5 Things Companies Should Consider Before Developing a Mobile App

by Jessica Murray on Jul 01, 2010

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Content consumption is quickly shifting away from the desktop and more to mobile devices and with the iPhone mobile app market alone pulling in more than $200 million dollars a month in sales, it is no wonder that every company wants to increase their brand exposure.

In a recent report by Kony Solutions, 69% of Fortune 500 Companies will launch mobile solutions but before your companies jumps on the mobile app bandwagon, here are a few things to consider.

1. Does it have value?

If your purpose for developing a mobile app is to only increase your brand impressions and grow your potential client list, think again. With more than 200,000 mobile applications in the Apple store alone, think about how you distinguish yours as different.

Recently, Tiffany & Co. has unveiled their newest iPhone application to educate users on styles and cuts available at their stores, check it out.

While the app is designed to drive customers to browse Tiffany’s engagement ring catalog and get them into stores — users can book a one-on-one diamond consultation via phone or e-mail straight from the app — it’s also a handy educational tool. Purchasing an engagement ring can be an intimidating process, and the app gives potential buyers a handle on the options — and their accompany prices — before entering stores.

via Mashable

2. Which platform is best?

Developing an app is a costly process so naturally, consider all the platforms because the iPhone market may not be the most suitable for your company.  Consider the other mobile operation systems such as, Microsoft Mobile, Blackberry, Symbian, Android and Palm.  You must consider the limitations of a carriers bandwidth when developing an app with rich media displays, every platform has their own constraints so be aware.

via Nielsen

3. How to find an experienced app developer?

The best way to find a legit developer is to ask for their portfolio. Some developers are more comfortable with certain jobs within app development so consider working with a team to see your company through from ideation to execution.

Another great way to find developers is to peruse the iPhone app store.  Consider the apps you like best because of functionality or perhaps, they’re similar to what you want to create.  Each application available within the Apple store has the creators name under the icons so do your research and seek out the the developer that best meets the job requirements.

4. How will people use your app?

Make sure the app is intuitive, or else you will quickly lose the attention of users.  If there’s not a natural flow, users will grow frustrated and give up, as I know from experience.  You’re obviously limited in the amount of pixels, so what you develop for an iPhone will not work on a Android (Yes, obvious to some but you would be surprised how often I’ve fielded the question).

Is the application user friendly?  Have you come in contact with an app that designed the text to be so small that you cannot select any of the links?  I’ve wasted a lot of precious minutes to mistakenly selecting the wrong links, only to do it over and over because of poor design…don’t let that be your potential customer.

I also suggest shifting your thinking to “in the moment” as nearly every task carried out in day-to-day is done locally. Mobile applications are supposed to make our lives effortless and more efficient. Consider how your application will meet your mobile strategy goals and also be consumer oriented.

5. Are you prepared for updates?

Every application will need to undergo necessary updates but please set up clear priorities to update functionality or content every few months, NOT on a weekly basis. Requesting that users update your app on a constant basis is an indication that there are a lot of errors in your app or you don’t know what you’re doing. You will lose users’ interest and worse, risk having them use an outdated app that may not help your companies bottom line.

Do you have other considerations companies should make before jumping on the mobile app bandwagon?
Post Author

West Coast born and bred, East Coast educated and now Southern Fried. Jessica is the Co-Founder and Program Director of Social Media Club Nashville and heavily involved in the leadership of Nashville's PodCamp and BarCamp, annual events with more...