their content. Often these tutorials are too long, and are likely swiped through blindly.

Sometimes, users have seen your app used in public or elsewhere, such that they get the point and just want to jump in. So, allow for a sort of quick exit strategy to avoid entirely blocking out the app upon its first use. To ensure that the onboarding process is in fact effective, consider which values this can communicate and how. The onboarding process should demonstrate the value of the app in order to hook a user, rather than just an explanation.

Go easy on the intro animation

Some designers address the issue of a good first impression with gripping intro animations to dazzle new users. But, keep in mind that every time someone wants to run the app, they’re going to have to sit through the same thing over and over. If the app serves a daily function, then this will tire your users quickly. Ten seconds of someone’s day for a logo to swipe across the screen and maybe spin a couple times don’t really seem worth it after a while.

Common Mistake #2: Designing an App Without Purpose

Avoid entering the design process without succinct intentions. Apps are often designed and developed in order to follow trends, rather than to solve a problem, fill a niche, or offer a distinct service. What is the ambition for the app? For the designer and their team, the sense of purpose will affect every step of a project. This sensibility will guide each decision from the branding or marketing of an app, to the wireframe format, and button aesthetic. If the purpose is clear, each piece of the app will communicate and function as a coherent whole. Therefore, have the design and development team continually consider their decisions within a greater goal. As the project progresses, the initial ambition may change. This is okay, as long as the vision remains coherent.

Conveying this vision to your potential users means that they will understand what value the app brings to their life. Thus, this vision is an important thing to communicate in a first impression. The question becomes how quickly can you convince users of your vision for the app? How it will improve a person’s life, or provide some sort of enjoyment or comfort. If this ambition is conveyed quickly, then as long as your app is in fact useful, it will make it into the 3%.

Often joining a pre-existing market, or app niche, means that there are apps to study while designing your own. Thus, be careful how you choose to ‘re-purpose’ what is already out there. Study the existing app market, rather than skimming over it. Then, improve upon existing products with intent, rather than thoughtlessly imitating.

Common Mistake #3: Missing Out On UX Design Mapping

Be careful not to skip over a thoughtful planning of an app’s UX architecture before jumping into design work. Even before getting to a wireframing stage, the flow and structure of an app should be mapped out. Designers are often too excited to produce aesthetics and details. This results in a culture of designers who generally under appreciate UX, and the necessary logic or navigation within an app. Slow down. Sketch out the flow of the app first before worrying too much about the finer brush strokes. Often apps fail from an overarching lack of flow and organization, rather than imperfect details. However, once the design process takes off always keep the big picture in mind. The details and aesthetic should then clearly evoke the greater concept.

Common Mistake #4: Disregarding App Development Budget

As soon as the basis of the app is sketched, this is a good time to get a budget from the development team. This way you don’t reach the end of the project and suddenly need to start cutting critical features. As your design career develops, always take note of the average costs of constructing your concepts so that your design thinking responds to economic restraints. Budgets should be useful design constraints to work within.

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Many failed apps try to cram too many features in from launch.

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Common Mistake #5: Cramming in Design Features

Hopefully, rigorous wireframing will make the distinction between necessary and excessive functions clear. The platform is already the ultimate swiss army knife, so your app doesn’t need to be. Not only will cramming an app with features lead to a likely disorienting User Experience, but an overloaded app will also be difficult to market. If the use of the app is difficult to explain in a concise way, it’s likely trying to do too much. Paring down features is always hard, but it’s necessary. Often, the best strategy might be to gain trust in the beginning with a single or few features, then later in the life of the app can new ones be ‘tested’. This way, the additional features are less likely to interfere with the crucial first few days of an apps’ life.

Common Mistake #6: Dismissing App Context

Although the conditions of most design offices practically operate within a vacuum, app designers must be aware of wider contexts. Although purpose and ambition are important, they become irrelevant if not directed within the proper context. Remember that although you and your design team may know your app very well, and find its interfacing obvious, this may not be the case for first time users, or different demographics.

