With the Apple Watch release still a few weeks out we are seeing the first iPhone application updates coming out that already include support for Apple Watch.
You may have asked yourself if your business can take advantage of Apple’s new device and if you should call an iPhone application developer to build a mobile application that allows you to utilize the Apple Watch.
The first thing you need to understand is that Apple Watch applications are companions to iPhone applications, perhaps they are best thought of as extensions of iPhone apps.
A key area of opportunity with the Apple Watch is with notifications. Smart watches in general will enable users to interact without the need to pull out their smart phone, unlock it and then open the app. With the Apple Watch, there will be no need to take your iPhone out of your pocket as you will be able to read emails or tweets right from your wrist. This makes the Apple Watch the perfect place to create an effective notifications strategy.
Strategy is the key word here as brands that are successful will surely have one. You will not want to simply recreate your current notification strategy if you have one for your brand’s iPhone and Android applications. Consider how your customers will use the Apple Watch differently from how they use your iPhone application and consider how your user base is engaging with your current push notifications while developing your strategy.
With the smart watches you want to make sure notifications are relevant and add value. Breaking news items are a great example of relevant notifications that add value. Another might be a notification that a customer’s order has shipped.
A unique features of the Apple Watch is its Taptic Engine that creates haptic feedback. Which is basically a fancy way of saying the Apple Watch will tap you on the wrist when you receive an alert or notification. Due to the personal nature of this device, it is key that your messages truly matter.
Finally, due to the small size of the screen, it is crucial that you create succinct experiences that guide users. The limited space and newness of the device puts a premium on user experience.
As 2015 is underway and certain trends are clearly standing out in mobile application design. iPhone application designers and Android application designers are both capitalizing on these trends and using them to improve user experiences.
Businesses that fail to pay attention to trends risk releasing an application that looks dated before it is even approved for publications. This is a key reason that it is so important to work with a professional UI design firm when starting your mobile application.
Following are the trends that will influence the forward thinking designers and developers over the coming year:
Mobile and minimal were made for each other. Minimalism is perfect when user experience is at a premium and nowhere is user experience more important than on the small screens of mobile devices. Minimalism is an essential style for designers to master that can produce remarkable results when utilized with mobile application interfaces.
While screens on mobile devices are larger, they still offer a limited workspace. In response to that clever designers hide app functionality until needed. A common example of this is a navigation drawer that slide out when required. Another example are functions that are displayed when swiped, such as deleting posts on some social sites. As app users continue to grow more and more familiar with applications we will see this trend grow to maximize a user’s workspace.
Typography is crucial in the mobile environments and when properly done can greatly improve a user’s experience. It’s key to make the typography work together with the design elements in the application and remain legible to readers. Poor typography can be distracting or unreadable and turn users away.
With the introduction of Apple’s iOS 7 software interfaces went flat. The past couple of years focused on flat design. While that will continue and designs on screen will still look flat, clever designers are finding ways to give them depth in the flat environment. A common tool for giving depth is using transparency and layers.
In a recent report, Gartner, looking at patterns in mobile commerce, predicts that by 2017, U.S. consumers’ mobile application and mobile web usage will drive U.S. mobile commerce revenue to 50% of U.S. digital commerce revenue. Currently mobile commerce currently generates about 22% of digital commerce revenue, according to Gartner.
In other interesting findings, by year-end 2016, Gartner predicts that more than $2 billion in online shopping will be performed by mobile digital assistants, such as Google Now or Siri.
While some retailers will update to mobile payments quicker than others, this is actually a perfect time for retailers to make the jump due to new credit card standards and discuss mobile implications with their mobile application developer.
“New credit card standards will cause a shift in liability for fraudulent transactions in 2015, requiring retailers to update their point-of-sale systems for safer credit card transactions. This opens the door for point-of-updates to also accept mobile payment,” states Jennifer Polk, research director, Gartner.
Businesses that create a smooth purchasing path on mobile applications and web sites will appeal to consumers who are increasingly more comfortable and dependent on using mobile devices to not only research but purchase products and services.