Do users turn a blind eye to mobile design if they really love the brand? According to a EffectiveUI study, no. The majority of users chose superior experience design over brand loyalty. To survive and thrive in the ever-increasing app landscape, companies must maintain a relentless focus on their unique brand attributes, and deliver an experience that passes the "who cares?" test. Apps with high usability and sales:
1. Communicate value in an emotionally engaging way: functionality should reinforce a company's brand positioning and be consistent with how the business presents itself in other media.
2. Deliver value by offering useful, usable function: sites that don't support consumer goals frustrate and annoy visitors, and those negative emotions transfer over to the brand.
3. The apparent failing of application design in part due to an added pressure from the C-suite to simply have a mobile app: some apps are simply not necessary, and while first-adopters might purchase them, word-of-mouth spreads quickly and sales will fall off drastically (along with brand reputation).
4. Users will not tolerate apps that are slow to open or operate: speed is even more important for apps than it is for web sites.
5. Users are more likely to download an app based on recommendations: companies will have to push the envelope and go farther afield to enlighten, engage, and differentiate to garner those coveted recommendations.
CONCLUSION? User expectations define the user experience. "Don't beat me over the head with a useless app, and don't waste your time trying to 'sell' me on why I need it," is clearly the message from users to brands looking to connect on mobile devices.
"Yes, recommendations from others do matter, so don't try to skate by with mediocre design." According to a new survey from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 35% of adults have cell phones with apps, but only two-thirds of those who have apps actually use them. Rather than concluding that app adoption is low, we would propose that unused apps simply are not delivering value, utility, usability or a meaningful experience to the user.
While every article we read and metric we watch shows a widening embrace of all kinds of apps by a widening population, what we're seeing in the app story is the early stages of the classic tech adoption story. Agencies interested in developing apps should recognize that app purchase and use, for now, is contained to a core group of cell phone users (18- to 29-year-olds make up half of all adult app users). But, that will surely change in the future, with many in the tech industry hailing apps as "the new revolution."