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There’s an App for That, but Should There Be? Assessing User Experience for Mobile Applications and Websites

It’s no secret that the demand for quick contactless interactions is on the rise, making the value of assessing the user experience for mobile applications and websites more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed users to take advantage of apps and online mobile options, with retailers seeing a 58% increase in in-app transactions from September 2019 to September 2020. But when your business is considering a long-term digital strategy, how do you know when it’s time to invest in building a mobile app versus keeping a mobile website? Below we a few key considerations to keep in mind.

User Experience for Mobile Applications and Websites:

Keeping the User’s Goals in Mind

When considering whether to invest in building a mobile app for your business, a good first step is to consider the goals of your user and think about the user experience for mobile applications and websites. Is your user looking to solve a problem, or simply looking for more information? A good rule of thumb is apps should always be action-oriented – ie) making a purchase, reserving a table, or playing a game.  If your users aren’t looking to perform an action, and just seeking information, a mobile friendly site is a great option.

Benefits of Sticking with a Mobile Site

For organizations who have website goals that are primarily related to marketing or communicating ideas and information, an optimized-for-mobile site is most likely the best option. When it comes to a seamless and cohesive user experience, mobile websites have many benefits and advantages over apps, including broader accessibility, and speed of updates.

Ease of Access
The accessibility and ease of entry of mobile sites is an important benefit for organizations to consider, depending on their userbase. Users don’t have to navigate away from the page, and they are immediately directed to the information they’re looking for without disruption. This especially comes into play for users who may have low-bandwidth or may be less tech-savvy. For certain users, the disruption of having to download an app may cause them to abandon your site altogether.

Ability for Businesses to Make Rapid Updates
Another advantage of mobile websites is the ease in which businesses can quickly make updates that their users will automatically see. Mobile apps require users to manually update the app for bug fixes or new information, sometimes slowing down the process of getting new information in the hands of users.

When to Consider Investing in a Mobile App

When thinking about user experience for mobile applications and websites it’s important to assess the value- add for users. When asked why they decided to download an app rather than stick to the mobile version of a site, 68% of users said the mobile version was insufficient, and 65% were looking for something to make their shopping experience better.

When users take the extra step to download an app, the expectation is they will be rewarded for doing this and will be given something that solves the problem they’re having. The mobile app should solve their problem, or should have such incredible customizations tailored specifically to them that it makes their purchasing process that much smoother.

Advanced Customization
Mobile apps are known for their ability to offer users advanced customization. With the trend of personalization not going away anytime soon, users are looking for apps to remember their preferences and offer tailored experiences. An example of a company who is taking full advantage of this is European-based retailer Mallzee. Using a swipe right or left interface that has become synonymous with dating apps, Mallzee uses this UI to learn about user preferences and tailor their experience based on their likes and dislikes.

Ability to Leverage Other Device Capabilities
Another advantage of mobile apps is the ease with which other device capabilities can be leveraged and incorporated into the app functionality. Target has recently incorporated a creative use of Bluetooth technology, creating an experience within their app which they call “GPS for your shopping cart.” When looking for a product while in a Target store, if you open the app you’re able to see your location on a map relative to where the product is you are searching for.

Increase Conversions
If your business is able to get users to download your mobile app, there is significant research to show you will be rewarded, as consumers tend to make more purchases through apps as compared to websites. According to Criterio, users view 4.2x more products per session within apps, compared to mobile sites and also have 3 times higher conversion rates compared to mobile sites.

Success in building out your organization’s mobile presence will require a tailored approach that incorporates the business’ current state and future objectives. If your business is looking to assess user experience for mobile applications and websites as a step in your digital journey, Clarkston Consulting can be your partner in the process.

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Tags: Digital Engagement, Digital