10 Key Components of Successful Mobile Apps
Hundreds of new products appear on the mobile app market every day. Therefore, in order to outperform competitors and provide app users with something innovative, companies and startups have to make a significant effort. In this article, we will consider what are the key features of a successful mobile app and how to make your app an app that people want to use.
Components of Successful Mobile Apps
What exactly is involved in creating an app? Our clients always ask this question. They also would like to know how much money and time will be required, where to start, how the work process is built, and how to succeed, as a result, give value to users and earn money.
In our work, we go through all stages of the life cycle of creating apps on mobile, and we would like to share the key components of a successful mobile application.
1. Definition of Business Goals
The first component of the mobile app development process is to find your business goals. What business challenge or market opportunity your mobile app can solve? There can be many answers depending on the most profitable sector of your business.
There are many cases for app solutions and various opportunities to optimize processes or introduce new client value streams with app solutions. The key is to choose one that contributes broader business strategy.
The app allows the establishment of a communication channel with potential clients. The company's website can attract traffic through search engines, and by redirecting users from the site to a mobile application, the company will continue to work with a potential client further. When the client closes the tab with the company's website, he stops interacting with the business, but when the site transfers the client to the application, the work with the client is just beginning.
How to do it?
- Put a pop-up window on the site with an offer to receive a bonus for installing the application.
- At the end of each post, put a reminder about installing the application.
- Set a redirect page to install a mobile application on Google Play if the client leaves the site.
The mere presence of a mobile application doesn’t solve all business problems, but it can become a powerful tool for increasing profits.
2. Market Research
Every application starts with an idea. After you formulate your idea, you should tell us what tasks the future app and its service will solve, and we start doing a deep analysis. We analyze solutions that already exist and conduct a study of competitors and analyze customer behavior patterns.
At each phase, we don’t forget about the end user and think through the customer's life cycle. It helps us to understand how users will interact with a new app - and make it understandable, and useful. The app must benefit your business as well.
3. Monetization Strategy
Mobile app monetization strategy is determined by the mobile app’s value proposition. There are five monetization strategies:
- Advertising based
- Pay per download
- In-app purchases
The monetization model that suits your app of mobile depends on different factors, your monetization strategy must exist before launch. Business objectives involve the app monetization strategy.
4. Product Roadmap
A roadmap in the hands of a skilled product manager is a real strategic weapon. Just as most strategists know how to properly use their work tools, so the product manager must be able to tactically apply the roadmap and use the available services for this purpose.
The purpose of the main document of a product manager is to cover the main ideas and progress in tasks for the team and stakeholders.
In developing the app the product roadmap consists of a global-level initiative and all of its planned steps. It doesn't include all features and detailed lists of bugs. This strategy document is for separate planning.
The roadmap throughout its life cycle needs to be updated. Included features, initiatives, and requirements must be created and initiated by many parties: management, customers, sales managers, partners, support, developers, financiers, and, of course, the product manager.
5. Determine Your Product’s Device
The chosen device for the app development process impacts your mobile app architecture. iOS development requires different than Android development. If your app needs to support wearable platforms or connected device integrations, you will add another layer that is needed for creating the product’s architecture. Crucial to consider screen sizes and resolutions, memory capacity, and storage capacity, for example.
You must consider the platforms and devices that are the most important for your mobile product before you start development, so the development team can create the architecture accordingly.
6.Create A Consistent Flow
Mobile application architecture is designed in 3 main layers:
- Presentation Layer
- Business Layer
- Data Access Layer
The presentation layer contains the user interface (UI) and UI process components. At the top level, the layer defines the application’s logic and how the product will look for users. Solutions Architects determine the correct client type that is linked with the infrastructure. Such elements as themes, and fonts, are determined at this phase of mobile app development.
The business layer is the core of the mobile application and shows the app’s functionalities. Most devices have limited capacity, and by offloading the business layer to a backend server, you reduce the risk of issues with mobile application performance. Issues related to loading time, response time, memory, and battery consumption, all will impact the mobile app’s UX.
The data layer includes data elements including utilities, access components, helpers, and service agents. It is a very important component of mobile app architecture because the data layer gives a lot to the product’s value. The application in itself is nothing if it doesn’t use the data as fast as possible.
7. User Experience Design
What makes a mobile app successful? UX design is all about creating an interface that is clear, predictable, and user-friendly. Over the years, designers, developers, and psychologists have studied human interaction and behavior, and based on the data they have developed the principles of UX design, which are now guided by the creators of mobile applications.
There are five main principles of Visual Design in UX:
1. Scale Principle
The more important the design element, the larger it is.
No need to overload the interface with different sizes, three – large, medium, and small – will be enough. This way you can create a visual hierarchy on the page.
