Being capable of delivering high quality, seamless digital experiences across web and mobile channels has become a critical path to attracting and retaining loyal customers and therefore – driving revenue.
The ability to create the digital experience that customers expect separates the leaders from laggards, and the importance of being a leader has never been greater with current difficulties faced in retaining customers, with the average app retention rate standing at one-in-four after 90 days. With the level of time and importance customers put in apps, it is no surprise that a recent Perfecto study of 1000 enterprise web and mobile professionals found that 81 per cent of respondents view the digital experience as crucial to their business success.
To create the digital experience that is so imperative to success in today’s market, there are a few things teams will have to keep in mind.
Research the customer
At the core of team’s digital app strategy needs to be a deep understanding of the user. This means anticipating their needs, most desired functions, preferred forms of engagements, most commonly used devices, and more.
Luckily, this doesn’t have to be guesswork. Businesses now know more about their customers than any other time. With the sheer amount of data being generated, collected and analysed, leaders have far deeper insights into the behaviours of their target users. What’s more, understanding the customers – as well as the functions the business needs to incorporate – shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of the technical teams, but a combined effort by the wider business.
Marketing and sales teams’ insights on core target audiences, their expectations from apps, and use patterns are invaluable when creating apps that will be used again and again.
Test for use cases in real scenarios
Most businesses’ app testing and quality assurance (QA) teams carefully test the ‘functional’ aspects of their apps, i.e. making sure that critical functions such as downloading to payment processing, and everything in between is working.
Whilst this is important, developers know that when it comes to mobile, they are no longer creating applications that will be run from devices with steady power supplies and stable internet connections. By their nature, mobile apps will be used from different locations and under different conditions, forcing teams to consider various factors and user conditions.
This in turn requires the ability to test in environments that accurately mimic real user conditions. And although 79 per cent of developers are testing in these environments, nearly all view it as challenge to some degree.
Build a seamless transition between web and mobile
With 4 out of 10 purchases now involving more than one device, the purpose of digital must be to unite web and mobile assets and deliver a memorable, consistent user experience across channels. And although 76 per cent of businesses surveyed by Perfecto have a digital presence across both web and mobile, 67 per cent still cite delivering a reliable and consistent digital experience across these channels as a major challenge.
In addressing this challenge, businesses should first of all be unifying their mobile and desktop test teams. That over half of businesses are now doing so is an encouraging trend given that when mobile and web teams are combined and using the same tools, it’s easier to spot differences across devices and platforms.
Using automation to track the market
Digital app development and testing is a continuous process. Once teams have defined the target personas and implemented their test code correctly, they'll need a detailed and actionable rich report to continuously drive improvements. Such a report should include network logs, device and app memory and battery consumption details, and timers showing how long it took certain actions to take place.
As well as testing to continuously improve apps, teams will also need to keep up with the market’s release cycles, planning accordingly around market calendars. In keeping up with release cycles and continuously testing, automation is simply a must for most companies. A big bank or airline can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if their app is slow to market. Automation tests can be done quickly on many devices simultaneously through one script, and can be repeated at no additional cost. However – a majority of organisations have automated less than 40 per cent of their mobile testing. And the picture is only slightly better in web testing, where just over a third of organisations have automated 61 per cent of their testing.
To keep users engaged on an app, constantly revisiting and avoiding the app reaching the discard pile, teams will have to stay relevant and keep up with software releases and trends. Understanding what the ever-changing customer wants in each moment will be crucial in releasing apps that are current and desirable.
To create a high quality digital experience, continuous development will need to be at the core of any business’ digital strategy. In order to create a successful mobile app, teams will need to understand their customer, test often and in real conditions, understand the transitions between web and mobile, watch the market and strongly consider automation.
Completing these steps can seem difficult but the payoff of a successful app, whether through building brand recognition or through profit, will be worth it.
Eran Kinsbruner, Mobile Technical Evangelist, Perfecto
Image search: Shutterstock/nenetus