Consider the immediate context or situation in which the app is intended to be used. Given the social situation, how long might the person expect to be on the app for? What else might be helpful for them to stumble upon given the circumstance? For example, UBER’s interface excels at being used very quickly. This means that for the most part, there isn’t much room for other content. This is perfect because when a user is out with friends and needing to book a ride, your conversation is hardly interrupted in the process. UBER hides a lot of support content deep within the app, but it only appears once the scenario calls for it.

Who is the target audience for the app? How might the type of user affect how the design of the app? Perhaps, consider that an app targeted for a younger user may be able to take more liberties in assuming a certain level of intuition from the user. Whereas, many functions may need to be pointed out for a less tech savvy user. Is your app meant to be accessed quickly and for a short period of time? Or, is this an app with lots of content that allows users to stay a while? How will the design convey this form of use?

A good app design should consider the context in which it is used.

Common Mistake #7: Underestimating Crossing Platforms

Often apps are developed quickly as a response to changing markets or advancing competitors. This often results in web content being dragged into the mobile platform. A constant issue, which you’d think would be widely understood by now, is that often apps and other mobile content make poor transitions between the desktop, or mobile platforms. No longer can mobile design get away with scaling down web content in the hope of getting a business quickly into the mobile market. The web to mobile transition doesn’t just mean scaling everything down, but also being able to work with less. Functions, navigation and content must all be conveyed with a more minimal strategy. Another common issue appears when an app developing team aspires to release a product simultaneously on all platforms, and through different app stores. This often results in poor compatibility, or a generally buggy, unpolished app.The gymnastics of balancing multiple platforms may be too much to add onto the launch of an app. However, it doesn’t hurt to sometimes take it slowly with one OS at a time, and iron out the major issues, before worrying about compatibility between platforms.

Common Mistake #8: Overcomplicating App Design

The famous architect Mies Van der Rohe once said, “It’s better to be good than to be unique”. Ensure that your design is meeting the brief before you start breaking the box or adding flourishes. When a designer finds themselves adding things in order to make a composition more appealing or exciting, these choices will likely lack much value. Continue to ask throughout the design process, how much can I remove? Instead of designing additively, design reductively. What isn’t needed? This method is directed as much towards content, concept and function as it is aesthetics. Over complexity is often a result of a design unnecessarily breaking conventions. Several symbols and interfaces are standard within our visual and tactile language. Will your product really benefit from reworking these standards? Standard icons have proven themselves to be universally intuitive. Thus, they are often the quickest way to provide visual cues without cluttering a screen. Don’t let your design flourishes get in the way of the actual content, or function of the app. Often, apps are not given enough white space. The need for white space is a graphic concept that has transcended both digital and print, thus it shouldn’t be underrated. Give elements on the screen room to breath so that all of the work you put into navigation and UX can be felt.

The app design process can be reductive, rather than additive.

Common Mistake #9: Design Inconsistencies

To the point on simplicity, if a design is going to introduce new standards, they have to at least be consistent across the app. Each new function or piece of content doesn’t necessarily have to be an opportunity to introduce a new design concept. Are texts uniformly formatted? Do UI elements behave in predictable, yet pleasing ways throughout the app? Design consistency must find the balance between existing within common visual language, as well as avoiding being aesthetically stagnant. The balance between intuitive consistency and boredom is a fine line.

Common Mistake #10: Under Utilizing App Beta Testing

All designers should analyze the use of their apps with some sort of feedback loop in order to learn what is and isn’t working. A common mistake in testing is for a team to do their beta testing in-house. You need to bring in fresh eyes in order to really dig into the drafts of the app. Send out an ad for beta testers and work with a select audience before going public. This can be a great way to iron out details, edit down features, and find what’s missing. Although, beta testing can be time consuming, it may be a better alternative to developing an app that flops. Anticipate that testing often takes 8 weeks for some developers to do it properly. Avoid using friends or colleagues as testers as they may not criticize the app with the honesty that you need. Using app blogs or website to review your app is another way to test the app in a public setting without a full launch. If you’re having a hard time paring down features for your app, this is a good opportunity to see what elements matter or not.

The app design market is a battleground, so designing products which are only adequate just isn’t enough. Find a way to hook users from the beginning – communicate, and demonstrate the critical values and features as soon as you can. To be able to do this, your design team must have a coherent vision of what the app is hoping to achieve. In order to establish this ambition, a rigorous story-boarding process can iron out what is and isn’t imperative. Consider which types of users your app may best fit with. Then refine and refine until absolutely nothing else can be taken away from the project without it falling apart.

