Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Shelly Palmer, Glenda Sims, Paul Simmons, APM Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Agile Computing, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Engaging Consumer Apps | @CloudExpo #Mobile #DigitalTransformation

The biggest problem with ‘innovation’ is that most of what we put into that category is actually damaging to the user experience

How to Create a More Engaging Consumer App for Business

The development of your app isn't something that happens overnight, but rather it is something that takes place over time and through multiple iterations. While you may have developed the framework for your app already, improving engagement and innovating to provide a better user experience is a completely different process. There are plenty of ways that you can improve user engagement, but these five strategies will help you improve your app while also reducing the risk that your "innovative" updates actually decrease user engagement.

Use 'Innovation' Thoughtfully
The biggest problem with "innovation" is that most of what we put into that category is actually damaging to your overall user experience and engagement. When it comes to adding new innovative features to your app, it's important that you really sit back and think about how your end-users will think about this feature as it relates to their experiences with your app. Ideally, you want them to feel slightly better about using the app when you innovate, but you don't want to elicit extremely positive (or extremely negative) responses.

The above idea might seem counter-intuitive, but when you design for user engagement, it's extremely important to internalize. If your user wakes up and launches your app, only to see that an overnight update has changed everything that he knows about how to use your app, then it doesn't matter how good or "innovative" it is. The only thing that he will feel is a sense of overwhelm and a loss of connection to the app that he once used and loved.

Instead of using every update as an opportunity to innovate, try removing barriers that have caused problems for your users in the past. For an app that's focuses on delivering pizza for a nationwide brand, a good example of innovation would be to add a feature that notifies users on their lock screens whenever their pizzas are sent out for delivery. On the flip side, an example of negative innovation would be a full redesign of the entire app to put more of the user focus on the menu, while completely changing the order process to make it more "intuitive" by adding an intelligent, voice activated ordering system. Even if it was the best possible change that you could have made to that app, this type of innovation will, more often than not, overwhelm rather than excite.

Making Communication Intuitive
One of the most important things that you can do when creating an engaging app is to eliminate the negative side-effects of what your app is trying to do. For any app that involves voice communication, a common barrier can be the number of steps required to actually reach the point where the user speaks to someone. An app like Uber, which allows users to hail personal drivers quickly and easily, requires users to deviate from Uber and call them via their cellphone.

This causes a litany of issues, one of them being the fact that it can take multiple taps and app changes to actually contact the driver. Another, is that it requires you to give out your personal phone # to a stranger, obviously eliciting privacy concerns. An easy way to keep users more engaged by making the user experience more seamless, is by integrating in-app voice and video communication with SDK's like Agora, which gives app developers the ability to easily add high definition in-app calling directly into their app. Which would allow end-users the ability to talk to the driver without having to switch to their phone and giving out their personal phone number.

Use habit building strategies
One of the most powerful systems for engagement is the development of positive habits that are related to your app. This system, also known as the cue-habit-reward system, can be used to dramatically increase the usage of your app, and it's extremely simple to implement.

The first thing that you need to do is create a cue for your user to take action on something, with the intention of that action becoming the habit. Once they have successfully done it, your job is to reward them within the app, creating a positive association related to that specific action. For example, in an app that is designed to track your weight, a splash screen that congratulates the user on updating her weight, or that gives her a reward of a free trial of an upgrade-only feature for hitting a specific (or interim) weight goal. Something as simple as a reward or positive feedback encourages users to reengage with your app.

Keep It Simple, Stupid
The growth in the US app market has largely (some would say entirely) been from apps that do only one thing. Tinder and Hinge help users find people in their areas to date, but they don't try to replace social networks, manage finances, or help calculate a tip. This simple functionality is one of the key reasons that they have been so successful thus far.

When your goal is to keep your app engaging, it's important that you make your app easily understandable and simple to use. No user wants to wade through menus or spend hours trying to figure out what your app is supposed to do. The first screen that users see when they launch your app should include all of the functionality that you are trying to integrate, and it should do it in the simplest way possible.

If the focus of your app centers around trying to make it easy to learn another language by speaking with someone in the country where that language is spoken, make the "Connect" button the center of your main screen. Ideally, your user should be able to hit that button and connect to their language partners, and there should be no barriers to distract or annoy them. If you do need additional functionality, you can make it easily available (this is key) in a sub-menu. If it's not needed, that's great, but if it is then it's only a tap away.

Integrate Community
A key measuring stick for any engaging app is its ability to integrate community into the mix. When you have users that download your app and are using it extensively, having a community of other users that they can talk with, or letting them share their successes with friends and family can help solidify the app in their daily lives.

Some users will be hesitant to do this at first, which is why it can help to use a community as a barrier to a greater reward. In Candy Crush, for example, users can tap into a community via Facebook to get additional lives if they run out during play. This does two things for the game: it makes the game part of an online 'identity', giving more incentive to play it, and it lets users show off their engagement with Candy Crush, connecting them to people they know who also play the game, which helps interest and engagement to snowball over time.

More Stories By JT Ripton

JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance business, marketing and technology writer out of Tampa, you can follow him on twitter @JTRipton

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.