Smartphones are everywhere. But as the saying goes ‘hardware is useless without software’, so is your smartphone – without apps. Apps are just as ubiquitous as the conventional smartphone, and all these tools have come a long way from simply facilitating phone calls and text messages. Now, a smartphone is all you need to shop online, research and commit to your daily duties at work, among many other things. No matter what your needs are, there’s an app for it, rest assured.
Android apps in particular need some limelight, owing to being more affordable in contrast to its iPhone counterpart. Users, especially those in emerging markets opt for Android smartphones more often, making them an economical addition to empower the lives of many in the developing world. Backed by the flagship of Google, Android’s steady consolidation with the entire suite of Google apps makes it a versatile option furthermore, enabling many to conduct their daily tasks with minimal hassle by using what is built in by default.
As a significant portion of global smartphone users choose Android, developing apps that eventually attain business objectives via the same platform is integral for any brand. The wide usage of Android is what makes it special, but irrespective of operating system, apps revolve around one key factor – customer experience.
With today’s abundant options that await users, anything less than the best is bound to backfire. Plentiful choices, coupled with poor customer experiences is the cause for high abandonment rates, and ensuring this doesn’t happen to your brand requires some strategic introspection. No matter what’s trending, start with the most important entity of all – your user. By mapping out your users’ journeys, gathering feedback, conducting quality assurance tests and simply getting into the shoes of your potential customer will give you the insight you need to develop an app that is ready to delight customers, while helping your bottom line.
Keeping the following trends in mind will serve as a means of leverage for heightening customer experience. There is no necessity to implement all of them; as elaborated above, primarily focusing on what your customers need is what will give you the insight required to develop an app that works for both you and your customer.
These two technologies, coupled with AR and VR have all been in vogue for a long time – and they are only going to keep increasing in popularity and usefulness as time passes on, thanks to the level of innovation and interaction that has been delivered. Android apps are no exception either. In the case of AI and Machine Learning, being able to suggest what a customer may like/require implies customer-centricity, and is something many would want to do on a brand/business level. AR and VR on the other hand help enhance the experience factor, by stimulating environments that are life-like, accurate and subsequently helpful to get things done.
Additionally, AI and Machine Learning now can be applied towards any purpose; unlike before when these technologies were only confined to data analytics for high-end state and private organisations, the usage of AI and Machine Learning has long since expanded to be accessible for even the smallest brand, and the common customer. Likewise, expecting Android app developers to utilise the same for most of their clients’ app requirements is now the norm, especially where customer transactions are concerned. Examples include e-commerce apps, particularly retail, along with social networks that have the capacity to suggest what a user may like depending on previous usage history.
With no installation required and instant use (as its name suggests), instant apps have definitely been a boon for the smartphone generation. Helping to save data as well as space, instant apps also provide users the opportunity to try out an app before they decide to commit to it further. It helps businesses by providing greater accessibility to users – instead of getting users to download, install, register and then finally make a transaction, instant apps can jump straight to registration and perhaps even the transaction step, in the interest of being quick and easy.
What with user abandonment being a common problem within the short span of a few seconds, it is sensible for businesses to ensure that their apps are seamless in terms of navigation, so users get a positive first impression and can be retained as recurring customers. In the age of fierce business competition and the abundance of options for any given product/service, you want to give your users an optimum experience, so they establish positive feelings of trust and loyalty towards your brand.
Alternatively, executing a single task may warrant a complete download and installation of an app, on the part of the user. Since this can be very cumbersome, instant apps can once again prove to be beneficial in this context. A simple URL can open a webpage on a smartphone browser, thereby facilitating the same task that would’ve otherwise required a fully functioning app.
How often have you thought about ordering pizza, and found the very same at your doorstep not long after? Or, how about hailing a taxi? Apps, and particularly on-demand apps have made this all the more possible. With consumers having more and more power over what they want and when they want it, on-demand apps have definitely paved their own way into the app market and created a benchmark. Likewise, this trend isn’t going to recede any time soon, and is in fact proving to be a lynchpin for many digital business strategies.
The on-demand economy overall has created a dynamic where products/services approach users, instead of the other way around. Therefore, users are only going to keep expecting more – and businesses can only keep afloat if they meet such expectations.
