Making your own app sounds great, but getting started can feel terribly overwhelming. What information should you include, what tools should you add, and how do you make it user friendly for yourself and your team members? Here are a few words of wisdom from professional app designers and makers.
1) Keep it Simple - According to Jesse Davis of Appinions, “It gets tempting to throw in a million small, frivolous features into your mobile app because you think they’re ‘cool’ or good-looking, but don’t... I’d rather use an app that let’s me do what I want in 15 seconds than a convoluted UX that lets me do things I have no interest in actually doing.”
This is especially true when you are creating a customized app for your your team. Let’s say you have created a field survey app for your technicians. If specific information is too hard to access or if there are too many clicks to get to certain forms, it can be an uphill battle trying to get employees on board to using the new app.
2) Consider the Device - If you are creating an app for smartphones, tiny pictures or miniscule text will be cumbersome. If you are making an app for your tablet to show samples of product, then you have a bit more leverage. Test out your app on different devices to ensure the best user experience.
“Your app should be optimized for a mobile user, taking advantage of the natural qualities of the smartphone or tablet,” states Jose Vasquez, CEO of QuezMedia.com. “Make sure your app is compatible and functional for all brands and devices.”
3) Listen to Your Users - Your app users might be your employees or they might be customers. Either way, listen to what they have to say while they are using the app. A bad experience will turn them off and create a frustrating work environment or a non-returning customer. “Mobile apps should be able to ask the user to rate or comment on features and functions,” IT Business Edge explains. “In this way, businesses can constantly improve their apps to deliver the greatest value.”
4) Back-Up Plan - Being mobile has great advantages, but it isn’t flawless. Have you ever forgotten to charge your phone or ended up in a remote area where you lost your WiFi connection? These circumstances may be few and far between, but they aren’t inevitable. Consider creating your app so that it can be accessed offline or you might want to carry generic backup forms, catalogues or contracts as insurance. This can be extremely important for your employees when they are sent out to meet clients.
Doreen Bloch of Poshly Inc. advises, “It’s frustrating to users when an app is entirely unstable just because they have a weak signal. Consider how you can build in content or interactivity that doesn’t rely on a wireless signal. It’ll make for a positive user experience while your users are on-the-go, online or off.”
5) Check Out Existing Apps - We all know that apps have immense capabilities, but unless you are an app designer it can feel daunting as to what tools to use or even where to start. Researching what others have done, both in and out of your field, can be a great asset in the brainstorm process. For example, AppSheet provides a variety of sample apps for those who wish to create their own customized app. Seeing what others are doing with layouts, photos, functions, project management, and how they are using additional tools will not only inspire you, but will show you how to create your own specialized app.
When Entrepreneur.com contributor Jennifer Wang interviewed the makers of List Bliss, this was their strategy for launching their app: “They've checked out the competition, evaluating the features in existing list apps, and they believe they have come up with a product that will appeal to their target market.”
While you may not be creating an app to sell to the masses, knowing what apps are available and seeing how they try to address your problem may lead you to better create a customized app that is unique to your specific needs.
App makers are catering to those who wish to manage both their personal and business lives and with a few helpful tips you can create your own app. Focus on usability and accessibility; the rest of the process is just details.