Mobile Payment Apps: Why Are They So Successful

As a mobile app developer, a lot comes into mind while designing your application. Some of the features and functionalities one incorporates in their app greatly influences how successful one’s app usage and uptake will be. Experience is the best teacher, so it has been said, and so today we are going to take a look at one of the fastest growing niche in the mobile app industry, mobile payment apps and see what tricks one can learn from this sub market to add value to their mobile business idea.

With the rise of digital age, and high end encryption mechanisms, banking, payment and insurance services have not been left behind. Leveraging on technology to ensure easy and fast, safe and secure, personalized and borderless money transfer at the tip of your fingertips. Though a relatively new sub market, it has definitely received positive reactions from the clients. What makes it more interesting as will be seen in the graphs below, mobile payment apps usage is very high across all age groups, and as a mobile app developer, target age group is key factor in determining the success of usage and uptake of your mobile business idea.

In 2016, 40% of the US mobile phone users engaged in mobile payments through different apps. By 2020, it is estimated that 90% will be active users of mobile payment apps, hence continuous growth is what we can expect from this sector. Some of the market leaders in mobile payment apps include:- PayPal, Level up, Apple pay, Google wallet, Venmo, Shell + Jaguar in-car app, PayPal slack bot.

What makes Mobile payment apps so successful?
We are going to take a close look at some of these mobile payment apps and see what features most have in common, and their unique factors that have made them so appealing to clients. Hopefully from the few insights we will get, they will greatly improve your next mobile app development project.

1) The convenience factor
Mobile payment apps all have one thing in common, they bring a certain degree of convenience in the services they offer, money transfer and payments. A very huge part of the population own smartphones hence by using mobile payment apps, the service providers have brought the services closer to the people. Making it more secure for the clients to carry out transactions, instead of the alternative of carrying cash or debit and credit cards which for a long time have had issues with encryption flaws. These payment apps save time as most of the transactions are instant, and reflect on the recipients accounts almost immediately, regardless of how far they. All these at the tip of fingertips of the user. This type of convenience is one of the major factors that has made mobile payment apps so popular.

What convenience do you hope to bring to your prospected clients way of doing things that they currently are not able to access? This should be one of the main questions you ask yourself as a mobile app developer. One is allowed to think outside the box. An example is Shell+ Jaguar in-car payment app, which allows Jaguar automobile users to pay for fuel in filling stations at the tap of a button. The team is also looking into integrating parking fees payment as also part of the package, enhancing convenience to the end user.

Depending on your target market, the answer to this question may be what sets you apart from the rest of your competitors and makes your product and services a darling to the consumers.

2) Seamless User-interface design
It is one thing to have an app with high popularity among the masses, and another thing to have an app with high usage, and if you want both, to be able to attract and have a high retention rate, a seamless user-interface design is mandatory.

If you take a look at the mobile payment apps, their user interface is designed in such a way that it is very attractive, easy to follow through and very simple. Ease of carrying out transactions ensure high usability of app such as PayPal and Google pay. Depending on the target market and intended use of your app, one should try as much as possible to ensure that the user interface is attractive and simple, but even in the simplicity, the purpose/ service offered by the app should not be compromised.

3) Rewarding systems
Building a lasting relationship with your target clients is very key, as this is what will determine how successful your enterprise will be. One of the methods of building customer loyalty to one’s brand is rewarding them with loyalty points every time they transact using your service/product. The more they accumulate the points, the stronger the customers loyalty gets, and higher the chances for the customer to stick around.

One of the most successful stories so far in terms of rewarding loyalty points through mobile payment apps will have to be Starbucks. Starbucks, the Seattle- based coffee giant, through its app, has been able to integrate mobile payment as well as a rewarding system in the same platform. What makes their system unique, is that the user does not enroll, but rather the system automatically signs up the user to the rewarding system once they create an account. Automatic enrollment is very under-utilized, as most apps require the user to prompt the enrollment procedure, while some of the customers may not be really aware of how to go about this, hence both the customer and you, as the service provider loose out.

Therefore, as you look to roll out a new mobile app project, evaluate the viability of having an automated customer loyalty rewarding system and ensure that the clients are fully aware of the advantages that will come with this feature.

4) Cross-platform integration
Most mobile payment apps are also accessible via desktop apps, hence enhancing cross platform integration. PayPal for example has a very appealing and stable desktop app while its mobile app is also very convenient and easy to use. The seamless integration across multiple platforms ensures user friendliness and some sort of variety for the clients and this should be the target of each and every app developer where applicable. Ensure that you offer as much inclusivity as possible, as some users may prefer to use their desktop computers more that the mobile app. Ensure that the services offered across the multiple platforms co-relate and that regardless of which platform is used, the user needs are met.

