APM Developing an Analytical Approach for 5 Star Mobile Applications
June 25, 2018

Derek Stevens
CA Technologies

Success in the mobile market is not the result of luck, despite appearance. It is the fruit of careful, deliberate attention to customer needs and an application development and management strategy that enables those needs to be met.

About 25 percent of the mobile apps the typical user downloads will be used only once. The vast majority of mobile apps last fewer than 90 days on users' devices before they are deleted entirely. Two-thirds of mobile apps fail to achieve more than 1,000 downloads in the first year after their release. Why is the outlook for mobile app success among consumers so dim? It's not for lack of investment. Companies typically spend around $200,000 or more developing a mobile app. The failure of most mobile apps is instead the result of numerous challenges, which make it difficult to design mobile applications in ways that please users.

In order to provide your users with a great experience, you need to develop an analytical approach to mobile development. An analytical approach can enable an application to delight customers, keep them coming back and help your company to stand out from competitors. If you're looking to develop an analytics approach to mobile development, the following insights should be on your checklist when you're developing your practice and evaluating app analytics tools.

Developing a Systematic Understanding of What Users Want

"Peeking over the shoulder" of your users and visualizing user touches and gestures, session video playback and application flows go a long way to help you understand how users are engaging with your app and provide the insights you need to improve application design and flow.

Understanding What Users Don't Want

Just as important as understanding what your users want, you also need to understand what they don't want. What features are your customers accessing the least? Do they prefer to access specific features on a website as opposed to a mobile application? Are you providing too many features in your mobile app? Developers need to be able to trace which features in an application are not frequently used so they can remove them if users find them unattractive, or improve them in the case that a usability problem is keeping users away from them. Maintaining functionality that users don't want leads to bloat, inefficient use of developers' time and potential software security risks.

Tracking Customer Drop-Offs

Most customers who abandon an app never take the time to tell developers why they left. Even among those who do leave feedback, the information — which usually takes the form of generic statements such as "confusing interface" or "slow to load" — is often too ambiguous to provide useful insights to developers. For this reason, application developers should rely on software tools that allow them to determine exactly when and why users stop using an app.

Achieving Omnichannel Visibility

In order to deliver a consistent user experience across all platforms, developers require an omnichannel view of the user journey. In other words, they need to know when and why users switch from one type of device (such as a smart watch) to another (such as a phone or PC). By analyzing this data, developers can determine whether certain versions of their software are underperforming, as well as which types of platforms to prioritize based on frequency of use.

Implementing Continuous Feedback

We live in a DevOps-dominated world. Most organizations strive to deliver software to users on a continuous basis. In order to ensure that continuous delivery chains do not outpace the ability of developers to keep up with user expectations, user feedback must be collected and shared with the development team on a continuous basis. The importance of continuous feedback can be easy to overlook. The DevOps movement has tended to prioritize delivery speed, affording less attention to software quality and performance. Delivery speed is one factor in providing an excellent user experience, but it is not the only one. Continuous feedback is an equally important component of a healthy continuous delivery chain — and one that plays an important role in delivering a quality user experience.
 
Mobile success is not magic. Mobile developers can and should adopt a systematic, analytical approach to building mobile applications. An analytics-based mobile development strategy is important not only for standing out from the crowd in a tremendously competitive market, but also for avoiding shortcomings in mobile app delivery that could harm your business's image and lead to a loss of customers.
 
To learn more about the often overlooked challenges of developing mobile applications and how to adopt an analytical approach to mobile development,read the new whitepaper from CA Technologies: The Science Behind Five Star Mobile Applications.

Derek Stevens is Principal Product Marketing Manager at CA Technologies
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