The technical “nuts and bolts" of developing a mobile application to serve your business model and customers can seem daunting. However, if you take the right steps in the right order—thinking out “why" for your mobile app long before worrying about the “how" —you may very well find that creating a mobile app for your business can be a lucrative and sensible investment in the future success of your enterprise.
First of all, think about the diversity of applications on your own smartphone. Your clients and customers are out there using those very same apps for a wide variety of experiences ranging from banking to entertainment to making better choices as to what they consume, be it cuisine, travel or social experiences. It is important for your team to think about what you want your user experience to feel like. Are you delivering your own content, or simply connecting users to other data from the web, personalized databases, or other providers? Is your mobile app about driving sales, providing service, or increasing your brand recognition among your specific constituency?
If it's about money, take the time to research different monetization models. For example, you can provide a basic app for free, and then offer premium customers a more advanced application with more “bells and whistles" for a modest fee. Other models provide the app for free, and then sell virtual or real life items from within the application itself. Still others use their application to boost the user experience for experiences that don't have anything to do with the app itself, such as monitoring progress in online games.
Apps can also be a powerful tool for reaching specific audiences, such as the 75 million “Baby Boomers" in America who are approaching retirement age. Think about the last time you skimmed a restaurant menu on your smartphone. If the restaurant wasn't forward-thinking enough to optimize their menu for mobile web browsers, trying to read a tightly-written menu in a small font can be a frustrating experience even for young people with good eyesight.
With a mobile app, you get to choose how your content, data and messaging reaches your users, and a good mobile application designer can help provide you an app that best serves your needs, customers, and goals. Once you have a good strategy and roadmap in place that clearly defines your goals, moving onto design, development, marketing and a successful launch is just a click away.