Of mountains and mobile: The importance of good mobile design

By Warren Tomlin

First impressions can make or break a relationship—a maxim that also applies to a consumer’s relationship with a mobile app. Given that an estimated 80 to 90 percent of apps are deleted at some point, as USA Today reports, it’s important to think about how you can be sure that your apps will survive and help grow your brand.

Mobile design might seem like a small thing — that moment when the visual and the functional come together to capture a user’s attention. But the fact of the matter is that though most individuals interact with apps on a daily basis, only a select few of these apps truly connect with users and tell a compelling brand story. So when they do, it’s a big deal. These mobile interactions are of enormous importance, and good mobile design is at the heart of creating them.

According to Forbes, the vast majority of adults (91 percent) now keep their phones within arm’s reach at all times. As such, users expect mobile experiences that are intuitive, compelling, personalized and easy. That is why mobile engagement is so key to app success—and by extension, brand success. But have you given design and user experience the attention they deserve? Undervaluing them is one sure way to put your company’s app on the fast track to the electronic trash heap.

If app design and user experience have been just an afterthought to your company, it’s time to reevaluate your mobile strategy.

ROI for mobile projects – Read the Executive Report

The uphill battle

No doubt, mobile app design has turned out to be more difficult than most of those involved had originally thought. There’s a shortage of skilled designers to create simple and thoughtful experiences, and most organizations are dealing with app backlogs. Brands have also found that they need enterprise apps in addition to their consumer apps. All the while, app security remains a pressing concern.

These and other challenges can make building great app experiences seem insurmountable—but with the right strategy, technology and design experience expertise, you can design mobile apps for success. And if you want to keep your users coming back and keep up with the competition, you don’t have a choice.

Making your voice heard: Shouting and whispering

What can good design do for you?

First, it can give your users personalized experiences. Ah, the feel of being understood—it’s surpassed from hope to full-blown expectation when it comes to the way consumers interact with brands. Good design takes advantage of technologies, including user personas and journey mapping, to help companies know customers on a deep level to offer personalized interactive experiences.

Second, good design can make navigation easier. A well-thought-out information architecture is essential for creating great customer experiences; it makes apps more intuitive, accessible, user-friendly and capable of solving problems.

Third, good design can reflect your brand personality and values. If you believe your company is unique, your design should reflect that. Be sure to customer experiences that tell your story.

Mobile is at the center of digital transformation today, and mobile apps can determine a customer’s experience of your brand in mere seconds. Good mobile app design is one of the best ways to make your voice heard—and make that compelling first impression—in a noisy marketplace.

Turning limitations into opportunities

In a new paper, “Mobile app: Design to succeed or designed to fail,” I take a closer look at some of the design hurdles companies encounter and the advantages of good design in providing unmatched customer experiences.

Has mobile app design been just a molehill in the grand scheme of your business strategy when, really, you should be seeing it as a mountain to scale? It may be time to rethink what you’re doing in mobile. After all, the view is always better from the top—or from the home screen!

Read the full paper to learn how you can design to succeed with your mobile apps.

Written By

Warren Tomlin

IBM Vice President

Warren Tomlin is an IBM Vice President and Partner with more than 20 years of experience in strategy, innovation, product development and online marketing. Recognized as one of Marketing magazine’s 100 Thought Leaders, Warren is our Global Mobile Leader. He is also an IBM…

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