By Siddharth Gujarathi
Today, the availability of mobile apps is on the increase such that it produces a noticeable change in the way humans experience computing. Mobile phones have surely made life ‘on the go’ easier. Imagine not going to a grocery store but still able to order them from your mobile. Imagine not going to the bank but still transfer money to friends and family by a click of a button from your mobile. All thanks to the app developers and the awareness created by the tech industry about the importance of mobile apps. This white paper explains how Arrk Group helped a customer build a bespoke mobile app to serve the needs of their users and improve user experience in their interaction with the platform.
The customer is a key player in the student discount industry in UK and was looking to launch a refreshed and rebranded version of the app. The age group of the target audience was primarily in the 16 – 25 bracket and therefore it was important to look at features and colour schemes that would appeal to those users. The team identified various ‘personas’ and built use cases around them. The emphasis was on creating an app that was easy to use, fast and responsive when interacting with it and had the necessary hooks for the user to visit it again. Special attention had to be given to the user experience around sign in and sign-up flow for existing users who were migrating from the older platform to the new app. The team at Arrk worked closely with the business stakeholders to design and iterate various versions of the user flow, understand the pain points of the existing journey, study the features the competition offered at the time. The cyclical nature of the business meant that the app had to be launched in time for the peak sales season and therefore getting a sign off on a minimum viable product from the stakeholders was imperative.
The team decided to build native apps for iOS and Android because of the simplicity on offer. It is always easier for native apps to integrate with some key features offered by Apple and Google out of the box and worth mentioning that these features are always made available on native first as compared to hybrid apps. Swift (for iOS) and Java, Kotlin (for android) were the chosen languages, and the team has been working through latest versions to stay up to date. The idea from the onset was to keep the app lightweight and render most of the data using backend services rather than building custom logic on the front end, this helps us stay flexible and push minor changes without publishing a newer version of the app.
JOURNEY SO FAR
The engineering team at Arrk continues to work with the stakeholders to develop bespoke features for the app that fit the long-term vision of the product. Integration with a third party to provide a digital solution to purchase and verify proof of age ID card, launch of a brand-new home screen, improved onboarding journey for the user, a dedicated section inside the app to store latest notifications are few of the key pieces of functionality developed over the last 2 years since the time of launch. The engineering team has also managed to achieve unit test coverage of ~80% and considers it as a ‘to-do’ task when picking up any new piece of functionality. This is complemented very well by the test automation coverage which helps us find bugs quickly by running it across various environments and in turn saves us a lot of manual effort in regression testing.
The team also understood the importance of capturing analytics and worked on capturing the simplest of user interactions within the app. This gives the marketing team a deep insight into user behaviour, spending pattern across demographics and this helps the business take informed decisions when running brand campaigns going forward.
A/B testing of features, built in remote configuration to enable/disable a piece of functionality as per business/user need, staggered releases over a period have been implemented by the team to understand the pulse of the user base and stay on top of their needs. We also use a tool called AppFollow to check the trend for some key statistics and stay abreast of our competitors. AppFollow also provides integration with our customer support portal to quickly reply to any user reviews on the App store or Play store and this comes in handy.
Listed below are few of the key statistics that the app has managed to achieve over the past couple of years –
- 100k+ downloads on iOS (app store) and Android (play store) each
- App store (iOS) rating at 4.5 and Play store (Android) rating at 3.8 and organically growing
- Upwards of 100k monthly active users combined across both platforms
- Daily user engagement stands at around 2 minutes per user
- Crash free users above 99.5% for iOS and Android each
- Adoption rate for a new app version is upwards of 90% within first 7 days of release
The engineering team at Arrk continues to tap on the latest trends in the fast-paced world of app development and add value to the platform. Keeping it simple but effective has been our mantra and we intend to do that going forward.