Building an app for your business – what exactly do you need?
The world of IT can be somewhat baffling at times for entrepreneurs – unless, of course, they are setting up a tech-based business. However, if you are getting started or are planning to develop and expand your business, you might not have much idea of how IT can really work for you.
Naturally, you will be familiar with computers and the internet, maybe with tablets and smartphones, but you may just use them for writing and storing data and pictures and for communicating either by phone or by email. Your IT requirements would have been in your original business plan, including what finance would be needed for them, but you may not have considered that your business could benefit from an app – indeed you might not even be sure what an app actually is, because IT jargon is natural for some but a bit bemusing for others.
What is an app?
Simply put, it’s a contraction of the word ‘application’ and is a type of software that lets you perform specific tasks. For example, a word processor is an app, as is a web browser that allows you access to the internet.
Initially, before smartphones and tablets arrived on the scene, apps were for desktop computers and then laptops. The development of mobile technology means that there are many more ways for people to access information, and if they are already your customers you need to make sure you can give the information they want about your products and services on whatever device they are using.
You will doubtless have a website – in today’s fast-moving business world you couldn’t do without one – so you already have a good online presence. The trouble is that what people see on a large screen will not work well on a small screen, so you need to consider how to build an app that will show your business in the best possible light on different devices.
Planning your app
Firstly, you need to think about what you require your app to do. There’s little point in going ahead without being clear about the direction you want to go in. When you’re looking to get your app as attractive as possible for mobile users, make sure your planning is meticulous or you’ll be wasting money.
Map out the functionality you want so that those who log onto your site through the app they have downloaded have a clear route to what they want to find. If you’re too text heavy your site will feel cluttered, so keep your language clear and simple and make sure your visuals mirror your online brand. Clean, clear, attractive lines work best, and don’t use colors that are overpowering because they can put customers off.
Getting the functions right
You want to be customer facing with your app, so getting the functions right is crucial. Once they’re on the site you need to keep them there to explore, either going for what they know they want or encouraging them to look around and, perhaps, make an impulse purchase that they will repeat, time and time again.
By creating an attractive site visually, and making text easy to read by choosing consistent fonts, you can add menus and buttons that will make it simple for your customers to access the pages they want. Remember that people want you to make things as effortless as possible – attention spans on the internet are short – so you need to make them have an experience they enjoy.
You’ll get a sense of how successful your functionality is when you see how they respond to special offers you put out, if they order regularly from you, or if they opt in to receive emails. If here are too many screens to plow through before they get to what they want, there is a good possibility that they will go elsewhere.
How to build your app
It is IT, so to build it yourself you have to learn how to code. If you have that experience then you can put it to good use. If you don’t – and it does take time to learn, time you may not have – you could always choose an independent development house to work with you. You could find out about Worry Free Labs to check on what they could bring to your business app development.
Move your business on
Standing still is not going to help your business development. A specialized app can make a real difference to your customer interface and drive new business to your mobile sites.