23 May, 2022
Co-Founder of UXCam
Last week I ordered from a food delivery app. 50 minutes later, a rider hands me a plastic bag with my ramen swimming beneath a capsized paper bowl.
There’s a noodle place less than a block from my house. I could have paid less and been in and out in less than 30 minutes. Why didn’t I?
On a busy work day, ordering is now second nature. My hand reaches for the phone and finds the app before I even realize I’m hungry. I’m not alone in that the pandemic changed the way we eat.
As people isolated themselves at home, restaurant-quality app delivery suddenly moved up on the ladder of things we craved for a sense of normalcy. Then the habit stuck: The US$150 billion global food delivery market has tripled since 2017 and shows no sign of slowing down.
Since 2020, fitness, productivity, messaging, telehealth, food, and banking mobile apps have worked overtime to remove as much friction from daily life as possible. Reliance on them for social distancing formed new habits, values, and made app users accustomed to hyper convenience.
So how has the world changed since the world began to open up and which new norms are sticking around? Understanding and anticipating future motivations and needs will be the key to app business success in the years to come.
As a former mobile user research engineer in the mid 2010s, I had a fraction of the data we have now about understanding mobile user behavior. Uber and Instagram weren’t that big, we had phones and Whatsapp, and in just ten years, life moved to mobile. Today, we are fortunate to have billions of micro-interaction data available — per app — to make sense of.
To explore how new habits will shape the mobile app world, look no further than the industries that are booming.
Mobile grocery: Food and grocery delivery app downloads grew 33% globally during pandemic
Mobile banking: The number of mobile wallets in use is on track to reach US$4.8 billion by 2025 (up from US$2.8 billion in 2020) – used by nearly 60% of the world’s population.
Mobile telehealth: Valued at US$46 million in 2019, mHealth is projected to reach $230 million by 2027 with a CAGR of 22.3% from 2020 to 2027.
Mobile learning: The market size surpassed US$20 billion in 2019 and is set to grow at 13% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.
Mobile gaming: Projected to reach a revised size of US$139.5 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 11.5%
The growth in these areas indicate not just a shift in consumer trends, but the next big shift towards a mobile society. Let’s dig deeper and understand how mobile users are influencing the next big change in mobile apps.
For two years, businesses around the world participated in a social experiment — could productivity keep up if everyone in the office worked from home? The jury is still out on the long term effects of remote work, but it's clear that workers want flexibility.
Being able to login to work from anywhere — and in some cases, anytime — was once seen as a perk, and as a result of the pandemic, it’s seen as a right.
According to a recent report, 72% of workers prefer a flexible work model over returning to the office full time. And in a study by Gartner Research, 7 out of 10 employees will now refuse a job that does not offer flexible work or remote work. As a result, businesses have the opportunity to widen their talent pool, and employees are no longer bound to phone location.
The technological implications of a flexible office workforce could mean we’ll be working more asynchronously on mobile, in different time zones, and even the 9-5 will be challenged. Mobile enables all of this. Anyone who’s been told to get off Slack by their spouse on a holiday can relate.
In fact, of the number of the people who actively use Slack during the week, 76% use Slack on their mobile devices on iOS and Android. More than 5 billion actions are taken in an average workweek. Of those 5 billion actions, more than 1 billion actions are taken on mobile.
You might also be interested in: 5 Fantastic Remote Usability Testing Tools You Can Use Now
That’s not to say that flexible work comes without its challenges. There’s a laundry list of issues that businesses, especially managers, face when transitioning to a flexible work environment: access to company resources and equipment, introducing time sheets, information security, people management, keeping teams motivated, and the overall blurring of work and home life.
With new challenges comes great opportunities for mobile app development. We might be seeing more mobile-friendly features in productivity / business apps like:
more integrations with tons of third party apps
more sophisticated chat and collaboration functions
better video chat quality
customizable app to the company’s brand
easier and more secure ways of sharing sensitive company information.
Do you have three apps on your phone that do the same thing? Most of us do.
Loyalty is just a Google search away thanks to a more competitive app landscape, particularly with mobile ecommerce brands like Zalando and Asos. The battle for customers isn’t rooted just in the traditional price, value, and selections, but convenience factors.
Faster shipping, personalized content, free and convenient returns, and fast customer support are all more important than ever to shoppers. Same goes for mobility apps. If you can’t find a Lime bike, then you get a Citi Bike, if not, there’s a Jersey Bike around the corner.
