Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: Mobile IoT, Wearables

Mobile IoT: Article

The Mobile App Development Differentiator: User Experience – Part 1

The delineation between great mobile apps and bad ones is becoming easier and easier to see

The delineation between great mobile apps and bad ones is becoming easier and easier to see as the mobile app ecosystem edges closer and closer to maturity.  What makes a great mobile app? Simply put, it's a great experience for the user. The best apps in the current marketplace are those that can engage the user beyond a mere day or two, and become the go-to destination on their smartphones for an extended period of time. In this two part post, I will discuss a real life case of how a great user experience leads to app success and explain the steps that developers can follow to enhance their own apps' user experience.

For developers, extended use of an app is the holy grail. Whereas mobile app discovery poses an enormous challenge - one that developers are still struggling to overcome - it's really only half the battle. If a developer can not only get the user to download their apps, but keep them on the phone, they're cultivating a loyal audience that is more likely to pay attention to future apps that they deliver.

Let's take one of my favorite iPad apps, Flipboard, the intuitive social aggregation app that was named one of Time's "50 Best Inventions of 2010," and is so popular that some estimates indicate that one in ten iPads has it installed. But why?  What makes the app so special in the first place? User experience. A focus on the things that were essential to the user, including:

  1. A simple concept that meets a real desire for a more personalized social media experience
  2. An easy-to-use interface that makes collecting and organizing social updates painless and intuitive
  3. A visually attractive design

By adhering to only the components that they knew would provide value to the user, Flipboard ensured that their app was not just downloaded, but enjoyed a shelf life on users' devices far beyond that of the typical app.

The Flipboard example presents a perfect case study of how, by focusing on user experience above all else, developers can make their apps more essential to users.

Focusing on user experience when developing an app does not only apply for those consumer-driven apps like Words with Friends and Evernote.  A great user experience is also vital when creating applications geared towards the enterprise.

To find a key "customer" for an enterprise app, you don't have to look too far outside your office door - your internal employees are these primary targets.  Whether your company wants to build an app that allows all employees to bill their hours remotely or an app for each specific department to allow them to perform their jobs more effectively while on the road, user experience is just as important when catering to this internal audience as it is when you're focused on driving app adoption by your customers.

When developing an app for employees, more often than not, a primary goal is to improve efficiency. Just as a consumer-facing app must have a simple concept, an easy-to-use interface and a visually attractive design, so should an employee-focused app. The employee needs to be able to easily understand how the app works and how it can benefit them so they can adapt and adopt quickly, ultimately improving productivity.

Enterprise apps also often seek to improve customer engagement and drive sales, so a killer user experience is vital.  Let's consider a pharmaceutical sales rep.  If this person has a mobile app that offers easy access to product information, then he will be able to better serve clients and engage prospective doctors.  It is no secret that time in a doctor's office is precious for a pharma rep, so just think of how an interesting mobile app, on a cool, new iPad no less, could extend that rep's time with the doctor.  In this highly competitive space, these extra few minutes are priceless.

In the second half of this post, I will discuss some ways that developers can focus early in the development process in not only attracting, but maintaining the users who download their apps.

More Stories By Marcio Cyrillo

Marcio Cyrillo is head of mobile services and senior business manager at Ci&T, a technology outsourcing and software product engineering company. With Ci&T since 1999, he focuses on interactive services and mobile development in his current position. He also is a member of the Ci&T Entrepreneurship Program, from which he launched the program’s first mobile app, runens, earlier this year. As a result of his success developing runens, Cyrillo now serves as a mentor to Brazil-based Ipanema Games, a mobile gaming start-up. He holds a PhD in applied physics from Universidade Estadual de Campinas and two MBAs in sales management and entrepreneurship from Fundacao Getulio Vargas and Babson College.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...