4 proactive plans for navigating the mobile doldrums


So far, 2015 appears to continue 2014’s trend of no major disruptions in the mobile space.

While Apple’s forthcoming watch is generating excitement, there is little expectation that it will shift the wearables market other than mainstreaming it.

Given that tablet sales are expected to slump thanks to a saturated market and that few manufacturers are doing more than bumping hardware specs, 2015 isn’t shaping up to a ground-breaking year.

“Flagships won’t be differentiating on hardware as much as they will software, so 2015 might be the year manufacturers double down on developing the best end-user features they can,” says Techspot’s Tim Schiesser.

It’d be wise to take that path as well.

If you don’t have new app or mobile site initiatives, carry on with – or implement – continuous improvement processes. Your apps will be compared to the operating systems and the best apps; don’t lose ground as they improve around you. (As a starting point Stefan Savva’s post from earlier this month points out some great questions you ought to be asking).

In between these major initiatives, you should be:

  • Continually engaging with your users and developing based on their feedback. (In other words, follow up on the research we so often do prior to product release, but not so much after.) This can be as formal (read: expensive) as engaging user research consultants or as simple (cheap) as inviting a few users for coffee to explain how they approach your products.

  • Sanding off the rough edges that have cropped up. How has your design aged? Are there functional quirks that grate, but haven’t quite been a priority? Work with your developers to enable low-cost improvements that can improve user experience and present an ever fresh face to the user.

  • Improving and adding advertising options and functionality. What features and functions will help your advertising teams sell? Where can display capacity be added? Advertising is integral to the design of your app/site and should be implemented and/or improved as a design solution like any other feature.

  • Reviewing what you don’t know about how your product is used. Identify your data black holes and build improved tracking and metrics.

It’s easy to sit back after a big launch, or become focused on other initiatives, and let the existing product float along. Unfortunately, the ecosystem keeps evolving, especially when the marked excitement seems to have plateaued.

Don’t get caught playing a rushed game of catch up down the line because product development took a breather.

Make sure you have continuous improvement processes in place to keep your mobile products moving forward. Small efforts can have a big impact for your users.

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