Today, there is an app for almost anything. From shopping and ordering food, to booking transport and staying organized, there are millions of mobile apps available. As a result of apps’ popularity, businesses are increasingly investing in mobile app development to offer more value to their customers. But with so many apps available for download, how do you ensure you design something that stands out?
The most important aspect to keep in mind when designing a new app is the user experience (UX). This involves the level of practicality and usability for users. With thorough UX research, you can measure this experience and create a better app.
Research and data from controlled studies give you insights into strategies that prove effective in real-world situations. It can also reveal new trends that can be implemented by your UI/UX developer team to attract new audiences.
Effective research involves the creation and implementation of focus groups, hypothetical personas and scenarios, journey mapping and surveys to get data on consumer trends and preferences. Let’s discover the details around why UX research is so important throughout the development cycle of mobile apps.
Why Research Is Important in the Designing and Launching of Mobile Business Apps
- It offers valuable insights for planning
The planning stage of any mobile app is by far the most important step. It allows you to carefully set out your goals, find solutions to customer needs, and identify any problems.
Through the analysis of customer data, one can determine what users want out of a certain app. Before the design stages, this can be valuable to plan the objectives of the app. For example, a loan app may need to be fast and support multiple sim cards.
Data can also present issues that you may miss in your predictions and simulations. This can help you to plan around it or to find solutions before any problems arise.
- It helps to avoid design flaws early on
Through research and effective trial-and-error strategies, you can identify possible flaws early on.
Proper research during the testing stages can also help to streamline the launch phase and save you valuable time and money that may have been spent later on in the life cycle. This will ensure the retention of early adopters. Remember: It is easier to retain a user than to get a user back who has opted out of using your app.
- It reduces the learning curve for users
Research can be useful in lowering the learning curve for users. Users who have to spend longer periods to learn how to use a new app are less likely to continue to use it. You can run simulations of different interfaces or experiences to get a score on how easy they are to use. It may not be 100% accurate, but it provides an important and otherwise hard-to-measure data point.
- It makes you privy to competitor efforts
Just like with web development, knowing what your competitors are doing is just as important for mobile app design.
It has been proven that to compete effectively in a certain field, you require sufficient information. Doing a competitor analysis will help you to harness the momentum of being first in the market with certain features and functions. It can also help you to identify pain points that you may not have been aware of.
While you may want to launch something completely unique and innovative, you have to look at what works for your target audience and what does not. Your competitors may produce essential information around this. You should never follow a copy-and-paste approach with your app, but you need to have an understanding of the competition’s efforts.
Whether you use social engineering or data mining to get your information, it is important to make sure that how you do it and how you use it is always legal and actionable.
- It helps to guide the overall design paradigm
One of the key aspects of designing a successful app is to identify the actions your users will take to eventually make a sale. Knowing this will guide the entire design journey. So, you have to find out whether your customers want to sign up, purchase, place an order, book, etc. Once this has been established, you have to also identify which other paths your users will follow to complete the first action. Perhaps they may have to look for your business on a map. Or they have to track their package. Once you know this, you can decide how to make the app more intuitive in these situations.
Users want real value and real utility. When you provide that, you will not only have won your users attention but their dollars too.
How Research Can Be Gathered
There are many ways to gather data through research. But not all methods are always effective. It is best to try them first before establishing a suitable method for you.
The main methods used in acquiring qualitative research data include:
- Lab Studies
Lab studies involve the moderator observing the subject interacting with the object. In the case of mobile app development, this will be a mobile device with the app installed on it. The subject is first observed without any comment to see how they naturally interact with the app. After a few observations, the subject can be prompted to attempt certain actions. This will help UX developers observe what happens in specific scenarios. It can provide valuable insight before rolling out the app.
You must, however, be aware of this method’s shortcomings. Simulation does not always reflect real-world scenarios. Therefore, data from such studies should ideally be tested with other methods.
- Journal/Diary Studies
This form of research asks multiple questions: When, why, how, and for how long was the app used? It seeks to understand the entire context in which the app is used. This helps to further understand what role the app plays in the user’s life. Therefore, offering insight into how you can better tweak the app to serve this purpose better.
This method can be challenging, as the subject must record each time they use the app. One can easily forget to do this and the process can be very time-consuming.
- Observational Studies
Here, researchers have to observe subjects using the app. This method seeks to understand in what context users interact with the app. It can yield a lot of useful data. However, it has to be noted that this method can be quite invasive to conduct.
