|Here’s a hard truth that most app developers don’t want to hear: the majority of the millions of apps available for download in app stores today are never going to find success. The fact is, the app market is overloaded with apps that don’t provide enough value to the end user and they are outperformed by their competitors. To avoid ending up in the pile of apps that never did and never will succeed, it’s paramount that you have a concrete mobile strategy in place before launching your app. Whether your app is consumer or employee facing, we’ve come up with some helpful tips for building a winning mobile strategy that’s sure to help your app succeed.|
1. Determine Your Goals
|As with all strategies in business, the first step in building an app mobile strategy is to define your goals and objectives. Before you start planning for app development, come up with a wish list for what you want your app to have and why – if you don’t have the “why” piece, you won’t be creating an app that makes sense for your enterprise. |
Here are some questions to get you started:
a. Why are you building an app?
b. Who is your app for (customers or employees)?
c. Is your app going to improve the lives of others and how will it do that (for instance, will it enhance your employees’ productivity or entertain consumers and if so, how)?
|Be sure to look for an app development company that will help you define your goals and build a sustainable mobile strategy. For instance, the first step in Atimi’s process is to work closely with you to create an app blueprint that’s tailored to your needs. We know the right questions to ask to get our clients thinking through the fine details that separate the outstanding apps from the merely good apps. |
2. Do Your Homework
|Another key element in any successful mobile strategy is research. In order to understand what your users are looking for in an app and demonstrate why they should choose your app over others, you must have done some research on your competitors (if consumer facing) and users. Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll be in a better position to build an app that your users will enjoy.|
3. Define Your Monetization Plans
|There are several ways in which you can monetize your consumer app. Let’s run through three of the most popular options:|
A. In-App Ads (Free With Advertising)
As App Developer Magazine stated in a recent article, “Ads can prove to be a successful option if you collect data about your customers because you have the opportunity to show them highly-targeted ads”. Targeting is what makes in-app ads so appealing to advertisers, so if you opt to go this route, be sure to have a plan for how you’ll track your users’ data. For instance, your app could utilize a device’s GPS so that relevant ads can be shown to users based on their location. Alternatively, your app signup form might include demographic and psychographic information such as gender, age, geographic region, and interests. If you can collect meaningful user data, you’ll attract marketers with advertising dollars to spend. As a testament to this type of advertising, a recent study found that in-app advertising grew by 66% in the US last year to $21 billion and is expected to increase to $35 billion in the coming years. This explosive growth in ad spend is promising for app developers everywhere.
One thing to be mindful of when venturing into in-app ad monetization is that you must always respect your users’ privacy and put them first. As premium ad platform, Jun Group, was quoted saying in a recent Appticle blog post, “The best practice continues to be to ask audiences before gathering, storing and using their mobile data. Let consumers opt-in to a better ad experience, but if they do not want to be tracked or have their data used, publishers and advertiser should respect that.” We couldn’t agree more.
B. Paid App (Free With Advertising)
Paid apps are exactly what you might have thought they were: apps that users must buy in order to download and use. Keep in mind that if you’re going to charge for your app, you must ensure that your app is better than any other free app that’s similar to yours. This is why we research our target users and competitors – to find our competitive edge! There are millions of apps available for download, so you must convey that your app is worth the purchase and prove it once users have downloaded it (this will increase app downloads, engagement, and drive positive app store reviews).
This popular monetization model offers users a free app download along with some limited free features. To get access to additional features and content, users are required to make an in-app purchase/upgrade. This model is often used for gaming and media apps that hook users with great free features and content and then persuades them to make an upgrade to access deeper or exclusive content and features through a purchase. Apple notes, “While freemium apps are very popular, this model isn’t appropriate for every app. Successful freemium apps operate as services that are continuously supported, often requiring sustained content development to retain users.” So, if you’re planning on going this route, understand that your team will need to have the capacity to frequently produce and publish new content in order to persuade users to buy an upgrade and keep them coming back for more.
D. In-App Purchases
This is a great way to add a new revenue stream to your business. Specifically, if you already sell products and services on your website or in a physical location, creating an app that makes it even more convenient for your customers to shop with you might be a viable option to consider.
Other popular app monetization methods include app sponsorships, subscriptions, along with strategic partnerships and affiliations (we’ll cover these in a future article).
