App Features that Will Help Remote Work

Employee apps are supposed to make internal communication and collaboration easier to affect productivity positively. A feature-rich app is important, especially when team members are doing remote work. Such things asynchronous communication is crucial due to time zone differences. While it may be impossible to bundle all features into one employee app, integration with third-party tools through APIs is helpful.

An employee app for remote workers should make for a company intranet. It should be a source of news on the goings-on within the company. In fact, the management can use it as a tool to affect culture through the communication they share there. The app can serve technical purposes by having a resource pool where technicians can consult colleagues or access training manuals. The app can also be a productivity tool through which customer-facing employees get to serve customers. All these are hinged on the feature list of the app.

Here are X features that are extremely useful for remote work.

Mobile Friendliness

If your business is building any application or website to be used by employees at and away from the office, ensure that it is accessible optimally on mobile devices. This will ensure employees can be productive from the work device they choose to use. Mobile-friendliness is a big determinant of people’s willingness to download and keep using a particular application.  The development team should prioritize proper device optimization.

Chat Functionality

Remote workers thrive when they have real-time chat functionality in their work management applications. They can easily inquire about something from a colleague without having to toggle to their email. Chat applications are great because they can be reviewed later. A team of more than two can take part in a real-time semi-formal conversation without the information leaking to outside parties. Chats are also great for instilling a closer relationship between team members by providing an effective communication channel. All members have a direct line of access to their team leaders and colleagues.

Push Notifications

Push notification capability in an employee app today achieves several things. First, push notifications to nudge people to interact with an app. This will increase the number of people as well the number of times people log into an application. When people log in regularly, the app serves the purpose for which it was developed- to disseminate news. Push notifications are also great for sending out urgent and important information to everyone in the company at the same time. This ensures everyone in the company is duly informed of important developments.

Individual departments can use push notifications to notify people when tasks have been assigned or have fallen due. They can also be used as reminders for upcoming meetings and deadlines.

Meeting Tools

No matter the application your organization chooses to use, meeting tools are critical infrastructure for remote work. Synchronous meetings are important for brainstorming, monitoring project progress, and team building.  A useful feature would be the ability to record meetings and share them with team members who were not present. Meetings can also be archived as proof of deliberations and agreements on important matters.

During meetings, remote team members should be able to share their screens when making presentations. Additionally, note-taking features within the meeting tool eliminate the need to toggle between applications. Notes taken within the meeting platform can easily be shared with team members as a record of the meeting’s highlights and resolutions.

Cloud Storage

Remote teams need secure and easy-to-use storage for their work documents. As such, an employee productivity app needs integration with third-party cloud storage and backup provider. The storage solution should be an easy way to organize, upload, download, or access work documents. Important features here include the ability to safely send links accessible to authorized persons or the ability to password protect documents being sent over the internet. Some sophisticated cloud storage tools have an inbuilt version control system that helps track the history of changes made to a document.

Integration with Document Editing Tools

Remote workers need their employers to provide them with a document editing suite. This suite may be integrated with their main productivity and project management software. When people are using a common document editor, they will have access to similar functionalities. Sharing documents and collaboration will be made much easier.

Inbuilt Survey Tool

If you are building a new employee app, a survey tool would be useful in collecting feedback from your remote team members. In fact, the tool shows that you value their input regarding company issues. Surveys are a great way to quickly judge sentiment on emerging issues. For instance, you could ask employees how they feel about a training program they just completed. In large organizations, surveys may be more cost-effective in collecting information compared to physical interviews or questionnaires.

Focus Mode

We live in a world full of distractions. Emails, messages, notifications, calls, and social media. It would be great to have a focus feature within the productivity application your employees are using while working remotely. The focus tool should be customizable such that the person can choose what notifications to allow. This ensures that they can still respond to urgent matters but can shelve away those that can wait. Cutting away non-essential distractions will help your employees finish tasks faster and get more done in a day.

