The beacon technology seems to be going mainstream – to such a great degree – that it is changing how the app designers and developers brood over designing for user experience (UX). Until now, UX designers have been only concerned with about what’s happening on the screen of any device. But, with the arrival of the Beacon technology considered as the key enablers for IOTs (Internet of Things), you can observe an incessant rise in the need for deploying proximity-based experiences.
Put it simply, UX designers now have to think about “physical space” as an important dimension that needs to be included in their work. Through this post, I would like to bring to your attention how the IOTs and Beacon technology is affecting mobile app development. For this, you’ll first have to understand what is Beacon technology and why it is needed.
The Beacon Technology – A Foreword
In indoor spaces signals are often blocked, which unable us to locate devices using GPS. However, with the help of Beacons you can overcome such problem. Beacons are a piece of hardware available at low prices, and are small enough, to be attached to any countertop. They help in utilizing Bluetooth connections for transmitting messages (ideally in the form of push notifications) directly to any Smartphone.
Understanding the Need For Building Beacon-Enabled Apps
At present, Beacons have become the most popular mobile technologies that are proving beneficial for online merchants, helping them win back sales. According to a recent report of BI Intelligence, beacons are expected to influence US retail sales by $4 billion this year, and the sales will decuple in 2016.
Most significantly, Beacons help users to effectively communicate in the indoor space via Smartphone apps using a Bluetooth signal, thereby resulting in improved engagement.
These low-cost devices are helping connect technology for the Internet of Things. They enable users to communicate with a device (such as a Smartphone), so as to determine its location. That’s not it! It even work with many sensors that helps measure temperature, weight, and so on.
Looking at the aforementioned figures and benefits of the beacon technology, it won’t be wrong to say that the Beacon devices provide endless market opportunities to monetize. However, developing a Beacon-enabled app is the best opportunity, you can leverage to generate more revenues. Besides, Beacons helps develop smart apps that work based on the surroundings, thereby saving users from completing several steps needed to get a task done.
Beacon apps help drive users’ attention, by letting them enjoy real-life experiences with minimal efforts. In addition, the apps let customers know about whatever is going-on in the store – what new products have been introduced or the offers the store provides – that you would like to know without having to ask for the same.
The most important reason behind the need for creating a beacon app is that two-way communication isn’t possible with beacon devices, as they serve as one-way radios. This means that beacons aren’t aware of the devices clients are using to receive broadcasts. However, by connecting an app to a user’s system backend can help know about the user’s presence in real-time.
Noteworthy Tips on Building Beacon-enabled Apps
Here are a few tips that you should consider when designing an application for the Beacon device:
1. iBeacon technology helps in providing content to users on the basis of their location, as well as, context. And so, it is very important that your iBeacon-enabled app must provide relevant and contextual information to the users.
2. According to a famous saying, “with great power comes great responsibility”. The same is true for beacons. They enable applications to know about the location of a user, which often contains sensitive information. Thus, you need to ensure that your app provides some control over the message. You can consider the new authorization model of iOS 8, for taking inspiration to build an app that bequeaths users with more control over accessing the location-data. The model presents a popup prompting user for permissions.
3. It’s pretty obvious that not all of the users will favor sharing their location data with your app. However, including an app-onboarding flow to help users understand how exactly their location-data will be used can convince them to allow the app to access the desired information.
Let’s Wrap Up!
The post is written only to provide you a fair idea of Beacon technology, and why such devices are increasingly adopted by a wide array of industries such as retail and many others. In addition, you will come to know about the reasons as to why you should think about creating Beacon-enabled apps and how.
Remember that IOTs and beacon technology are still in the early adoption stage, and so, a lot need to be explored when it comes to designing applications for the beacon devices. And, UX designers must pay heed to creating Beacon-enabled app, as it provides several benefits in making the UX designs connect effectively in physical spaces.