The Mobile User Experience: How Does the App Make You Feel?

Make no mistake, the real game changer for the mobile user experience isn't a single app or device. Rather, it's the human element, or what we refer to as the humankind.

It's about helping users take action in the moment based on their 'experience', when they download the app, when they use the app and when they talk about the app.

It's all about the experience they have with the app. Over the years, as we've traveled around the world meeting with clients and speaking at conferences, we often ask this question to members of audiences: "what is your favourite app?"

More often than not, when people answer that question, they are unknowingly smiling. To us, they do so because they subconsciously think about how the app they're mentioning makes them happy, and a smile is the automatic result!

It's been 20 years since the first smartphone came out, and seven years since Apple debuted the iPhone. Since then, mobile usage has exploded and dominated both consumer brands and enterprise organisations alike.

Gartner recently forecasted that app store revenues would reach a titanic $25 billion by the end of 2014. Who would ever have imagined this just a few years ago? And over the course of the past two decades, the debate over what makes for an engaging digital customer experience has been an ongoing conversation - over and over, anywhere and everyplace.

The consumerisation of IT has placed significant pressure on organisations to figure out how to enable, secure and manage enterprise apps. And executives have tried to sort out just how to calculate and achieve an acceptable ROI on mobility-related investments. With mobile nearing ubiquity, how much more room could there be for this particular conversation? If you're skipping ahead to wearables and the Internet of Things, you might just miss the most exciting and in-depth transformation mobility has to offer: the user experience as it relates to humankind.

How does the app make you feel?

  • I felt uncomfortable
  • It just doesn't look very good
  • I felt unintelligent
  • It didn't do what I expected
  • I was so annoyed
  • I was flat out angry
  • It just wasn't intuitive

If these are comments you're hearing from your app users or reading in the reviews on your App Store, you quite likely have a user experience challenge. And to be clear, even if an app functions, that doesn't mean that users will enjoy using it. After all, the app HAS to work in a way that delivers results.

The real issue at hand is how do users feel when using it? For sure, we've all downloaded applications that when running them for the first time, they didn't quite live up to our expectations. If you're like most, you deleted those apps and never looked back again. For, as the expression goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression

And, at the end of the day, we are developing apps so that people will use them. Without usage, what is the purpose of creating the app in the first place? As we like to say at Brillio Mobility, our mantra is quite simply:

User experience drives user adoption, and user adoption driver ROI

Quite simply stated, if users don't adopt and use the app, there will not be any ROI. So, the goal should be to create whatever will ultimately get users to use the apps we develop. Accessibility and universal design, coupled with integral empathy, result in extraordinary user experience, and an extraordinary user experience results in successful mobility ROI and overall initiatives.

Today, retail companies collectively spend billions of dollars each year on end user experiences intended to attract, serve, and retain customers. They build new stores and launch new websites; market, advertise, and promote across multiple channels; experiment with trendy mobile apps; roll out new products and re-engineer services. To be brief, enterprise companies should have the same mindset. They should be focused on creating and managing a myriad of touch points for their workforce and consumers alike that will deliver, simultaneously, both a functional and emotive user experience.

When done well, a mobile app is designed to illuminate a holistic user experience, demonstrating the highs and lows people feel while interacting with your product or service. The benefits of designing and developing strategic UX are to be able to unlock a more compelling and more valuable overall experience - ultimately leading users to adopt and use the app which, in turn, then leads to the much sought after ROI.

This article was written by Jeff Wallace, Head of Mobility Practice and Business Leader, Brillio.