InspiringApps Creative Director on Creating Simplified User Journeys
Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products.
How To Simplify User Journeys
When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey?
When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave.
I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot.
It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience.
Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey.
What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification?
App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there.
For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them.
Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute?
We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app.
ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO
What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey?
One trap is elevating ego over empathy.
If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes.
ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO
Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there.
Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it.
Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back.
Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea
We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.
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Generation Z is a brilliant and forward-thinking generation making a progressive transformation in the world as we know it. Following behind Millennials, they are heavily immersed in the technical landscape and are highly app savvy. They were born into a world of expansion and innovation with creations like the Apple iPhone and Facebook. Having grown up with the ability to access knowledge at the tap of their fingertips, they’re educated individuals with great entrepreneurial goals. They expect companies to anticipate their needs and will move on when they don’t deliver. They’re looking for flawless app design, fast iterations, responsible data collection, creative outlets, and more. Some Facts About Generation Z Born between 1997 and 2012, they’re in the era of self-discovery. Since their youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of technology and the online privacy issues that come with it; for Gen Z, finding their true selves is no easy task. Due to their immense media consumption, they expect instant gratification and high-speed delivery. As the “mobile generation,” 96% of Gen Zers are reported to own a cellphone—many spend 10 hours plus connected online. They frequent social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and other platforms. Gen Zers gravitate to mobile banking apps to serve their financial needs and streamline their tasks. Consequently, email is slowly dying out among this community of users. Generation Z interacts with apps in their lives as a means of communication, to fill a need in their life, and for play and creative expression. They are true digital natives and are hyper-connected to the world around them—making them increasingly self-aware and emotionally reflective. Generation Z also reports high rates of anxiety, depression, and mental challenges—more so than in past generations. Experiencing a global pandemic has only exasperated their mental health struggles. Consequently, prioritizing and addressing mental health is of great importance. Take Oye—a creative wellness app created by singer J Balvin “to make the world feel better.” It’s an app to transform your emotions into creative actions with mind-body practices, daily emotional check-in tools, personalized goal setting, and mindful notifications. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference through social responsibility. Their innate understanding of the power of social networks and their regular consumption of news and information has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects. Considerations in App Development for Generation Z The Generation Z cohort is a significant target for app developers. Being born and raised in the digital age, they are always looking for novel tech to explore. Generation Z represents much larger historical forces at play, driving progressive transformation in the workplace that will redefine the entire generational experience. As a result, this generation has experienced increased globalization, technological advancements, and a fast-paced influx of information. Generation Z is changing the way we build digital experiences. Generation Z is the first generation to merge the digital and physical worlds into one experience. They view the internet as more than just a transaction and instead see it as a human experience. What that means for development is creating intuitive experiences that Gen Zers will love—innovative, straightforward, and seamless. With this information in mind, we’ve identified vital considerations to keep in mind when developing digital products for Generation Z. What Gen Z Consumers Want in An App Obsessively Tested, Flawless Design Gen Zers value efficiency and flawless design. That is why thorough testing and gaining user feedback are paramount. Be sure to ask for feedback from this generation and integrate the user input throughout your app’s development process and in updates. “If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey.” AARON LEA, ART DIRECTOR AT INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Glitchy user interface behaviors and poor design choices are instant turnoffs for Gen Zers. Make your app seamless and flawless from the start, or you may lose your customer. