Mobile healthcare and fitness tracking startups building health and fitness apps are all the rage. 2014 lit the spark in this arena and 2015 is expected to set the stage on fire.
It only helps that Apple Health and Google Fit offer a ready platform for mobile-first health entrepreneurs to tap into an existing ecosystem of smartphone users.
Having said that, building a health and fitness mobile app startup, albeit a successful one is more challenging than building a web-based one. For one, the customer behavior and interaction with the product is very different on a mobile phone. And one of the biggest challenges for health and fitness mobile apps is discovery and distribution.
Even though these challenges make it tough for an entrepreneur to create a mark in the industry, the opportunity and benefit far surpasses the roadblocks.
While roadblocks are inevitable, the journey can be made smoother if entrepreneurs ensure health and fitness apps have the following essentials covered during the production phase.
#1 – Enriching User Experience
If a health and fitness app doesn’t make the user’s life simpler, it just doesn’t cut it. Mobile user experience design starts right at the planning stage. One of the toughest parts of building an app is deciding what to keep in the first version.
Keeping it simple and building an app that offers the core value proposition will help your users to navigate through the app easily. Once they’re hooked, you can study their behavior and then build additional features.
It’s imperative that you make it easy for the user to flow from one screen to another, or from one feature to another.
Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
#2 – Build Trust
Users shouldn’t have to worry about privacy issues or spam. Do not collect any more information than necessary for the user’s experience. If you can just get by with a name and email address, then do not ask for any more details.
Similarly, do not upload any content from their device onto your server without their permission. There have been health and fitness apps that were barred from going live because they uploaded a user’s contact list without their knowledge.
Do not unnecessarily spam the user with frequent emails or push notifications unless otherwise absolutely necessary for the user to get a great experience.
#3 – Compliance
Not all health and fitness mobile apps are HIPAA-compliant and they needn’t be. Though, before you start out, assess whether or not your app should be compliant.
If your app records and shares patient data or information with a covered entity in any way, then it must be HIPAA-compliant. Merely recording and storing the data locally does not warrant compliance.
For instance, if your health and fitness app captures user’s weight, exercise routine, diets or provides information on diseases and illnesses or fitness programs, it doesn’t need to be compliant. The moment this data is shared with their doctor through the app, the compliance comes into play.
#4 – Leverage Wearables
Wearable devices are gadgets with the primary purpose of bringing mobility and data to customers. You can find these in the fitness space with devices such as FitBit, Jawbone or GOQii; in the medical space with the likes of Google developing a contact lens to help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels.
Wearables educate and empower people to monitor and control their health and fitness levels on their own. Not only can these be monitored, but there are apps that allow for such data to be shared with the user’s doctors to flag off critical issues, if any.
On the one hand, there are critical applications and on the other, wearables also monitor activities such as sleep patterns, calorie intake, steps walked, and even amount of pollution in the air! People love data about themselves and their surroundings, which helps them live better and wearables are taking the normal weather app-types to the next level.
Wearables are only gaining considerable exposure and traction now and are touted to be the ‘next big thing’ in 2015-16. If your health and fitness mobile app allows for it, look at integration with wearable technology and other wearable medical hardware that allows the application to interpret data then display the information to the user.
#5 – Provide Answers
The most effective health and fitness apps are those that provide an answer to the question, “what does this do for me,” instead of telling the user, “here is what you need to do.”
It takes a very specific situation and motivation for a user to be willing to do the work before receiving the reward. A personalized experience results when appropriate information is provided at the exact time it is needed to make a decision. So think about this while you’re working on your app idea.