If you're a mobile developer for a small, medium, or large business, you may think that the business apps you develop have nothing to do with the millions of mobile apps people download. In fact, though, there's plenty you can learn from consumer mobile apps. Those apps have been used, pounded on, and critiqued by tens of millions of people. And so understanding how people react to consumer apps can give you a leg up on better business app development. Here are three things you can learn from consumer mobile apps.
You get only two shots to satisfy usersSpend as much time as you want developing a mobile app, but if people don't use it, you've wasted your time. People will only give buggy or poorly designed apps a certain number of tries, and then they'll give up. How many tries? According to a survey by Compuware, only 16% of people will give an app a third try if they've tried it two times and it has problems or bugs. So keep that in mind when designing and debugging your business app.
Speed mattersYou can design the greatest app in the world, but if it's slow, you've lost your audience. Appfigures analyzed 25 million consumer app reviews, and it found that in one-star reviews, one of the most common words used was "time," implying that people were unhappy with the time it took for the app to load or run. You can be sure that business users have the same complaints about sluggish or laggy apps.
Offline mattersMany mobile apps assume an always-on connection. But as I've blogged about previously, we don't live in an always-on world. Cell service can be spotty, WiFi connections can be flaky, and people are often in places where there is no cell service or WiFi, such as on airplanes.
Consumer apps are catching on to that, and so are beginning to be designed to work offline as well as when connected. The latest example is the very popular TripAdvisor app, which now has an offline feature that allows people to download city maps, reviews, and photos before they leave on a trip so that they can access them all even without a data connection. Google Maps has a similar feature built in, as do many other maps. So make sure that your business app works offline as well.