Also with the dawn of Artificial Intelligence, you can decide and go a step further, and use the power of AI, and build bots integrated into your app to enhance usability and simplicity. An example of a successful mobile payment app that employs a bot in its use is PayPal SlackBot, which one can easily send a command with the name of the recipient and the amount to be transferred and the bot processes the transaction and generates a report for you. With AI and BI(Business Intelligence), mobile app developers can enhance the user experience of their clients and offer tailor-made services based on their needs, wants, likes and offer personalized experience to the user. This will set your app apart from the rest of the competition.

11 Steps to Consider Before Starting a Software Project

Not with standing the fact that every person plans for important tasks in a different way, the same is not true with a huge and complicated software project. A software project which is a set of elements responding to various inputs to produce a pre-defined outcome is a combination of a plethora of human and automated factors.

And to manage and plan for a software project, certain tried-and-tested methodologies can be employed by software project managers to ensure that the final deliverable meets the ultimate goal of stakeholders and clients. These methodologies help you break down the mammoth project into smaller tasks, while sticking to timelines and quality specifications.

Hence, it is important for every project manager to consider the following eleven steps to ultimately churn out an error-free and completely satisfying software project to your esteemed customer.

1. Focus on the Complexities of Your Project At Hand
You will agree with the fact that organizing a project is the most important responsibility of a project manager. Requiring him to possess an eye-for-detail about each and every task that should be completed on time, he should be able to churn out huge projects with a number of complexities through the use of human and technical supports.

Nothing should come to him as a surprise when he primarily focuses all his efforts into enlisting the numerous complexities the entire project can pose at various stages of development. Team management skills coupled with knowledge about software can help him address the concerns of managing a project so as to deliver it on time within the scope of financial and technical requirements.

2. Set Aside Preparation and Planning Time
After identifying the complexities of your software project, you as a project manager should set aside time to prepare and plan. Attempting to prepare for the project is an intelligent move to begin with, even before the project starts. The Project Manager who is at the helm of affairs should constantly interact with his stakeholders, informing them about the roles and responsibilities of every person involved in the project. Planning involves chalking out the budgetary requirements along with coming up with the specifications about human resources.

Along with planning and preparing for the software project, you as a project manager should specify clear internal guidelines about what is expected from every team with a provision to track the progress of the project. If need arises, the plan should be able to accommodate adjustments so that you can deliver the project to the utmost satisfaction of your stakeholders.

3. Measure the Scope of the Project
The next step is to gauge the scope of your project. Gaining insights from the efforts you have put in during the project prepping phase, you should be able to identify the main aim of the project. What would you be achieving and delivering to your client once the project is completed? This is an important question that will set the stage for introspecting, enabling you to chalk out a clear cut project plan.

Here that you should bring flexibility to your project. There can arise many instances when a certain client demands more than what he initially asked for during the requirement gathering stage. If you have a flexible plan in hand, you will not be pushed to the wall with new functionalities demanded by your client just before the final release of your project.

4. Make a List of Deliverables
The next step after measuring the scope of your project is to enlist all the deliverables. Making a list of deliverables is a clever move that will ensure all your team members stay in sync. They will not only be in tandem with each other but also in terms of the bigger picture; the successful rollout of your software project through the combined efforts of each and every team member.

5. Identify Elements that Promise You A Successful Project
A successful project is measured in terms of multiple factors. Termed as Key Performance Indicators, it is on the basis of these factors that you can be adjudged an excellent or a good project manager.

While for some, success spells in the form of cost reduction, there are others who rate your caliber on the grounds of the time taken to deliver a huge project. The ultimate quality of the project is another factor that demonstrates your mettle when you will be able to release a flawless application to your clientele. Hence it is important that you identify any such factor that can become your success mantra.

6. Steer Clear by Identifying Significant Risk Factors
As a project manager managing a huge project, it is important for you to anticipate all the significant risk factors. Preempting and enlisting all the factors that can go wrong during the course of project execution, you with an eye on the future can play safe. Limiting all the pain points, you will be able to address these issues through a sense of preparedness. This way, you can resolve any issue with a level head coming from the confidence of being in total control of your project.

7. Work Around SMART Objectives
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. Setting business objectives in line with SMART specifications will be helpful for you to reach plenty of successful milestones during the course of delivering your project.

A milestone can be the successful completion of a crucial section of your project. Enlisting all such milestones beforehand can help you manage different teams better.
Every person who is informed about his role in the project will be able to look at the milestones and tune them with the SMART objectives. Motivating the team members to complete their ordained tasks, it is through these SMART objectives that you as a project manager can ensure a seamless progression of your project.

8. Pick and Choose Your Team Mates
It is your responsibility as a project manager to choose a team that works in unison with the overall objective of your project. It is hence your prerogative to identify and name all your team mates who will eventually become a part of your project management team. Next in line is to clearly specify their roles and responsibilities in detail so as to avoid a communication gap between what was supposed to be done and what is pending on account of a team member not being informed of his exact role in the project.

