Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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Mobile Application Development Approaches, Strategies & Best practices – Part 9

mobilephoneappsIf our journey so far has shown one thing it’s that mobile application development must be predominantly customer-centric. A technology driven approach may give you a shiny object, but ultimately the decision of which approach to adopt or cross-platform tool to use is meaningless if there are no customers. In the last article we showed how multi-platform and multi-device support must be a strategic part of any mobile strategy. A holistic, unified view of the customer must go further and seek to understand how, when, and why they interact with your website.

Gathering this information, in turn, provides key insights on how to offer your visitors a superior user experience that will ensure they return time and again to become faithful customers.


Track Your Customers Online Interactions


Mobile strategists and business leaders need to go further than just enabling multiple devices and platforms for their customers. You need to gain a 360 degree view of each of your customers so you can track and identify their interactions on your site across multiple devices. For instance, you want to learn more about when and where they’re visiting from, what devices they’re using, what are their online activities, and other key demographics such as age. Gaining these insights will help your organization better understand what’s important to your visitors and how to personalize their experience.


Some strategies for setting up and tracking your customer shopping behaviors are:


  • Make it easy for your customers to login to your site and self-identify by using social login features through Twitter, Facebook, or email.
  • Incentivize customer self-identity across different devices by offering discounts and benefits through smartphone shopping apps or other 3rd party sites (last summer Nordstrom offered customers who pinned their favorite items on Pinterest could enter to win $1000 gift cards as incentives for self-identifying).
  • Ensure that your multi-device strategy is Big Data enabled by collecting data on which types of devices are visiting your site, when they’re visiting, where from, and actions they’re taking. These data mash-ups can also be aligned with predictive analytics to provide time and location specific offers and benefits to customers.


data sources


The whole process can also be automated. Gigya is a firm that offers a fully unified solution in the form of its “Connected Consumer Management Suite.” This technology platform enables companies to connect to their users, collect permission-based data on their interactions, and convert visitors to faithful customers through social plugins and other personalized social campaigns.


Offer Your Customers a Superior User Experience


Given current trends, it’s easy to assume that an effective mobile application strategy simply boils down to choosing between Native and HTML5. However, nothing could be further from the truth!  User Experience (UX) must be absolutely front and center for a mobile application strategy to be successful. Unfortunately, UX is often the last thing to be considered, if at all, when developing mobile apps. As one writer well observes, “The pressure to jump on the mobile experience bandwagon as quickly as possible has created an environment of useless, unusable, and unreliable mobile websites and applications.”


ground rules










There are several steps to take toward creating a mobile user experience strategy as part of your broader app development framework:


  • Perform research on who is using your app or mobile website. Conduct user interviews to understand their behavior and patterns.
  • Create mobile personas that help you understand where, when, and how the most mobile savvy customers interact with your website and/or applications.
  • Conduct usability tests on a prototype of your mobile application with real users. Companies like MockApp provide mobile testing tools for prototyping and evaluating your designs in the field.


We’ve seen in this segment that mobile application development is a holistic enterprise that involves much more than technology choice. There are many moving parts, from Omni-channel adoption to cross-platform and multi-device compatibility, and from tracking customer behavior to ensuring the rich user experience.


In the next and final part of this series we’re going to bring everything together and itemize a list of overall best practices to adopt into your mobile app development strategy. Stay tuned for the grand finale to this discussion!

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Ralph Eck

About Ralph Eck

Ralph is an international businessman with a wealth of experience in developing; telecommunications, data transmission, CATV and internet companies. His experience and expertise positions him uniquely in being able to; analyze, evaluate and critique technology and how it fits into a business’ operational needs while supporting its’ success.