Apps World NA 2015: Context is King – Creating the optimal experience

I spent the last few days in San Francisco at Apps World North America 2015. There were quite a few good sessions, so I thought I'd just chuck together some of my notes from some of the sessions I attended.

(I posted some of these already on my twitter feed. Unfortunately, thanks to a combination of my interesting US phone account and spotty wifi in one of the areas, I wasn't able to live-tweet everything.)

Context is King was a solid question and answer panel session focusing on marketing and product strategy for mobile applications. My highlights below.

  • Faye Karnavy Sahai from Kaiser Permanente made some great points about application data security. These boil down to the unfortunate truth - and it's a short-term view on the part of application companies - that currently for users, it's a buyer-beware market with the data you share on mobile apps.
  • There was a great discussion around developing to a user focused strategy versus trying out new technologies.
    • Faye and Matt Johnson, from Applause, discussed that there is a tendency - usually driven from the technical team - to go with the sexy new technical features that overrides designing for the user context.
    • Jeet Niyogi from Playtika suggested that you can usually undercut this feature-happy approach through constant testing.
    • Jeet also pointed out that eliciting the user needs and contexts in which they play games is key for game development.
    • Alyssa Merritt, Head of Strategic pointed out that the best applications come from companies that focus on a broader vision from which they measure what they are building.
  • One of the questions that was posed to Alyssa was around push messaging. "Given Urban Airship bases its model on push messaging, what do you do when the user turns off push notifications for their apps?" Alyssa pointed out that for those users, there are already trust issues with the app. You need to spend time communicating with them through in-app messaging and inbox functionality. It becomes a slow and difficult task of winning their trust, however.
  • To a question around easy ways of eliciting user concerns, Jeet pointed out that an often-overlooked channel is user reviews on app marketplaces. A lot of actionable feedback can be found just by reading through them.

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