Mobile App Development Trends to Watch in 2015: Keeping Up with the Customers
The following is a guest post by Jamie Dalzell of RealityCopyWriting.com.
Customer feedback has come a long way since the days of a sternly-worded letter in the mail. With a smartphone in every pocket and an app for every purpose, instant access to help, support, and the people behind a product is becoming a requisite rather than a bonus.
How, when and where people do this is changing rapidly. One day it’s a Vine bonanza, the next it’s a Facebook fad. And whatever it is that users are flocking to, there’s always something on the horizon. What, exactly, can often be difficult to discern, so today we’re digging down to see what it is that’s making users tick in 2015.
They’re Wearing It
Wearable technology’s progress has been scattershot in recent years. Yet with big names like Apple finally entering the ring, the trifecta for growth is falling into place: design smarts, fashion sense, and a marketplace that’s crucial in the success of any device.
The importance of supporting technologies can’t be downplayed, either. Processors are getting smaller, technology smarter, which is helping these devices to slim down, cut the cords, and become marketable fashion accessories rather than niche novelties.
In doing so, wearables are shaking off the idea that they’re simply glorified pedometers. Whether it’s an Apple watch on a wrist, or a pair of smart glasses on a face, portability is meeting smartphone functionality to create exciting new possibilities for communication and interaction. The apportunities (sorry!) here are endless.
Will your app work independently? As a companion app? Will it be a direct port, or a reimagining? They’re all important questions. Experimentation, as always, is the key. Emerging habits will, ultimately, be the deciding factor. And with the new information and metrics that wearables are providing? Tailoring a personal, intimate experience unique to every user is becoming that much easier.
They’re Chatting About It
Wearables may be all the buzz, but that doesn’t mean the aging stalwarts of the social-networking era are dead yet. In fact, they’re far from it. 2015 is seeing a shift in what users are sharing, and how, exactly, they’re doing it.
Apps are fast becoming evolving platforms that are changing to suit user habits. Facebook recently moved to position itself as our 21st century wallet. Meanwhile, Snapchat is doing the same, with the recent addition of Snapcash highlighting its move to a modular system ripe for expansion.
It’s telling that Facebook’s evolution is embedded within their messenger app, rather than Facebook proper. In part we have 2014’s rise of Whatsapp to thank for that. A chat app reminiscent of the good old days of SMS where speed texting was an art form reserved for those with dexterous fingers and far too much free time. And in 2015? Chat continues its renaissance as a platform, rather than an added feature.
Users aren’t just chatting amongst themselves, either, but with businesses, services and products, too. Instant access to creators, business owners and technical support isn’t just a bonus these days, but is expected. And it’s a place where services like Apptentive are helping to foster this communication. Users want to talk. And they want to talk now.
The likes of Ello, This and other location-based social networks like Shout and Yik Yak are fueling this resurgence, too. Enabling users to anonymously share messages with other users in the local area, their popularity and functionality will only increase as wearables become commonplace. It’s much easier to check a watch for nearby messages when you’re on-the-go than pulling out your phone. As small a change as that may be, it’s having a big impact.
They’re Watching It
The old dogs are learning new tricks, but the trend of reinvention isn’t limited to Facebook and Snapchat. Twitter recently purchased the video streaming service Periscope, highlighting both the changing face of existing networks, and the rising demand for user-driven video.
The popularity of services like Netflix, HBO and Twitch is a known quantity these days. Now? Personal video is on the rise, and existing networks are bending every which way to be able to offer it to their user base as quickly as they can. Users want to be in control of not just what they watch, but who they watch, and when and where they watch it.
It’s yet another area where the wearable influence is felt. Imagine when concert attendees are all shouting “Stream, start!” to their glasses rather than holding up iPhones to capture their favourite performances. Only this time broadcasting to thousands of twitter followers watching at home, at work or out for a jog.
We’re already seeing this with events like Coachella, where apps like Meerkat and previously mentioned Periscope, are being used by festivalgoers to broadcast performances, back-stage antics and favourite moments.
The event organisers, predictably, aren’t exactly happy about it. But they, like the app makers of today, are going to have to adapt to their audience. With wearable technology and the popularity of video streaming, we’ll know more about them and see more of what they do, and it’s up to creators to take this exciting new information and make the most of it.
If nothing else the mobile app development trends of 2015 highlight just how important flexibility is to long-term user satisfaction and success. If your platform isn’t prepared to adapt, you’re likely to be left behind wondering where your user base, and your customers, have gone. At once you need to keep an eye on the future, and if the chat resurgence has taught us anything, an eye to the past, too. Predicting the future isn’t an entirely assured science, but the old adage of ‘everything old is new again’ seems pretty ap(p)t so far.