The reasons are many that make us lose interest in mobile apps installed on our smartphone: slowness, ergonomic weaknesses, intrusiveness of notifications, lack of interest … The recent Mobile Use Barometer published by EBG * is rich in lessons About that.
In the professional world, companies that make the choice to put mobile applications in the hands of their mobile employees or their customers have the legitimate aim of using them.
So, how to be sure of achieving this goal? Simply by integrating users into the project, before and during development, and throughout the entire lifecycle of the application. Because, as said by F. Sebag (co-President of Open) in the aforementioned Barometer, “knowing the expectations and uses of mobile users is the key to an adopted application. *
In this article, we explain how.
Involve users … well before the project starts
Any mobile app design project is cross-functional, and includes, in fact, different actors of the company: this is particularly true when it comes to a mobile application Business, aiming for example to optimize the work of nomadic employees. According to François Larcher, Head of Innovation and MOA at the Pasteur Mutualité Group , “in any conventional innovation approach, it is important to involve the management, the managers and users .
Even before a set of specifications is established, it is more and more common to implement a Design Thinking approach : much more than a fashionable concept, it is a process of co-design. creation centered on the human. This approach is based on workshops in which the designer tries to understand the people for whom he designs: he looks at what they do, how they interact with their environment, and so on.
“We often forget that it is virtuous to start by doing nothing , to look at the use and standard of behavior, before acting, ” explains Stéphane Hugon, doctor of sociology and business leader.
This observation will help the designer to understand what the users need, and thus, to give life to the projects through a structured methodology that covers the definition of the needs, the search of ideas (ideation), the prototyping and the tests.
This approach also makes it possible to identify possible brakes or levers of actions , but also to bring out “killer features” , that is to say, unique features that will make your application essential …
According to the barometer, this step is the forgotten one of the professionals when they are asked to note the elements explaining the success of a mobile application.
At the end of this phase, the bases will be laid allowing the expression of needs and the formulation of the specifications of the application:
Agile development means co-creating with users!
The majority of mobile development teams today use Agile methods based on an iterative development principle . These methods have the advantage of allowing users to clarify their requirements as the project progresses, and thus to encourage greater interaction between beta testers and developers .
How is it going ? Let’s take an example: we must develop an application that consists of 12 main functions (or “user stories”) in the Version 1. The development of all these functions (called “backlog”) is divided into “sprints”, each sprint comprising , for example, 3 functions: it will be necessary, in this case, 4 sprints to develop all the functions envisaged on the version 1.
When do the users intervene?
Before starting each sprint : to provide the necessary details on the functions that will be developed during the sprint.
On request , during the development of functions (to ask questions about the function being developed, give an opinion on the presentation …)
At the end of the sprint , to take control of an intermediate version of the application, to give their opinion and to validate the functions developed during the sprint that just ended. Thanks to this approach, the user can take in hand concretely the functions of the application, which constitutes a simulation much more effective than to present to him static images of screens, for example. The returns are thus more reliable and ensure that the application will meet the needs expressed before the development phase.
At the end of the development phase : At the end of the last sprint, we have a Beta version, which can be placed in the hands of a panel of users. The returns from this Beta test can be studied to be taken into account in the final version 1 of the application (or in a future evolution).
Accompany users throughout the life of your mobile apps
Deploying the application to the users does not mean that the work is finished: to ensure proper ownership of the mobile application, accompanying users in its grip is recommended.
Different approaches are implemented, sometimes combined:
- Identify “early adopters” among the users (if they were identified early enough, include them in Beta tests will be quite beneficial) and train them to spread the word during workshops ( Discover the case SIS client ) .
- Setting up master classes at start-up, then more flexible formulas over time ( web TV, e-learning ) and offering booster shots for each new version is also a particularly effective approach ( Discover the Groupe Pasteur Mutualité client case ) .
It is interesting to define some indicators (KPI) that allow to have a precise view of the way the application is used: for example, what are the functionalities used (or not used), what is the average time spent on screens, which screens have a high bounce rate, etc. This data will allow you to understand the use of the application, and to adapt the proposed features: thus, if no one uses a function, either it must be reviewed, or it must be abandoned.
It is of course also necessary to take into account the feedback of your users , in order to be able to offer them changes and corrections in line with their expectations.
Adopt a User Centric approach
In summary, adopting a “User Centric” approach before development ( Design Thinking workshops ), during sprints or Beta tests, and after the deployment of the mobile application should allow you to respond effectively to users’ expectations. and to guarantee their long-term commitment