How To Make Your Mobile App Trustworthy: Six Aspects To Consider

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How Can You Make Your Mobile App More Trustworthy?

It is a very interesting question when you think of it.

The first thing that you’ll probably be thinking about is: why doesn’t he say “secure”? Why “trustworthy”? 🤔

That, my friend, is because there are a lot of factors that are involved to make your app deserve trust by the market and the app users. More than just using security measures alone. 

In this article, I will show you five aspects – besides security – that will help you to make your app more trustworthy. This post is inspired by my answer to this Quora question.

So, without further ado, let’s talk shop and show what aspects are involved and how you can improve the trustworthiness of your mobile app.

Six Ways To Make Your App More Trustworthy

1. Aesthetics 🤡

When people visit your app in the App Store or Google Play Store, they probably will have zero experience with you or your app when you’re not an established party already. 

You’ll only have one first impression. So make sure that your app’s store details have an understandable and clear text, some to the point and nice looking images.

The same counts for the app itself: make it look professional by checking thoroughly for typos in it, make sure that there are no errors or frustrating issues by testing it properly. 

2. Maintain your app 🏗

If you want to improve the trust factor on your app, make sure to update it on a regular basis. If people are looking for your app and see that it has been last updated 1,5 years ago, they are probably going to wonder if it is still utilizing the most secure code, is being maintained properly (or forms a risk in that aspect).
By keeping your app working properly on the latest released ios version, and fixing small things like bugs or improving it piece by piece you have enough reasons to update your app. And a recently (<6 months) updated app adds to the trust factor. 

So update it. Update the app, update any (3rd party) components – especially (but not solely) when it comes to improvements regarding security – and things like SDKs of 3rd parties or the platform’s OS.

3. Use the platform’s best practices 👨🏻‍🏫

Use Apple’s and Google’s best practices. 

Read their development documentation with regards to security-related topics ( Apple and Google documentation).
See what they currently advise you to utilize or implement when it comes to data storage, online interaction with API’s, and using their SDK’S.

By keeping up with their latest standards, you minimize the risk of your app using deprecated and obsolete OS functionality (which often cause errors or non-functional parts in your app) and make sure that your app performs the way it should. 

This all adds to the user experience and make them want to keep using your app.

Compliance with standards and regulations like ISO or NEN helps people to trust that you’re capable of following best practices and comply with standards that they trust and understand.

4. Transparency & compliance 👉🏻📖

There are a lot of regulations regarding software. One of the most recently introduced is the GDPR regulation in the EU. Comply with regulations like the GDPR when you’re targeting users that fall under the region’s and/or country’s regulations.

Although GDPR might seem like a hassle at first, its intent is clear: improving security, trust and data transparency. These are great goals.

What I really like about the GDPR is how it instructs you to inform the users of your app what data is collected, for what purpose, and for how long. Do this for your app, too. 

Don’t hide this in endless legally described policies but make it clear and easy to understand.

If there are standards (like ISO, NEN, CE, …) that apply to your niche, make sure to comply with them and let the official instances confirm that. It enables you to show the designated logo’s in your app. Compliance with standards and regulations like ISO or NEN helps people to trust that you’re capable of following best practices and comply with standards that they trust and understand.

5. User statements 🗣

Nothing is as powerful as having representative users vow for your app. Ask if you can use their review on your landing page or on the App Store / Google Play Store page.

It can be positive user experiences by trusted companies, known persons, or just plain solid users that can and will share how pleased and assured they are when using your app.

Don’t go the fake review / buying reviews / your mom route. Make sure it are real reviews from objective instances or people. 

Keeping this real and showing what others say about your app is a really valuable asset when it comes to improving your app’s trust factor.

6. Security 🔐

Ah, there it is. By this point, you’ve seen how many aspects might add up to improving trust to your application that isn’t security itself. 

So, let’s talk shop about security then.

Don’t save sensitive data on the device itself. Even when encrypted; if this means saving the key on your app user’s iPhone, that’s still insecure. 
Only use safe storage embedded in the OS or secure storage remote via SSL.

Use recommended (and more and more common) security measures like two-way authentication, unknown device access notifications (via notifications or email), etc.

Security measures like this aren’t only improving the app’s total security approach. They are visible to the user and underlines the effort that you put into securing user (and company) data.

When you’re using third-party SDK’s and services, make sure you can check the source code (when available) of the SDK, plugin or library that you include. Or make sure that any code you’re going to embed is from a trustworthy party. 

YOU and you only are responsible for the security of your solution. When you include third party stuff it is on you to take care of that and make sure that security isn’t compromised.

Concluding

I hope that this article, if anything, made clear that “gaining trust” isn’t only a matter of security. Stating that your app is secure doesn’t cut it anymore nowadays.

Make sure your online representation, the App Store entry and the app itself look clean and are up-to-date. 

Make sure that they work fine and are compliant with regulations and best practices. 

Show people what you’re doing with their data and why. Keep them in the loop on that. 

If you do these things, you’ll see that you’ll earn more trust from your users. And that they appreciate your efforts in keeping them and their data safe.

Investing in your app to make it trustworthy using the aspects mentioned in this article ultimately comes down to providing people value and making it safe for them to make use of that value. And that, my friend, is what a good relationship is all about.

PS; most of these tips also apply to web apps or other software solutions.
PPS; YMMV; building a banking app requires more effort than building Unicorn Tetris 2.0. Just keep these aspects in mind and go through them so you at least can make an educated decision to put effort into these.

Featured Image by Savvas Stavrinos at Pexels

This post is also published on Dev.to

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