So let’s start with this: I’m in the mobile industry – deep in it. I’m talking to men and women in mobile on a daily basis (at conferences, forums, everywhere mobile – I’m there). And I’ve learned a lot from these people. I talk with them about a lot of different things – app development, tools they love and hate, qualms, solutions. We talk about all of it and I’ve slowly started to realize I’m hearing the same things over and over again. They might phrase it differently, but essentially they’re all telling me the same problems about their mobile product.
Guess what? I hear you and I understand. When I really start thinking through these issues, I realize there’s a solution. A great one.
I truly believe some of these problems would be solved with a woman’s touch. No joke. I’m not laughing, are you? There are legitimate app development issues that could be alleviated by involving a different mindset. It’s been proven significantly that a diverse workforce brings more productivity and creativity to a business. This fact also holds true for the mobile industry be it app development or mobile product managers. Essentially if you’re in the mobile industry women can help you.
There’s really no reason for women not to be in mobile. Let’s be honest, ladies have some special skills that men just don’t have. We can already see the incredible influence women have had on mobile – Kati Levoranta (CEO of Rovio) and Maria Alegre (co-founder and CEO of Chartboost) for example.
But it should first be said that while women are breaking the glass ceiling, it’s happening at an unfortunately glacial pace. As of a 2015 census women only represent 30% of the major tech companies. They’re infiltrating mobile and Silicon Valley, but it hasn’t been easy. Elephant in the Valley, a survey inspired by Ellen Pao’s gender lawsuit, shows some troubling stats about the trials and tribulations women face working in the Valley. There’s a lot of hurdles, yet women are continuing to rise to the challenge.
Jumping back to how women can and will kick a** working in mobile, let’s take a quick look at some important pieces to the app puzzle. Essentially, there are multiple stages in an app’s lifecycle where a woman’s touch could exponentially improve the overall app.
- App’s UX – maybe, if not, the most important aspect to your app. Users will judge your app right when they open it. In particular, ease of use and value will definitely be on their mind. Users want to be able to move through your app seamlessly! This means when you’re designing it you need to think of everything your users will go through and be empathetic to their needs and wants. Turns out, women are more empathetic than men and therefore more likely to be towards your users.
- Onboarding – want your users to abandon your app? I think not, so you better have a pretty darn smooth onboarding process and make a stellar first impression. How can women help you might ask? Well, women are more process oriented. They’re better at seeing the big picture and visualizing the app overall. In all honesty, you probably want a women either creating or helping create the onboarding process. Users are most likely to abandon an app at this stage, but with a woman’s point of view you might actually have a chance of retaining your users.
- Design, design, design – how does that puppy look? Is it pretty? Are the colors appealing?? What’s the font? This is where women excel – paying attention to DETAIL. Every small, tiny detail. It really does matter. Maybe you disagree, but I’m going to say you’re wrong. Detail matters with an app. Users judge an app at first site. (That goes back to your onboarding too).
- Ever seen the Mel Gibson movie ‘What Women Want?’ (oldie but a goodie). Well, that little phrase is accurate. What do women want? How are women going to interact with your app? Women and men do use apps differently so it’s important to know your market and whom better to answer that than women! While you should still do the research behind your audience, having a woman’s ear can help take your user research to a new level.
- Guess what, creating an app is chaos! It’s hard and there’s a lot of moving pieces to manage. I want you to guess who’s better at multitasking. Have your answer? If you said women, well you’re right! It is a known fact that women are better at multitasking and project management. Having a woman on your team (or maybe even leading the team) can help you stay focused and organized.
- Testing stage – your app is created, not yet launched, but you’re almost there. Now you need to test it and make sure it’s running smoothly. No glitches, onboarding is smooth, all that jazz. So part of that includes user interviews. And, as always, I’m going to be honest with you. Women have a higher emotional intelligence than men. They’re better at listening and hearing what people have to say- thus they can serve as a great asset when it comes to conducting user interviews and gathering actionable takeaways.
Moral of the story ladies and gents, women in mobile is a rockin’ idea. There are characteristics inherent in women that could help make mobile great again. You want a successful app, you go find those ladies that are going to bring it to the next level!