Application Functionality and Launch
So you have laid out your application blueprints, determined which devices it will be utilized on, and considered all design angles to make it really stand out. Now it is time to take into consideration functionality; your app can be found and viewed from any device and it’s absolutely stunning but will it be used it if it’s not user friendly? We know you know the answer to that!
Because so many users are mobile now, as we mentioned here, we recommend functionality with that in mind even if it is a web based app you are creating. Though, if you think there is demand for a mobile app, we strongly urge you to consider both. That being said, all apps but especially mobile apps should be concise and to the point. Think mobile connection speeds, clumsy fingers, etc. The fewer clicks the better, so if you can hide controls and show only the must-have’s upfront, then your app will be much easier to figure out for new users. Consider advanced functionality for the less commonly used features so that they appear on an as-needed basis only. It may not be easy to pick and choose but it will benefit you in the long run!
We cannot emphasize this enough. Even more so than your website, a user must be able to quickly get to the app’s main function with a clear direction on how to get there, or it will flop. Some apps will be more complicated than others but take the simple road where possible. And it’s probably best if your app sticks to one primary theme rather than attempting to be all things to all people.
Are there any blank screens or dead spots? If so, this might confuse your user. Instead, lead them to action. For example, when seeking reviews for a product or service, Amazon prompts shoppers to “be the first to review this item” if there are none existing yet. Avoid too many choices though or you’ll break the keep it simple advice we gave before.
Keep in mind, the functions your users require are not always app specific functions, but your app is determined by what you consider to be the necessary functionality. For example, if your app is for internal use only and your company has a lot of mobile users, you would need to consider things such as a secure portal for accessing documents, secure calendar access and sharing, and secure messaging outside of email. These are all items which exist at the office that now need to be implemented in the app. Just something else to consider as we wrap up our series on Application Development.
The very last thing you want to do is pre- and post-app testing. We are out of time this month for a full article on the topic but we will gladly point you in the right direction. Utilize your staff to go through and use the app as though they are one of your end users and make sure you challenge them to find any and all errors before your users do!