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You Can’t Afford Any of These 4 Mobile App Design Mistakes

Mistakes made in the past can come back to haunt you in the present. This fact remains true for mobile app design as well. Designing errors can come back to impact the popularity of your app. They could be the difference between success and failure.

Yes, designing errors can destroy your app. In the cut-throat world of mobile apps, you cannot afford to make these errors. As a business, you’re going to spend a lot of money to build an app and you expect it to deliver high ROI. This won’t happen, if you’ve an app whose design is not up to the mark.

Let’s take a look at four such design mistakes that have the power to break your app:

1. Disregarding first impressions.
Think love at first sight, think app design. Saying your app is going to face a lot of competition out there, is an understatement. The competition is going to be humongous. This is why first impressions matter. Your primary aim is to make sure your app captures the attention of users as soon as they open it.

This is important because app abandonment rate is as high as 20 percent across all categories. If you don’t want your app to be a part of this 20 percent, start focusing on making a great first impression on your users. This can be done by ensuring your app loads quickly and still takes users through engaging animations that hold their attention.

2. Ignoring onboarding.
Designers forget that the app’s target audience will be using the app and its functionalities for the first time. While the app’s usability seems like a breeze to the designers and developers who’ve built it, the same might not be true for first time users. These users expect a walkthrough that illustrates the app’s features.

If you haven’t given the necessary importance to “onboarding”, you might lose out on a potential user who is looking for a demonstration of what the app does, to make better sense of its features and functionality.

There is a school of thought that says the “need to onboard a user” essentially means an app’s design isn’t user friendly. While that argument does have some merit, one needs to understand that “app use” must be stress-free for everybody. This is why onboarding is critical to the success of your app.

3. Lack of consistency.
Designers have this tendency to go overboard with their creativity. This leads to a situation wherein the app suffers from designing inconsistencies. The background color differs across all app pages, different typography is used all over the app and navigation patterns differ across the app.

If your application design suffers from inconsistent use of design elements and features, its UI goes for a toss. This means your app will require a steep learning curve that’s not appreciated by users.

4. Thinking through the Web UX Prism
There are occasions when mobile app designers tend to forget they are not creating a desktop app, but a mobile app. A mobile user has different expectations from an app as compared to somebody who’s using a desktop/laptop. The former do not have the luxury of larger screens, which means you need to focus on design minimalism and ensure only the most relevant design elements are visible onscreen.

You also need to keep minute details in mind, for example the width of the human finger to design the “hit” area. Make all clickable buttons as large as possible so that users don’t encounter the “fat finger problem”.

So, there you have it, four design mistakes that you must avoid at all costs. A great way of ensuring you don’t make these errors is putting yourself in the shoes of target users. It is user-oriented design that will help your app attract and retain users.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243252

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Here’s which smartphone apps have the most usage on iOS & Android

Today has shared the monthly report on both smartphone and app marketshare. The data released today reflects the three-month average ending in December of 2015. The report breaks down the top smartphone platforms, manufacturers, and perhaps most interestingly, the most popular apps

Facebook remains the most used app on smartphones, reaching 76.8% of all smartphone users that are 18 or older. Facebook Messenger comes in second place with 62.5%, while apps from Google round out the top 7.

Apple Music, which accounts for anyone that uses the Music app on iOS, even if they don’t use the streaming aspect, achieved 32.2% reach during this time. Apple Maps came in slightly lower at 29.1%, compared to the 50.9% of Google Maps. The extra reach of Google Maps, however, is likely due to the fact that the app is available on both iOS and Android.

One interesting thing to note, however, is that these reach percentages only account for smartphone users 18 years or older. This restriction likely skews data somewhat. For instance, Snapchat does not make the list of the top 15 most used apps, despite it being one of the most popular and fastest growing apps among teenagers. Likewise, Twitter comes in 15th place in this ranking, but would likely place higher if the data accounted for users under the age 18.

Apple still holds the title as the top smartphone manufacturer this time around, although it did slip slightly. The report shows that Apple holds 42.9% of the market, a 0.7% change compared to the previous month’s report.

On the Android side, Samsung, LG and Motorola all saw minor increases of 0.8%, 0.5%, and 0.5%, respectively. It’s worth noting that the data released from  last month also saw Apple decline by 1%, making it back-to-back months of decline for the company. Nevertheless, it still leads overall.