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions, and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices and standard features and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Fast Iterations Gen Z consumers have grown up in a fast-paced digital world and value convenience and efficiency. They prefer mobile apps that offer quick and uninterrupted experiences, such as fast loading times, easy checkout processes, and streamlined workflows. Keep your app low on data—fast to download and delete. Control Over Their Digital Footprint Gen Zers quickly went from a private world to everything constantly being shared online. In their formative years, they grew up with little technology at their disposal. They were thrust into a world of hyper-technology and interconnectedness as time progressed. With that in mind, here are essential factors to keep at the forefront of your app development: Privacy Settings Gen Z should be able to manage their privacy settings on apps. This type of functionality includes having the ability to choose whether their information is shared publicly or only with specific individuals and having the option to limit the usage of their personal data. Data Transparency Gen Z should have clear access and information about what data is collected, how it’s used, and to whom it gets shared. Responsible Data Collection It’s essential to ensure that Gen Zers’ personal data is protected from data breaches and cyber threats. Apps should implement robust security practices to keep user data safe. Value-Add Through Personalization You can add value with personalization by using various technologies, such as saving login information, geolocation, machine learning, and AI, to cater to the specific needs of Gen Z. It is crucial to find a proper balance in incorporating personalization that genuinely adds value, without overdoing it. Here are a few core components to adding value through personalization: Saving Login Information Gen Z is all about convenience, and one way to provide that is by saving their login information. By doing so, you not only save them time but also provide a straightforward user journey. Geolocation Gen Z consumers are constantly on the go and expect a personalized experience based on their location. Using geolocation technology, you can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and content based on their location. Machine Learning & AI If you want to better understand your Gen Z customers, machine learning can be a potent tool. By analyzing their data, you can personalize their experience and provide the results they seek—before they even ask. AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks as well. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many ways to develop apps for Gen Z. Here are some ways to incorporate ML and AI in your app to improve its performance: Personalized Recommendations: ML algorithms can provide customized recommendations to Gen Z users based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: With natural language processing (NLP) techniques, it’s now possible to create bots that can interact with Gen Z users in a way that feels just like talking to a real person. Bots can help users with tasks such as scheduling, finding information, or making purchases on their mobile devices. Image & Video Recognition: Computer vision techniques can be used to recognize images and videos, which can be helpful in apps such as social media platforms, gaming, or e-commerce. Predictive Modeling: Predictive modeling techniques can be used to forecast future behaviors and trends. For instance, a news app can predict which articles will be most popular among Gen Z users. Predictive modeling ensures your app stays ahead of the curve. Voice Recognition: Voice recognition techniques can be used to develop voice-enabled apps and devices that can be controlled with voice commands. This technology can be helpful in apps such as virtual assistants, smart home devices, or hands-free gaming. ML and AI can help app developers create more engaging, personalized, and interactive apps for Gen Z users. By leveraging these technologies, app developers can improve the user experience and stay ahead of the competition. Creative Tools More than half of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than previous generations. Most of them engage in creative activities in their free time. Gen Z is a highly creative generation that values individuality and self-expression. Therefore, niche tools enabling creativity are essential for creating apps that resonate with them. Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Gen Z Gen Zers have a unique vantage point when it comes to app development. They’ve experienced the best of both worlds—an era of privacy merged with hyper-connectedness. They are vicarious app consumers, making them ideal customers for app developers. Brands that take the time to understand their Gen Z users’ behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations will experience significant growth. Considering the above considerations, one can ensure that their app hits the mark with this brilliant and forward-thinking generation. Gen Z wants more than just an app. They crave a unique experience that fulfills their daily needs and brings joy. The app should leave them feeling special and enhance their well-being. At InspiringApps, we stay on the pulse and ahead of the curve to bring you the most forward-thinking and trending app development insights. If you have any questions or thoughts on the above material—we’d be delighted to connect!
