The past decade has seen an incredible rise in both the type of technology commonly available as well as the pervasiveness of technology in the daily lives of millions. Rising from the age when there was very little computer access, there are now tiny computers packed into all sorts of devices that people rely on every day.
With the rise in this technology comes the struggle to create the latest innovation or join in the latest breakthrough. Beacon-enabled applications are one such technological development. Because of their relatively new arrival on the digital scene, beacon-enabled apps are still working through some growing pains when it comes to the user experience (UX) they promote.
You can find out more on beacons and their importance at Beacons – How They Are Changing The World Around Us. Find related information and consultation here .
The present post will look at six of the top tips to help developers create beacon-enabled applications that will deliver the best UX. Here you go.
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1. Educate Customers On Value Proposition While On-Boarding
On-boarding screens are widely used in the mobile world. They’re essentially “tutorials”, or walk-through, that introduce new users to a particular application. On-boarding is useful because it allows users to get a feel for the features and functions of an app without having to complete a separate tutorial after the sign up process. Given that many users find “standalone” tutorials a bit lengthy and are likely to skip them, on-boarding screens are a valuable investment and strategy to help keep new users engaged.
On-boarding isn’t just useful for the users of an application, of course. It’s also useful for the app’s developers and distributors. It offers the chance for developers to communicate with their users about far more than the coolest features of the application. While many don’t take advantage of them, on-boarding screens offer the opportunity to educate the user about the value of an application or how the application integrates seamlessly with the mobile platform in question to create a truly unique and robust experience.
When designing a beacon-enabled application, don’t forget to educate the user about the value proposition that the app offers them! Don’t only place the emphasis on the features of the application, but also explain how it will help save customers money or time – tell them why they should be interested.
2.Choose Hardware Judiciously
Beacon-enabled applications offer an interesting and fairly unique experiencing to their users. It’s worth noting, however, that not all hardware is created equal – and, as it turns out, hardware is a rather important part of the beacon process. This means that the functionality of applications might differ greatly among various devices. It’s important to both understand what affects the performance of beacon-enabled apps as well as to educate the consumers about these issues in a simple, non-technical way.
Beacon signals can be affected by the following:
- How many people are in the vicinity.
- Any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth interference from other devices.
- Device power.
Please note that the above is not an exhaustive list, however it is a good place to start when it comes to understanding why a beacon-enabled application might work perfectly on some devices and a bit less optimally on others.
In order to deliver the best UX possible, it’s important to design your application around the hardware as much as possible. Choose your features judiciously, and make sure to optimize them as much as possible for even the least-optimal of hardware. This will help ensure that the UX is a good one even if the application might not run perfectly on the user’s device.
3. Ensure Minimal Signal Interference
Mentioned briefly above, one factor that can greatly impact the UX for the user’s particular device is the amount of signal interference that a beacon-enabled application encounters. Because beacon-enabled applications use radio signals in the 2.4GHz band – a band that is quite commonly used by a variety of other devices and technologies – interference is a very real and likely possibility. In addition, these 2.4GHz radio waves can be affected by a number of different things like structures, metal, water, and walls.
This means that even if the air is clear of interference, the signal from a beacon-enabled device might still end up heavily impacted by the surrounding environment. This can cause quite a lot of frustration on the part of the user and developer alike.
In order to avoid a negative UX, there are a few things that can be done to ensure that this interference is minimal – or, to be more precise, that this interference feels minimal to the user and does not heavily affect their experience with a beacon-enabled application. First of all, it’s a good idea to not list a beacon as available immediately upon sensing its appearance. Because the signal can be so significantly impacted by a variety of different factors, there should be some sort of minimum time that a beacon is detected by a beacon-enabled application with no interruptions before it is displayed as “available” to the user.
This helps eliminate the frustration of watching a desired beacon blink in and out of existence every other second. Another option is to avoid listing specific beacons right away, and instead opting for a vaguer list of categorized options. The users select a category, and then gain access to the beacons in question from that selection.