News and Blogs

An important feature of an app for remote workers is a news and blog section. The news section should include events within the company. The section can also include publications on mainstream media that mention the company or touch on the industry. These stories may interest employees because occurrences in the industry will affect their career curve.

In the blog section, employees should get an opportunity to become contributors. Writing opinion pieces is a great way to grow writing and leadership skills by airing your voice on issues. Employees should be encouraged to do so.

Lastly, the app should also feature an internal job board, where new opportunities within the company are advertised. This feature will increase engagement with the app.

Password Management

If your employees are using several apps for their work, it may be risky when they use one password. A password management tool could help mitigate this security vulnerability by generating different passwords. This is an important feature for organizing that’s handling sensitive information such as client contacts and other personal data.

Prioritizing Features for Remote Work

It’s important to have a clearly mapped out workflow in order to decide on the features to prioritize. In many cases, there will be more than two applications offering the same solution. Your business will need to pick one based on pricing, integration with other apps, the size of the user community, and the level of support provided by the provider.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the need for companies to be agile. Providing remote employees with the right tools is critical for their productivity and job satisfaction, too.

If your business is seeking to build an employee productivity and engagement app, reach out to NS804. We are a software building company helping client businesses build custom applications for their workflow. Reach out to us for a free consultation station.

App Development Mistakes to Avoid in 2022

App development mistakes can have devastating effects on a company. When the app is part of a bigger company project and strategy, mistakes can stall the vision and lead to disillusionment of the team. Mistakes are also costly because more developer hours are required to fix them. App development projects are capital investments by the business and proper diligence is necessary to ensure nothing goes wrong.

Here are app development mistakes to avoid in 2022.

Failing to Build an MVP

A minimum viable product is an app that only contains the most essential features required. Any app development project should define what makes up an MVP and build that first. Starting with the most essential features first allows testing before auxiliary features are added. It ensures that the biggest chunk of the budget goes to the most important features.

A common mistake occurs when developers go out to build a feature heavy app, some of which app users never use. It leads to wastage and a bulky app.

Poor UI/UX Build

A poor user interface is one of the main reasons people uninstall apps. The app development team should figure out the most user-friendly UI/UX. It must be in step with the latest trends. The app should load correctly on the different hardware devices it gets installed on. This means that the testing must be thorough.

Poor Budget Planning

The main item take into consideration during app development planning is developer costs. However, there are many other costs involved which, if not well forecasted, could put the project in jeopardy. An example of an often-ignored cost is market research before the building begins. A preliminary study is necessary to find out what the MVP should entail. There are post-launch costs such as publicity, bug-fixing, and advertising. Projects need an experienced project -ead to help plan for and allocate funds rationally.

If you want to avoid app development mistakes, working with a trustworthy development team is crucial. NS804 can work with you to research, build, and launch your app. Reach out to us for a free consultative session. 

 

6 Unexpected Costs You Should Budget for After Launching an App

Over 75% of the global internet traffic is through mobile devices today. This shift to mobile phones and tablets has prompted businesses to build apps from where customers can interact with a business’ services. Managers are often quick to approve budgets to cover initial development costs for an app. However, they will often forget to budget for post-development costs.

The industry norm is to budget between 15 and 20% of development costs as annual maintenance costs. This can translate to tens of thousands depending on an app. However, the rapid evolution of technology and expectation of flawless service means that a business cannot slack on quality improvement each year.

What are the main drivers of costs after the launch of an app?

1. Finding Bugs and Fixing Them

Once people begin downloading an app and using it, they will naturally give feedback. A business must always anticipate that bugs may be discovered after the launch. Having a budget to take care of this ensures that the development team can quickly fix it. A bug that lingers for too long leads to a high installation rate, which undoes any publicity work that had been done. In fact, it’s harder to convince users who have uninstalled an app to reinstall it than it is to convince a totally new customer to try it.

Developers will insist on a maintenance clause to be included in the initial contract because they realize that bugs are often an inevitability in app development. Advising clients to budget for maintenance is good practice.

