Many banks are responding to the current crisis in the cost of living by upgrading their banking apps.
An estimated 10% of European customers now use the money management functionality of banking apps, and Starling Bank is just one of several banking institutions aiming to help their customers improve visibility of their finances. They now offer 36 spending categories on their banking app, which aims to help users create and keep to a budget.
As well as the more usual ‘rent’ or ‘mortgage’ tabs, customers can select everyday spending categories such as ‘children,’ ‘hobby’ or ‘takeaway,’ and can classify transactions as ‘non-essential’ or ‘essential’ to help them see where their money is going. The app then breaks down the spending patterns each month, so that the customer can see that for example, 40% of their income is going on rent, and 35% on energy costs.
Could you be a Cyber Adviser?
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is currently inviting organisations to help develop a new Cyber Adviser service. A Cyber Adviser will be a person who has undergone an assessment by the NCSC to prove they have a good understanding of digital security controls and who can provide practical assistance to businesses to help them achieve them.
The initial 100 Cyber Adviser assessments will be funded by the NCSC and those organisations who have a qualified Cyber Adviser as an employee will be able to apply to become an NCSC Assured Service Provider. Only those businesses who are accepted as Assured Service Providers and employ a qualified Cyber Adviser will be able to offer Cyber Adviser services to their customers.
More information on the www.ncsc.gov.uk website.
The key features that successful apps have in common
Launching a successful app for your business is not easy. Whilst the basic process of careful planning, financial management and sales development may be the same as for any good business plan, there are some ideas which app developers can use to maximise the impact of their product:
- KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)
The old business adage is just as relevant to creating an app as to any other business product. A strong simple concept which fulfils a specific need or appeals to a targeted group has a greater chance of success than a vague ‘appeals to everyone, everywhere, all the time’ idea.
- Make it scalable
The simplest app ideas often do not need a large code base. Wordle, for example, could be created with about two hundred lines of code. The trick is to make the project scalable to thousands of simultaneous users, whilst building in security precautions and keeping it easy to use.
- Get it out there
Just like a book, painting, or piece of music, it is tempting to keep tweaking your app to get absolutely everything right before you launch it. But delaying the release will inevitably mean extra time and expense, not to mention the possibility that someone else has spotted ‘your’ niche in the market and rushed out a rival product. Make sure the core features are secure and working well, and you can get the app to the market.
- Engage the user
Tiny tweaks to the visual appearance of the app can engage the user and improve their experience. These can be the ‘jumping’ tiles in Wordle when you make a correct guess, or a little ‘happy’ animation when the user completes a task or places an order. They may seem like meaningless add-ons, but any feature that subconsciously pleases the user will enhance their engagement and keep them coming back.
- Keep learning
Once your app is out in the world it is tempting to leave it alone, but there will certainly be work which needs to be done to improve its usability, not to mention the practical skills you will need to market and monetise the product, and to counteract any cyber security threats. There are courses and training at every level, and if you are building an app yourself, or leading a team to do so, you must be competent in software development.
- Listen to your users
Showing that you value the input of your users will keep them engaged and invested in the success of your app. Fixing glitches and bugs is the most obvious way of using their feedback, but there will certainly be ideas that they share which can improve the user experience and contribute to the success of the project.