Growing Up Mobile! Surviving the Adolescence of Information Apps

App AdolescenceToday, mag+ celebrates its 5th anniversary. I’m proud to note that we help unleash the content of thousands of brands with many thousands of apps in 80 countries, and the future is bright. The needs of customers are changing, and the industry is maturing. Apps are growing rapidly in the corporate sector, where countless reams of data and content MUST be unleashed in order to reach customers, clients and employees on the devices velcroed to their hands. We are proud to be serving those companies and listening well as their needs evolve.

When you create a new product you have to build on certain assumptions and then listen to your customers.  Five years ago, much of the team building mag+ came from traditional publishing. We designed the first mobile publishing platform and helped create the first tablet magazine. We were thrilled to have the late Steve Jobs himself highlight the Popular Science tablet magazine on stage at an Apple conference.

From Day One, we noticed innovative companies who were definitely not magazines, using mag+ to unleash their corporate brochures, product guides, HR materials and sales presentations onto tablets and smartphones. We didn’t see that as an anomaly. We followed the trail, paid attention, and grew that customer base.

Today, while continuing to serve the magazine industry that we love, the large bulk of mag+’s growth comes from corporate information and sales apps. According to the Sales Management Association, 70% of executives in sales organizations are seeing a favorable ROI in equipping their sales teams with tablets. HR teams sometimes adopt their company’s sales apps to use as training manuals.

Companies are developing dynamic multimedia apps with 360-degree interactive product views, video testimonials, and stunning image slideshows, as well as ways to add web elements like forms or surveys. mag+ clients such as EMC and Merchant Warehouse have created powerful sales apps that have proved to convert as well as educate.

A Teenage Industry, with Lots of Angst, but a World of Opportunity

As the idea of apps has matured, our audiences, whether they are the general public, employees or even we app makers ourselves, are experiencing some fatigue.

Have you ever lived with a teenager?  I remember that slight twinge of sadness when I realized it was going to take more than a trip to the ice cream parlor on a random Wednesday night to make my daughters smile. It’s a transition.  We are at the same place with more apps. You have to work harder for the win.

At first, we all had “app-happy shiny object syndrome”, and any app was a good app. Now, people require apps to be functional and important to their lives, in order for them to download and use them more than once. According to a survey by Ask Your Target Market, 42% of people said they use about 3 to 5 apps daily. 17% use between 6 and 10 apps each day. Just 4% use between 11 and 20 apps. And 3% said they use more than 20 apps each day.

So, no, you cannot throw a PDF together and slap a logo on your app anymore. You have to design for a set of imperative needs or actions, and make it as enjoyable as a game or a personal app would be.

You also need to start the app with the intent of analyzing and re-designing what isn’t working.  Go native, and make it imperative that people use their mobile devices to get the information they need.

How will you know what is working? You have to use analytics. mag+ has partnerships with some of the best in the business, making it easy for you to see how your users are using, or NOT USING, your app.

Are you feeling challenged in how to make your app more vital or compelling?  We are happy to help. For simple questions contact If you’d like a design consultation, mag+ Studios is our own award-winning in-house consultancy. They can help you shape your perfect app.