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Teaching developers UX analysis boosts mobile app performance

Employees can be fickle over which mobile applications they use. That's why it's smart to monitor user experience and tweak apps to better meet user expectations.

Employees have their own definition as to what qualifies as a positive user experience, and their standards keep rising. Enterprises should make sure their mobile app developers have the tools and training to keep pace with their employees' UX demands.

Regardless of the user, there are minimum expectations for mobile app performance, such as the following:

  • When an application launches, it launches without fail.
  • When the app loads features and content, it does so rapidly.
  • The app navigation between feature sets is clean and does not leave the user hanging or wondering where to go or how to return.
  • The user interface is elegant and efficient.
Developers must learn what motivates employees to use a particular tool and how various apps might improve their jobs.

If the app delivery fails in these criteria, then users won't like the app and won't use it. Even if corporate mandate requires use of the app, if users don't like it, they will not use it as effectively.

So, IT shops should retool and train mobile app developers in the skills required to create a solid and efficient user interface. Traditionally, corporate-built software designed for desktop computers could get away with clunky and bloated UIs. We have all been conditioned to just grin and bear such apps and look past their unneeded or clumsy feature sets.

The smaller dimensions of mobile devices force apps to present only the most important features. Therefore, mobile app developers need to understand their target audience better than ever before. They should conduct UX analysis of the employee base to avoid disrupting business operations with an app.

UX analysis should include the creation of use cases and personas for targeted end users. Based on real-life observations, surveys and focus groups used to create the personas, product developers can understand what features will complement or disrupt the end-user experience with an app.

Developers must learn what motivates employees to use a particular tool and how various apps might improve their jobs. They can then prioritize what is needed in a corporate app and what is not. This is true for applications that are developed in-house as well as those purchased from third-party vendors.

So how does a company know whether it has a good or a bad app? The only way to know if software is providing a positive user experience and is reliable in the field is to employ a mobile application performance monitoring solution. Such a product will provide insights into application utilization, feature performance and crash data. When and where are apps being used, and how well do they work?

A mobile app performance monitoring system should also gather information about transaction services, or where bottlenecks emerged among service calls. Organizations can also study device vitals, which are measurements of how apps use endpoint device and corporate resources.

With this information in hand, enterprise app developers can quickly respond to performance problems as well as identify areas for feature improvement. Continuous app monitoring will ensure ongoing productivity of the mobile workforce.

Without attention to these details, investments in developing and deploying mobile apps will show very little return in productivity and profitability. However, the inverse is also true. Improvements in user experience and app performance can lead to cost savings through increased efficiency and revenue through better employee performance.  

Next Steps

Why UX design and analysis is key to app success

Using mobile UX design to boost productivity

The differences between desktop and mobile app dev

Overcoming mobile user experience design challenges

Learn about mobile app lifecycle management

This was last published in February 2015

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How does your enterprise measure user experience?
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We use the basics: post call surveys, quality scores, and focus groups.

Many enterprises take advantage of average handle time and first call resolution metrics for greater information.

Its hard to guarantee the relationship between these stats and the customer's actual satisfaction. The "Net Promoter Score" focuses on customer loyalty metrics, like by doing a little follow-up survey to see if they would recommend you to friends.

Information is everywhere, but not all information helps.
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In addition to the methods mentioned by Steph49, we also have a UX team that works closely with the development teams throughout the development process. This means that UX is given consideration throughout the lifecycle, from design (of both the initial product and subsequent fixes), to development, to monitoring after release. The UX team also actively participates in the sprint planning and review sessions, where they have access to the product owners.
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User experience analysis, in my view, boosts app performance as it allows developers to understand which features are likely to complement or disrupt end-user experience.
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I think it’s also the key to boosting app adoption, especially if the mobile app is replacing or augmenting a legacy applciation. I’ve seen several instances where a legacy application was mobilized with less than favorable results. Users found the features they used in the legacy apps and wanted in the mobile apps were either not in the app or did not function as well as the legacy counterpart, so they stopped using the apps. If the developers are knowledgeable about UX and UX Analysis, then many of these issues can be identified and addressed quickly if not prevented.
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