April 7, 2015
Mobile apps and features are becoming more pervasive in today’s increasingly mobile-friendly world.
As a result – although research showed that only 16 percent of app developers participated in building enterprise mobile apps last year (probably due to a demand for better mobile security, visibility and reliability) – a growing number of businesses are either considering or in the process of creating their own apps.
In addition to providing easier access for users on mobile devices (an ever-increasing amount), mobile business apps allow organizations to attract a wider audience, connect with current clients, and stay up-to-date on popular technology trends (which also improves company branding and image).
For more information, see The State of Enterprise App Development.
So what features make the best mobile app? While there are infinite options and possibilities to consider when creating something for mobile, this also explains why there’s no standard model for building a “best-in-class” app or feature – not to mention that the best apps will differ based on the company or industry.
What’s for certain, however, is that an overly-complicated mobile product will not only damage the strongest mobile efforts but may also scare potential users away.
No matter what, developing any product will deplete company time and resources. Thus, it’s crucial to first ensure that the end result will be worth the overall development costs. That means determining demand or need for the product (more than a just few customers want or need it) and ensuring that the time spent developing the product won’t detract from more important efforts.
Chances are, the longer a product takes to develop, the less worth-it the end result becomes. Make sure you’re satisfying customers’ needs, but keep it simple.
According to Forbes, the most successful mobile products belong to companies who took the time to break their offerings down into bite-size, easy-to-digest categories “where each successive layer incorporates functionality from the previous layers.”*
More importantly, the apps and services you build should all focus on supporting your brand’s value proposition. For example, a company whose brand value is based on exceptional service should focus on building features to improve and highlight service processes (e.g. features that make it easier to get service reps to a client’s location with the right equipment).*
If you’re not sure where to start, the minimum viable product (MVP) is the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. Use this as the basis for a rudimentary offering. From here, depending on the complexity of your industry, you can develop more advanced features as needed.
Less is more when it comes to mobile features and offerings. As Maribel Lopez puts it, “don’t mistake features for value.”*
Forcing a customer to perform extensive research to even understand the options—much less purchase the product—may inadvertently chase them away. While you might be convinced that multiple options are necessary, the truth is that an overwhelmed prospect will exit the buying process (and thus drag the sale out even longer) if too many options are available.
Take a hint from experts like Google, who utilize beta testing to determine which features are necessary, versus which are superfluous.
To be successful, a product must offer something outstanding, whether that’s exceptional design, exceptional service or some other critical industry feature. As Lopez states, “Leading brands offer iconic products.” This idea also applies to product branding—products with real, memorable names will leave a lasting impression.
In addition, make sure users know the version of the software they’re using. Lopez points out that doing so will help users understand what features will work.*