Growth of the Internet of Things is an important trend to keep in mind when you are refreshing your business app. Here are some key points to consider
Increasingly, consumers are buying and using internet-connected devices, such as security systems and smart home managers. This trend towards the Internet of Things is vital to keep in mind when you are redesigning or upgrading your company’s app.
From the moment you begin to think about your app’s entry into the IoT world, you need to consider several important aspects, such as user experience, security, and speed.
UX as a starting point
To achieve great UX for IoT applications, the experience should focus not only on the app, but also on the connected system – which can affect its adoption and usage.
Often the biggest problem here stems from the misconception that the UX is for design or usability only. The reality is entirely different. User experience is like a work of art, which is created with many techniques and tools. One of the main ones is the information architecture: this is a guide for organizing and displaying the information. If your business wants to prioritize certain preferences, for example, or to sort options hierarchically, there are plenty of ways to manage this.
Additionally, IoT systems incorporate multiple components by their nature, so they include various devices with different interfaces. Therefore, the design should encompass a comprehensive approach, bringing together web, app, and wearables experiences.
Another critical point is the capability of the app to operate remotely within an IoT system. Good UX in this area will make life easier for the end-user, offering quick responses to ensure its usefulness. Finally, a simple interface will allow users to set it up, and learn to use it, easily.
Security, always a priority
In recent years, IoT app developers have started using the principles of a new security methodology known as Secure by Design, which involves creating an application with security in mind from the start.
Yaima Valdivia, an expert in IoT app development explains, “the most important thing about an IoT application is to know how security will be handled,” and notes that embedded devices are highly vulnerable in this regard.
This includes a secure way to download the app, as well as in-built safeguards for user information, including robust data protection and user authentication tools.
At the same time, the network of connected IoT devices and web servers must act on behalf of the user, without the client having to authenticate themselves over and over. It is cumbersome to have the customers validate themselves on each of their connected devices, so a token or biometric authentication process is the easiest way to recognize their identity.
These methods allow the user to go through a simple, intuitive authentication process when they first connect to the system. In this way, the application provides security to the customer and increases their confidence in the product, while preventing the vulnerability of sensitive data or information.
Speed: even more important in a connected world
In addition to accessibility, Valdivia declares that one of the most valued aspects of an IoT application is its speed.
“Apps in an IoT environment are constantly reading information, and sensors send a lot of information per second. So, when information clusters fill up, you can get time-outs, and on connected devices, this is essential: no one wants to receive an alert message 30 seconds after it already happened,” the expert stresses.
Backend performance also affects this process, she adds. That’s why it is relevant to consider how the information database is designed and distributed – and not just the app itself.
“For every user, this is essential because everyone wants to interact with something that takes just a few seconds. Users put more trust in apps that work quickly. And otherwise, they will leave the platform,” concluded Valdivia.