Consumers now use mobile devices more than they use desktop and laptop computers, and agile enterprises are shifting their focus to properly target mobile users and deliver experiences that thrill them on mobile sites and apps.

The number of mobile apps available is astronomic, but few are as addictive as Candy Crush or as user-centric as Facebook.

mobile app use

There are a number of enterprises, however, who have totally nailed it when it comes to customer experience in their mobile apps.

1. Starbucks

starbucks

The Starbucks app, used by 17 million people, has single-handedly changed the standard by which enterprise mobile apps are judged.

A beautiful model of gamification, the app combines a loyalty rewards program, mobile ordering and payment, Spotify music integration, and everything else a coffee-lover in search of their next cup (a venti, half-whole milk, one quarter 1 percent, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, split quad shots, no foam latte, with whip, two packets of Splenda, one Sugar in the Raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and 3 short sprinkles of cinnamon) could want.

The app is as addictive as the coffee that fuels it. The user experience is seamless, intuitive and frustration-free and the payoff is that users keep coming back for more.

This may be the ultimate goal of every mobile app designer everywhere – create the kind of app that your target audience needs to get a “fix” of every day (or several times a day!) using triggers that create an emotional response and calls to action that offer a valuable reward.

2. PBS KIDS Video App

With a very different audience than the mobile ordering, caffeine-loving Starbucks user, PBS Kids’ video app deserves recognition for customer experience designed to thrill and protect the next generation.

With plenty of videos available from Curious George, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Sesame Street, the app is safe and easy for kids to browse, and for parents to perform functions like streaming to the TV or buying shows for iTunes.

Targeting children requires impeccable UX that, literally, a child can navigate. This app excels at having removed unnecessary friction in the UX that keeps kids focused and engaged.

3. Sephora

Sephora

When a company is all about beauty, it should come as no surprise that their app is as beautiful as it is usable.

The Pocket Contour allows Sephora shoppers to snap a selfie and get personalized content for the shape of their face, recommendations for the makeup shades that suit their skin tone, tutorials for makeup application techniques that help a user achieve their desired look, and more.

Sephora’s Pocket Contour is a great example of cross-channel experience. Once the user (easily!) learns how to contour her face with the right products specifically selected for her, she is emailed a copy of the step-by-step instructions (with a call to action to purchase the recommended products).

Beautiful mastery of customer experience — that could be the new Sephora slogan.

4. Houzz

Houzz app

Many apps are created for the smartphone generation, but some unique companies have taken non-technical activities (like Starbucks and coffee drinking) and crafted an amazing mobile app experience around it.

When it comes to Houzz, not much could be less “techie” than a home improvement project, but the company has created a mobile app that is beautiful, usable, social and profitable.

Millions of users love it for empowering them to dream by looking at amazing photos of completed projects — and for getting them to turn dreams to realities by viewing products in a snapshot of their own room. They can ask questions, get advice, find contractors, and shop for products to realize their dream home.

5. Domino’s

Remember the old days when you had to use your phone to call for a pizza? History!

The new Domino’s app not only saves you from dialing, it even saves you from clicking. Just open the app and your order is automatically sent to the Domino’s kitchen. The company also has apps for smart watches and smart cars.

Mastering Mobile Apps

Whatever your company does and whoever your product targets, you can create a mobile app that will not only serve your users, but will delight them.

Ordering coffee or pizza, beautifying homes and faces, watching videos with the kids or whatever your users want to do can be made into a fun experience that will keep them engaged and evangelizing.

Title image by Julian Fernandes