Home Depot, Workday, Mint Execs Offer Tips on Building Hit Mobile Apps

By David Needle  |  Posted 2015-07-13 Print this article Print
Mobile App Dev Tips

Meanwhile, he said his enterprise software company is finding people want to do traditional desktop apps, like performance reviews and expense reports, on their smartphone. "App design has transcended to where it's going mobile first," he said.

But Workday has a different goal than most consumer and many business apps when it comes to usage. Rather than encourage "stickiness" and longer use sessions than say an ad-sponsored game app developer would want, Korngiebel said his hope is that Workday apps are used less.

"As the head of user experience, this might sound like a weird thing to say, but we want our users spending less time because that means the app is helping them do things like performance reviews faster. Faster equals success," Korngiebel said. He also said it's important to invest in easy navigation and optimizing app performance, because if mobile users have to wait, they won't use the app at all.

Mike Tschudy, head of design at Mint.com and consumer banking at Intuit, admits the company has to engage in "nagware" to keep users coming back. While some users obsessively check and manage their finances using Mint's app, others see it as a chore to be avoided. But personal finance apps like Mint's are more useful the more they're used.

The panelists spent a fair amount of time discussing native apps designed for mobile devices versus Web apps. There was agreement that native mobile apps have an advantage by offering better performance.

Jamie Hull, vice president of mobile products at Evernote, said the company gets potential new users at its mobile Website registration page "and then we convert them to the native app as soon as possible." She said the core user experiences on Evernote are simply faster in the native app.

Tschudy said, "We know things are headed to native. For now, you want to create an experience where the user can start on the Web and finish on a mobile phone."

Alex Schleifer, head of design at Airbnb, said search engine optimization (SEO) systems have been designed for the mobile Web while native app solutions are emerging. "With the work that Apple, Google and others are doing, you can see native apps taking over in the next few years," he said.

"It's sad because I always thought the Web was the thing when I started out—who wants to go back to installing stuff? But the Web as an app is probably on its way out."


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