5 Tips for Creating an App for the New Mobile Reality

When’s the last time you went an entire day without your phone?

Eighty-five percent of people check their smartphone repeatedly during the day, and 60 percent check their phone every hour. Mobile dependence is widespread, and there are huge opportunities to create a more seamless mobile experience.

Take the banking industry, for example. Bank of America reportedly has 15 million mobile banking customers, with a growth rate of 200,000 per month. Simple has emerged as a mobile and online alternative to traditional banking, and big-name companies like Google and PayPal are jumping on the mobile wallet bandwagon.

Mobile is no longer reserved for those on the go, though. More companies will be capitalizing on the Internet of Things to bring mobile integration into the home. When a customer clicks "go to bed" on his smartphone, apps will automatically dim the lights, lock the doors, and turn down the thermostat.

With this type of mobile omnipresence, entrepreneurs and developers are rushing to create the next big thing for mobile and fulfill consumer needs. Here are five things to keep in mind when designing your next app to ensure you’re planning for the new mobile reality:

1. Listen and Respond to Consumers’ Needs


In the business world, we’re still struggling to connect our wireless devices to the network printer, but consumers are already seeking new ways to use their devices to entertain, educate, and enhance their everyday lives.

True advances in mobile aren’t driven by what developers or businesses want — they’re inspired by consumers’ needs.

Evernote enables quick notes on the go. Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine allow us to share life’s moments instantly with friends via picture or video. All these breakthroughs were responses to a real consumer need — even a need as simple as sending an embarrassing selfie to a friend with an automatic self-destruct function.

2. Take Advantage of a Device’s Unique Features


Companies are slowly learning that people won’t use a mobile app that simply imitates the desktop experience. The variety of devices is rapidly expanding, and we’re going to be in the age of wearables by the time simple mobile sites catch up.

Staying ahead of the curve means taking advantage of a device’s features to create a whole new experience for your user base. Smartphones have GPS tracking, touch screens, and wireless connectivity. Google Glass has a user interface directly in the user’s line of sight. Smartwatches are worn on the wrist, where they can feel the user’s pulse. Find a way to capitalize on your product’s unique features to enhance the user experience.

3. Don’t Use Voice Control Just Because You Can


Voice control is great. Although it’s important to integrate voice control into your app, don’t risk alienating consumers by not allowing silent control. Whether you’re designing for smartphones or wearables, be sure to allow both text input and gesture control.

4. Keep Your Features Fresh


Mobile technology is constantly evolving because people’s needs are always changing. Integrating features between devices and evolving your feature set is vital for keeping up in this fast-paced market.

Facebook has long struggled to adapt its feature-rich desktop experience to mobile. But instead of bogging down one mobile app with too many features, its strategy is to launch several apps that perform one function, such as Facebook Messenger, Paper, and even Poke — its failed Snapchat clone.

If you have to make budget cuts, research and development is a function that should be last on the chopping block. Otherwise, you may find yourself quickly losing ground. Take Nokia: The company flourished in the early 2000s, but it was left behind when it failed to adapt to the changing marketplace.

Remember: You must be a market maker, not a market follower.

5. Constantly Test Security and Functionality


The new mobile frontier includes total integration, but that means security is going to be an even bigger challenge. Passwords are quickly becoming obsolete as web integration reaches homes and automobiles.

No matter what stage of development you’re in, keep testing functionality and security. If there’s a bug, find and fix it before it affects too many people. You want your users to view you as a secure and trustworthy company that creates dependable products and protects their interests. This alone will set you apart.

The world is mobile, but many companies are struggling to understand what that means — let alone take advantage of it. Understanding consumers’ needs and providing unique, innovative, and secure solutions is key as technology evolves. To survive the new mobile reality, an app can’t just be convenient — it needs to offer a seamless and delightful new experience.

Ioannis Verdelis is the co-founder and COO of Fleksy, a revolutionary keyboard that makes typing on a touchscreen so easy you can type without even looking. Ioannis is a member of many entrepreneurial organizations, including the Young Entrepreneur Council, Empact Sphere, Startup America, and more. Connect with him on Twitter.

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