In terms of the top smartphone platforms, Android still holds the lead with 53.3% of the market, an increase of 1%. Apple’s iOS accounts for 42.9%. Again, that’s a 0.7% decrease compared to last month.

With arguments of “peak iPhone” floating around, these numbers are somewhat interesting, but in the long run, minor marketshare fluctuations are nothing to worry too much about.

http://9to5mac.com/2016/02/04/most-popular-smartphone-apps/

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Discovering Opportunities To Drive Your Mobile Web & App Optimization Strategy

With the steady rise of mobile search, SEO practitioners these days need to consider how to optimize both their websites and apps for mobile search visibility.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update, released in April 2015, gave a boost in mobile search results to pages with good mobile user experiences. Along those lines, Google has sought to increase the visibility of app content within mobile search results through app indexing. Thus, it’s key to have a strategic approach to our mobile optimization efforts — both on our websites and apps.

The now more mature mobile web and app optimization tools make this analysis possible, and straightforward, too.

1. Which Are Your Industry’s Top Mobile Web & App Competitors?
Let’s start with the fundamentals by identifying your competitors in mobile web and app search visibility. Are your competitors the same for both mobile web and apps? Are they the same as your desktop search competitors?

2. How Does Your Overall Mobile Traffic Performance Compare With That Of Your Competitors?
A question that arises frequently at the beginning of a mobile optimization process is, “What type of traffic can be expected from the optimized mobile presence?”

Although there’s no completely accurate way to answer (as it depends a number of factors such as your own efforts, your competitors’ activities, audience trends, industry seasonality, search platforms, algorithm updates and so on). That should give you an idea of what is achievable if you maximize the visibility of all your channels:

Mobile Web Traffic Potential
You can do something similar with your mobile app competitors and look at installs, active users and sessions. This data can also provide a reference to take into consideration:

Downloads Estimation App

For apps specifically, it’s good to look at traffic from within app stores, as well. SimilarWeb lets you see this information not only for in-store search, but also for all in-store related traffic.

3. What Are Your Current Mobile Web & App Search Rankings Versus Your Competitors’?
Once you have identified your competitors and their overall performance, you can dig deeper and analyze rankings. Look not only at your own mobile search rankings and trends, but at those of your competitors, too.

Mobile App Keywords

Besides in-store rankings and keywords, it’s also possible to obtain external search queries from search engines referring traffic to your mobile app (and your competitors).This will give you a much better understanding of the keywords generating visibility to your app presence and how your competitors are leveraging it already:

Mobile App In-Store & External Search Keywords

Now is also a good time to identify queries for which your competitors are ranking higher than you in mobile web search results and for which they have lost their rankings. You should strengthen your presence for these queries, and in cases where they have lost rankings, take the opportunity to fill the rankings gap.

4. How Does Your Mobile Search Visibility Differ From Your Desktop Search Visibility?
Take the keywords that you have identified in the mobile search analysis above and compare them with the top ones that you have been prioritizing in your SEO efforts until now. Are they different or the same? Use your current organic search traffic engagement and conversion metrics to prioritize keywords that will likely bring you greater benefits.

5. Which Of Your Best-Performing And High-Priority Pages Are Still Not Mobile-Ready Or Mobile-Optimized?
Once you have the keywords that you should target for your mobile optimization efforts, identify which pages you should be optimizing for them, and determine whether or not they are already mobile-friendly.

You can automate this by aggregating the relevant or already ranking URLs for the keywords you want to target and importing them into URL Profiler. From here, you can easily verify if they pass Google’s “Mobile Friendly” validation and their “Mobile PageSpeed” score by integrating with Google’s API.

6. Which Of Your Competitors Are App Indexing, And How Significant Is The Impact? For Which Of These Queries Are You App Indexing, Too?
Besides prioritizing those queries for which you have identified there’s a high interest in both mobile app and web search, you should also take into consideration the ones that your competitors are already targeting and benefiting from.

http://searchengineland.com/discovering-opportunities-drive-mobile-web-app-optimization-strategy-237625

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People Spent an Insane Amount of Money on Apps This Year

Apple device owners spent more than $20 billion in the App Store in 2015. Apple users broke App Store records by spending more than $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases this holiday season.

That figure includes money spent during the two week period ending on Jan. 3. New Year’s Day was the biggest day in App Store history, with more than $144 million spent in the 24-hour period.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president who now leads the App Store, said that Apple device users spent more than $20 billion in the App Store throughout all of 2015. That’s double the 2013 figure.

