App Development, Thought Leaders

5 Essential Mobile App Features for Your Business

August 15, 2017

by Gabriel Shaoolian

Founder, Blue Fountain Media

Mobile app users want simplicity, speed, offline use, in-app customer support, and access to analytics. There are 5 important mobile app features that satisfy app users' preferences.

Business success in the digital marketplace requires designing a successful mobile app—one that is effective, efficient, and able to compete with the more than 2 million apps that exist.

More than half of all global internet users favor smartphones and tablets over traditional desktops. People are using mobile devices to check in for flights, get their news, send emails, chat with friends, and shop.

It should come as no surprise, then, that mobile app development is a booming business. The industry saw a 40% growth in revenue last year, with publishers for iOS and Android app stores garnering $35 billion in revenue.

As the founder of Blue Fountain Media, a full-service digital agency, I’ve helped brands strategize and develop revolutionary mobile apps that deliver results.

This articles outlines a list of the top 5 mobile app features for business apps:

  • Simple menu structure
  • Fast-loading images and content
  • Offline app usage
  • Customer feedback and support
  • In-app analytics tools

List of Mobile App Features for Businesses

1. Simple Menu Structure

People want simple mobile app features that are easy to use and navigate.

A successful mobile app doesn’t need additional bells and whistles. The flashier the mobile app features, the more likely the app is to feel cluttered, impractical, and time-consuming for users.

Making sure your app design reflects users' desire for simplicity and ease of use requires research to determine exactly what your consumers need and how to deliver those basic needs in the most streamlined way.

For example, apps such as Everlist use grid layouts and minimal navigation elements to keep their designs simple and improve the user interface (UI).

Everlist app grid layout is an example of an important mobile app feature

This simple app design provides straightforward navigation for users by making it easy for them to find different categories.

Simple apps generally have a better security track record. In fact, most data loss or security breaches that occur through mobile devices are often a result of user error—users who feel confused and press buttons without knowing what task they’re completing.

2. Fast-Loading Images and Content

App users want to find the information they need quickly, which requires reducing the number of clicks or taps needed to navigate your app and the time needed to load content.

First, reduce clicks wherever you can. An app’s design should incorporate minimal navigation elements, which reduces clutter and provides an app that’s easy to interact with.

Users want quick load times, which enable them to use apps more often and from more places. The goal for developers should be speed, not extraneous animations.

For example, with a shopping app such as Instacart, busy parents on the evening commute home from work can have groceries delivered to their doorstep within one hour, just in time for dinner that night.

Instacart's app has fast and easy-to-use navigation features

Instacart has a straightforward, easy-to-navigate app design that is quick to load, which makes it effortless for parents to order groceries on their commute home.

3. Offline App Usage

The ability to use apps offline is a must-have mobile app feature. It allows people to use the app without worrying about data limits.

Offline app use is particularly useful for travel apps. For example, TripAdvisor’s app lets users scour reviews, maps, and photos of more than 300 cities, all totally offline.

TripAdvisor provides offline app capabilities for app users

Travelers, who don’t always have Wi-Fi, can take advantage of this app when on the go, which is when they need the app most.

4. Customer Feedback and Support

In-app customer feedback and support is a key mobile app feature because it increases collaboration between app users and developers and shows that your company values its users' opinions.

Implementing app feedback systems can be as simple as adding a button with an email link for users to comment and ask questions.

There are also in-app support tools, such as Helpshift, User Voice, and Instabug, that allow users to communicate with a help team, provide feedback, and report bugs and other issues.

In-app feedback makes it easy to collect impactful information and continually improve an app based on users’ wants.

5. In-App Analytics Tools

App analytics tools allow you to track your users' experience with your app and improve this experience and your overall mobile strategy.

Download numbers and user reviews can provide basic insight as to whether your app is succeeding in the marketplace, but these numbers aren’t going to give you the whole picture, nor are they going to tell you the how’s and the why’s of your apps’ success or failure.

Analytics, on the other hand, allow companies to hone in on specific functions that enhance user experience and boost engagement. Tools such as Flurry, Google Mobile Analytics, Apple App Analytics, and Apsalar provide metrics that allow developers to track retention, traffic, and behavior patterns.

For example, Flurry's mobile analytics provides developers with real-time data on how consumers use their apps.

Flurry mobile analytics is an example of an in-app analytics feature

This real-time data allows app developers to learn right away what features app users prefer.

App Features Create the Foundation for a Successful Business App

Developing a mobile app is about figuring out what makes your users tick and constantly evaluating and assessing how your design meets those needs.

These five features—simplicity, speed, offline capabilities, feedback systems, and analytics—can help your business do just that.

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