More than 34% of Internet subscribers use their phones as their primary Internet device in the U.S.  At the beginning of 2013 there were nearly 1.2 billion mobile app users and it is projected to grow to 4.4 billion users by the end of 2017.  47% of users prefer mobile because it’s “easy to use” and “constantly with them” and 30% of mobile users abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimized for mobile.

No matter how you look at it, mobile apps are on the mind of most consumers and businesses.

The cost associated with being absent from this market and these highly transactional customers could be substantial.

What is holding you back?

The lowered costs associated with mobile programming, combined with the fact that tens of thousands of web-ready phones and tablets are flying off the shelves every month, have gotten a lot of small and medium-sized businesses interested in mobile app development. But, if you haven’t launched an app in the past, it’s easy to make simple mistakes that will complicate your project, delay your lunch, and ruin your budget.

To help you avoid some of the more obvious potholes along the way, here are five things you can do to build a better mobile app for your business right from the start…

1. Start With What Matters

Every great app begins with a sound concept and usually with the end result well understood. You have to know what your app will do, for whom it is designed, and how it will be different from other apps on the market. Whether it’s a new feature or just the fact that your app is branded to your company and website, you should have a clear vision of why it will stand out against tens of thousands of other apps.

2. Don’t Overwhelm Users (or Programmers)

When brainstorming features for a mobile app, it’s common for business owners and executives to just keep adding items to a list until they run out of ideas. That can be helpful as a starting point, but keep the goal and function of your app clearly in mind. Decide what it should do – and just as importantly, what it shouldn’t – to keep the scope of the project from spiraling out of control.  It is often better to start with a simple well-designed that does a few things well than one that does some of everything but is confusing and hard to use.  Think about the elegance and simplicity of the iPhone when planning. The ever-evolving nature of mobile apps lends perfectly to a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version and rolling out additional features over a roadmap lifecycle. Further, this keeps users looking forward to new features and functionality over time.

3. Pay Attention to Design and User Experience (UX)

As anyone who has been through the mobile app development launch process could tell you, programming is only part of the challenge. Your app’s user interface is just as crucial as its functionality. Your app has to look good before customers will want to download it and give it a try. So, pay a lot of attention to both aesthetics and user experience at every stage.

4. Test Your App Extensively

Once your app has been designed and programmed, you’ll want your development team to run it through dozens of different scenarios and mobile browsers. In fact, you and your team (and maybe even some of your customers) might want to get involved in the beta testing, too. While a lot of business people are eager to rush an app to market, the priority should be to ensure your app is completely stable, and doesn’t have any security issues or compatibility problems before you send it “live”.   Plan well defined feedback loops so you can learn from customers.  They will teach you what’s working and what isn’t and you may be surprised to learn just how they’re using it.  This can create new enhancements and new opportunities to grow your customer base.

5. Promote and Revise Your Mobile App

It goes without saying that your app can’t help customers unless they download it. So, you should have a plan in place to promote your app to current and future buyers. Also, make a habit of regularly revisiting your concepts to see if any changes or updates are needed. The best apps evolve over time, in terms of both programming and new features.  Make sure you engage with your customers so you are attracting positive reviews which will have a significant impact on your adoption rate.   Well reviewed apps get far more attention than equally good apps with fewer positive reviews.

In conclusion,

A mobile app can help your business stay connected with customers, lower account maintenance costs, and even increase sales. But, you’ll have to have the right piece of software in place before any of that can happen. So, keep these tips in mind as you begin the planning process.

If  you want to work with the industry’s best, contact the mobile app development team at Habanero today or drop us a line at hello@habanero.com!   Habanero has been producing high-quality business impacting digital solutions since 1995 and has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies and SMBs to implement high-impact cost effective solutions.

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