Usability accounts for at least half of your business’ digital success. With most business encounters and transactions occurring online, “going digital” is one of the best and fastest ways for your business to achieve success. Many companies decide to move certain processes and interactions to applications. However, paying much attention to functionality they often forget about the experience users will get with this app.
Well-developed apps allow users to complete tasks, such as finding a new home on-the-go on your smartphone without being glued to a computer screen for hours at a time. Features and usability make apps great. If an app is difficult to use it does not matter how pretty it looks. In this case, users will perceive it negatively and will not want to use it. An app is only as reliable as its usability, and this is a factor developers often neglect to address.
On average, an app user forms an opinion about the app they’re using in as little as half a second. In this short time, an app user knows whether they will continue using the app or not, which makes usability an essential component of app development.
Understanding Usability and What it Means for Apps
Usability is the user’s experience while they’re using your app, whether the customer is accessing your site using a tablet, or smartphone. In this case, usability refers to the efficiency and simplicity of achieving the goals within the app. If your app is challenging to use, you’re guaranteed to lose customers. A housing app for example that takes time loading photos and information about available homes is a primary usability factor many realtors forget to address.
An app’s interface should:
· Be easy to use
· Help users achieve their goal of finding information
· Make visitors want to visit your site multiple times
The key thing to understand is that an app with good usability has many functions. In addition to its ease of use, it also helps create involvement with a brand. This sense of community shows users that you care about their needs and requirements and helps keep your users engaged and attached.
Understanding the Importance of Usability in the Market
Some of the biggest online names know how usability can impact the buyer. These organizations demonstrate that they care about the user by giving them a simple and seamless experience. The focus here is not just on an app that looks good, but also one that removes roadblocks, making the process easier. A great example of a company with a good usability is Amazon.
Amazon has demonstrated a simple and clean user interface for consumers on their mobile app. They provide a seamless integration with the desktop client so that searches and search histories are persevered. In addition they make it extremely easy for a user to proceed from search directly to purchase with their “one-click” experience. Amazon understands that time is precious and ensures that users retain as much of this valuable commodity as possible.
Of course, Amazon is not the only example of this. Apps like Dropbox and Yelp each serve different purposes but both ensure that the user experience is memorable and simple. Dropbox for example provides a familiar file-folder structure that anyone who’s used a computer will easily recognize. There is no huge learning curve. Yelp by contrast offers recommendations for local eateries and entertainment venues. Built around a recommendation engine, Yelp accounts for a users location, their tastes and interests and presents suitable options. Once again it’s a simple app that accomplishes its function.
Companies like Amazon and Dropbox do not lose the clients, on the contrary – they have a community of fans. At least partially the responsibility for this is on how they care about users. This is achieved through a well-developed usability concept among other things. Since every e-commerce platform wants to create their own Amazon and every file hosting service their own Dropbox, they should not forget about shaping a comfortable experience for their users.
Common Issues With Usability in Housing Industry Apps
Housing industry is one of the leaders in offering their clients certain services via mobile and web applications. Many homeowners and condominiums use apps to accept payments and offer various opportunities to rent or purchase an apartment.
However, the apps they use are generally old fashioned and built around the business versus the consumer. This generally means that the users its actually built to serve, do not want to use the app which completely defeats the purpose. As we’ve already discussed, a critical factor when considering usability is ease of use. Sadly many existing apps have not factored this in.
Instant gratification is something many customers want. If your app requires a lot of different steps to access the content customers are looking for, there’s a good chance they will only use your app once. Mobile apps for housing should be convenient, not a hassle to use. Mobile apps that have too many obstacles are apps that often receive negative reviews and ratings.
It’s important to understand that time taken upfront at the design phase will pay dividends in the future. Well planned apps that are useful, simple to use and also look good will stand the test of time in the market. The focus needs to be on building an app that is easy to use, performs the required function and helps build your brand. A well designed app will help to turn your clients into more than just users, it will make them advocates and fans.
The Bottom Line
The current housing apps put forth great effort to give customers what they want, but it’s not enough. These apps are outdated, which means they lack a lot of features, which makes these apps challenging to use. Companies who consider usability as an essential factor in their app’s development will have more clients who will use their app multiple times. Companies that focus on their users and their experience will achieve significantly greater returns. For example an app that automates the interactions between a tenant and their housing association is much more likely to be popular and of use.
To create an effective app where functionality is in balance with usability you will need an experienced tech partner, who knows how to make your business flourish. At NIX we understand the importance of usability and can help you build a product that is not only functional but also user-friendly.
Contact us to learn more about NIX and how we can help you master usability techniques and become a leader in your industry.