2. The Principle of Visual Hierarchy
It is important to direct the user's eye to the elements in order of their importance.
This principle can be implemented by the arrangement of elements, their colors, shades, or sizes. Hierarchy allows the user to quickly find important elements on the page - and achieve their goal faster.
So, for a clear visual hierarchy, you can use 2-3 fonts to point out the most important content or highlight important elements with bright colors, and subdued less important ones.
One area of the screen doesn’t distract the user's attention from another.
If you draw an imaginary axis in the center of the screen, the number of elements on both sides of the screen will be uniform.
Balance can be symmetrical (calm, static), asymmetric (dynamic), or circular (when all elements come from the central point of the composition and draw attention to it).
4. Principle of Contrast
Element contrast allows the user to understand that different elements on the screen perform different functions.
Most often, this principle is applied to colors or sizes: for example, in applications on iOS, the “Continue” button will be gray or blue, and the “Cancel” button will be red.
In some cases, the contrast between background and text is used. This option does not always play into the hands of designers: if the contrast between these elements is too weak, then the content will become less accessible to consumers.
5. Gestalt Principles
The organized whole is perceived as greater than the sum of its parts.
This is a whole group of principles, which includes:
- General area;
- Common Destiny (also known as Common Behavior.
Humans simplify and organize complex images made up of many elements. By grouping seemingly separate objects, we see a full-fledged figure.
And the principle of proximity can be seen in the application registration form: signatures located close to text fields suggest what exactly needs to be entered in a particular field.
8. Minimize Cognitive Load
Cognitive load means the amount of thinking processes required to use the mobile application. Humans have a limited amount of processing power, and when an app provides too much info at once, it can overwhelm users and they will abandon the task.
Mess is one of the worst parts of good design. Unmessing your mobile app’s user interface is an effective way to minimize the product’s cognitive load. Every additional image, button, and icon makes the screen more complicated. For the mobile app design, you should choose carefully what is necessary. Always optimize your app for an intuitive design.
It’s also good to minimize the number of tasks. Identify elements of the design that requires user effort like making a decision and looking for alternatives. In some cases, you can use already available information as a default.
You can also break large tasks into smaller ones. If your app includes a lot of steps and actions from the user, divide the feature into subtasks. When a flow is shown as several logical steps, the user will easily proceed through the application.
9. Fast And Responsive Mobile App
Response and loading times are crucial to UX design. Application performance is defined by how well the app performs according to users. It includes how responsive your app is, how fast it starts up, how well it uses device power and memory, and how flawlessly the animations behave.
Your mobile application should load enough data to draw a screen so the user can start using the app while the data loads in the background.
App’s startup time is related to responsiveness. If your app needs to perform several tasks before starting, it’s important to decrease the time and present the user interface fast. Startup time can be done in 3 ways:
- First Screen: the time it takes to show the elements on the screen
- Usable: the time it takes for an app to become interactive
- Fully Functional: the time it takes for an app to load all resources and be fully functional
The first 2 time frames are the most important for users. The aim is to present to your users something as fast as you can and then make your app interactive. When your app is interactive, the application will run the rest of the tasks in the background.
10. Mobile App Marketing
Mobile app marketing is all about engaging with product users from the moment they first hear about the app to the moment they become loyal and repeat users. For marketing to be as effective as possible, you need to figure out who will use the application and how, where to find these people, how to interact with them, and properly present the product to them.
Any use of a mobile application looks like a sequence of certain actions. With a detailed approach, many stages can be distinguished in this sequence, but in a simplified version, there are only three of them.
- Installing a product is the first step in how people interact with the app. How do you motivate them to download the app? Why should they choose it among dozens or hundreds of similar ones?
- User activation – The exact definition of this action varies by application, but in general, activation represents the first actions of a user in an application: registering, adding an email address, and making the first order.
- User Retention – Measures you take to keep the app in regular use without the user wanting to delete it.
Each of these steps is essential to a successful mobile app marketing strategy and each requires different approaches and tactics.
A good mobile application is not only about its useful features and the income that it brings. To prevent your applications from being deleted, you need to carefully analyze the user experience and transform it into a competent interface.
Thanks to a well-written technical task, our team of designers and developers clearly understands what kind of service the customer wants to receive, and gradually implements the initial idea.
Every project is special. In one case, you can combine several phases into one to implement your plans faster and cheaper. For others, it is advisable to go through all the stages. Stfalcon will help you choose the best path.
About the Author
Andrii is an Android developer with more than 6 years of experience in building, integrating, and maintaining Android apps. He has a strong background in the development of enterprise-level software and applications. As a writer, he wrote numerous articles on app development. Currently, he is working with the Stfalcon team.