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Mobile App Development Golden Rule: Know Thy User Alternative Text

The most important aspect of mobile app development isn't what you think: it's knowing your users.

· Mobile Zone

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Do you know what consumers want out of your mobile app? If you don't, you could find yourself in a thorny situation where users download your app with excitement and delete it moments later in disappointment. This scenario plays out far too often for even the most popular brands, proving that the context in which consumers use mobile apps matters more than ever. 

Nintendo recently experienced this first hand, as the famous Japanese gaming company began its foray into the world of mobile apps. At the end of October, Nintendo unveiled its mobile app Miitomo. Video gamers around the world were waiting for this app with eager anticipation, but the details provided about the app are leaving them less than excited. mobileappusers

That's not what they want
Miitomo is essentially a social networking mobile app, as it allows users to create a Mii -- a virtual cartoon character that can resemble consumers themselves or be modeled after existing intellectual properties. Users then answer a series of questions about their personal lives and hobbies, and other Miitomo members can connect with each other based on answers and similar interests. 

Nintendo, the company responsible for timeless and iconic characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Link created its first mobile app, and not only isn't it a game, but it doesn't feature any of those incredibly recognizable avatars. To say that this made Nintendo fans disappointed is an understatement. Michael Pachter, managing director of Wedbush Securities, called this mobile app reveal "a disaster." His reasoning is strong too: Facebook has the social thing down, why would anyone use Nintendo's version? Additionally, why isn't Nintendo taking advantage of its intellectual property? 

The answers to these questions are unknown at this point, but brands with mobile apps or companies developing mobile apps should pay attention. Nintendo failed to focus on what their fans and consumers in general want from a Nintendo-created mobile app. At a time when there are even websites that allow individuals to discover "the best e-commerce app for your needs," not listening to users and what they would like is a big mistake.

"Brands need to consider the context in which consumers use their app."

Identifying context and creating personas

Brands need to consider the context in which consumers use their app. Who is the ideal user? For what reason will they download and continuously use that app? 

Take Yelp for example. Diginomica contributor Stuart Lauchlan detailed a conversation with Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in which Stoppelman explained how the company recognizes its mobile app users' priorities: People want to search for local businesses on the Yelp app, so it provides those capabilities and ensures that its user experience is better than Google's. 

Brands can take context to the next level by identifying personas and developing their mobile app with those in mind. This way, they are guaranteed to hit the mark, providing users with a useful and valuable set of features and capabilities. Additionally, by leveraging mobile app monitoring, companies can keep discovering how their app is being used and, more importantly, why users keep opening it. 

In Nintendo's case, the company will undoubtedly hear feedback from its mobile app users. With five more apps on the way, ensuring the continuous quality of the apps will be Nintendo's best chance at cornering the mobile app -- and potentially the mobile gaming -- market. If the game developer and its partners don't listen, it runs the risk of losing a consumer base on mobile devices. 

The Mobile Zone is brought to you in partnership with Strongloop and IBM.  Visually compose APIs with easy-to-use tooling. Learn how IBM API Connect provides near-universal access to data and services both on-premises and in the cloud.

mobile,nintendo,game dev,app monitoring,performance

Published at DZone with permission of Shane O'Neill. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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