Building a great app can be a vital step in securing a company’s prosperous future. With so much commerce, communication, work and play carried out on our mobile devices, many firms cannot (and should not) afford to overlook the mobile space as an avenue for sustained future growth. With all indicators pointing to continuing or increased growth within this sector, it’s no wonder so many small and medium-sized firms have taken the plunge into mobile.
Let’s say, for sake of argument, that you choose a great mobile development partner. Together, you build a beautiful, imminently functional, incredibly usable, intuitive app. You’re thrilled with the result and cannot wait to bring it to market. But, whether it’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer, building that great app is just the first step in your journey (even though it may have felt like 1,000,000 little steps along the way).
If you’ve built the seemingly perfect app, your job should be done, right? Well, in some cases, it will be. But, a great app doesn’t end with delivery — it ends with adoption.
The best app in the world doesn’t matter if no one downloads it. And, the most downloaded app also doesn’t do you any good if people aren’t using it. Driving adoption is critical to success; all the best steps in the world before delivery don’t matter if your app isn’t downloaded and incorporated into people’s lives.
So, this begs the question: how do you ensure people use your app?
Two words: Become indispensable.
I’ve downloaded hundreds if not thousands of apps through the years. And even the coolest, most well designed apps don’t stay on my homescreen or get used if they don’t become part of my daily routine. An app has to become indispensable to force its way into my routine, and therefore, into my life.
This extends to B2B apps as well. Even if it might not be the sexiest application of the concept, people that use apps in their jobs absolutely form a habit if the app works well and increases productivity. So, the mindset of building an indispensable app remains regardless of the intended audience.
So, what’s the best way to build an indispensable app? Make it habit forming. Everything in our fleeting digital lives comes and goes at the speed of fiber optics unless a specific action or platform or service becomes a habit. If you wake up every morning and open Flipboard to read your news? Habit. If you check your email on your phone’s Outlook on the way to work every morning? Habit. If share all your files among your team with Google Drive? Habit. If everyone uses Slack to communicate, and you stay connected to the team while remote by using the mobile app? Habit.
All of these apps/developers were able to foresee a world in which their app became a daily habit in the lives of their users. The companies engineered those apps precisely that way. By beginning their development process by determining how these apps will live within our daily lives, they had a much better chance of delivering a habit-forming app. Adopting a behavioral mindset like this can be a game changer for boosting adoption of your app.
If you’re thinking in use cases, you’ve got the right idea. How will our customers fold this app into their life? How will consumers actually use this? What are we doing to make sure they need to come back every day/week/month/year? Conversely, if you’re thinking in feature sets, you’re missing the point. Features exist to service a goal. But, if your goal isn’t well defined, you can build solutions in search of a problem. By thinking about the design and development process in terms of habit-forming behaviors, you only include the necessary features and can spend all your time perfecting those, instead of throwing as many into the app as possible. If you do that, you have a much better chance of producing an indispensable app. And once your app in indispensable, you’re, as we say, golden.