2. To Keep Up with New Hardware and Operating Systems

Users today expect to use an app seamlessly across all their mobile hardware devices. Apps, however, may end up having issues as new hardware and operating systems are launched. It’s upon the maintenance teams to carry out tests so that they preempt such issues before they become a widespread problem for users. The most common problems are UI-related where apps flicker or cannot launch properly. They can be fixed with minor updates on the business app.

3. Improving UI/UX

As app-building technology improves, the user interface and user experience on apps improve. The changes may be subtle but if you compare a popular app today with how it looked 5 years ago, the difference will be stark. Users may not consciously realize it, but businesses should strive to make improvements in their UI/UX each year. Customers will quickly notice when an app gives a poor experience compared to others, even when the two are unrelated. For instance, they may enjoy using their food ordering and taxi-hailing apps but experience poor service on their banking app.

App usage time is directly correlated with the ease of use of the app.

4. Building New Features and Integrations

Apps need to go through major updates every year or two. New versions of apps have new features built-in together with a fresh UI. New features result from new products the business has launched or new trends in an industry. For instance, a bank could launch a new overdraft facility for customers on a new version of their app.

Major updates also feature integrations with third-party services as a business aims to maximize the utility of the app for customers. Adding new payment options would be a great example.

It’s important for businesses to filter through app reviews to monitor customer sentiments regarding what features customers desire. Reviews ought to be a major resource in the research & development teams’ brainstorming sessions.

5. Marketing Activities

Marketing-related activities will form a big part of an app’s annual maintenance costs. The business will often have laid out publicity before or around the launch of the app. This includes paid social media campaigns, publicity pieces in mainstream media, and influencers. Marketing efforts must be sustained throughout the life of an app.

When new features are introduced in the app, it’s important to carry out a campaign to inform people of the feature and educate them on how to use it. The business needs a content strategy to cater to the different target audiences. While influencers might work for some audiences, there are people who prefer to read a long-form article on what the new version of an app offers.

Depending on concerns people might have about business apps, putting out content helps address such issues. If a discussion on data privacy and information security is trending in the business sector, the business might do well to allay fears that users might have around the same. Marketing activities can build up goodwill from the users of an app.

6. Servers, Analytics, and Notifications

Unless you are self-hosting, your business will pay for hosting services from a reputable provider. Working with first-class service providers offers the assurance of security and maximum uptime.

Your business app will use third-party analytics services, such as Google Analytics, to monitor traffic sources, app use time, and usage trends. This information is useful for the continuous development of the app. It would be useful to see the module from which most users exit the app. Perhaps there may be something wrong with it. The business will also see features users interact most with and build around them. The traffic sources inform marketing decisions and so forth.

How to Regulate App Maintenance Costs Post Launch

The costs of maintaining an app will heavily depend on the quality of work done during the development phase.

One of the main decisions made in development is whether to build a native app or a hybrid app. A native is built specifically for a particular environment, say Android or iOS. A hybrid app has one version across multiple platforms. The latter is great when building an app with few features. However, a feature-heavy app should have native versions built for different operating systems to ensure all features work as expected.

During development, businesses must determine what makes up their minimum viable product (MVP) and build around it. Including only the most important features in an app can reduce initial development costs. According to research done by the Standish Group, 45% of app features are not used while another 19% are rarely used. Building an MVP app, therefore, will lead to lower maintenance costs, by having features that add real utility to users’ experience.

As shown, developers will often advise their clients to budget for maintenance even before the development process starts. Following this route can significantly reduce the amount a business spends on maintenance. Having the team that built the app initially maintain an app throughout its lifetime reduces complexities and maintenance hours spent because they already understand its architecture.

Does Your Business Need Help with App Development and Maintenance?

If your business is looking to develop an app, we can help with the planning, development, and maintenance of the app. NS804 is a premier mobile app development firm, with great experience helping companies get the best from their business apps.

We will help you optimize your maintenance budget to improve your customer satisfaction rates through swift bug fixes, regular updates, and new features. For more information, reach out to us through our website.