The mobile device is ubiquitous. Two years ago just six percent of the UK’s population owned a tablet computer. Today that figure is almost 50 percent, and continues to grow steadily. The figures for smartphone ownership are already near saturation, especially among people aged 25 to 30 years. As traders have migrated away from desktop and laptop computers, FX brokers have done their best to keep pace with customer demands for mobile applications. However, many mobile trading apps simply fail to meet customer expectations.
Same Platform, Different Screen
It makes sense for FX brokers to offer their customers a consistent brand experience across devices from desktop to tablet and smartphone. However, you must resist the urge to simply shrink your trading platform’s front end to accommodate mobile. You might get away with it on large format tablets, but on smartphones it will be an unusable disaster. Instead, you need to think mobile user first, and how you can maximise the various benefits of different devices.
Keep It Simple
The more complexity you pour into your mobile trading app the less usability you’ll get out of it. Keep your design and user experience as simple and intuitive as possible. It’s likely that you will already have plenty of information about exactly what features and functionality most of your customers use most of the time when trading. Leave out anything extraneous. Keep typing, and any sort of registration or form filling to an absolute minimum on mobile. You’ll also need to design for interruptions such as incoming calls and WiFi blackouts. Learn from the players. The likes of Facebook and Google have huge teams and big budgets to design, develop and test all sorts of elements of app creation. Why spend money reinventing the wheel? Instead, shamelessly imitate proven design features. This will help you keep development costs down, and give your finished trading app a familiar look and feel, making it easier to use.
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A key decision for mobile app development is do you go native, web or both? Native apps are built to the strengths of specific mobile operating systems, such as Apple iOS and Android. Native apps enable you to maximise the use of a device’s built-in features and functionality. Typically native apps tend to be more responsive and give a better overall user experience. Web or browser-based mobile apps are device agnostic. They offer universality. However, web apps must be able to operate across multiple mobile browsers, which can add to development and maintenance costs. Ideally, a broker will already be working with a technology provider capable of offering a mobile trading app as part of their overall platform solution.
Change Is The Only Constant
Mobile technology is constantly changing. A whole raft of new wearable, connected devices such as Google Glass are already coming onto the market. The launch of Apple’s new iOS8 operating system and iPhone 6 is imminent. The introduction of a new operating system creates both opportunities and raises potential issues for app providers. The new Apple iOS8 includes around 4,000 APIs enabling mobile app developers to create lots of new features and capabilities. Conversely, existing mobile apps might need an overhaul to ensure compatibility with the new system.