4. Define What Success Looks Like
|Once you’ve outlined your objectives and monetization plan, you should define how you’ll track and measure your app’s success. One of the many wonderful aspects of owning an app is that you have the opportunity to gather meaningful user insights and analytics. To attain such data, ensure that your app developer has a plan to track user behaviour. Some key performance indicators you may find useful (depending on your goals) include app engagement (such as time spent in-app), average daily active users (DAU) and average monthly active users (MAU), purchases, installs, subscriptions, conversion rate, and more. You should also monitor user reviews in App Stores – doing so can help you stay in-tune with your user base and discover how to improve your app over time.|
5. Consider Future Releases
|So, you’ve done your research and defined your goals and monetization plan, now it’s time to consider what the future of your app looks like. Releasing version 1.0 of your app is nothing short of exciting, but even more compelling is the future plans you have. Like most things in business, apps need to change over time to evolve and improve with shifting consumer (or employee) trends, technology and competitors. To build an app that keeps users engaged, you should create an app roadmap that encompasses your future releases. Business Insider notes that more frequent updates are typically associated with higher app user ratings. This can be attributed to several factors, including app improvements such as added features and bug fixes. Further, since users receive push notifications about each app update, apps that are updated more often will benefit from increased top-of-mind awareness.|
6. Put User Experience First
|As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, 6 Reasons Your Enterprise Mobile App Needs Quality Assurance Testing, if you want consumers or employees to actually use your app, it’s key to make user experience a top priority. Your brand image – both in the eyes of your employees and consumers—is at stake every time you build a new app or release an update, so be sure that you’ve hired the right mobile app development partner. This partner or agency should be experienced at building best-in-breed apps across platforms and devices that provide a seamless user experience (UX) and interface (UI). You can learn more about choosing the right mobile app development partner in this Atimi blog post.|
|Now that you have a feel for what your app mobile strategy might look like, get in touch with us – we’d be happy to help you solidify your mobile strategy and build an app that your users will love. |
Feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to chat.
By Ashley Whitehead, Director of QA, Atimi Software Inc.
There are a number of issues that are regularly cited as the main problems with testing mobile apps: fragmentation of devices/manufacturers, OS versions, networks (changing connection types and speeds), usability, testing tools, automation and security. Whilst some are complex and require skilled and experienced testers, some of these can be overcome with a bit of knowledge of mobile apps and a good plan. I want to talk about one specifically and offer the benefit of our experience.
The fragmentation of the device market, especially Android (although more recently the iOS family has grown as well!), is overwhelming. You can find infographics that will graphically display the overabundance of devices. How can you test all these devices, and if not, how do you choose a reasonable set of devices to test?
For the purposes of this article I will focus on Android devices, and I am not considering OS version. The principles are the same whatever the platform is.
|There are a number of key factors that we will need to consider:|
* Screen size and screen resolution
* Device manufacturer
* Processor chipset
* User demographics
* App design
|Firstly, lets get rid of the least important ones starting with device manufacturer and carrier as these have very little impact on the performance of the app; we find very few issues that are specific to either of these factors. And you can cover a number of different manufacturers when making your device selections anyway.|
|Processor chipset and memory will affect the performance and that is why you need to consider app design. If your app is primarily downloading content from a web service and displaying it in a simple UI, the biggest influences on performance are network bandwidth and web service performance. The device performance will not have a significant impact. If your app is a UI heavy game, then you will need to test on high-end and low-end devices.|
The profile of the expected users of your app will also have an influence: are you expecting affluent, low-cost, or a wide range of users. And then you may not have that information to be able to make a choice based on this factor.
Screen size and resolution are the biggest factors for most consumer apps. This also includes aspect ratio and portrait/landscape rotation. Designing your UI to work across the range of possibilities effectively whilst maximizing the appeal of your design is a challenge. The size and position of buttons and other user input controls, dynamically resizing UI controls and text, and scrolling and zooming controls are just some of the issues that you need to test for.
2. Selection Method
|One of the most useful pieces of information you can have for selecting your set of devices is usage data. The volume of sales for each device is interesting but far more useful is, what devices are being used with apps that are similar to yours. If you have a mobile-friendly website that is being used by a similar group of users to those you expect to use your app, you can look at the profile of devices from that. If not, there are a few places that publish usage data by device type. You can look at those and decide whether they are close enough to your app. This will give you a long list, with each device type probably only accounting for a few percent of the traffic.|
|Next you need to find the screen size and resolution for each one – this may take a while first time round. Then if you are repeating the exercise every quarter, the number of new devices that will appear in your list will be relatively small. Once you have the screen size and resolutions, you will see that the devices will start to fall into groups. You can then select a single device from each group to represent that group.|
|How do you select which device represents each group? You then consider the following factors:|
User profile – If you have a specific target group of users, does this affect your selection based on the price of devices? (Make sure your original list of devices was relevant to the geographical area you are considering.)