9. Span of Control To Be Clearly Spelled Out
It is important that you have a well-defined reporting structure in place, where you will clearly define the scope of work of every team member. Who reports to whom should be clearly specified so as to have a tight control over the final deliverable. Team this with reporting policies that can be implemented on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. This way, you will be able to exercise better control over the project through the timely appraisal of every team member’s performance.

10. Resource Allocation
As described earlier, a software project is the end result of employing human, software and hardware resources. It is through a combination of all these resources that you will be able to bring in a balance between availability and requirement.

Enlisting all the resources that can be put to use, your diligence as a project manager will come to the fore when you proactively employ a resource that is currently available to offset the delay caused by another resource which is absent at the moment. This way, you will be able to keep a check on the most important job that needs to be completed, using the resource that is available, to its maximum.

11. A Final Plan to Set the Stage
After taking into consideration all the above mentioned steps, the final step is to act in accordance to a baseline. This can be your guiding light till such time your project is completed, allowing you to focus on blind spots that arise with the “what if” analysis.

A last minute shock can be just around the corner when a certain team member fails to deliver. It is then that you with the help of “what if” detailing can bring in a new employee to replace the earlier one without hampering the progress of the project. Tagged as a damage-control mechanism, a baseline is helpful to churn out a project on time.

6 Ways You Are Messing Up Your Icon Design

While there is an easy way to stop miscommunication with bad icons , there are also ways you can mess up your icon design.

Before cracking your knuckles and getting down on Illustrator, you have to remember that there are principles that should be followed with respect to icon design.

Though, more often than not, it’s easier to approach the design process by knowing what’s NOT working rather than what’s working.

To know what to take away than to put in is even more effective.

So we’re going to list down the 6 ways you are messing up your icon design:

1. You’re Not Considering The Icon As Part Of A Set

While you may only be designing an icon for one, it is vital that you picture your icon as part of a set.

Why?

Let’s take it from Yegor Gilyov of Turbo Milk: “If you need to draw several icons, you need to think over images for the whole set of icons before proceeding with illustrating activities.”

When you make an icon and then later on decide to make an icon set, it will be harder to work again from the top and revisions will take longer than it should. Worse, you can’t even redesign because the icon is already being used or have been approved and you are required to produce more that looks like it.

2. You’re Not Thinking About Your Users
As mentioned in our other article , you must consider your audience when designing your icon.

If it’s for a small company then it must be catered to the users who are going to be exposed to it. It must not be complicated nor too simple or it might have different meanings.

For international usage, icons need to pay respect for cultural considerations. Different symbols project different representations and you do not want your message to get lost in translation.

A perfect example of this is the mailbox, while there are mailboxes around the world, it is much more preferable to use the envelope as an icon for mail since it is universally accepted.

3. You’re Cluttering Your Icons With Too Much Elements
As we mentioned, icons must be simple in a way that is easily understood.

But if you put too much in something that can be displayed so little, you may end up cluttering the very symbol of your brand. And that’s not good.

Users will have a hard time on seeing your icon (particularly older generations) and they will also have a hard time understanding what it represents.

So for example, you want to create an icon that supports the printing action, you don’t need to have an icon that requires 3 elements in them. You just need one: a printer.

The reason for this is that you don’t take away the focus of your users from your primary message. You only signal one.

This makes it clear and bold and you don’t ever have to worry if it’s recognizable when scaled too small.

4. You’re Repeating The Icon As An Unnecessary Element
If you’re creating an icon pack, then you may be tempted to re-use one icon as a complement of another.

For example, you may use the same icon for “save” and “save as”, but if you do this, you may end up confusing your users.

Make sure that when you design your icon, you go back to the purpose of the primary message.

Use the five following questions as a guideline:
• What does this icon represent?
• What is the primary message I want to convey?
• Am I using this icon uniquely to its primary message?
• What can I substitute it with so that I may use a similar look for another icon function?
• Have I repeated this icon or have I used it somewhere else before?

5. You’re Not Making Your Icons Uniform
Certain designers have a particular style when creating their icon designs such as flat or 3D, and as much as it is a pattern, it is also their signature.

See, when you encounter another batch of icons a specific designer you’ve been following has made, you’ll definitely know it was theirs.

Why were you able to recognize them so?

Because they were uniform.

Same logic goes for icon packs. One icon must not be separate from the rest.

You have to decide what style and appeal you’re going for. So if you’ve created an icon set that is mostly comprised of flat UI icons, then you have to stick to that style until the end.

You can’t make a flat UI icon pack and then insert an 8-bit icon the next, or a 3D icon with a shadow after that.

That leads to unnecessary confusion.

6. Overusing text in your icon design
Sure, texts can supplement your visuals, but when dealing with icons, text is not entirely necessary.

When Apple made their logo, you could tell from afar that it is Apple just by the way it looks. Same goes for Nike, McDonalds, Adidas and other big famous brands.

Some may be text-based like FedEx, but a lot of them bank on the fact that their logo or icon may be the only thing seen.