This article is originally posted here.

#Marketing to a Young Audience Made Easy

If your business relies on the interest and participation of young people, you need to target them. Targeting young audiences is not something that can be done in the same way to other forms of marketing. It’s best to take an approach that’s specific to them. Here’s how to do that.

Reflect Them

Young people engage with companies and brands on a much more personal way. There are many reasons for this. For a start, they are growing up in the age of social media. Brands are not distant entities that churn out products. These days, most companies have a presence and a voice of their own. They become more like people than corporations. This is something that you have to keep in mind when you are producing marketing content for your brand. You won’t find success if you’re stuck in the past and not willing to give your brand a human face.

Everything Must be Mobile

Nearly 90% of young people have a mobile device that they use to browse the internet. This is something that brands like yours have to be able to take advantage of in order to find success. The website you use has to have a responsive design. That way, customers will be able to browse it when they’re on the go or using their phones. It’s young people who are driving the movement away from desktop browsing and towards mobile browsing. So, if you can create an app, a good mobile-friendly site and have plenty of social media accounts, you should do well. Companies like GravityDigital can help with online marketing if you are struggling, so don’t be afraid to get help.

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Focus on Achieving Comments and Shares

If you want to know where to find young people, the answer is clearly on social media. This is where the vast majority of young people are most accessible for companies. There are many more young people than old people using Facebook and Twitter. That means there is no better way to engage with them. Focus on creating content that creates some kind of buzz and interest on social media platforms. It will have to be humorous and playful in some way if you’re going to grab people’s attentions. And if you succeed, you’ll know because you’ll be plenty of shares, comments and likes. That’s exactly what you should be aiming for.

Don’t Worry About Loyalty

Many business owners are still hung up on the idea of loyalty. The old types of brand loyalty are not really applicable anymore. If you want your brand to be relevant to young people, then there are other ways to do this. You have to be moving forward and trying new things all the time. If you’re not, then young people won’t hesitate to move towards another brand. You can’t expect brand loyalty or take customers for granted. That’s why it’s important not to get complacent off the back of some early success. When you’re selling to a young market, their interest can fade quickly.

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#Technology Can Increase Your #Sales Via These 5 Methods

If you want to increase sales in your business, technology might offer the best solution. These five methods will all allow you to increase sales by using technology to your advantage.

Fast In-Store Checkout

The technology that can be used in your store is advancing all the time. Checkout equipment is very fast and easy to use now. People can even use contactless payment technology if you have the right equipment to make that happen. When people are standing in line, they don’t want to wait around forever. If the queue is moving slowly, they might give up and not bother buying. But when you have technology that allows for fast payment, this is something that won’t become a problem.

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App Store Sales

Many retailers now use apps as a platform on which they can sell to customers. This is something that you should definitely consider if you want to make more sales. As more and more people use their smartphones to browse and buy things online, you need to get up to speed. It’s the responsibility of every business owner to keep up with the habits of the consumers. Failing to will lead to the business getting left behind and missing out on sales. There are companies that can help with mobile application development if you don’t know anything about that kind of thing.

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Upselling Online

Online sales are vitally important to modern businesses. Even for businesses that operate on the high street, ecommerce cannot be ignored. It functions as a way of selling to more people than ever before and reaching people all over the world. It’s also a great tool because upselling is so easy when you’re selling online. This is when your website suggests other items that customers might like before they check out. That way, you can often make a few sales rather than just one.

Email Newsletters

It’s a good idea to compile a database of customer email addresses. That way, you can send out a newsletter to people whenever you have updates or offers to inform people of. These newsletters will find themselves in the inbox of anyone who has given you their details in the best. And it helps to keep your business at the forefront of their minds. This is important because you need repeat business if you want your company to remain profitable into the future. It’s very cheap to create and send newsletters too.

