Design, in-app purchases important for smartphone app success

Design, in-app purchases important for smartphone app success

Content Writer: Marc Hawk Marc Hawk Chief Executive Officer

Smartphone applications are all the rage these days. With new app discovery technology being introduced and big-name companies increasingly looking to create a smartphone presence, it's no wonder that having an app has become a priority for many forward-thinking businesses.

However, as Fast Company explains, when you introduce a new smartphone app to your customer base, you're asking them to interact with your brand in an unfamiliar way. It's important from a design aspect to make the app user-friendly to encourage early adoptions. You can't expect any sort of return on your investment if your customers don't want to use it.

"One of the benefits of being somewhat early to a market is getting to define what an entirely new experience means for a person," writes Fast Company expert blogger Seth Priebatsch.

So, how can you design an app for adoption? The media outlet suggests three steps - keeping it simple, creating a memorable experience and providing straightforward instructions.

By creating an uncomplicated design, you won't confuse the consumer. However, if the app is too simple, you also stand to befuddle the user, leaving him or her questioning how to proceed. A delicate balance of streamlined adaptability works best.

In order to deploy a more memorable and consistent experience, the media outlet suggests an app called LevelUp, which lets users pay retail merchants via a QR code on their phones. This allows customers to "accomplish their goal with whimsy and practicality."

Finally, cradle users with straightforward instructions without making unnecessary demands. Another helpful app recommended by the news source is Pulse, which actually lets users explore the app's functionality before asking them to register for an account.

If design is one half of a successful app initiative, mobile marketing strategy is the other. Mobile Marketing Watch suggests concocting a plan that involves offering the app for free initially, and generating revenue through subsequent in-app purchases.

The source cites data from research, publishing and consulting company IHS Screen Digest, which predicted that in-app purchases will increase to $5.6 billion by 2015, up from $970 million in 2011.

What's more, researchers found that 68 percent of the top-grossing U.S. apps featured some form of additional content or functionality available to users via an in-app purchase. One example is the recently popular Draw Something app, which is free to download but allows users to buy new words to draw for a small fee.  

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