At Rade | Eccles we believe that user experience is the core foundation to a successful iOS app. By providing a positive user experience we can ensure customer satisfaction and user retention resulting in an actively engaged consumer. Engaged consumers are eager to help spread the word about your app which further increases your reach. We focus on user experience throughcareful analysis and design from a user perspective.
Understanding what users demand from every app is necessary to provide a fulfilling user experience. There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store; however, very few of these address each of the demands of today’s app users thus many apps are amazingly mediocre at best and are remarkably unsuccessful in the marketplace. We believe there are four key components to a positive user experience which will set your app apart from the crowd: design, value, quality, and support. Degrading or removing any of these will, at a minimum, significantly impact the user’s experience and perception of your app. At the extreme end the app user might extrapolate a negative perception to other products or even worse your whole brand.
Apple has been instrumental in setting the bar high when it comes to design. Not only does Apple pay attention to physical hardware design in painstaking detail but also encourages simplicity in use. Consumers have grown to expect simplicity and elegance in anything associated with Apple. These concepts also prevail in software design for Apple products and apps are no exception.
The native capabilities of both the hardware and the iOS software development kit (SDK) are astounding. A successful app must take full advantage of these capabilities to provide a highly compelling visual experience. Without high resolution artwork, an appealing graphic layout, and interactivity users may quickly discount the app as elementary and sub-par resulting in a poor user experience.
Furthermore, great care must be taken to simplify the user’s workflow when using the app. Providing too
many options, complex functionality, and/or a poor functional design will leave users frustrated and dissatisfied.
We mitigate these design risks by involving our computer graphics designers in the earliest stages of the application lifecycle to ensure the highest quality visual experience possible. We carefully analyze potential workflows to ensure that we use the best user interface components to provide the simplest and most effective user experience.
With the exception of novelty apps adding value is critical to the success of your app. There are many ways to provide both real and perceived value in an app. Often times just making a commonly repeated task simple or exciting creates perceived value. For example, repackaging or aggregating website content in a manner that leverages capabilities unique to the iOS platform which improves interactivity, visualization, and simplifies the reading experience is a perceived value. A game that captures the user’s attention for a longer than usual period of time may also result in perceived value.
Real value can be recognized when using an app directly results in a savings of time or money for the user. An app that can streamline a business process and/or reduce costs can be of great value. For example, an app that serves as a mobile point-of-sale (POS) device can reduce hardware costs for a business. An app that takes a complex manual calculation and yields an instant result may save time by streamlining a business process resulting in greater efficiency or capacity.
Value is also easily realized when an app provides content or functionality that is not generally available elsewhere or is especially useful in a mobile context. An app that can listen to a song and return the artist, album information, and lyrics is a great example of adding value within a mobile context.
During the application lifecycle we are continually seeking ways to add value to your app whether it is real or perceived. Adding value ensures customer satisfaction and increases brand loyalty.
An app that looks amazing and adds value is worthless if it doesn’t operate and perform according to the users expectations. No app is bug free and sometimes there are hardware issues which can interfere with expected behavior; however, a lack of quality is currently plaguing the App Store.
The App Store has created a gold rush of would be programmers hoping to strike it rich. They have armed themselves with the latest development books from Amazon.com and are quickly learning how to write iOS apps. Unfortunately many of these “developers” have no software engineering background. They are not familiar with the basic software engineering principles of requirements gathering, design, and testing let alone the intricacies of the Objective C language or object oriented development. This has resulted in an enormous amount of shoddy apps that for the most part are not even worth a free download.
At Rade | Eccles we have decades of experience in software engineering in both principle and practice. We have team members who have studied software quality at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and who have practical experience with long term multi-million dollar software project implementations in some of the leading Fortune 500 companies around the globe. We take great pride in producing the highest quality iOS apps possible.
Quality begins in the design phase and carries on throughout development and into testing. We conduct unit, integration and performance testing in house. We also involve users with pre-release beta testing to flush out any remaining quality issues before App Store submission.
One of the biggest complaints about apps in the App Store is the lack of developer support. As with any business customer service is critical. Users may have questions on usage, recommendations for product enhancements, or may have uncovered a bug. Most users are reasonable in understanding that questions or issues will arise so long as a communication channel exists enabling them to reach an adequate solution in a timely manner. Failing to provide quick and easy access to support, especially for paid apps, is one of the quickest paths to failure.
We believe that support should be available to the user in closest proximity to the user at the moment the question or problem arises. We offer in-app technical support options allowing the user quick access to answers and channels of communication without ever leaving the app.
The Road to Success
We use the four key components of design, value, quality, and support to positively influence the user experience and ensure we produce compelling apps which create an engaged consumer loyal to your brand.