Involving users in the mobile app development process is critical to the success of your final product. The world of mobile apps keeps booming, and competition is stiff. By 2023, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars in revenue through downloads and in-app advertising.
We already know that adopting a user-centric approach is the key to success for any kind of business. This is especially true in app development. Most designers limit themselves to guessing and assuming what users expect from an app, but that’s not the most adequate way to go. The only solid option to hit your targets is to involve users early on in the app development process through testing and feedback. Only then you can figure out what’s really on their mind.
User-centered and collaborative design: getting into the user’s mind
User-centered development is an approach where the team focuses on the customer’s needs when designing and developing products. The main purpose is to understand the persona, context of use, and identify how the app will be used from a user’s perspective. It involves direct interactions with potential clients by observing them and going through various testing and research. Once the challenges are identified, the team implements a development strategy.
The app development process does not stop at the evaluation stage. Directive measures should be taken to re-design and continuously improve the product. Customer’s needs are constantly changing and you want to make sure your solution is evolving to meet their needs most efficiently. Carrying out questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and additional testing can help in gathering more information and feedback from the users.
In collaborative design, also called participatory design, testers are actively involved in the app development process. Usually, this includes other stakeholders in the company who affect the decision-making. Testers can propose design ideas, approve functionalities, and provide feedback on usability.
In this case, testers sit with the development team to analyze problems and generate solutions. Experts will chip in and demonstrate all technical possibilities. With the expert’s knowledge and the tester’s feedback, you can reach an optimal design for your app.
One of the advantages of carrying out this approach is that everyone in the team is invested and has shared ownership. Knowing everyone’s opinions and ideas helps in creating an efficient development framework that enables you to minimize the time to complete the project.
Why involving users leads to better-designed apps and products
Conducting app user testing enables designers to collect feedback from different individuals with different behaviors and needs. It places your product in real-life situations and allows you to evaluate your solution under various circumstances. Only with thorough user testing can you develop a high-quality app that will compete with the existing products in the market.
User Experience (UX) is fundamental when it comes to the app development process. Developers must place the customer at the center of the strategy.
What to look for during the testing phase?
One of the key elements in UX design and involving users in the app development process is to know if the applications are user friendly. The end goal is to make it easy to use for the client, in any circumstances. or example, if the user is using his/her phone with just one hand.
2. Added value
Does your app truly answer a user’s problem? Developers must get a sound understanding of the user’s challenges and desired outcomes from the app. Any new product must provide added value and meet expectations. Don’t get lost in intricate designs and interfaces but focus on answering a customer’s needs.
3. Design and navigation
Are the users able to navigate through the app with ease? Is the content clear and readable from a small screen? Testers can provide feedback to the designers to identify and eliminate any extravagant design or redundant information which may hinder them from using the app efficiently. Make sure all the elements are visible and useful so users can interact with the app properly.
4. Consistency and branding
It’s essential that users get a consistent experience when interacting with your business. If you already have a website, make sure your app matches your brand guidelines. When conducting your tests, ensure you include steps from multiple devices and access points to get relevant feedback.
Business benefits from involving users in the app development process
Using a collaborative approach to development will also benefit your company from a business standpoint. Involving users in the design process can save time and money.
Testing and feedback mitigate project risks by helping developers fix features before the app is out on the market, ultimately saving you development costs. A well-designed app and product will generally lead to more sales and increased market share. Finally, a well designed and functional application will require less customer support.
Once you implement a user-centered strategy for your app, you’ll be amazed how much insights you can receive from just a few users. The designer must act as a facilitator, bridging the gap between customers and developers and making sure client’s expectations are met. Involving users early in the app development process has many benefits and there is no reason why companies shouldn’t adopt this method if they want to develop the most efficient app in the market.
At Mowgli, we help businesses build the best app they can, and implement thorough user testing. If you are thinking of developing or improving your app, contact us for a free consulting session!