App performance – Is there an aspect of the app that will be affected by the processor, graphics chip, or memory? If so, select from high and lower performing devices.
|Manufacturer – Select from a range of manufacturers.|
|And finally, pick devices you want to test. If there is a device that has just been released so it won’t appear on historical usage stats and despite that it is interesting to you, pick it. I’ll talk in the test planning section below about how you can test additional devices without significant extra effort.|
3. Test Planning
|Let us create an imaginary test suite that is 40% functional tests, 10% performance tests, and 50% UI tests. You have selected six devices to test. One approach you can take to avoid running every test on every device is to spread the functional tests across all six devices, running each test only once per cycle of testing. In subsequent test cycles, you can swap the devices used for a test to gain more coverage.|
The UI tests can then be split into two sets: those that are unlikely to be affected by screen size/resolution and those that will. Again, you can spread the first set of tests across all six devices. You are then left with only the UI tests affected by screen size/resolution that you need to run on all devices. If you have performance issues for the app, then you would run the performance tests on the highest and lowest performing devices.
With this risk based approach, you can reduce the amount of testing from all tests on all devices by 60%.
|Device fragmentation can be daunting when you first consider it. However, with careful consideration of the parameters of your app and your target audience, and systematic analysis of the available devices, you can achieve wide coverage without an excessive increase in testing effort. Or you can engage Atimi’s QA team and we will work with you to create and execute the optimum test suite.|
|Get in touch with us to find out how Atimi Software can help you build a custom, innovative, enterprise app that offers a superior user experience and stands the test of time.|
|With the New Year in full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on last year’s advancements in mobile technology and look at what’s in store for app development in 2017. Here’s our list of the top app dev trends to watch this year.|
|As more organizations instate “bring your own device” or “BYOD” policies, you can bet that enterprise app hacks will occur more frequently. This can be attributed to employees using the same device for both personal and business use, which tends to pose vast security risks to organizations and their data. As one Security Innovation Europe article states, “employees are putting their organisation’s data at risk if they adopt poor security practices in their own time.” For instance, one of the most prevalent security threats occurs when employees access unsecure Wi-Fi connections in places such as airports and shopping malls. By using corporate devices and apps while connected to these unsecure servers, employees may unwittingly share their login credentials with strangers. Additionally, they could be sharing the documents they’re working on along with content their viewing on websites and more – all of which may provide hackers access to highly confidential corporate information.|
|While cybercrime is on the rise, you can protect yourself and your company data by ensuring that the enterprise app development partner you choose offers stringent risk management policies and procedures, as well as built-in app security features.|
|If you aren’t sure where to start when building an app, check out our article on outsourcing mobile app development.|
2. The Internet of Things
|With the continued explosive growth of the Internet of Things or IoT (devices that connect to the internet such as smart watches and smart home items like Nest), apps that can connect to IoT devices are sure to be popular in 2017.|
|If you’re thinking about creating an enterprise mobile app, you may want to consider building one that can connect to IoT devices, for instance, employee activity trackers or smart watches. Connecting your enterprise app to IoT devices that employees and vendors use is a great way to boost app adoption and engagement.|
|Not only will we see more mobile apps connecting to IoT this year, it’s a trend that will continue growing for the foreseeable future. One Gartner study recently estimated that the number of connected things in use in 2016 was 6.4 billion – and that number will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.|
3. Augmented Reality
4. Virtual Reality
|Virtual reality (VR) headsets, like the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR – both of which launched last year – have kick-started a new era of mobile app innovation. From healthcare to national defense, retail and beyond, VR is continuing to grow in popularity and will certainly be a space where more enterprise mobile apps can and will thrive. The booming consumer interest in the immersive experience that VR provides along with the fast-growing number of VR headsets available means that there’s plenty of opportunities for VR apps to flourish.|
|From Google’s self-driving cars to Facebook’s chatbots, automation is a growing trend that experts suggest is here to stay. As Wealth Daily recently explained, “while automated technology has already begun to creep into our daily lives, what we see today is nothing compared to what the future holds…Investors will specifically want to look for the companies taking advantage of this technology, the companies providing it, and the supply chains that support it all.” This is because automation saves companies and individuals time and money.|
|This year and in the years after, you can expect to see enterprises creating more intelligent chatbots that help with onboarding employees – reducing the financial and time costs associated with hiring and training. Further, the World Economic Forum predicts that “automation of checkout processes and smart inventory management through sensors and other applications of the Internet of Things” will lead to a reduced demand for traditional sales-related roles. Suffice to say that automation is here to stay – it isn’t just a trend. This disruptive technology is and will continue to change the way we work, live, and interact with companies and brands. It’s a space that we at Atimi see as having endless opportunities for enterprise apps.|
|Now that you know the top five enterprise mobile app trends to watch this year, you’re in a better position to build an enterprise app that’s both relevant and engaging.|
|Get in touch with us to find out how Atimi Software can help you build a custom, innovative, enterprise app that offers a superior user experience and stands the test of time.|
