Building great customer-facing mobile apps is easier said than done. It takes a lot more than doing a few quick customer surveys, seeing what similar apps are popular, knocking together a working prototype, then going into production.
You need to, instead, closely examine your customers, figure out what they want and then decide how best to deliver value to them and to your company. The blog post, “5 Mobile App Planning Requisites for an Outstanding Customer Experience,” offers great tips on how to build the best customer-facing mobile apps possible, with the least amount of pain. Following is a summary of the post’s top tips.
Know Your App’s Main Purpose
It’s easy to make assumptions about the primary reason you’re building an app. And it’s also easy, during the development process, to veer off-target and start throwing in unnecessary features.
To make sure that you develop the right app, the post recommends, you should first document “the purpose of your mobile app and how it aligns with the strategic vision of your business.” That means putting together a product requirements document and sticking to it. Make sure to include “a section that addresses business requirements and…outlines how your mobile app will address customer needs.”
Follow Two Main Rules for Defining Product Requirements
When putting together the product requirements document, make sure that you don’t base your app on existing ones, and that you instead “Validate product requirements with a combination of market research, behavioral data, and competitor analysis.” The post warns, “Validating product requirements is mandatory for planning, and if you overlook this process, you can potentially cause your project to move ahead in the development cycle even though your product’s features don’t necessarily address customer demand.”
Don’t try to build a big, full-blown app the first time around, the post recommends. Instead, use the minimum viable product (MVP) development method and build an app with the minimum number of required features. Then determine how customers react to it, and what else they would like in an app. Keep iterating the app as you learn what customers need.
Don’t Mistake Innovation for Value
Gee-whiz product features make developers happy, but don’t necessarily please customers. The blog post warns, “merging technologies and capabilities can sometimes create panic and cause the implementation of new requirements thoughtlessly.” So make sure that you’re only putting into the app what customers want --- and not features that you care about, but they don’t.
Get Advice from the Experts
Sometimes getting outside advice can provide a set of outside eyes that see things that you can’t. So consider bringing on consultants for all steps of the process.
Use the Right Platform for Building Your Apps
There’s one thing the blog post didn’t cover — choosing the right mobile app development platform for developing apps. The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to create a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.
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