Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Greatest Risk in Creating Mobile Apps

The greatest risk in creating mobile apps
The greatest risk that you run when creating a mobile app is that no one is going to be terribly interested in it. According to Localytics, 20% of apps are only opened once. To ensure that the effort we put into developing apps will not go to waste, we adopt the User Experience (UX) design process and involve target users as early on in the app development stages as possible.

Let us share a story.

Like many of our clients, the Abbott team came to us with a solid app goal and idea in mind. They wanted us to create an app that would help children in Hong Kong to pass the kindergarten examination and their original idea was to develop an app with a list of questions frequently asked during these interviews. To follow through our UX design process, we invited children and parents to investigate the feasibility of this app idea.

quoteWe found out that parents (the key decision makers when it comes to installing the app), did not find the concept of question listing very useful, because they could find those questions on books or websites. They explained that, unless the app has elements that cannot be replaced by other media, they usually prefer to limit their children’s screen time to a minimum. Our UX team proceeded to perform a mock kindergarten interview with the end users – the children. Through observation, we found out that the critical obstacle for young children was that of overcoming their shyness, rather than knowing the correct answers to the questions.

Based on this insight, the end product was radically different from the original idea. Inspired by FaceTime, children were given exposure to pre-recorded interviewers in different languages and were thus able to overcome their shyness when talking to unfamiliar adults. With that said, the new approach was still aligned with the app’s ultimate goal. We were happy to say that the app was highly successful, with a high number of downloads, as well as a good retention rate.

To conclude, in order to create a success app, our focus should be upon discovering and solving the high priority problems of the end users. To do that, instead of going through “creative brainstorming”, we suggest involving the users early on in our development process and focusing on understanding their ‘pain points’.


About the Author: After completing an MS degree at Stanford, Ken Law joined Google as the first group of interns and then became a full-time employee in 2000. While at Google, Ken developed a patented algorithm to find related pages. In 2007, Ken returned to Hong Kong and started MotherApp, which at that time the iPhone was not widely adopted and no Android devices even existed! 

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