In a world filled with growing technologies and big data, companies need to adapt to consumer expectations. No longer is mobile technology only a cool trend for big companies—users everywhere are expecting it from the companies they trust with their business. Startups need to enter the game considering the role mobile technology will play in their own strategies.
Build Apps Natively
Cross-platform apps may seem easy, but they can come with a dramatic downsides. Look what happened to Facebook when they fell for the initial idea that an app could be pushed out to anyone with any device; Mark Zuckerberg called it his company’s biggest mistake. In the case of Southwest Airlines, they used a cross-platform toolkit to code and distribute their app—and it was later used as an example of the worst program in the App Store. It created a poor user experience, from functionality to navigation.
Whether you have thought about HTML5, hybrid apps or cross-platform toolkits, stop right now and think again. You need apps that are developed for each platform in a different way, like creating one designed for android tablet users who get to experience enhanced visuals on a large mobile device screen.
Rebuild Your Backend
Don’t assume that your current backend is ready to support mobile apps. You may need to completely change or upgrade it in order to give your users a top-notch experience with your app. While you might have a great infrastructure supporting your website, you may find huge snags in the change to mobile support.
One example might be a website server that tries to send 1.5MB of data per request, clogging the navigation with too much data exchange. In this case, the original structure should be set up with a maximum payload size to cap the amount of data sent (closer to 4KB).
Additionally, you will want to have a backend structure that stops mass data return (pagination), retries API calls for mobile users who may have a poor network connection, lowers latency levels for a snappier app, uses a single API call per screen through a tight server-client coupling, and has specific API version numbers to help support experiences for clients with old versions of your app.
Outsource the Design Process
You might be thinking about building your app internally, but sometimes this is not the most cost-effective way to go. There are companies that are specifically focused on building apps and websites that work with both desktop and mobile devices. From time invested to user experience satisfaction, there are many reasons to consider outsourcing the process. One way to get the kind of mobile technology your user base actually wants is to work with a proven outside company to create your apps, website technology, and programs.
Create a Mobile-Optimized Website
Many users today aren’t interested in visiting a site that has a poor mobile design. By offering responsive design or by creating a mobile-optimized site, you open your doors to a whole section of your user base which would otherwise avoid your site while browsing on their phones. As early as 2012, 72% of smartphone users told Google they wanted mobile-friendly sites, and 79% said they would go back to their search results to find another site if their first choice wasn’t set up well for their device.
Be careful not to limit your mobile site too much when you slim down the information, and always allow users to get into the full site with a back door in case they want to find something using your standard layout. IKEA, for example, formerly only offered a single bed in their mobile list of bedroom-furniture items, but now they and other sites are starting to understand that mobile users do not want to be arbitrarily restricted.
There are many other mobile technologies that can be used to help boost your business growth, including texting opportunities, social media updating, and easy payment options. As your company grows and trends develop, you will see an increased focus on the importance of mobile technology.