Ways to maximize the use of finance apps for ipad/iphone

Apps have brought ‘on-the-go’ entertainment and information to the fingertips of consumers faster than in any previous time period. The information revolution is in full swing and for the many regular users of ipad/iphone, the desire for apps to be more relevant to daily life has grown. If the designers of finance apps want the public to engage more freely with their software, what must they do?

Get to know their public

Once upon a time; mobile devices were the playthings of the elite. These days more than 90% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone (Ofcom, 2012) and providers are bringing affordable smart-phone technology to households whose income would have excluded them from the market fifteen years ago. This means that a significant amount of consumers have no need for the traditional finance apps that track the stock-market or check currency rates. What many need is something altogether more practical: an app, not for the management of business finance, but one that offers practical solutions to daily money worries. How to budget? How to track spending? How to make money go further? These are the questions that many households are facing and the software design that can answer them could go a long way to maximizing the use of finance apps on ipad/iphone.

Make the most of Welfare Reform

Slow growth and a lingering financial slump have affected the UK’s employment rate and more people are claiming benefits than ever before. Recent policy has squeezed the benefit income that many receive and through changes to the benefits system the Government wish to send out the message that ‘work will pay’. If an app was developed that could help people to establish their entitlements to benefits, a mammoth task in itself, it might also succeed in helping those in low paid jobs to access money that they knew nothing about. Links to information about Working Tax Credit and other in-work benefits might cushion the financial blow that many are facing and could prove massively popular as further welfare changes hit. The information need not be too detailed it might be as simple as providing the Tax Credits phone number or details of the local Jobcentre Plus. This is the type of service and consumer issue that so many finance app designers ignore at their peril. They’re not just selling to people in the highest Income Tax band any more and it would be dangerous to assume that the issues facing the poorest in society have no bearing on their balance sheets.

Keep it simple

It might seem a strange thing to suggest in this age of ‘all singing, all dancing’ technology but remembering that apps are designed for a diverse population is key to successfully engaging with the public. A simple user interface, which belies the complexities of its financial function, be that checking the Dow Jones or providing the Tax Credits phone number, will do more for sales of a financial app than one that tries to be everything to all people. Being inclusive is an excellent thing but cramming too many complex features into an app for ipad/iphone will alienate the very people that app designers are trying to impress.

These are not sure-fire ways to maximize the use of finance apps for ipad/iphone but for any budding app designers they are, perhaps, suggestions that could revolutionize the use of finance apps in previously untapped markets.