What Needs to Be Researched
When it comes to mobile experiences, users want to interact with modern products that follow current trends. When conducting research, you have to look into the most innovative trends that are being rolled out. This keeps you ahead of the curve and allows you to stand out from your competitors. Some trends that should be looked into include:
Chatbots are on nearly every major site nowadays. The reason for this is that it has been proven to offer added value to users. Your team may not be available to answer questions or provide information to users 24/7. A chatbot is a great alternative, as it can be programmed to offer valuable answers, advice, and information to users at all times.
Voice User Interface (VUI) makes vocal communication between humans and computers a reality. UX designers can code software to interpret vocal commands from humans and take specific actions as a response. Such an interface has proven useful when users are on the go. In 2020 alone, giants such as Google, Android, and even Apple have all integrated VUIs into their products.
The adoption of the newest technologies helps to improve the overall experience and adds value to users. It also helps to attract new users and to retain current customers.
Analysis of your competitors is the evaluation of your contender’s strengths and weaknesses against yours. This should be constant throughout the development of your app. It can show you valuable insights into new trends being used, successful implementations, and valuable partnerships, as well as issues that need to be avoided.
The planning of an app is the most important part of the development process. During this phase, you have to do thorough audience research. Before you even pay your UX developer salary, you will need a buyer/user persona or profile. Great planning is one that caters to this buyer/user persona and continues to do so with actual users.
Let’s explore the details of why this is so important:
- It identifies needs. You cannot launch a useful product without knowing what problems it solves or is expected to solve. It is as simple as asking people what they want and finding a way to deliver it.
- It enriches the app with optimal tools. With a user persona, it is a lot easier for the development team to provide a unique, customized experience.
- It informs decisions on choosing a platform for enrollment. Different countries and even regions use different apps. For example, in a country where Apple products are rare and expensive, rolling out an app on iOS means the app will only be available to the higher economic class in that region.
Pricing is a significant factor in mobile app development. A lot of research has to be done on the price of the app. The popularity of the app depends largely on how competitive your price is. Therefore, it should be done correctly. Aspects that need to be looked at during the research phase include your target audience’s budget, what they are willing to spend and what value they get for the price they pay.
How Working With a UX Researcher Can Help With the App Building Process
Some apps succeed instantly, while others disappear into the abyss. The recurring theme for businesses who’s apps make it, is working with a UX researcher or UX developer that does thorough research. This offers a couple of advantages that are beneficial to the app-building process. These include:
1. Monitoring of analytics and statistics
From the beginning stages to the final launch of the mobile app, working with a UX designer and developer team that does sufficient research can ensure that you have valuable analytics and statistics to continually tweak the product.
User data will change. Therefore, the monitoring of analytics and statistics is useful throughout the lifetime of the app. This data can also help you to identify issues before, during, and after the launch of the app.
2. Increased brand awareness
With sufficient data gained through research, you can effectively increase your brand awareness which, in turn, can push your app’s popularity. A UI/UX developer can research which colors, fonts, images, and even text are most beneficial for your business.
For example, it is said that the color red enhances the senses. Therefore, restaurants and takeaway services often use the color red in their fonts, logos, and images. Some businesses also make use of large, bold fonts to make their messaging more prominent and memorable.
Knowing which elements best represent your business and brand, can help to elicit emotions that reflect your brand or make you more memorable.
3. Feedback gathering
Feedback is incredibly important to any business. And it is also one of the best ways to gather data. Feedback from users can include elements that work, issues that need to be addressed, and improvements.
There are many ways feedback can be gathered. With the help of a developer that has experience in research, you can easily implement effective feedback methods into your app, website, blogs, or social media that allows you to gather data fast and efficiently.
4. Increased conversions
By working with a skilled developer that can implement expert research, you can build an app that is targeted towards your audience, addresses their needs, and offers the most seamless experience for buying, signing up, or booking. With the right data, you can efficiently improve user experience and ultimately, leads and sales.
Design Better Mobile Apps
With the large demand for mobile apps in our technology-driven world, every business wants to take advantage of the benefits of this fast-growing industry. But without the necessary information that research offers, your chances of launching a successful mobile app are very small. If your app is not able to offer a great experience, there are chances that users will start using your competitors’ products that provide better answers and solutions to their needs.
Detailed research is a must for app development as this will give you valuable insights about your target audience, competitors and possible issues that need to be overcome. With the help of a developer with expert skills and knowledge of research, you can build something that is valuable to your customers and that offers an excellent user experience journey.