Mobile Apps – Opportunities and Challenges
The rise of smartphones and mobile apps offer some interesting and unique means to disrupt established industries. Although games have played a major role till now, app usage is surpassing time spent on games. There will still be break out hits like “Angry birds”,”Temple run”,”Draw something” etc. but it’s time to start betting on mobile apps. Here I am going to be talking about the changes that mobile has brought and the opportunities that they offer.
Opportunities offered by mobile New form of content generation
Traditionally images were added to content to make it more engaging. Finding images appropriate to your content was hard. Smartphones have streamlined image content generation and will improve video content as well. A few examples of companies that have utilized this well are Snapguide, Snapette.
Form factor shift
Think of all the services you use on the web and now think of their mobile experience. If it is not up to the mark there lays an opportunity. Many of the offerings on the web also need a fundamental rethink to accommodate for mobile. You need to focus your offering to fit the mobile needs of your user. For example, Amazon offers a way for users to simply scan the bar code and check the price of an item. They have not only accommodated for the form factor change but also changed the way people shop in retail stores.
The form factor within the mobile segment is also a topic of discussion. If one is talking about tablet v/s smartphones, App developers need to change their offering depending on that. One good example of company that leverages this is TheFind. They focus on deals and barcode scanning for smartphones and catalogues for ipad.
Ever present & Ever connected
Your application now has the opportunity to be ever present and readily available for the user. You can leverage it to create unique new businesses. For example, apps like Runkeeper have made tracking your daily physical activity simple. Another example is company called Waze, which crowdsources traffic data and helps find better routes to your destination.
Things to think through when you are coming up with an app idea Uniquely mobile
Today if you are thinking of a product idea you need to think ‘mobile first’. Leveraging mobile early on can be a great driver for your growth. It will also force you to focus on delivering only what matters most and later build on top of it. One example of companies developing unique features for mobile is Uber, which helps you book a taxi from your phone and shows you the current location of your taxi as it approaches.
Is your app needed or used once every day, once every week? You need to estimate your engagement level to start thinking of the feature set and monetization. Having a low engagement levels does not mean your app will not be a success. For example, Hipmunk is an app that helps you book airline tickets from your phone. You wouldn’t need it very often and it is designed in such a way that the time spent with the app is minimal.
Level of pull
Does your product need to constantly pull the user to the app or does it lie in the background and is used when its needed. Your plan for engagement level helps you decides the amount of pull needed. You can be a successful app even if you don’t employ any pull. For example, pocket(read it later) does not employ any pull to the user but it is very useful and offer a lot of value.