6 feature enhancements to update your mobile app

By Crystal Bedell

Mobile apps have become a value-add for customers and a must-have for enterprises. In order to stay relevant and attractive amid a society that is growing increasingly dependent on mobile devices, companies must offer a mobile app. However, a mobile app is not a one-off project. To be effective, you must update your mobile app to ultimately improve the user experience.

There are benefits to updating your mobile app more frequently. According to a study from Business Insider, companies that update their mobile apps more frequently tend to have higher user ratings in the app stores. Throughout 2014, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Geico updated their respective apps between 20 and 25 times and earned the highest average ratings, according to the study.

There are good reasons for this. When you update your mobile app features, it shows you are committed to serving customers through the app. As the user experience improves and/or the number of capabilities increases, customers have more reasons to use it and stay on the app for longer periods of time. Updates can also serve as an effective marketing tool because they remind users of the app when it comes time to update.

With that said, the following are six ways entrepreneurs can update and enhance their mobile applications:

1. Add offline capabilities

Though wireless connectivity is fairly widespread, there are still occasions when network connectivity fails or is otherwise unavailable. Consider hotel elevators or road trips through rural areas. Making capabilities available offline ensures users can continue to be productive with or without network connectivity.

2. Go native

If you started your foray into mobile applications with a hybrid or web app, consider going native. Building native iOS, Android and/or Windows Phone apps enables you to leverage the device’s functionality for a more sophisticated, seamless user experience.

3. Leverage new native capabilities

Similarly, native apps should be updated to take advantage of new native capabilities as they become available. For example, many financial services organizations are taking advantage of Apple’s Touch ID to allow users to log in to their mobile app with just their fingerprint.

4. Add customization capabilities

Allow users to customize your app based on their personal habits or aesthetics. For example, you might allow users to change the color scheme of the app’s elements or select a different landing page, ensuring they can easily access the features they use the most.

5. Add capabilities that are available through other channels

Make it your company’s goal to include every capability from your website on your mobile app. However, be careful to modify processes where necessary so that those capabilities are mobile-friendly. Minimize the number of clicks and swipes to complete a task for a streamlined experience.

6. Add analytics and/or user feedback mechanisms

Every mobile app should be integrated with an analytics system. This will enable you to track and analyze users’ experiences on your app to identify missing features and those that can benefit from an update. If you already have an analytics system, consider adding mechanisms that allow users to rate new features and functions within the app.

All of these updates can help improve the user experience, which means longer engagement times and more frequent use. In turn, your app users will become more loyal and more likely to recommend your app — and your brand — to a friend.

Written By

Crystal Bedell

Principal, Bedell Communications

Crystal Bedell is a freelance technology writer based out of Spokane, Wash. She has covered B2B technology for 15 years and is currently Principal of Bedell Communications, a content creation and consulting firm.

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