Posted on July 18th, 2016 at 10:30 AM
As I write this, Green Dragon Development is moving into our swanky new office space. It’s been a bit of journey to get to this point, and everyone here is super excited. A new space means new ways of thinking and solving problems. For application developers, discovering new ways to solve problems is always the best. Of course, this blog is about iOS and Android development, so we’re not going to spend the entry discussing the merits of new office spaces and how great that feels (It's Really Great BTW...).
Rather, moving into this company’s new “home” got me thinking: what does it take apps to get home?
I don’t mean the place they go to hang their hats after a long day at work; I’m talking about getting onto the user’s home screen. The very first page a user sees when they open their phone to get things done, or play games, or call mom; their applications all there in neat little rows or folders ready for using. But how do we pick which ones make the cut to be on the first page, and which ones go further back?
Naturally, the first instinct is that our most used applications should be there - but over time that begins change. I know that, personally, my most used apps are on my secondary home screens; my games to the right and my music/movie players to the left of my homescreen. The first page is dedicated to applications that, while I may not use every day, I need speedy access to.
Alarm Clocks, bus routes, notes, search engines: these are the things I may not use the most, but when I need them I need them as soon as possible. Swiping to the right, opening the folder, then activating my GPS is fine when I have the time to open my current favorite GPS-based game, Pokemon GO, but when my wife needs me to co-pilot and tell her which block to turn at those extra clicks become problematic. Thus, to the single-click homescreen it is.
While it’s nice to think everything we add to our phones (and everything we develop) is ultra-important, sometimes we have to take a step back and focus on what the app is intended to do. If getting an app for your business on the first page of a customer’s device is something you want, the first step is going to be figuring out what problems your app solves - both for you and your user. Figuring out the purpose is so important, in fact, that it’s the very first step in our checklist.
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It’s important to think about how the apps we download will fit into our lives, and equally important when creating an app to think about how it will fit into the lives of our users. The apps on our homepage are the ones we’ll be seeing the most often; dozens of times a day. For a business this, this is an unparalleled opportunity to be seen. User literally advertise your services to themselves - if they find those services to be useful to their day-to-day lives.
It’s all too easy for application developers to rely on notifications or emails to attract users, which consume resources to keep going and can lead to frustration. But with a focus on getting to the home screen, regardless of if you’re looking at iOS or Android, you’re going to be seen. It’s an invaluable marketing resource, and one that certainly can feel as good to leverage as getting a new office.