What You Should Know Before Prototyping Your Mobile App

Imagine being able to vastly improve your chances of launching a successful mobile app without writing a single line of code.

The good news: Though a well-coded app is a must-have for mobile success, you don’t have to be a programmer to help make sure your app gets a great start. In fact, simply having the right knowledge before you build a prototype can increase your chances of success.

That’s exactly what I’m going to share with you in this post: the three key pieces of information you need before prototyping your mobile app. These are the questions we’ve leveraged consistently over the last few years to ensure that when we design and develop mobile apps, we are equipped with the right information to deliver a product people want—before we ever write a line of code.

Let’s get to it. Here’s what you need to know:

What Industry Trends Are Shaping Consumer Expectations?

Before you dive into building your prototype, it’s important that you do a little bit of investigation to understand what consumers have become accustomed to in your industry. For example, if you’re looking to launch an app that is going to compete in the travel industry, it would make sense to download a handful of applications that are already popular in this category.

Dive into these different apps to get an idea of what the competition has already done. Analyze what you feel the competition is doing incorrectly and what the competition is doing well. As you examine the various apps, look for trends and features that seem to be must-haves across the industry. As much as it’s important to question everything your competition is doing, it’s also important to ensure that you’re not missing out on a functionality that could make or break your app.

Who Exactly Is Your Consumer?

When we kick off a new project, we spend a lot of time helping clients study their target audience to gain a better understanding of just who that audience is. Just like the characters in any film worth the price of admission, the characters you have in mind when building your app should be well thought-out. As you create your prototype, the decisions you make ought to serve a specific type of person. You should always have their attributes, demographics, psychographics, user challenges and user needs in mind.

Often we recommend that clients write out a description of the type of person that would download their app. By doing so, they are able to narrow their focus and are more likely to serve and satisfy a specific audience.

As you’re creating these consumer profiles yourself, it’s important that you backup your ideas with research. One great place to start gathering intelligence about your target audience is the ratings and reviews of similar apps. As you scroll through users’ feedback, look for trends and anything that stands out among this group of reviewers to shed light on them as a distinct group.

For example, if you were analyzing the Google reviews for an app and noticed that thousands of people from the same state left glowing reviews, it would make sense to investigate why citizens of that specific state were so interested in the app. To get a better idea of this potential user group, you might want to start diving deeper into data from a source like Facebook Audience Insights. Using Facebook Audience insights, you can create an audience profile based on location and uncover trends related to those individuals’ interests, psychographics, demographics and media habits.

Another great tool for uncovering insights about your audience is MyBestSegments from Nielsen. Using this tool, you can type in a ZIP code and within seconds receive a snapshot of residents’ behaviors, demographics, interests and more. For example, this is what the site delivered for a subsection of New York:

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