Mobile apps must improve

12 November 2010

NEW YORK: Most US mobile users believe all major companies should provide applications, although many have been disappointed with their experiences in this area to date.

Developer EffectiveUI and research firm Harris Interactive surveyed 781 Americans who had downloaded and utilised apps.

Overall, 76% of respondents agreed every large corporation and brand must now build these tools, placing a particular emphasis on simplifying the purchase process and facilitating interaction.

However, 38% of the panel displayed dissatisfaction with most of the relevant offerings currently available from their favourite manufacturers and products.

A further 69% argued mobile appliances delivered by advertisers have to be helpful and easy to use.

When this is not the case, it typically yields negative perceptions regarding the brand concerned, the study found.

Three-quarters of participants suggested apps "should do exactly what they want or need it to do", and 57% prioritised high-quality design.

Nearly a third of the sample had told others about a bad experience with a branded app, and 13% opted against downloading another tool supplied by the same source.

The challenge of creating applications meeting consumer expectations cannot be underestimated, given that 73% stated they ought to be more user-friendly than websites.

Only 18% of those polled considered whether apps were from a well-known company, while 66% had previously based decisions on recommendations.

Equally, 57% added such items to their phone following a prior positive experience.

"Mobile applications are the sure fire way to extend a brand," said Rebecca Flavin, ceo of EffectiveUI.

"It's time for organisations to … optimise a user-centered approach to drive adoption, as well as reinforce and drive brand loyalty."

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is one company making progress here, as its Everyday Food app, costing 99c, is closing in on 200,000 downloads since February.

"Our Martha Stewart Everyday Food app for the iPhone and iPod touch continues to resonate with consumers … and remains one of the most popular paid apps in the Lifestyle category on the App Store," said executive chairman Charles Koppelman last month.

Everyday Food was employed by HP during its Photosmart launch campaign, and an updated version is due early next year, alongside a new Make Cookies app for the iPad.

Elsewhere, eBay, the online auction service, has enjoyed early success in a field it predicts will witness considerable growth going forward.

"Mobile commerce is exploding and eBay is leading the way globally across multiple platforms," ceo John Donahue said in October.

"Our eBay iPhone app has been downloaded almost 13m times around the world and mobile shoppers can now find eBay on all four major smartphone platforms - Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows 7."

EA, the games specialist, is also playing a key role in the sector, according to chief operating officer John Schappert.

"We are the number one publisher across the entire Apple App Store," he said. "At EA, we're particularly proud of our leadership in this space.

"Today, we estimate that digital sales represent roughly 30% of revenue in Western markets, yet none of this is captured in retail tracking data."

Data siyrced by EffectiveUI; additional content by Warc staff