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Navigating Connected Software Development? Avoid These 5 Major Pitfalls

By
Summer Swann
-
August 9, 2023

Connected dishwashers, smart dog collars, intelligent suitcases—these are no longer fanciful visions of the future; they're the realities of today's world - and they’re reshaping the way we interact with the world around us.

This recent influx of connected technology has ushered in an era of enhanced user experiences and unprecedented convenience. Once considered a luxury, products enhanced by intuitive software interfaces have become the expectation of todays consumers.

As the demand for connected products skyrockets, a diverse array of companies and individuals, previously inexperienced with software design and development have found themselves thrust into the dynamic world of connected software - and we know that navigating this new and unfamiliar territory is no simple endeavor.  

Here at Yeti, we want to we want to equip you with the insights and knowledge you’ll need to confidently navigate this new landscape. While there is a lot more to learn, this article aims to provide you with insight into the most frequent pitfalls and mistakes we’ve seen befall even the most well-intentioned teams, with the hopes that it points you in the right direction as you begin your app development journey.

The following are the Top 5 Mistakes we’ve seen made when designing and developing connected software.

1. Neglecting Cross-Platform Synchronization

In today's interconnected digital landscape, users often own and use multiple devices from different manufacturers. Neglecting cross-platform synchronization can be a grave mistake that limits the potential reach and impact of your connected software.

In the context of connected software, cross-platform synchronization refers to the process of ensuring that data, functionality, and user experiences are consistent and up-to-date across various platforms or devices. These platforms could include different operating systems (such as Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android), hardware types (smartphones, tablets, computers, smart devices), and even different communication protocols (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular networks). The primary goal is to provide a seamless and cohesive experience to users, regardless of the devices they use to interact with the software.

By ensuring your software is synchronized across platforms you not only enhance user convenience - you also broaden your software's appeal by catering to a wider range of users. In providing a consistent and immersive user experience that adapts seamlessly to the devices users prefer you help foster stronger engagement and user loyalty - while neglecting this aspect can lead to a fragmented user experience that leaves users frustrated and potentially seeking alternatives that offer a more unified ecosystem.

2. Not Prioritizing User Experience

Good (UX) design is crucial in app development because it directly shapes how users interact with your app. Failing to prioritize UX design can and will lead to disjointed interactions, frustration among users or, in the worst case scenario, an app that doesn’t provide users with any value.

Prioritizing UX design will allow you to create a product that users love to use - because it solves a real world problem for them in an efficient and intuitive way - ultimately improving app adoption, customer loyalty, and the overall success of your product.

Prioritizing user experience involves several key steps:

User Research:

Conducting thorough user research is crucial to understanding your target audience's needs, behaviors, and preferences. The insights you gather should guide the design and functionality of your app.

Intuitive Interfaces:

Designing interfaces that are intuitive and easy to navigate is of the utmost importance, as frustrating a user is a sure way to lose them to another product. Ensuring that users are able to perform tasks without needing extensive guidance or training is your goal, and conducting usability testing is a great way to understand what users will and will not be able to navigate easily.


Consistency:

Create a cohesive experience for users and reduce confusion by maintaining consistency in design elements, terminology, and user flows throughout the app. This will allow users to quickly and easily complete tasks when using your product.

User-Centric Design:

Be sure that your products features align with users' expectations and solve their pain points, while avoiding unnecessary complexity or features that don't provide clear value. This can be achieved by utilizing various UX tools such as user personas, empathy mapping, user journey mapping and more.


Accessibility:

Make sure your app is accessible to all. You’ll want to research how to ensure your app is accessible, which includes considering features like text-to-speech, voice commands, and customizable font sizes. Take a look at our [Ultimate ADA Compatibility Checklist to learn more.


Testing and Iteration:

Your journey doesn’t end once your app is “complete”. To keep users happy and engaged, it’s important that you continuously test your app with real users and gather feedback. Use this feedback to iterate on your design, add new features and improve the user experience over time.

3. Underestimating Security + Privacy

Security is an incredibly important aspect of any connected software development process. When building an app for a connected product, such as a smart home device or a wearable, failing to prioritize security can have serious consequences. This mistake can result in vulnerabilities that malicious parties can exploit - potentially leading to data breaches, unauthorized access, and compromised user privacy.

Connected products often involve the exchange of sensitive and personal data between the device and the app, including personal information, location data, payment details, and more. If proper security measures are not implemented, this data can be intercepted, stolen, or manipulated, leading to a breach of user privacy and potential harm. To keep your users data secure, make sure to utilize best practices around data encryption, authentication, secure API’s and more.

4. Overloading a Wearable Screen

Wearable devices come with limited screen space, making design efficiency paramount. We’ve seen overzealous teams, eager to provide users with an abundance of feathers, completely overload the screens of their wearable products with excessive features and information that ends up overwhelming users and hindering usability.

Rather than overloading the screen of your wearable, consider creating a seamless and intuitive companion app for your device. By providing only the most essential functionalities on the device itself,  you’ll to avoid cluttering up your wearable interface, and prevent users from becoming overwhelmed and frustrated by the clutter.

Plus, by utilizing a companion app, you’ll have the ability to provide users with even more useful and innovative functionalities in a far more aesthetically pleasing way. Keep in mind, however - you’ll want to ensure that you’re striking a balance between offering useful features and keeping the app streamlined and easy to use. To understand exactly what users really want, be sure to conduct user research and engage in testing an iteration. during the development process. This will allow you to prioritize features based on user needs and feedback.

5. Trying to Implement Too Many Features

Beware the allure of a feature-rich app. While it can often feel tempting to cram as many functionalities as possible into your connected software, this practice can easily dilute the effectiveness and core value of your product - and create a  cluttered and frustrating experience for users.

Instead of aiming for quantity, it's crucial to prioritize the quality and relevance of the features you incorporate into your connected software. By taking a deep dive into UX design principles and delving into user needs through research, you’ll have the ability to pinpoint the functionalities that will genuinely enhance user experience.

When you carefully curate your apps features by selecting those that align with users needs, you ensure that each element contributes meaningfully to the overall user journey. This focused approach promotes a more intuitive and enjoyable interaction, encouraging users to engage more readily with the software. Offering a streamlined experience centered around a core set of well-crafted features establishes your software as a reliable and valuable tool.

As connected technology becomes an integral part of our lives, the importance of thoughtful design and development cannot be overstated. By recognizing and learning from the challenges discussed in this article, you’ll have the ability to create connected software the not only meets user needs - but exceeds  them.

If you’re working on a connected product, be sure to download our Ultimate Guide to Connected Software Development- it’s 100% free and should provide you with all the information you’ll need to get started on your project with confidence. If you could use some further assistance, feel free to drop us a line - we’d love to chat!

Summer is Yeti's Marketing Manager. When she's not working on amazing Yeti content you'll likely find her searching for treasure in thrift stores, hiking in the Sierra Nevadas, cooking healthy vegan treats and reading anything she can get her hands on. Summer lives in the remote mountains of California with her partner and their dog and 3 cats.

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