Apple’s New Health Platform—3 Core Considerations

By | 2016-11-04T16:57:35+00:00 June 11, 2014|Innovation, Viewpoints|

What does your morning run need to know about the pizza you just ate? How about figuring in your allergies with how much sleep you got last night? All the pieces of our lives that influence how we feel are finally coming together, thanks to Apple.

As a part of their WWDC Keynote today, Apple unveiled a new app called “Health” that will be a part of their forthcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system. This app creates a centralized dashboard for all of the data that other apps collect about your health. So now you’ll be able to cross-reference all the bits you track to make better sense of your health.

As marketers, there are tremendous opportunities here, as we introduce our clients to the idea that providing services to better their customers’ overall experiences surrounding the products and services they are trying to sell. There are 3 things about this that we should be sure to consider before diving in that I have somehow brought to life with a colorful western motif…

1. Trigger isn’t just a horse.

Trigger isn't just a horse.

Trust me, Trigger was a horse. A very smart horse that learned to perform tricks on cue. And just like Trigger, we all need our cues to perform. Just because Apple is about to make the “Quantified Self” movement into the mainstream doesn’t mean that your targets are going to snap up any app you put out there and remember to use it on a regular basis. It is essential to build in triggers or cues that make it easy to remember to track or use the app or wearable sensor in question, otherwise, no inputs mean no data, which means it is all a waste of time and tech.

2. The secret to your app’s life? One thing.

The secret to your app's life? One thing.

Continuing with the western metaphors, I always loved this idea from the movie “City Slickers.” It is all about focus. Focusing on one thing in your life and sticking to it. Apps are like that. We have to remember that though there is a magnificent amount of complexity involved in the integration of all of this information, the actual use of the individual apps must be focused and their use must be clear and straightforward. Behavior change is a tricky thing. Respect that and exercise restraint in the functionality of your app. Your users will thank you for giving them less.

3. There’s gold in them thar hills!

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Yes, gold by golly—fantastic riches—valuable rewards! But the thing to remember is that this is not about you. The immediate reward here is the benefit to the user. Too often, innovative ideas get crushed in the pursuit of ROI. And there are ways to calculate ROI for a business, but those rewards to the brand must not come at the expense of benefits to the user. Creating an unusable app that no user can find value in is, again, just a waste of money and time and, more importantly, the goodwill positive customer relationship you’re trying to nurture. Make sure the rewards are rewards the users really want, be they badges for prestige, valuable information, or words of encouragement along their journey. The true reward may be the richness of the data being captured, for sure, but on a day-by-day basis, be sure there are golden moments at every step of the way.

In review, establish effective behavior triggers, keep your app’s purpose focused, and always make sure to offer valuable rewards to your users. Keep these points in mind as you start to plan out your own health apps and before you know it, your customers, their customers, and health-conscious users everywhere will be singing the praises of your efforts.

Have some thoughts on Apple’s first foray into the world of health apps? Have some best practices of your own to share? Post a comment and let’s discuss…

About the Author:

Alec Pollak
VP, Director of User Experience and Content Marketing

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