Planning An iOS Business App? Take These Design Cues From Apple

Planning An iOS Business App? Take These Design Cues From Apple

Even if an app is for inside your business, it needs to deliver an insanely great user experience.

Almost every major company has plans to develop a range of iOS apps (if they haven’t created some already). In fact, one of the reasons that enterprise app stores are becoming as popular as they are in business is that they fulfill two critical needs. One of those is to easily distribute internal apps to staff members. (The other is to point users to suggested or required apps from Apple’s App Store.)

One thing that every company developing an internal app needs to keep in mind is that users are becoming more tech savvy and comfortable selecting and using iOS apps. That can be a good thing for the whole enterprise app store concept. It let’s users choose and manage their selection of apps on their own without help from IT.

It also means that most iOS users are sophisticated enough to know when an app is poorly designed. That places an extra burden on anyone developing iOS apps, particularly if there are equivalent public apps that users can install as partial or complete replacements for a poorly built internal app.

That means app developers in business need to be able to hit out of the park when creating iOS apps. The days when developers could place a high priority on the backend of an enterprise system and slap together a quick and dirty user interface to go on top of it are gone. Apple has taught its customers what a good user experience looks like and how easy it is to replace an app with a poorly conceived interface or clunky processing.

The folks from On the GoWARE, a company that offers iOS and Android developer training and certification, point out that a poor user experience is one of the biggest hurdles facing mobile business apps. They also point out that user interface should be the starting point for any mobile app rather than something slapped on after everything else is finished.

That is, of course, how Apple approaches product and industrial design. Another important Apple trait that iOS developers can and should keep in mind is the company’s commitment to minimalism. Paring back any unneeded features or visual elements to make using an app as frictionless and streamlined as possible delivers an easier to use application. To do that effectively, however, developers need to understand what the app is intended to do, who will be using it, what the existing workflows for the app’s users, and what works or doesn’t work for them. Essentially, developers need to know the ins and outs of the work done by their customers – employees that will use the app in this case.

Developers and IT departments also need to develop a long-term plan for internal apps. Simply putting out an app and never updating it is a bad idea. Bug fixes, design tweaks based on feedback, new functionality from new APIs in future iOS releases, and expanding the apps capabilities down the road are all important steps after the initial deployment. IT departments should have a long-term plan for every app.  Companies outsourcing app development need to consider long-term planning even more so that they can truly coordinate future plans and milestones.

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About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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