In the not-too-distant past, only large corporations had the resources to develop mobile applications. The cost of design, development, testing, and support for these apps put such a valuable resource out of the reach of most small and mid-sized organizations, and as smartphone users embraced new apps, many entities felt left behind.
The world is changing, with mobile phones assuming an ever-increasing role in the lives of consumers. An estimated 6.56 billion people worldwide have smartphones, and the number of smartphone users will continue to increase during the next five years, perhaps reaching somewhere near 7.69 billion by 2027. Companies sinking money into printed advertisements and billboard will find diminished returns if they do not also develop user-friendly mobile apps.
The reality is, modern consumers expect a brand to be omnipresent, and mobile apps are an important part of an integrated marketing strategy.
Seven Reasons and Ten Steps for Designing Mobile Apps
Andrew Froehlich, president of West Gate Networks, recently outlined seven basic reasons that companies need to add mobile apps to their online presence. He encourages small and medium-sized businesses to explore options and determine how the upfront investment of adding mobile apps to their repertoire improves their bottom line.
The reasons Froehlich outlines should seem intuitive to most owners and managers. Building customer loyalty, creating an omnichannel approach, monitoring customer relations, marketing, offering convenient online shopping experiences, building brand awareness, and data mining all benefit the business of doing business.
These seven reasons should be considered in the app development process to ensure that valuable time and talent resources are not spent on an ineffective approach. Although developing a mobile app involves a great deal of complexity, DesignRush recently outlined ten steps in the process:
- Create A Concept
- Determine How the App Will Make Money
- Define Features Needed and Wanted
- Design the Wireframe and Journey Users Will Take
- Develop the App Interface
- Code the Platform in a Testing Environment
- Test All Features and Functions
- Make App Available for Download
- Market to the Preferred Demographic
- Improve and Update as Necessary
Throughout this process, the development team needs to perform a creative design audit to assure that branding and messaging are consistent within the app and across other platforms.
Band of Coders CTO, Steve Balistreri, explained it this way, “A creative design audit entails having a designer or creative director review the look and feel of your website or applications and assess if it is using outdated motifs or design patterns, and present a report of their findings.”
Mobile apps are becoming an increasingly important part of branding and marketing strategy. Organizations that take an omnichannel approach to connecting with customers will be able to stay top-of-mind.