Similar to the old Buddhist koan: if a mobile app is developed and nobody uses it, does it really matter?
With millions of mobile applications available through the Google and Apple stores, it can seem like a bit of a daunting task to make your application stand out from the rest. Competition between similar applications is fierce, so you need to make sure that at the end of the day, your audience can choose your app with little hesitation. The same trend appears within the corporate arena as well. If your enterprise application isn’t satisfying all of your employees’ needs and doesn’t provide an engaging user experience, you can bet that your employees will be turning to their own personal applications instead for a replacement. The issue, today, is how to learn how to make your application stand out above the competition and maximize user adoption.
For the most part, increasing employee engagement for your application can be traced back to the user experience. If an application is difficult to navigate and doesn’t present the most direct pathway for any given function, your user will look elsewhere for a better app. While much of the user experience is established during the developmental stages of an application, it takes months to start to flesh out. It’s really a never ending process of listening to user concerns and complaints and adjusting the application in a way that fits their needs.
Furthermore, you shouldn’t expect your initial application idea to be the final product. That means not investing hours of labor into a project that may be vastly altered following implementation. By spending excessive amounts of time on an application that may still be in flux, you may also be apprehensive to abandon those initial ideas even when faced with the potential for improvements. If you begin the development process by spending more time on wireframes and mockups, you avoid investing too much time on writing code which can hinder project flexibility.
Another approach to increase a quicker user adoption, is to release your application in stages. Sure, you may not get that big release spectacle you might hope for, but by releasing an application in stages, you can work with early adopters to learn what changes need to be made. Install the applications to the their devices through personal deployments rather than through an application store and keep an ear out for suggestions for improvement. When you start to feel more comfortable with the application, you can begin to release the application to a wider audience.
If you’re going to be making adjustments to your application based on user recommendations and preferences, you should also provide employees with an easy way to give feedback. Touch screen feedback can be cumbersome, resulting in application reviews with no constructive feedback. Because these app store reviews are so unreliable, you should provide alternate methods for gathering feedback including multiple choice surveys and in-app suggestions.
Even after completing these steps, most of the responsibility still falls on you to build user adoption. With each action you take to broaden your audience, be sure to take careful notice of increases and decreases in user application activity.