Once you have established your goals you then need to research your audience. Your analytics should tell you how many people are visiting through tablets and bear in mind that percentage is only going to rise.
If your research tells you there is a market out there, here are my 11 top tips for building tablet apps
- Don’t make the mistake of building a scaled up version of your mobile app. It’s a completely different device used in a totally different way.
- Think about how and when your app will be used; tablets are used much more at home whilst doing other activities such as watching TV. I have seen good examples of cookery apps build for use in the kitchen, that require minimal interaction with dirty hands and don’t return to standby after 30 seconds.
- Test your designs or wireframes before you build. There are plenty of online testing tools now that will allow you to get almost instant feedback before you start building.
- Choose the right technology. This obviously depends on what you’re are trying to build and ideally you want something that can easily be adapted for Android, Blackberry, windows and IOS. This is not always possible but remember it’s not just about the iPad and get a few quotes from different developers and ask about the technology and its scalability.
- Use an iterative development model – The best websites are constantly evolving and updated with new features and content, the same should be true of apps. This should also help you to launch a version as soon as possible concentrating on key features and gaing some valuable feedback.
- Avoid fancy intro screens and get people straight into the app and using it for what it was intended.
- Keep the interactions simple and intuitive – People no longer read instruction manuals and they should not have to start before using your app. If you to want to use some advanced gestures, play a simple one off demo or sell it as an advanced user feature that is not critical to its use.
- Avoid huge downloads – There is a common trend at the moment of retailers putting their offline catalogues or magazines into an App where you have to download each publication. I could write an entire article on why this is a bad idea but in short, people don’t like to wait and want content that’s up to date.
- Offline use – Point 8 may contradict this next point but if your app will be used on 3G or offline, try and cache some of the most important content or make important pieces of content available offline.
- Consider the orientation –I have been disappointed by apps that only work in one orientation and equally annoyed and confused by layouts that change completely when I rotate the device. The key is to keep the layout & UX as similar as possible.
- Branding and marketing of your app is key – Whilst the app store is great to purchase or download from, unless you’re in the top 10 or featured on the homepage, it’s not great for promoting your app. This is probably the biggest challenge and needs a strategy and budget accordingly. Your current website and customer database is usually the best place to start.