The app is developed, so the job is done, right? WRONG. Sorry to break it to you, but there is nothing called a “finished” app 😉 Just think how often Google Play or AppStore send you notifications on new batches of updates.
It’s because users and their needs evolve. Based on the app data, there’s always something to improve, even if the first version of the product was perfect. The continuous strive for mobile app updation is similar to the Darwinian principle of survival of fittest. An app can become a dinosaur in a matter of a few weeks.
“Update or perish” is the maxim for apps.
But how to update an app and win? What are the things to check while adding new features? This article deals with how to design and add a new feature to an existing app.
1. Create product spec document
It’s the first step. It will define the problem that the new feature is trying to solve.
At Bunch, we usually follow the below structure:
– User type
– Feedback from users
– Problem statement
– Outline of the solution
– Success criteria
– Requirements and deliverables
2. Set goals and parameters for new update
This will help to understand the real need for the new product. Also, you can refer back to these goals at any stage of the development. Thus you can deliver what the market actually needs. The new product must be user-friendly, efficient, secure, consistent, accurate, reliable and of top quality.
3. Learn from user feedback
Before starting the design of the new feature, try to review the current product feedback from the users. This will help the developers to understand the customer needs and take decisions accordingly.
4. Do research
Do proper research about the feature you are going to design, how you can design it, what are the requirements and whether it will satisfy the needs of the customer. There are multiple ways to get the information, i.e. focus groups, user interviews, or online surveys.
5. Outline the solution
In the product spec document, define a proposed solution in writing. Clarify the proposed idea and requirements, and let the design and product teams offer their feedback.
6. Test the mockups
Before the actual designing, prepare a mockup. This will give you a basic understanding of the process. Once you feel satisfied with the design, share it with the whole team and other members of the company for the first round of feedback.
Check with the original product spec document and find which feedback matches the original goal of the feature. Then prioritise the feedback and make changes to the design according to that.
7. Create consistent features that work alongside original product
Adding new features to an existing product offers additional value to the customers. But if you add a new feature, that should maintain consistency with the legacy of the product. Try to retain as many elements (colours, sizes, text styles) as possible and introduce new components wherever necessary. This will help the customer to experience a new feature with a familiar look.
8. Follow platform guidelines and accessibility standards
While designing a new feature, you have to follow the latest platform guidelines. All platforms have their own guidelines that help designers create better experiences.
Always try to find a solution that everyone can use. It should have good colour contrast ratios, well-sized text styles and comfortable touch targets.
9. Keep consistency across platforms
Always keep consistency and parity across the most important platforms – iOS, Android and web (desktop). This will help to provide a reliable and seamless experience to customers across different device types.
2021 TIP: Check how the design works in Dark Mode
As OLED displays are becoming mainstream, dark mode or dark theme is one of the most popular battery saver modes. It’s also good for your eyes, especially if you’re a night owl. While designing a new feature, you have to make sure that the feature will work well in dark mode too. More and more iOS and Android users are choosing dimmed user interfaces across the entire operating system. And you don’t want to surprise them with an eye-hurting experience. All the leading apps have this feature, so don’t get left behind!
If you feel like you’re not able to complete this checklist yourself and still don’t know how to update an app, no worries! At Bunch Consulting we do things like these every day! Just reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experienced project managers will guide you through the whole process.