Creating mobile content apps using Adobe’s DPS, Quark’s App Studio, and other platforms can be easy. Creating good mobile content apps—with effective video and other interactive content—is another story. While making mobile content apps are all the rage, there are a lot of flabby, uninspiring examples out there—from both corporations and publishers alike. We think it is important to know how to build great apps, so here’s a workout regimen to get them in shape:
1 – Put your apps on a video diet
A lot of iOS and Android apps need to go on a diet. Huge apps are a major hit in storage and download time, and we’ve all downloaded those apps that seem to crash every time you open them. Ginormous video files are often the culprit, and frankly, your users are tired of carrying the extra weight. Do your audience a favor: create iframe links to hosted videos on a reliable SaaS platform (not YouTube!), to be viewed on demand.
2 – Cut down on excess verbiage
Get rid of the junk! Long articles are fine for digital magazines and journals—not so much for the average e-brochure or training app. You don’t need to go on a 140-character fast, but keep your text concise.
3 – Get plenty of exercise
Tablet and smartphone apps are all about two-way engagement. If readers/users don’t have something to do or say in response to your content, they’ll probably drop it for something more interactive or social. If your video content is just a one-way player, you’re missing out on a potentially dynamic exchange. (PS: Your content, video and otherwise, should include serious analytics, so you know that your readers are really engaged.)
4 – Avoid second-hand smoke… and mirrors
Just because you can shout doesn’t mean your audience wants to listen. Lame, uninspired animation effects are easy to create, but really hard to watch. Pop-ups and auto play videos are just as bad. Mobile app creation technology makes it easy to use obtrusive special effects. Don’t.
5 – Take your vitamins
Best practices for tablet and smartphone apps are still evolving, but there are some common sense practices that every app creator should follow. These include the wise use of “vitamins” CSS (for Web apps), XML, HTML5, stylesheets (for apps created in DPS and App Studio), CDN, and a really good API for custom projects.
6 – Run your apps with content
As it turns out, tablet and smartphone users only use a handful of apps on a regular basis. To be included in your reader’s “top eight” apps, your content must be informative, useful, and above all current. So, make sure your content is readily updatable—via HTML feeds or managed on-demand video libraries—wherever possible.
7 – Happy apps are healthy apps
Yes, apps for businesses and publishers are serious business. A lot can be riding on the delivery of training, product information, news, videos, or other content. That said, memorable content is, by definition, that which meets everyone’s basic needs. It should be enjoyable. Your app need not be for pure entertainment, like Fruit Ninja or Flappy Bird, but interacting with your app content should be a pleasurable experience.