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Encouraging People to Spread the Word

When people like your business, they are likely to tell their friends about it. And there are a few ways in which technology and the internet can help you to encourage people to do this. One smart thing that many companies do is make their stores compatible with free wi-fi. That means that when a customer is in the store, they can take photos or send out tweets. This then helps to spread the word, and it’s something that can encourage more people to come to your store. It’s so easy to do as well, so give it a try.

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Put #Technology to Work for Your #Business

social_diningIn order for business owners to truly satisfy their customers, they must have a strategy in place that includes technology.

Sure, some older businesses may be able to get by without a website or ever tuning in to social media, but they are becoming few and far between.

From the basics of having a website to growing your brand with mobile marketing, technology has so much to offer your business, not to mention your customers.

With that in mind, are you using technology at all points of operation to satisfy your customers? 

See Where Technology Works for You

So that your business can put technology to use at each and every turn, make sure you have these bases covered:

  • Website – First and foremost, your website needs to be a top priority, especially if you are a smaller business without the national brand name recognition. Your website requires solid marketing content, along with being promoted in social media. When you combine the right content with the right social media push, your search engine rankings are likely to rise. As a result of your Google and other rankings going up, more consumers are likely to notice your brand when they do a search for the particular products and/or services you offer;
  • Cloud – As more companies have discovered in recent years, the Cloud should be a necessity and not a choice. Whether you go with Washington DC network support services or another such Cloud provider, using the Cloud has multiple advantages for your business. The Cloud not only improves your ability to get projects done in a faster and more organized manner, but it also offers greater flexibility for you and your employees (if you have them). For those businesses with employees on the move and/or telecommuting, the Cloud gives them the ability to access all needed client data no matter where they’re working from. Instead of being tied to office computers, you and your employees can conduct business while on the road, allowing you to meet client deadlines. Lastly, Cloud services should prove ultimately cheaper than your current computer systems over the long run, including decreasing one’s startup expenses;
  • Social media – One of the biggest opportunities and still one of the most missed out ones for businesses is social media. When you put social networking to work for your business, you can satisfy customers in a number of ways. First, social media is a great means whereby you can engage with consumers literally 24/7. If a consumer has a question about or an issue with a brand in today’s information age, they oftentimes turn to social media. Whether using Facebook, Twitter or a host of other sites, consumers can either talk with other consumers or directly to a business. In doing so, they oftentimes do not have to wait to get someone on the phone or get a response from an email. If your business has been hesitant to use social media in the past, change that approach moving forward. Social media is also a great tool for businesses to see what consumers (and sometimes other businesses) are saying about their brand. Consumer feedback is invaluable, especially for newer businesses. You can also use social media in posting videos on YouTube. Such videos can be informational pieces about your products and services, your staff, how you’re a trendsetter in your respective industry and so much more;
  • Mobile marketing – The time has come for your business to deploy mobile marketing if it has not already. With mobile marketing, your brand can reach out to consumers at a moment’s notice. As more shoppers gravitate to using their mobile devices to browse and ultimately buy goods and services, it is important for you to be the first business they think about. Offer consumers the ability to download sales and other specials on their devices, providing them with more incentive to buy from you. Make sure any mobile campaigns you do (content, images, videos etc.) fit nicely on mobile devices. Otherwise, consumers will not be as inclined to peruse your deals if they can’t fully see them.

Driving forward with technology offers your business myriad of ways to satisfy customers.

The question is, are you taking advantage of technology or just sitting by as a passenger?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

The #Mobile #Money Revolution

ecommerceGone are the days when most if not all consumers and businesses made transactions using credit cards and cash. Well, those days aren’t completely gone yet, but mobile money is quickly becoming the new norm.

With on-the-go spending in mind, here are just a few ways consumers and businesses alike are benefiting from mobile money:

Mobile Revolution

Mobile technology isn’t just a trend; it’s actually turning into a full-fledged revolution. More and more people are carrying their smart phones with them wherever they go, which is making the idea of the mobile wallet commonplace.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, roughly 90% of Americans own a cell phone and nearly 70% own a smart phone.

Of the smart phone users polled, 67% say they depend on their mobile devices for everything from online shopping to accessing the Internet.

That’s not all – by the year 2018, there will be an estimated 220 million smart phone users in the U.S. alone.

With mobile technology gaining popularity, it’s safe to assume smart phone users and businesses alike will be taking advantage of mobile money in the future.