21 days ago
When optimizing your enterprise app’s return on investment (ROI), there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each business has unique goals and objectives to consider when creating a successful app. However, some key strategies can help any business maximize ROI for an enterprise app. In this article, we’ll discuss the top eight ways to enhance the ROI of your enterprise app and drive success for your business. From identifying your goals and understanding what you aim to achieve with the app to creating an attractive user interface and gathering customer feedback, this guide will equip you with all the tools you need to ensure maximum success with your enterprise app. Definition of Return on Investment (ROI) Return on investment, or ROI, is the gain generated from an investment. ROI calculations estimate how many dollars you will receive in return for each dollar invested. For example, if you invest $25,000 in enterprise app development and generate a profit of $50,000, your calculated business ROI is 200%. ROI helps business owners understand how well their investments are performing so they can make more informed decisions about where to allocate resources. In addition to increased profits, other benefits of implementing ROI business strategies may include reduced expenses or intangible outcomes such as brand awareness and operating efficiencies. Benefits of ROI for Your Enterprise App When it comes to enterprise app development, ROI is instrumental in achieving goals quickly. Using data collection tools, you can gain insights into customer journeys that will enable you to optimize user experiences while driving costs down. Increase ROI With These Strategies for Enterprise Apps Creating an app is only the beginning of the journey. Enterprises must focus on increasing software ROI through continuous iteration and improvement to maximize each app’s potential. Here are the strategies that can help enterprises increase mobile app ROI: 1. Identify Your Business Goals As a business owner or operator, consider how the mobile application will meet user needs and ultimately help you reach your desired outcomes. Whether it’s increasing customer engagement or improving business operations, your goals and mobile app strategy should be clear from the outset. Furthermore, your objectives should be measurable, achievable, and time-bound so that you have tangible ways of tracking progress and measuring ROI. By taking the time upfront to identify and set realistic goals related to ROI, you can ensure that you’re building an application that serves both users and your bottom line. 2. Measure Performance & Analyze User Behavior Measuring performance and analyzing user behavior is crucial to any successful enterprise app strategy. It allows you to identify growth opportunities and ensure that your app meets the needs of your users—driving engagement and ultimately delivering increased ROI for your business. Understanding what metrics matter most is a crucial aspect of seeing tangible mobile app ROI. At its core, metrics must look beyond the surface of conversion rates and provide a deeper understanding of user behavior—how they interact with your app and what areas could use improvement. Understanding what drives performance and engagement will help determine where to direct your resources for maximum ROI. For example, churn rate can have a direct impact on ROI. Conversely, improving user retention rates by just 5% can produce a 25% to 95% increase in profits and reduce operational costs associated with serving customers. 3. Keep Iterating One key to delivering ROI with an enterprise app is to keep iterating. Enterprises should regularly evaluate the app’s performance, user feedback, and business needs to identify improvement areas for future development. Constant iteration and improvement of the app ensure that it remains relevant and continues to deliver value to its users. Enhance App Features As the business landscape evolves, enterprises must adapt their apps to meet changing needs. By regularly assessing which features resonate with users and which need work, you can better tailor the experience to meet their needs. This will help you achieve your desired ROI and ensure that customers remain satisfied over time. Social Media Integration Social media platforms are an integral part of modern communication and marketing. Enterprises must integrate social media features into their mobile app to leverage this powerful tool for engaging with customers, promoting their brand, and driving sales conversions. Add Interactive Technology Interactive technology, such as 3D visualizations, augmented reality, and virtual reality, can provide a unique and engaging user experience. Enterprises can leverage these technologies to showcase their products and services, provide interactive training, and create immersive marketing campaigns. For example, the free Explore Orion mobile app developed by InspiringApps offers a stunning 3D model, an interactive timeline, a video library of content, interactive trivia—and the ability to send messages to the Moon. The app’s immersive, content-rich user interface shows Lockheed Martin’s historical brand legacy as a leading pioneer in deep space exploration. The in-app experience links the overall brand to help meet key business and marketing goals. Monitor Progress & Make Adjustments as Necessary Finally, don’t forget that successful enterprise apps require ongoing maintenance to remain competitive in today’s market. You can ensure your business maintains its edge over time by staying up-to-date on trends, customer demands, and industry best practices. For example,InspiringApps was tasked with improving existing features, adding new features, building new product lines, and providing continued maintenance for Artifact Uprising, an application that already had a large established user base. The award-winning app expanded to meet the ongoing demands of increasing complexity. In only its second year, the mobile app generated 16% of company revenue. 