Competition is cutthroat in the consumer app industry. The Apple Store now has a selection of 1.8 million apps, while Google Play boasts almost 2.5 million to choose from. Even if you can get a consumer to download your app, about 85 percent of them will abandon it within 30 days. These figures explain why only 0.01 percent of consumer mobile apps are considered a financial success by their developers.
So how do you make your app sticky enough to land among the rare .01 percent? Design thinking is here to help you.
By putting user needs at the center of every decision, design thinking creates products that serve important purposes in consumers’ lives. For app developers, that’s a straightforward recipe for financial success.
The Customer-Inspired App
Design thinking is more than a step in the development process; it’s a way to envision the whole project.
Capture insights: The most critical point in the app development process just might be the beginning. What app are you going to create? Most teams begin with a ‘killer app’ concept, but if the idea isn’t based on customer-centered research, you may already be on the wrong path.
Ideate: Use these new insights to generate ideas. This is the big, creative, collaborative step in the design thinking process, so open it up to cross-functional teams. Include the whole office—marketing, legal and creative departments. More diverse teams come up with better ideas.
Test: Determine the best ideas and test them with your target audience. It can be helpful to give the test group as little context as possible and simply observe how they respond. Do they appear delighted or confused? Are they able to navigate the interface independently or do they require guidance? A little user feedback can tell you exactly what’s right and wrong with your idea, before you so much as write a single line of code.
Do it again. Now keep going: iterate, innovative and do it again.
Design thinking helps teams uncover the right problems to solve. Before you decide what app to create (or whether the world even needs another app), spend time observing your target audience. Where are their pain points? What unspoken problems do they face? What are they telling you they need?
To get the most value from this process, speak to a range of users, including those with little interest in your app. Feedback from disinclined users might inspire solutions that can change their minds.
To learn more about innovation and app design, read our post on human-centered approaches for UX developers.
Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Design Thinking 101.