Apple is now busy expanding the App Store to new platforms, like the Apple TV. The early crop of Apple TV apps already provide some insight as to how apps behave differently on the TV versus the phone.

http://time.com/4169153/apple-app-store-stats-2015/

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BUSINESSES SQUEEZED BETWEEN APPS AND MOBILE WEB

Tech giants Apple and Google are the most valuable brands in the world. Apple’s iPhones and other gadgets are gaining attention of smartphone lovers, while Google’s mobile web is making several things easy for users. Today, the main objective of tech giants should be to offer simple and inexpensive Internet to users, but Apple’s focus on apps and Google’s focus on mobile web are making businesses grappling with online world.

Evan Ratliff, who runs an online publication The Atavist Magazine, said it becomes very difficult for him to make a balance between app and web. According to Ratliff, he had to continuously work on web and magazine’s app, which means double pressure. Ratliff, co-founder of the magazine, said it takes too much time to maintain the magazine’s website and update users via app. The pressure to do everything was the reason why The Atavist Magazine decided to shut its app and focus only on the web, Ratliff added.

“The decision was difficult because The Atavist’s app had a following, and it is hard to give up any audience once you have it. But in the end, the app’s limitations were too great”, according to Ratliff.

The tech giants are not only strengthening their business, but also considering overlap. Mountain View, California, headquartered Google is also selling apps, while Apple is also making money by advertising. Both the companies know that there is an overlap, but they are tied to the vision of their core products.

http://nycity.today/content/286397-businesses-squeezed-between-apps-and-mobile-web

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Internet Giants Race to Faster Mobile News Apps

US tech Giants are Turning to the news in Their Competition for Mobile Users, Developing new, Faster Ways to Deliver content, the Benefits for Struggling BUT REMAIN Unclear Media Outlets. Mobile “Drives so much traffic” Because many People Start Their Day reading news on a Phone or Tablet. Several new Apps Hope to Capitalize on That by attracting news Readers and the Advertising Dollars They Bring.

Facebook Launched ITS “Instant Articles” Earlier this year in partnership with a Number of Media Organizations to Provide Access to the news 10 Times More Quickly, through social Media Infrastructure ITS, than MOST news Websites do. And Google is Said to be Preparing a similar system in partnership with Twitter to allow Mobile Users to fully load an article on Their Phone in a fraction of a Second, compared with 10 seconds Nearly Today.

The Rapid Development of the news has Managing Director Mobile Products Demonstrates How the new battleground for tech companies seeking to Keep Users Within Their Ecosystems, where They CAN reach Them with More Products, Services and Advertising. “There’s a big Competition for Mind Share,” Americans Spend an average of Three Hours per Day on Mobile Devices, compared to just over Two Hours on PCs. Mobile Advertising is surging. North American Mobile ad Spending is set to Jump to $ 61 Billion by 2018 from $ 19.7 Billion Last year. A new Model? The Moves are Giving Media companies Incentives to make Their Products More Mobile Friendly.

The New York Times Will allow Access to 30 free Articles per Day on Apple News, for instance, compared with 10 per Day for Readers who go to the Daily’s Website or news Application. BUT it Remains Unclear WHETHER THESE new Apps Will Help Organizations Find a lasting news Economic Model to Survive the Digital age. ACCORDING to the Pew Research Center, Daily US Print circulation is down 19 percent over the Past Decade and Print Advertising has fallen More than 60 percent. In combatting That Decline , WHETHER news Organizations have to go after to Decide on Their Own Digital Readers or to Team up with tech Firms. In THESE new Apps, the Publishers Appear to have Chosen the Latter. For Both Apple and Facebook, news Publishers Will be Able to Keep 100 percent of ad Generate Revenues They Themselves and 70 percent of the Revenue from ads sold by the tech Platforms.

For now, the Agreements look Pretty Favorable to the Publishers. BUT the Long-Term Impacts REMAIN Unclear, ESPECIALLY as to How the Partnerships Will Affect the Digital Subscriptions or purchases of Individual Articles Previously sold Directly by the Media Outlets. A New York Times Spokesman Said it is “Important to Ensure That The Times is available in a Wide Variety of places where People Find Their news and information,” Noting That the Daily CAN be Accessed through Services SUCH as Flipboard, Microsoft’s MSN News or Google Play Newsstand. Krum agrees, Saying news Organizations need to Adapt to the Ways Consumers Access the news Today. “It’s much More Casual” than in the Past, SHE Said. “It’s not like going to buy a newspaper anymore. The newspaper has to Find you.”