4. Get Complete Understanding Of Background Beacon Monitoring
There are many different ways to design a beacon-enabled application. The one that a developer selects depends upon the kind of issue or problem that they’ve decided to attempt to solve. In general, most of the value that users derive from their applications comes from foreground usage. This is the kind of use that occurs when an application is opened by a user for a specific purpose – when they immediately need a specific issue solved and do so using a particular app.
In order for beacon-enabled applications to truly live up to their potential, however, they should really be running in the background, too. In fact, ensuring that an application is able to run in the background helps guarantee a good UX. This is because users don’t want to wait for ages when they launch an application – they want results, and they want them quickly. Allowing a beacon-enabled application to run in the background is a great way to help ensure that they’re constantly able to scan for the presence of beacons.
When beacon-enabled applications are able to run in the background of a user’s device and monitor for beacons in range, the device will be better able to respond when the user opens it and looks for a particular beacon or service. This will boost UX as the users will now associate immediate results with the application in question, thus reinforcing their likelihood of repeat use as well as their likelihood to discuss the application with their friends should they ever need recommendations.
For all of these reasons, it is important that developers and designers of beacon-enabled applications completely understand the processes of background beacon monitoring.
You can read more on beacon marketing here: How to Implement an Effective Beacons-Based Marketing Program
5. Rule Out Creepiness By Ensuring Transparency To Users About Their Data
One of today’s hottest topics is the privacy of users’ data. With all sorts of breaches occurring everywhere, from secure websites to mobile devices, it’s no wonder that many individuals want to know exactly how their device is being used. This extends ever-increasingly into the world of applications. In fact, applications are now routinely vetted to ensure they are being upfront about the kind of data to which they request access.
This particular issue can be the death of any application if it is discovered that the settings of the application allow it access to private data and that the user was not informed of that at the time of installation. Beacon-enabled applications are no different. Developers need to ensure that their applications are transparent about the kind of information detected, stored, and transmitted.
Because beacon-enabled devices use location services to pinpoint a user’s location as well as some of the additional details it records – perhaps their purchase history, for example, or even their precise location – it is especially imperative that their developers are up front about how any private information will be used. In order to avoid creeping users out and encouraging them to delete the application in question, it’s a good idea to ensure that the app is asking for the minimum amount of data that it needs to function. Requesting access to things like text message logs or phone call history, for example, is a great way to encourage customers to question their decision to use a particular application.
Another good idea is to allow users the option to decline access to certain information. While this might seem like a poor idea on first glance, it’s really a good practice to follow as it allows users to maintain control over their device and feel as though the application in question isn’t trying to “trick” them into granting access to sensitive information it doesn’t need. Building that goodwill and trust is a great way to deliver an awesome UX.
6. Review The Content Regularly
A well-constructed beacon-enabled application will be able to collect vast amount of information. This doesn’t necessarily include information about the specific user in question as much as it does information about customer responses in general or the usefulness of proximity triggers. Data like this is important for a plethora of reasons, and can be used to improve the overall functionality of an application as well as to provide a relevant and positive UX.
Contextual information is prime in beacons. Because the amount of information that is collected by a beacon-enabled application is so vast, it can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t be tempted to ignore it, however, because doing so could negatively affect the UX as well as the way in which future updates and features are developed. Developers of beacon-enabled applications have a rather unique opportunity to tailor their applications to their customers’ needs rather than creating a “one size fits all” experience that really doesn’t fit all that many people.
Beacon-enabled applications can be used to mine data that allows developers to better understand the needs of their user base as well as how they can go about better targeting them to present them with relevant information, responses, and alerts. Reviewing that data regularly also allows developers to detect any potential issues with the responses or features of their beacon-enabled applications as early as possible in order to remedy them and ensure a great UX.
Beacon-enabled applications are the applications poised to take the consumer sector by storm. In order to take advantage of this position, it’s important that developers and publishers take the time to educate themselves about what makes a great UX on a beacon-enabled application. There are certain things that are perhaps more important when designing this kind of application than in any other. Follow the tips above and avoid some of the common pitfalls that beacon-enabled applications often encounter. Doing so will allow you create an application that offers users a valuable and relevant UX.
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