Direct User Benefits of Consumer Mobile Apps

Posted on February 21, 2012 by Aoife Manahan

This week Publicis D Healthcare welcomes mobile developer, Dave Albert, to the team. Dave took a few minutes to tell us his thoughts on developing consumer-focussed applications given the fact that one in four apps are downloaded and used just once.

One of the most important aspects of a consumer-focused mobile app is the direct benefit to the user. I have been involved in several meetings where a mobile app was discussed. We talked about the benefits to the organization, the new customers it would bring in and how it would set us apart from the competition. The problem is that the apps discussed were little more than our website packaged into an iPhone app. Increasingly healthcare applications tend to be diseaseawareness websites in app form.

If your app is going to be used repeatedly, you have to come up with value for the user. There are a few strategies you can use to regularly pull people back in to your app. The first is push notifications, which are alerts to the user that an app has new information available. This is useful if you have news, alerts or messages that you want the user to read. Careful here though, if you have too many notifications, most users will turn off the notification setting and will never hear from you.

Secondly there is “gamification” of the app. This is not so much about making the app a game as it is about adding rewards to the app for different behaviours that you wish to reinforce. Some examples would be badges/rewards/trophies for things like consistent use of the app, social sharing of information within the app or doing something unique in the app that can take time to achieve. This will give users feeling of accomplishment from using your app. In terms of condition management applications in the healthcare sector, such gamification might take the form of ‘rewards’ when a treatment was taken as directed by the physician for a defined period of time.

Another way to increase use is to have social interaction within your app. Having questions answered or experiences shared within your app by users is a great way to build a sense of community amongst your users. If you allow users to ask questions of the company or of an individual such as support nurse or physician, you must answer them in a timely fashion or you will lose the users interest. Above all your app has to make the user want to use it more than once, getting them to install it in the first place is only the beginning of your application strategy.