|According to a recent Smart Insights study, 90% of consumers’ time spent on mobile devices is expended in mobile apps. Because of this proliferation in app usage, brands everywhere are rushing to create their own enterprise mobile apps, which often tend to fail due to bugs and other quality issues that could have been prevented if these apps had been put through proper quality assurance (QA) testing.|
|To help you better understand why quality assurance is crucial, we’ve put together this list of reasons why your enterprise app needs proper QA testing:|
1. Preserve & enhance your brand’s reputation
|In the same way that your website, staff, and marketing collateral speak to the quality of your brand, products and/or services, your app is another reflection of your business. If your app provides a subpar user experience, your brand image could be tainted in the eyes of your app users. Think of it like this: the quality of your brand can be equated with your app. If your app crashes or doesn’t function the way it should, users will complain about it in a public forum. The last thing you want to do is upset your users and have them vent their grievances in app store reviews or on social media. Bottom line: Keep your reputation strong so that more users will download your app and give it the positive engagement and reviews it deserves.|
2. Prevent users from uninstalling your app
|Did you know that, according to a recent Android Authority article, 77% of users never use an app again just 72 hours after they’ve installed it? Should your mobile app provide a poor user experience, it could wind up where thousands of apps have gone before – to the app graveyard where users uninstall or simply no longer engage with your app. If you don’t want your app to be abandoned by your users, it’s paramount that you have a process in place for thorough quality assurance – it’s crucial that you fix bugs and prevent them from popping up before your app launches in the app stores.|
3. Increase app installations & engagement
|Building on the previous point, if you have the right QA in place throughout your app’s development process, your app will run smoothly and provide an optimal experience for your users. And if that’s the case, you’re sure to foster app engagement, positive app store reviews, and a lift in new installations – all of which should be every developer’s goals. To restate point number one, having a high-performing app with a smooth user experience will help to bolster your brand in the eyes of consumers and other stakeholders.|
4. Save cash in the long run
|It’s important to keep in mind that developing an enterprise mobile app is an investment. You’re investing time and money into building an app that you hope everyone will love and use for a long time. While you may expect to receive a high return on your investment, this can and will not happen if your app fails due to low quality UI (user interface), unstable infrastructure, functionality and/or usability – issues like these will be more costly to your business than you can imagine for a number of reasons:|
• App stores may penalize you, making you remove the app, fix the issues and then re-submit it for approval (which can take weeks in some cases – using up your developers time and your budget).
• As mentioned, users may get frustrated with your buggy app and vent on social media and in app store reviews, resulting in poor word-of-mouth, a reduction in new app installs, app engagement and overall perceived brand quality, which could hinder your business for years to come.
• It is far more expensive to find and fix bugs in an app later in the development process than it is to find and fix them in the early stages. As this Agile Modeling essay states, “the cost of fixing errors increases exponentially the later they are detected in the development lifecycle because the artifacts within a serial process build on each other.” In short, it is much wiser to have proper QA processes implemented right from the start of your app build. This way, you can rest assured that your app development partner will locate and resolve bugs earlier in the development process – saving you time and, potentially, exorbitant costs.
5. Decrease the threat of security-related issues
|If you don’t run your app through thorough testing, you run the risk of compromising your users’ data security — and that PR nightmare is certainly not worth the risk! Be sure to have your QA team run tests on everything including basic things like app updates. Doing so will help to ensure that your users (and ultimately your brand’s reputation) are protected.|
6. Reduce risk of future app problems
|By having the right app QA and testing processes in place, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of experiencing issues with your app when it launches. By ensuring your mobile app functions the way it was meant to and provides a strong user experience from the get-go, you’ll be safeguarding your investment by preventing unnecessary developer “cleaning up” costs.|
To further reduce the risk of app malfunctions, it’s highly recommended that you hire a QA specialist for a number of reasons, including the fact that a fresh set of eyes can help point out bugs that may not have otherwise been discovered by your in-house team.
Beyond the basic functionality and security testing on an app, QA specialists ensure apps run properly on all of the operating systems and devices that the app was intended for. Because of the broad range of devices (from the iPad Air, to iPhone 7, Google Pixel and more), you must consider the different environments that your app will be used in. Will your smartphone app work on all versions of an operating system (OS), such as Android or iOS? What about different devices with different screen resolutions/sizes? You could make it the responsibility of your developer to test your app across devices and platforms, but that’s not likely to be their skillset. In other words, your developer’s time is best spent developing, so it’s recommended that you engage with a QA specialist who is as enthusiastic about testing as they are efficient at it.
At Atimi Software, We specialize in extensive QA testing to help ensure that your app functions flawlessly and your mobile app users have an extraordinary experience. Atimi’s proprietary scripting tools deliver complete cross-platform automated testing for any platform, substantially increasing the amount of bugs we’re able to locate and fix.
|Now that you know how important it is to incorporate QA testing when developing enterprise mobile apps, you may be interested in seeing what our quality assurance process looks like. To get a feel for how we work, or if you have any questions or want to learn more about Atimi and how our experts can work for you, feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to chat.|