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If Your App Ain’t Sexy, It Ain’t Used

If Your App Ain’t Sexy, It Ain’t Used

We’ve reached an inflection point in mobility.

The number of apps continues to rise, and it’s no mystery why. Mobile apps continue to demonstrate their value, serving to delight us, to improve our lives or just make us more efficient. But here’s the thing: we are definitely reaching an upper limit in terms of how many apps users want on their phone, how much time they’ll spend on each app and their tolerance for glitches of any kind.  Competition is fierce. Many apps are downloaded, but only the best are used over and over again. You could say it’s an app-eat-app world out there.

The big success stories share one thing in common — great user experience. Done well, user experience has the power to be transformational (just look at Uber in the ride share market, or Tinder for dating). These apps are so much more than great ideas, they’re also delivered so intuitively that they easily assimilate themselves into people’s lives. Just think of the swipe left/right feature that Tinder pioneered, which is now the expected way to move information along in any app. Its use is well understood far beyond the Tinder user community.

User experience is not an add-on!

It’s relatively easy to gain consensus about the importance of a good user experience. Prioritizing it in the Software Development Lifecycle, however, doesn’t happen naturally or accidentally. It takes discipline, planning and a robust testing / QA process.

A bit like new year’s resolutions, UX starts off with good intentions in the initial brainstorm phase. To successfully implement those smart UX ideas, teams need a test schedule that reflects their priorities. It often boils down to Agility: the closer to the code you can test and automate, the easier you’ll find implementing great UX.

To make things easier, here are four practical steps to consider building into your development cycle.

Make it matter

To ensure a team understands how important UX is, make it relevant to their job. One way of doing this is to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect your commitment; e.g. reliability, uptime, customer engagement and feedback loops. For example, the capability to receive and react to feedback is a major factor in creating good experiences, so more frequent product releases is a good goal to aim for. Similarly, get specific and make UI/UX automation a KPI for the team.

However you phrase your strategic goals, make it clear that they are design-led. For instance, successful integration with a relevant database may be important, but only in so much that it helps the user access the information they want more quickly.

Start-up agility, enterprise-grade muscle

There’s a point at which big enterprises need to start acting like small start-ups. Successful mobility initiatives start with small, focused teams, where many roles are cross-functional. Mobility taskforces are now gaining popularity in enterprises. Rightly so. The mobile world is so complex that I consider a dedicated mobility team to be crucial in order for your user experience to feel seamless.

With so many different devices, geographies, languages etc, creating a cohesive experience across all of them should be a strategic focus. Here’s where leveraging enterprise-grade expertise becomes a real advantage over the start-ups! You, or your app development partner, need to be able to map those UI/UX goals to a working blueprint which will deliver business results. That means working within the right testing / QA framework for the job, access to cloud-powered real device labs, industry-specific test packs that are ready to go, deep experience in mobile initiatives, all carefully balanced to ensure that costs don’t spiral and that ROI is guaranteed.

Keep it simple

All too often, enterprises fall into the trap of trying to shoehorn too many good things into one app. Decide on the core aim of the project and strive to do it beautifully. With mobile initiatives, unlike their desktop counterparts, complexity escalates very quickly. The latest UI automation techniques can help keep things looking and feeling seamless across the dizzying range of devices, languages and geographies out there.  For example, our partner Applitools has developed a UI/UX automation technique that ensures that the GUI remains cohesive across all devices and automates previously manual QA tasks. Another advantage of this is that it helps free up precious resources to enable faster testing, better accuracy and increased coverage.

Keep it focused

Bad apps can be a toxic investment, causing a company to lose money as well as credibility.  That’s why user experience has to be a priority. Mobile users check their phones more than 100 times a day, yet in any weekly or monthly period, only a small portion of those interactions will involve your app. Moreover, when users do check their apps, they are often only partially focused on the app itself. What all these factors point to is the need for context: an efficient way to access the exact information users want, fast. The apps that succeed do so not just because of a great idea, but because of a rigorous development, test and feedback process. Knowing which tests to automate, and which require the human touch, is a tricky skill to master. Apexon has a raft of information aimed at helping teams evaluate what test and QA tools are right for them, including how to achieve the right balance between automation and manual testing.

If you’re still wondering how to boost customer engagement on an initiative you’re involved in, or if you want to know more on the latest UX tips and tricks that are trending right now, why not get in touch? We’re on hand to provide tailored guidance on how to make UX testing and

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