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10 App Development Blunders that Lead to a Bad User Experience

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, June 6, 2012
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Bangalore: With the dawn of an era in mobile technology, business organizations are preparing themselves and arranging their mobile application strategies. However, the race to become the leader of the mobile technology world has led many to make mistakes that can ruin the end user experience.

Johan Jacobs, Research Director at Gartner said, “The desire of many organizations to extend their customer service to the mobile platform market has led to the misconception that any good application can also make a good mobile application. IT leaders should not assume that, because all smartphones have browser and Web access, their content is ready for mobile devices. They need to plan for content with products and services that are specifically suited to the mobile channel, or users will be left with an indifferent or poor experience."

A strategy to capitalize the unique opportunities that are presented by the mobile technology should be developed. Gartner stressed on the importance of four areas while developing this strategy. They are:

1.    Demand: Application developers should keep in mind the need of the customer. They should also be aware of the outcome of the competition with others having a similar product.

2.    Supply: Having the right person, or the right team to build the app apart from securing the right services and partners for the development.

3.    Control: Issues such as who will manage the strategy, measurements to keep it on tract should be addressed.

4.    Risks and Issues: Various risks and issues should be discussed to formulate control measures.

Gartner Inc. brought out 10 major mistakes that cause mobile customer service failure. They are

1.    Violation of the ‘three-click/tap/press’ rule:
Users while trying to reach a particular function in an app would prefer if the process takes less than three key stokes. The more the number of key strokes the more complex the app gets and the user will refrain from using it.

2.    Difficulty with ergonomics, especially text input:
Mobile content is different from Web content. Application developers should ensure that the content fit perfectly on the mobile screen. They shouldn’t assume that just because the web content fits perfectly on a desktop/laptop screen, it doesn’t mean that it will be perfect on a mobile device.

3.    Not reusing learned behaviors-such as soft keys, navigation:
Application developers should be aware of the behavior of the user. If the user dislikes a particular function, then the developer should not include that function. Example, if a user doesn’t like the option of auto completing of forms, they will turn off that function. It would be useless having the option ones again.

4.    Violating 'security 101':
Mobile applications like desktop and laptop applications need to meet the security requirements such as secure login, encryption and authentication and should be a part of any mobile application architecture.

5.    Difficulty with navigation:
Navigation buttons should be accessible at all times. Contents being displayed on the mobile screen can have some contents vanished either to the right or the bottom of the screen. Therefore, to navigate users need to either scroll left-right or up-down.

6.    Burying most important functions:
With a limited space on the mobile screen, designer should ensure that the most important functions are on the first screen of the app rather than keeping it scattered.

7.    Incorrect or illegal display of text or graphics:
Installing contents that are not compatible with the mobile device will result in a poor quality experience for the end user. Developers should be aware that not all mobile devices fall under the smartphones category.

8.    Inability to revise mistakes:
Users will be irritated if they cannot move the cursor to a desired location on the screen to correct a typing mistake. They would either need to close and re run the application or use the ‘back’ button to enter the correct information again.

9.    Content visibility:
Keeping in mind that the end user would access the app anywhere and anytime, developers should make sure that the content is visible. One way in ensuring this is to bold the important information on the screen. Example, we might have experienced that it almost difficult to view the content on our screen on a bright sunny day.

10.    Resource inefficiency-draining the battery, excessive network round trips:
Gartner also suggested that there should be a capability that allows the user to pause an activity when the battery is low and then resume it from where it was stopped.

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