3 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Mobile Strategy
1) Embrace your core market, then iterate
When you are creating your app you need to think about the simplest set of features to meet the goal first. It's typically called your MVP - your minimum viable product. You can have a big vision but if you don't get the first step right you can't take the next step. Focus on your first target user and a specific set of needs. Get it right. Then expand. If the experience seems to get heavy and confusing you probably need to stop pushing in new features. Take a breath. Decide whether you should add more or improve what you have. Also consider if you are trying to be all things for all people you may end up being too confusing for anyone.
User experience is a critical aspect of mHealth development that involves iteration, but it's amazing how often this is overlooked or under emphasized. If you designed your app 2 years ago and it is still sitting out there it will look stale. UX and design approaches are rapidly evolving, so you have to evolve with the market. One great approach is to think about what apps are working well for your audience and be inspired by them. Likely these are not health apps but they are apps used by your target audience. Put those inspirations on your wall constantly and discuss them when you speak to your experience designers. You can always steal a little inspiration from everyone and then make it your own as you iterate your experience.
2) PLAN YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGY EARLY
In healthcare, you have data and infrastructure requirements to consider that are unique to this industry. Data integration, management and protection are important factors for many mHealth apps. Are you creating or accessing Protected Health Information (PHI)? Do you need a HIPAA-Compliant data solution? Do you need to integrate with new data sources for each deployment, or merge data for analysis?
Many apps create their own custom data, but eventually want to merge this data with other sources over time. These considerations will define what infrastructure you need to support your business, then you can decide what to build vs. where you can leverage third party platforms. But the key is to have a data architecture conversation early, so the decisions you make now will give you what you need in the future.
3) ENGAGE. THEN RE-ENGAGE.
Notifications have become a communications layer that adds seamless value to a mobile experience. You want to think about segmentation early, and how you want to message those users after you got them to download your app. Most apps will not be used after one month. Bring them back with a smart campaign that hits them with an "oh yeah I should check that out again." The more your data can be used to personalize the message the more impact you'll have. Apple Watch is a great example of how extended notifications are evolving but for most people starting simple is the best approach.
Overall your mobile experience should be unique, and meet the goals you have set for your market. In mHealth the opportunity for impact is especially high, and if you get your experience and your infrastructure right, you can expand quickly.
Written by Raj Amin, CEO of OysterLabs