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Web Applications in an Iphone World

I know what you’re thinking, another IPhone evangelist. Well, kinda but not really. ┬áThe first thing I must do is set the topic straight by letting you know that this post is not about enabling your web application for the Iphone. The post is more about what people have come to expect in the way they interact with an application. Since Apple came out with the iphone in 2007, and I guess even before that with the MAC OS (I wouldn’t know, I am a PC… thanks to all of you leaving for stopping by) … mobile users have changed their expectations on what they expect from their User Interfaces. Apple did a good job creating a UI where you can pretty much get to anything with at most 2 clicks, a slide, a shake and a pop…try it…I am not joking. Don’t belive me, check this out… in 2008, apple only controlled approx 3% of the mobile phone market share, by 2009 they owned 13.3%. Yeah 13% is nothing compared to Nokia’s 45%, but with a growth rate that big and almost exclusive control over the mantra of the┬ásimplistic approach to usability… inevitability is just a matter of fact.

So with the ground work out of the way, now down to the real topic at hand. You launched a great web application, or software as a service, whatever you want to call it, and now you are thinking, we need to keep our clients engaged, we need to add more features. IMHO, trying to engage your customers by adding more features is like fishing with dynamite, you might get more fish but hey will be all wrangled and dismembered (for the record, I hav elways hated that term). If anything , you should be looking to simplify your application. This aint field of dreams, if you built it, they won’t come, but if you make it usefully simple and simply useful, they will flock to you like 14 year-old-chicks to the Backstreet Boys, who by the way apparently have a new album…what?…why are you looking at me like that?

Before you go putting another sardine in your application tin can, consider the following:

  • Ask yourself, is a feature addition necessary/ is it a preemptive strike. Your application can’t be stagnant I know, but simpler changes can make a big difference. Changes such as themes or layouts or simplifying the process to complete an action can make you look like a genius.
  • Don’t spend time building, spend time learning. Find out what the pains are from your customer….Hint, they really do know best. Surveys and feedback sites such as Get Satisfaction can help you make your application more customer centric..and trust me, that’s all the rave these days.
  • Always have an application log, and check it always. Your server logs can tell you a whole lot about how your clients use you application and besides, working out those very quiet bugs that just rare their ugly heads every now and then is way more important that adding a jet pack to your app.
  • Check with your marketing department, find out what keywords make you pop up in search results. No, I am not saying build your app away from your core services, I am saying make sure you know what the craze so you don’t miss out on opportunities. Make of that what you will.
  • Is my interface crisp, clean and inviting. Can users get to what they need in 3 clicks or less.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of do’s and dont’s for your app, all I want to do is give you pause. With cooler technology comes greater expectations on how to use it.

KISS ..google that $#iT

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Filed under: Tips & Tricks

2 Responses

  1. Kevin Richardson says:

    Dwamian,

    Great thoughts. build iPhone app, etc only when your customers ask for it. Give the customer control of your app and let them tell you what it needs. Too many young entrepreneurs don’t get that…thinking they are smarter than the crowd (they’re not).

    Couple of thoughts that come to mind related to your post:
    – Usability Testing: engage your community in the process of rolling out what they’ve said is important. Doesn’t matter how we build apps…only matters how our passionate users feel about the experience
    – Online suggestion boxes: there are several and while we may have our favorites they all serve the same point. Let users/customers/prospects post ideas for your app and let the community vote for them. Deliver those that are important rapidly with user interaction during the building process (see Usability Testing).

    I love your commitment to blogging this process and appreciate the transparency. Refreshing.

  2. dmcleish says:

    Kevin,

    Thank you for the comments. BTW since you are the first person to ever comment on this blog, you get a big fat “Hell yeah.. you da man!”.

    Anyway, I couldn’t agree with you more about usability testing and suggestion boxes. I made mention of one service that facilitates getting customer feedback “Get Satisfaction”, but there are literally hundreds of them to choose from. Companies should always listen to the voices of their customers.

    Thanks again for your comments

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