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3 tips to improve your app

March 12, 2020 | Brinda Sivalingam

3 tips to improve your app

As an Intuit senior developer relations engineer with more than eight years of software engineering experience and working closely with QuickBooks Online app developers, I’ve learned a few lessons on building apps. The most important lesson? Your app’s users determine the success (or failure) of your app, thus improving your app experience is vital to your success.

Happy users, successful app

How do you ensure that your app’s user experience is top notch? I have three technical recommendations to help you out.

Tip #1: Understand and implement robust Authentication and Authorization flows

Implement a robust Authentication and Authorization flow for connecting with QuickBooks. Accounting for all error and user scenarios, will go a long way in improving your app experience. First time app user experience should guide the user on how to use the integration and leverage the most value. OAuth2 implementation is challenging, ensure the tokens are refreshed upon expiry and does not require users to reconnect to the app. 

Tip #2: Provide details on value of integration

In the app details page on the App store:

  • Provide users a sneak peak of what value they will derive out of the integration using visuals.
  • Make sure the meta tags and keywords used when onboarding the app to the store are relevant to your app. Discoverability is the key to your App’s success.
  • Reviews go a long way in making your App successful. An App’s review and rating is an important metric in App Quality Index (AQI) which is an input for the recommendation algorithm.

Tip #3: Maintain a high quality of integration

Improving your app experience means you must maintain a high-quality integration. That is to say, gracefully handle any API errors or failures and any gateway timeout issues, set appropriate timeouts, and provide a site speed that is within industry standards. This also means handling Business Validation errors and avoiding 404 Page Not Found errors on your apps by crawling pages using automation.

This is why it’s critically important to ensure that you’re able to track where or why customers are dropping off. You build the integration and then only a handful of users enable it. How will you realize where the issue is in your integration? You can’t improve what you can’t measure, says JP Lemoussu, Intuit senior developer advocate. It’s always better to implement your own metrics to understand behaviors more granularly.

Improving your app experience

Ultimately, your success will be dependent on whether you develop your app with your end user in mind. Implementing a robust Authorization and Authentication flow, providing documentation, and maintaining a high quality of integration are three steps for improving your app experience.

There’s also a few more suggestions that I recommend. One, ensure an easy to understand UI experience, and two, communicate in a timely manner. The third is one that is often overlooked: accessibility.

As developers, our main goal is to build products that reach the largest possible audience. We work hard every day to ensure our software is fast, secure, and helps anyone who needs it. In order to accomplish this, we must put a heavy focus on accessibility to ensure we don’t alienate any parts of our audience.

For even more ideas on improving your app experience, I highly recommend you read Ted Drake’s posts on making your app accessible and building an inclusive experience. The Intuit Developer Blog also has news, technical tips, and developer tools you’ll appreciate as you continue developing your app and the QuickBooks App Store is the perfect place to get further app inspiration.

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