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/internet-giants-race-to-faster-mobile-news-apps-1225838

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Apps make life easier, and more fun

It’s the marketing slogan that has become a maxim for daily life in the tech age: There’s an app for that.
Apps – short for application – are downloaded programs that have become a staple of smartphones and tablets, turning what were little more than novel gadgets into photo studios, portable offices, vast libraries and video game consoles.
And, despite a stereotype of technophobia, older adults are also starting to embrace them. A study released in April 2014 by survey group Nielson, said 51 percent of cellphone owners over age 55 have a smartphone. Another study released by the same firm in July 2014 said, on average, that age group was spending 21 hours a month across 22 apps.
Locally, more than a few residents have incorporated apps, from the whimsical to the practical, into their everyday lives.
Some people said one app that has been helpful from a productivity standpoint is Office Lens, a free app that is part of Microsoft’s suite of programs. The app allows someone to take a snapshot of posters, whiteboards or documents – even at an angle – and it will automatically straighten and crop them into usable images.
People used it several times at conferences and to snap a picture of programs from events he/she’s attended with his/her friends.

http://www.gvnews.com/news/apps-make-life-easier-and-more-fun/article_aeb88d12-5efe-11e5-9882-4b7ebbc08774.html

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People now spend more time using apps than watching TV

Mobile apps are taking over — but, really, are you surprised?

A new report from Flurry says people are spending more time in mobile apps than watching TV. In 2015, U.S. consumers spent 198 minutes in mobile apps per day compared to 168 minutes watching TV. That time in mobile apps is up from 139 minutes in 2014 and 126 minutes in 2013, and that doesn’t include time spent in mobile browsers.

The report also notes it’s difficult to quantify how much of that time spent on apps overlaps with time spent on TV, since lots of people use their phones while watching TV. And while apps are making headway, TV usage isn’t decreasing. while apps are making headway, TV usage isn’t decreasing.

Meanwhile, mobile users have been trained to pay for content, according to the report. Games have traditionally dominated the top-grossing charts of app stores.And with a growth in sales from in-app purchases, traditional media companies could “move its content to apps and stream it over-the-top, charge consumers for it through the App Stores, and still make money from ads,” the report concludes.

Flurry’s data comes at the cusp of the new Apple TV announcement. At Wednesday’s Apple event, CEO Tim Cook said the television experience has been static while mobile innovation has flourished. His response is a simple vision: “We believe the future of television is apps. In fact, this transition has already begun.” With the Apple TV’s new OS supporting apps and an App Store for third-party apps, users can stream content from Netflix as well as shop and play games.

With new features like these, one thing is clear: The future of television means more than just watching television.

http://mashable.com/2015/09/12/time-on-mobile-apps/#qQ.Eq8Sb0Pkj

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The Importance of User Experience for Mobile Apps

Today, mobile application development technology is evolving at a very shocking pace. However, in a market where quality and performance always come before brand loyalty, creating a fluid user experience (UX) is key to the success of any mobile app development project.

User experience is becoming an increasingly crucial feature when it comes to the digital landscape. It defines how the user feels and thinks about your product from his or her own perspective. It is about making something valuable, easy to use and effective for your target market.

Therefore, there is a need to adopt a user-centered approach to mobile application development that gives emphasis to the needs of target users. Improved UX translates into several key benefits for the companies that provide it, and here are some of them:

1. Loyal User Base :

Everyone has the experience of using an app with lots of bugs and errors, complexities, frustrating interactions and unexpected behaviors. The truth is that, a poorly designed application reduces customer loyalty. Users won’t have a high tolerance for unstable applications and nothing can turn them away faster than a bad first impression. You may not be able to foster a lasting relationship with users.

2. Reduce Support Costs :

A well-designed app can save you money and time. Consumers regularly struggle with simple issues that solutions can easily be found on a well-designed app. Mobile applications give customers a way to not only find solutions but to connect with your business 24/7, irrespective of where they are. They can offer direct personal calls with sales people, access to a help desk, live chat and even provide on-going support to customers.
3. Increased Customer Satisfaction :

Customer satisfaction is one of the keys to running a successful business. Success in any industry is often measured by the number of satisfied customers. The better experience you provide for your clients, the more satisfied they will be – and the opposite is true. The worse experience you create for your customers, the more frustrated they will become with your offering. They will rarely recommend your product to their friends and relatives. The same applies to mobile applications.

