In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs the second level is safety. Safety is all about the feeling of security. This is where we feel like we have a healthy body, we are secure in our employment, feel like we have the resources necessary to live, the security of our family and property and our sense of morality. So how do we do this through a mobile app?
Security must be a priority from the very beginning. Whether your app is a banking app, a game or a social app, your users need to feel like everything they do on your app is private. You must build trust with your users.
Respect their privacy. With games being played with people by companies like Facebook, users don’t feel safe. Set up privacy statements that appear at the very beginning of the app. Tell them if you’re sharing their information or are going to be using it for any other purpose than the app itself. When I spoke in Bahrain, a lively discussion broke out about developers who use this information for purposes not intended or expected by the users. Be upfront about it or pay the consequences later.
The integrity of the data collected is another concern that must be addressed. With hackers breaking into Target’s credit card processing, people worry about the safety of their information. Take a note from the Internet with SSL security and the lock logo that lets people know that the information shared within the app. Ensure user’s data is locked away in an impenetrable castle at some undisclosed location that no one has access to other than the President and his secret service. If your app needs password protection, let them know the data and information passed goes through and encryption process.
Don’t think for a moment that just because your app is not available on an open app network that the documents are not susceptible to security breaches. When your business’s information is on the line, you don’t want to take any chances. So make sure your enterprise security system is just as strong as the rest of your app and is updated regularly.
When signing users up for the app, request the information necessary to make the user’s experience wonderful. Don’t have them fill out long forms and gather extreme amounts of personal information. If you’re building a game, get the username, password and email address if needed. Don’t start asking demographic information. Don’t force them to log onto their social media accounts. The more information you request from them, the less likely they will complete the process and ever use your app.
Forget the spam. Do not unnecessarily spam your users with frequent push notifications. Only communicate when them when it’s necessary for the user to get a great experience.
Quality Code Matters
Perfect, well-documented code does not directly affect the user. It does, however, allow you to push out timely updates that are critical to continued success of your app. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an app that doesn’t have at least one bug somewhere. Often the users never see it but when they do…they don’t care. Users don’t care why the app broke. There could be a great reason for it. All they know is that it crashed or that their data is gone. This can kill an app faster than just about anything after its launch. The problem is, if it’s a branded app, it also affects the brand. Test often and don’t get lazy. A great app developer may charge more, but is worth it compared to laggy, bug-ridden code.
Another critical component to your app filling the safety/security need is worthwhile support. Many apps don’t take this into account. Many businesses underestimate the need or value of quality support after launching an app. Your app’s success is sometimes dependent on the service and customer support. Most developers don’t realize this until it is too late and start seeing bad reviews from unhappy users. If your app is small and seen by very few, you might be able to handle it by having the users call the developers directly or sending them an email. However, when you start approaching higher numbers, this will start to weigh them down unnecessarily.
Find a support center that can scale. As your app grows, the support necessary to maintain good customer support grows with it. The vendor you use may be taking two or three calls per week in the beginning but if it goes viral, they may be getting hundreds. In the early days, all you needed to do to support your app was supply a web site with a form for people to fill out and someone would get back to them sometime. Smartphone penetration was low and there were very few choices in the app store. Now, however, the scene has changed dramatically and users require a higher level of support and service.
I feel this is one of the most underutilized tools from app developers. While I am seeing a greater number of How-Tos in mobile apps, it is still underappreciated. A quick lesson on how to use the app when first opening it, in a fun and innovative way, can be the difference between success and failure. Guide the user through the different benefits of the app and make sure they are using the app to its full potential. Always make it available later if the user has questions. This will help reduce the service/support calls and make the user feel better about their understanding of the app.
Security, quality code, support and instructions are key components to fill the safety need of the mobile app user. When you have done these things and filled the basic needs of an app user, you have given users what they need to move to the next level of the pyramid, belonging.
What else do you do to make the user feel safe and secure in your mobile app projects?