It seems as though there are endless elements to consider when developing an app. How will it function in the back end? How will it be optimized to improve performance? How will performance be monitored? How will the user be affected?
The latter consideration is perhaps one of the most important focal points when developing an app. One of the best starting points for developing a strong user experience is by ensuring that you have a proper app flow.
What is App Flow?
The app flow is the path a customer or user takes within an application to achieve the desired task. In a shopping app, it might be how the customer finds the type of clothing they’re looking for, adds it to their cart, and completes the checkout process. In a fitness app, it might start at a landing page with relevant content, with the option to go from their to their food journal and onward to look at a summary of their day.
The app flow is one of the key considerations in user experience. It should be smooth, providing easy navigation in a logical order of events. The app flow guides a user to their desired destination, making the relevant stops along the way. It can also help identify content needs to a developer during the planning process.
Consider this: you’re using an eBook app that will allow you to add books to your wishlist, read previews, and make purchases. Which scenario is more likely to result in a completed transaction and repeat user visits? One: you read the preview and, upon completion, are immediately given the option to add the book to your cart and view your cart. Two: you must scroll back through the pages of the preview to get back to the item page, where you can add the book to your cart?
Users love convenience and have short attention spans. The easier you make it for them to get the results they desire, the more likely you are to attract and retain users.
Four Ways to Ensure Proper App Flow
There are different approaches you can take when assessing your app flow. Here are four different ways to take a logical approach to this component of your app.
Application Performance Monitoring Tools
After your app is launched, you’ll be able to continuously assess your app flow by using strong APM tools to monitor performance. As one of the key metrics of this process, you should keep an eye on where users are going in your app, how much time they are spending there, completed transactions, and if there are any specific areas that act as an exit point anomaly. This will tell you if there is a place that doesn’t make sense to your user, causing them frustration enough to abandon the app.
There are many different APM tools to use, depending on your needs. Monitoring for Python applications are some of the most common, well-regarded tools you will see as many choose to use Python as their programming language of choice due to its streamlined simplicity.
Beta Test Your Users
Focus groups and prototype testing aren’t just used in marketing and product development. Get an early group of users to test and report on your application flow and usability before you launch to the general public. It’s easy to miss potential pitfalls in a project when you’re heavily involved, as the human mind tends to fill in the blanks when there’s excess familiarity. By beta testing your users, you’re giving them a chance to have their voice heard without detracting from your official launch or ratings and reviews.
Be sure that your users fit your target demographic and overall strategy for the app. You want the test users to represent your targeted users as closely as possible.
Set End Goals
Before you can direct users to where they should be, you need to set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) so that you understand where they should be going and why. For example, if your goal is to have your users buy that book, you know which direction you want to encourage them to travel in when they log onto your app.
Clearly define what the user is trying to accomplish in using your app. From there, define what you’re trying to accomplish through the user. This will give you a strong foundation for creating a proper app flow that makes sense all around.
Create a User Journey Map
A user journey map is a strong visual tool that stems out of your set end goals. It goes beyond what your sales or usage targets are and evaluates the marketing aspect of trying to push a product. What are the emotions your users should be experiencing at any given moment in your app? What reaction are you trying to elicit from them?
In some areas, you might be trying to instill a sense of curiosity to keep them moving forward. In others, you might want them to feel entirely engaged. Your goal will be to get as many positive emotions as possible in relation to your product, even if that means creating a negative emotion about a certain problem while offering your app as a solution.
User Experience Matters
Your user experience matters above all else when it comes to producing a high-quality app, and much of the user experience will be intertwined with the app flow. It’s important to remember that without users, your app has no purpose. You don’t just want to create something that people want to use– you want to create something they feel they can’t live without.