June 4, 2012
At Interactive Solutions, we have observed 10 common mistakes that IT personnel at businesses and organizations should strive to avoid when planning to make a mobile application.
"- Many businesses that wishes to extend their customer services for the mobile market tend to think that their existing web application will easily translate to a mobile application," said Bonny Trolle, Business Developer, Interactive Solutions.
"- IT responsible employees should be very careful with this assumption. Even if all smart phones have web browsers and easy internet access, it doesn't automatically follow that bridging the gap is trivial. They need to plan their content and functionality with products and services that are especially adapted for the mobile market. Failing to do so, and potential customers will leave the application and never return to it."
We at Interactive Solutions have devised a strategy to help our customers plan and develop a mobile application the right way, enabling customers to reach out with their products and services through proper application of mobile technology.
There are four important things to keep in mind when crafting a strategy for developing a mobile application:
1: Demand. What do customers want, what does the business need, what devices and habits do customers have and what will the competition do?
2: Supply. Innovation is a major challenge, demanding that organizations go beyond "me too" mobile applications. What staff and skills will be needed to manage external partners, and how will they be obtained? What services and partners should be used?
3: Control. Who owns and manages the strategy? How will the strategy be managed? What measurements will be used to track it?
4: Risks/issues. What risks and issues are raised by mobility? What could derail the strategy, what other factors will impact it?
Jonny Lundin. Smartphone Developer - Interactive Solutions, says;
"- If done correctly, the mobile application should become a useful additional channel of communication with customers and business partners, which in turn should lead to better customer retention and increased sales,"
Jonny Lundin continued;
"- If done incorrectly, however, a mobile application might inadvertently lead to a harmful deterioration of a company's reputation."
Interactive Solutions has identified 10 major mistakes that lead to the failure of an organization's mobile customer service:
1: Violation of the "three-click/tap/press" rule. Applications must not use more than three key strokes to get to the required functionality. Each additional keystroke typically adds complexity and often stops the user from returning to the application.
2: Difficulty with ergonomics, especially text input. Just because your web content fits onto a laptop browser screen, this does not mean it is suitable for a mobile device. Mobile content needs to be simplified and repurposed for each user device.
3: Not reusing learned behaviors — such as soft keys, navigation. Mobile applications need to pick up the user's habits on the phone. For example, if "autocomplete" was switched off on the phone settings then don’t use that option in your mobile application — because the user clearly dislikes that functionality.
4: Violating "security 101." As with laptop and desktop applications, mobile applications need to comply with security requirements. Authentication, encryption and secure login should all be part of any mobile application architecture.
5: Difficulty with navigation. Standard Web pages displayed on a mobile device often have content disappearing to the right and off the bottom of the screen. To navigate, users have to scroll left-right and up-down to try and find basic functionality such as the "back" button. Ensure that navigation buttons can be easily accessible at all times.
6: Burying most important functions. Due to the limited screen real estate, mobile application designers must ensure that the most important functionality is right at the start of the navigation journey, as opposed to layering functionality deep down in the application.
7: Incorrect or illegible display of text or graphics. Many mobile devices are still not smartphones and have limited graphics processing capability. Pushing large graphical images and video text to the mobile device could result in a very poor quality experience for the user.
8: Inability to revise mistakes. Few things are as frustrating on a mobile device as trying to get the cursor to the middle of a word or Web address to correct a typing error. Always have two "back" buttons — one that erases text and one that does not erase text but will allow the user the opportunity to correct typed mistakes.
9: Content visibility. Sunlight is one of the worst enemies of mobile applications, because it often makes the text on the screen illegible. Employ the best practice of "bolding" the most important pieces of information on the screen.
10: Resource inefficiency — draining the battery, excessive network round trips. Mobile applications must have a stop-start capability to allow the user to stop an activity or data entry and then return to the same point without having to re-enter all the content. This capability is needed when the device has to be switched off mid way through a transaction — for example, when flying or when the battery runs out.
"- To truly capitalize on mobile opportunities, it's required that the business or organization manages to look beyond the technology.
It needs to formulate a clear strategy that encourages its business plan and key objectives in a tangible way."
said Mr. Trolle