4. Create an Attractive User Interface As a business leader, you understand the importance of creating an attractive user interface for your enterprise applications. The look and feel of your app is an integral part of the customer experience and plays a significant role in determining whether or not app users will come back again. Ensure Smooth User Interaction A smooth and intuitive user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) can make all the difference in user adoption, customer retention, and satisfaction. Enterprises must prioritize UI/UX design to ensure the app is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. To ensure success, it’s essential to focus on three key aspects when designing your user interface: usability, aesthetics, and functionality. You want to ensure that users can easily navigate the app without feeling overwhelmed or confused. Additionally, it would be best to create an aesthetically pleasing interface that resonates with its intended audience. Finally, ensure all features work as they should to guarantee customers the best possible experience. Invest in a Professional Design Team It’s important to remember that the look and feel of your app will play a prominent role in determining its success. A great design team will integrate within the entire app development process, ensuring that your app’s user interface is attractive and functional, providing customers with an easy-to-use experience they’ll want to return to. Investing in the right design team can be the difference between an average ROI and something extraordinary—so we recommend that business owners don’t skimp on this crucial step. 5. Ensure Consistent Quality Across All Platforms Ensuring consistent quality across all platforms is critical for business enterprises striving to maximize the ROI of their digital platforms. After all, if customers have a poor experience on one platform, it can quickly lead to negative reviews and decreased customer loyalty. Cross-Platform Development With the rise of multiple mobile platforms, enterprises must ensure that their app is available on multiple platforms to reach a broader audience of potential customers. Cross-platform apps can increase ROI by reaching more users and providing a seamless experience across different mobile devices. At InspiringApps, we believe that no matter what device a user uses, they should have the same great experience. Our app developers and designers work to ensure consistency in app design from one platform to another. That way, our customers can be sure they’re providing their customers with the same great experience regardless of which device they’re using. We create an environment where users are free to explore without worrying about inconsistent experiences across devices—ultimately leading to a loyal customer base and higher returns for everyone involved. For example, partnering with Fidelity National Financial, InspiringApps helped design and build web, Android, and iOS versions of the inHere® cross-platform app, which has helped over a million users keep their financial futures secure. InspiringApps created an enterprise solution that feels comfortable for users, no matter which platform or device they choose: Our mobile and web teams worked closely to ensure feature parity, delivering a unified solution across Android, iOS, and web browsers. Our design teams reimagined the experience across various device sizes—from phones to large desktop displays. And then, our development teams brought those designs to life using a variety of programming languages and tools—each best for the platform in question. 6. Gather Feedback From Your Customer Base Your customers are the people who use and interact with your app daily, and they can provide invaluable insights into how you can improve user experience and increase customer satisfaction. By taking the time to understand your customers’ needs and wants, you’ll have the opportunity to create an enterprise app that truly stands out in the market. At InspiringApps, we believe getting customer feedback is one of the most critical aspects of creating revolutionary products. We understand that incorporating customer feedback into our designs and processes can create something remarkable—an enterprise app that exceeds expectations and provides users with an unforgettable experience. That’s why we recommend taking a three-step process when gathering feedback from your customer base: Listen to what your customers are saying. Ask for their input on specific topics. Allow them to act on their feedback by providing easy ways to submit suggestions and comments. 7. Enhance Compliance & Security Mindful Data Collection Data collection is crucial for enterprises to gain insights into user behavior, preferences, and needs. However, it is essential to be mindful of data privacy and security. Enterprise mobile apps must include measures to ensure that data is collected securely and ethically and that users know how it is used. Strengthen Security A security breach can be extremely costly. With cyber threats becoming more prevalent, security is critical to mobile app development. Enterprises must prioritize security measures such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and secure data storage to protect sensitive information in business apps. 8. Offer Scalability & Speed Mobile users expect fast and responsive apps. Enterprises must optimize the app’s performance and reduce load times to provide a seamless user experience. This can be achieved through caching, minimizing network requests, and optimizing images. Enterprises must ensure that the app can handle increased traffic and usage as the user base grows. Scalability is critical for the app’s long-term success, and enterprises must plan and prepare for future growth. “InspiringApps has been an important partner for us for over three years. They helped us create multiple enterprise apps and continue to work alongside us to make enhancements to them as our needs evolve.” HEAD OF IT, MOLSON COORS INTERNATIONAL Concluding Thoughts: Business Strategies, Enterprise Apps & ROI Optimizing an enterprise app’s ROI requires a customized approach considering each business’s unique goals and objectives. However, specific strategies can help maximize ROI for any enterprise app. Effective strategies include identifying business goals that are measurable, achievable, and time-bound, measuring app performance and analyzing user behavior, iterating the app to ensure it remains relevant, creating an attractive user interface, ensuring consistent quality across all platforms, integrating new features, adding interactive technology, and monitoring progress while making necessary adjustments. By following these strategies, enterprises can create successful apps that drive engagement and ROI while delivering user value.
2 months ago