Convenience is king when it comes to rapid grocery shopping delivery. Shoppers are less tied to brands as new grocery brands emerge onto the scene.
The study, “Need Now Revolution” reports that 52% of shoppers were happy to switch to another app if their brand wasn’t available. Low delivery charge (44%), easy ordering (34%), and good deals or special offers on products (33%) topped the list of things that mattered to shoppers.
So how do you enhance the convenience factor of your app?
Making core features easily accessible. Accessing core app features easily and directly increases the convenience factor since people are usually using apps on the go. As Steve Krug puts it in his book “Don’t make me think” people are good at satisficing, or taking the first available solution to their problem, so design should take advantage of this.
Personalizing based on behavior. If a user has been looking at the same item on an app several times, highlighting similar products when they return adds value to the brands and customer. This prevents a user from having to search from scratch to find a similar item. While this seems more like a selling tactic, it’s also great for the seamless shopping experience.
Seamless login: When it comes to the most convenient way to login, I always ask myself, can this person login to their app with a coffee in their hand while walking? Or better yet, is the login required — a user could browse through the store or search for a flight, but only needs to login when completing the purchase.
Connecting to the phone's operating system: iPhones are the pinnacle of user-centric design, so connecting your app to the operating system can enhance the ergonomics of your app. For example, when using a barcode app on iOS, the screen instantly lights up when you present a QR code.
Let’s take an example of mobile banking — despite the convenience of paying bills and managing money on your app, mobile banking really took off until during and after the pandemic.
Social distancing affects the way we save, spend, and move money. In early April 2020, mobile banking registrations jumped 200% over the daily average. And it’s here to stay. Financial experts predict that the epidemic has accelerated the adoption of digital banking systems by 3 to 10 years.
With so many more transactions happening on mobile, competition is fierce in the banking app space. Acquisition costs in mBanking are sky high — those EUR50 refer-a-friend programs add up.
There’s a push and pull between fully digital banks like N26 and traditional banks that have developed mobile services and interfaces. Product managers in this space will have to focus heavily on retention and onboarding.
If you want to know some mobile bank best practices, check out our App Analysis: PayPal vs Wise.
Smooth and painless new customer onboarding is one of the keys to customer retention in mobile banking. There’s a lot of personal information to be collected upfront: Name, address, ID number, social insurance number, email — not only do you have to design an app that gains the trust of the user to share this info, but the process has to be seamless.
Qualitative analytics can help with understanding and optimizing for why users don’t complete their onboarding progress. Knowing the right metrics to track, and optimizing for them will increase the stickiness of your product. Here are some examples of onboarding metrics you should be tracking.
Use of in-app tutorials
Successful signs ups
Failed and lost passwords
Number of transactions in app
Money transfers and repeat transfers
Repeat search keywords
Adding recurring bill payments
While waiting in line to open a physical account, delays are expected. In the world of mobile, the expectations are much higher. Without tracking all the onboarding and daily actions in your app, it doesn’t matter how good your features are.
We’ve been living in a mobile-first world for years now but we are only in the infancy of its growth. To truly understand the new mobile app behavior, you need solutions that were designed for mobile experience data. The tools and analytics of the past built for the web can’t be applied to mobile app behavior and vice versa.
The key to moving fast in this agile world is automation. Billions of micro-interaction data are generated per app, and you need a solution that can automatically capture all of it so you have everything you need to focus on analysis.
Solutions that simply adapt from web to mobile analytics just won’t cut it anymore. The way mobile user behavior is gathered and analyzed is unique compared to web behavior.
When we started UXCam back in 2014, we chose qualitative analytics as one of our first features because we realized early on the enormity of mobile user behavior data. And visualizing this enormous amount of information would be the future of mobile app analytics.
In 2022, we have to process more data than ever and communicate it as fast and easily as humanly possible. This is a challenge because people can’t easily make sense of the enormous amount of data.
To bridge this giant leap in mobile behavior, we need tools that enable anyone on the team to process this data, a solution that was made for anyone in the team, not just experts.
Having an auto-capture experience insight solution analytics helps you focus not just on everything you can do to improve your app but everything you need to do.
Check out Kishan's last post: Why creating a data-driven culture has less to do with data than you think
Co-Founder of UXCam
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