Benefits of Mobile Money for Consumers

As consumers become more comfortable using their smart phones to make purchases, mobile money will become a part of everyday life.

Considering all the benefits that mobile money provides, it’s no surprise the mobile payment route is already catching on with consumers.

Among the benefits:

  • Ease of Purchase – With mobile money, smart phone users no longer have to carry cash or credit cards with them. Mobile money apps allow consumers to complete transactions and make payments directly from their mobile devices.
  • Increased Security – There are a number of security threats that go along with carrying physical forms of payment, such as credit cards and cash. Theft aside, more and more issues are arising surrounding credit card fraud. With mobile money, all financial information is stored safely and securely on the users’ device and can be remotely deleted in the event of theft.
  • Hassle-Free Money Transfers – As the following article looks at, even sending money and transferring funds is made easy with mobile money. Users can send and receive funds as well as transfer funds anywhere using their mobile banking app.

Business Advantages of Mobile Money

Mobile money definitely makes life easier for consumers, but what about businesses? Fortunately, mobile money is as equally advantageous for businesses both large and small.

Among the benefits:

  • Anywhere Transactions – Mobile money makes it possible for businesses to complete transactions from just about anywhere. This is especially advantageous for mobile businesses such as food trucks and farmer’s market vendors.
  • More Payment Options – When businesses accept mobile money payments, they are providing their customers with another payment option, which is always a good thing.
  • Increased Transactions – By adding another level of payment to what’s already accepted, businesses can increase their transaction numbers with mobile money. From brick and mortar stores to online shops, mobile money simply makes it easier for businesses to accept payments.

With the mobile lifestyle taking the world by storm, it’s only a matter of time until everyone is using mobile money.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including mobile technology and finance.

The Balance Between #Mobility and #Security

online_securityIf you’re going mobile with your brand marketing, then you need to make sure you’re protecting your mobile customers.

With data breaches and identity theft on the rise, mobile security has never been more important – especially when it comes to your customers.

Here are just a few pointers for protecting the mobile livelihood of your business and its customers:

Mobile Security for Your Business

One of the best ways to keep your mobile marketing safe and secure for customers is by practicing mobile security on your end.

If you use a #SMS texting service, then you need to make sure the provider uses the latest anti-virus and anti-malware software. In addition, you also need to make sure your #SMS service provider stores all of your customers’ information and mobile numbers on a secure server. This will help protect your customers if a security breach occurs.

Your business also needs to use encrypted passwords when accessing mobile marketing accounts.

Likewise, keep access to these accounts to a minimum – the only employees who should have access to your customers’ mobile information is your business’s marketing team.

Ask Customers to Use a Pin

Using the latest mobile security protocol at your business is only half the battle. You also need to encourage your customers to use security features on their personal devices.

As the following article looks at, when it comes to finding that elusive balance between mobility and security, using a pin or password is your customers’ first line of defense.

Whether your customers subscribe to your brand’s mobile marketing campaigns or they have your business app downloaded on their smart phone, using a pin code to access their device is a wise decision.

Pin codes, smart phone passwords, and fingerprint scanners can help protect your customers’ mobile information in cases of theft.

This is especially important if your business’s mobile app stores and uses your customers’ personal information, such as their credit card numbers.

Encourage the Use of Security Software

Just as your business takes advantage of mobile security software, so should your customers. Before your mobile customers subscribe to your SMS campaigns or download your business app, encourage them to first download mobile security software from a reputable software provider.

When equipped with the right mobile security software, your customers can better avoid the threats that come about from malicious websites and apps.

Most mobile security software also allows your customers to wipe all of their mobile data remotely in the event of theft.

Remind Customers of Mobile Security Threats

On occasion, you should remind your SMS text subscribers and app users of the mobile threats that are out there. From suspicious marketing texts to downloading apps from unknown sources, there are a number of threats that can jeopardize your customers’ mobile devices.

Reminding customers of potential mobile security threats will help keep their devices safe and it will help protect the routes your business takes to interact with customers on a mobile level.

If you’re looking for the perfect balance between mobility and security, then take advantage of the pointers mentioned above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including mobile security and mobile marketing.