While Android apps only stay focused within the confines of a smartphone, they can be used outside the scope of an online landscape. From home appliances to large-scale systems, every gadget can be connected and controlled via a simple app, which makes the utility of apps in general a far more extensive one. As the IoT concept gains momentum (especially with assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa), Android and its flagship Google has immense potential in creating a whole new market based on an IoT-backed device alone. While the Google Assistant has established a foothold in the consumer market, it still presents the scope to go further by enhancing technicalities such as voice recognition, recommendations and overall service.
While IoT devices aren’t an Android app trend per se, they have definitely leveraged the utility quotient of the common, otherwise offline gadget. On top of that, they also present the resourcefulness of data collection and analytics, thereby creating a constant feedback loop that benefits both businesses and consumers in the long run.
Noticing a cutesy mascot across every brand is now becoming commonplace, but the mascot isn’t just a face to help you recognise your favourite product or service; it is now closely tied in with offering stellar customer service, in the name of a chatbot. Whether a chatbot is under the guise of a colourful mascot or not, it is now an integral part of any customer service strategy, particularly across the digital sphere. From websites to social networks, chatbots are capable of answering common questions, and even facilitating basic tasks such as appointment scheduling and call-backs.
Going a notch above the traditional inquiry form, chatbots are now a feature that many businesses are looking to integrate into their existing customer service strategies – and for good reason. Android apps also stand to benefit from chatbots, especially by offering insights during times your office is closed, or in the complete absence of a customer service specialist. On top of that, with almost everyone owning a smartphone nowadays, most inquiries are always through mobile. Without the downtime that’s caused during waiting while calling a hotline, your customers will now get instant answers to basic questions in the shortest possible time – while freeing your staff to only handle the more complex inquiries.
Remote work is now also gaining popularity – and so are the tools and platforms that make this possible. As more and more companies the world over resort to flexible schedules, working holidays and distributed teams owing to offshoring, mobile apps that offshoot from mainstream enterprise software are now becoming more and more common in use. From email to business intelligence, leading enterprise software vendors realise the importance of mobile – and have developed apps that provide all the features necessary to access work while on the go, and deliver results as soon as possible.
Today’s enterprise mobile apps are made possible by cloud storage, as well as special endpoint security to safeguard business data. While many vendors have successfully developed apps that are as good (if not better) than its desktop version, many offer the most basic or important features – which is exactly where the potential lies to improve and offer more extensive services to users.
Thanks to its secure and transparent qualities, blockchain has now superseded many different types of security, especially when it comes to performing transactions in the banking sector. Sri Lanka is an up and coming example that aspires to use blockchain technology, with the country’s Central Bank encouraging commercial banks to develop blockchain-based systems that can facilitate complete security and transparency in the financial sector. As a matter of fact, The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has also named the year 2020 as ‘The Year Of Digital Transactions’, in a bid to encourage banks to make remittances digital – which will subsequently encourage customers to also commit to the same.
During the past 2 years, the country has seen a drastic increase in the number of payment apps. As financial technology booms, so does mobile app development in Sri Lanka, for the very same. With the Central Bank now aiming to move away from currency notes and coins, seeing more apps enter the market that facilitate this goal is one that is bound to soar during this year and beyond.
Android apps have been the go-to choice for most smartphone users, owing to its qualities of being economical and closely connected to Google’s extensive range of inbuilt apps. As millions depend on Android apps on a daily basis, they are also spoilt for choice, which means that anything which lacks speed, utility and transparency is soon bound to be abandoned. Irrespective of the operating system that runs your app, customer centricity is key – for it’s the only way in which businesses can stand out from their competitors, product quality aside.
Understanding what makes users tick, and what also makes them abandon ship are important constituents to any preliminary mobile app development strategy. In the case of Android though, the operating system’s massive user base cannot be ignored, as a large chunk of your customers will hail from this very base. Trending technologies should then be used to supplement the fundamental strategy, instead of the other way around.
AI, Machine Learning, VR and AR are such trending technologies, and while they aren’t completely new, they’re here to stay (if not gain momentum during the course of this year and beyond). Helping businesses understand customer habits better, AI can make suggestions that are more relevant, while AR/VR can enhance the manner in which the user consumes this information. The concept of instant apps is another advantage, as users now get to experience an app without spending time and data to install it. On-demand apps, on the other hand, present what users need at a split second’s notice, thereby making it a trend that many businesses can make use of, to leverage their offerings.
IoT, chatbots and blockchain technologies each bring their own qualities to the table – from faster turnarounds to enhanced security. Last but not the least, more enterprise apps are also emerging, to cater to remote work and duties on the go.