The most common reason why users might abandon or delete an app is poor user experience. If an app can’t provide a positive first impression, it is probably going to frustrate users and it is likely going to be deleted.

4. Increased Sales :

A well-designed app will have increased traffic, transactions, and conversations. These apps will attract and keep more clients who will buy more products and leave positive feedback. Happy customers often spread the word to their friends and families. Users won’t share your app if it fails to meet their expectations. They also review your application online, which plays an important role in convincing other potential users to download the application. Also, the reviews reflect the current user satisfaction with the application. Remember online reviews is a trusted sources of information, and building trust with users is a key component in ensuring that more people download and use the app.

5. It Gives You an Edge Over the Competition:

It is nearly impossible to stand out in a crowd of well over a million. It is important that your app stands out from the rest. However, making your product stand out in a saturated market is not as easy as you think.While there are a lot of tricky gimmicks that you can try to make your app noticeable, you need to involve the user from the beginning in order to succeed. You have to make sure your item is user-friendly – before anything else. Users are attracted to apps that can provide them with what they really want.

 

http://www.business2community.com/mobile-apps/importance-user-experience-mobile-apps-01321326

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Are marketers underestimating the power of apps?

In a mobile-first environment, marketers need to ensure they are providing highly-customised mobile-friendly experiences both in-browser and in-app.

Google recently announced that this is the case in 10 major countries, including Japan and the US. According to research from the IMRG, mobile devices now account for 45% of all visits to ecommerce sites, and with mobile sales up by 27% in Q4 last year and climbing.

So what do brands need to do to gain agility in the mobile marketplace and increase conversion rates in an increasingly competitive market?

The shift in attitude has been monumental and the app market has grown exponentially over the last few years, with some of the largest companies on the planet depending on it.

Google’s recent statement that it has changed its algorithms to begin indexing mobile apps means that whereas before a click would definitely lead to a specific browser page, now it can lead to the appropriate part of an app, which massively reduces friction, creating a friendlier user experience.

When you consider that 89% of consumer media time is spent in apps, it is easy to see that if a brand is able to engage with a customer in app, then there will be greater loyalty when compared to doing so within a browser.

People constantly refine the number of apps on their device, compared to the vast swathes of pages they open within their browser, so having an app is often a mark of loyalty and signals that it’s a key step on that consumer’s path to purchase.

With this in mind, to a loyal customer, an in app advertisement is going to go a lot further than a standard banner ad on a web page. For the brand, getting it right will mean greater engagement, higher spend and brand advocacy through recommendation via social media and word of mouth.

Despite this, apps are an often overlooked resource. Although mobile browser optimisation is crucial, the technological similarity to desktop means that marketers are already well versed in honing their web pages and collecting data.

Native mobile apps however, are developed from the ground up and are hard-coded, requiring app developers to modify them ahead of marketers re-submitting them to app stores. However, marketers can take the following steps to begin optimising their native apps:

The personal touch. Use data to pinpoint specific consumers with user-defined in-app offers and preferential content based on multi-channel user-level profiles that combine information from every channel and touch point.

Optimise the experience. The effectiveness of app pages can be split tested to see what works best. The ability to swap in content in real-time will give more accurate and versatile results. Creativity is key as minor changes, such as the colour and shape of a buy button, could drastically affect conversion rates.

Dynamic data collection. Integrate tagging to your apps. By collecting data from app usage you can analyse it alongside other channels at the user level to gain nuanced insight to the consumer.

Forward-thinking marketers are increasingly realising that native app optimisation will pay dividends further down the line.

A smartphone screen is the first thing someone looks at in the morning, and the last thing they see at night, so it is essential that marketers get to the heart of what the consumer wants.

By using effective testing practices, clever use of data and subsequently delivering a personalised user experience in app, it’s possible to radically boost conversion rates.

The future of marketing is rooted in delivering tailor made experiences across every channel and touch point, be that on desktop, a connected TV or on mobile. Mobile apps are simply the next gold mine that marketers are sitting on, while waiting for the next stop in the consumer journey to become a reality.

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