App Editor: The Code-Free Solution to Optimize Mobile Apps

app editorIn mobile app businesses, multiple teams touch the core product. Marketing, design, product, and engineering all have a say in how the app looks and feels. Yet a mobile app is still computer software at heart. In practice, only the engineering team edits code directly.

To solve this problem, companies started developing content management systems (CMS) to help non-engineers edit content directly. WordPress is one of the most popular examples: it’s the web software that powers most blogs. But while web had several decades to build out a non-technical infrastructure, mobile apps had no such luck so far. Traditionally, it’s been hard for non-engineers to work on mobile apps — until now.

Leanplum’s App Editor feature gives marketers the power of a CMS built just for mobile apps. It enables layout tweaking, variable editing, and instant updates — no code necessary. You’ll discover why this feature is game-changing for the rapidly iterating mobile marketer.

Visual UI Editor: App Editing For the Rest of Us

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For designers and marketers alike, App Editor makes it easy to adjust UI elements without touching the code. This feature is akin to simple web CMSs like Squarespace. It doesn’t allow deep edits to the app’s core logic, but its simplicity makes visual editing far more intuitive.

Why settle for a user interface editor that only tweaks surface elements? We’ll get to that — Leanplum’s App Editor offers another feature that’s perfect for in-depth editing. The purpose of the Visual UI Editor is to enable subtle optimizations of visual content. To that end, simplicity is a virtue.

How important is the color of the login button? Can users find the share button, or are they avoiding it on purpose? These are the sort of innocuous user experience questions that can actually make a big impact on app engagement. Mobile teams need a way to implement every possible variant of key screens — and they need to A/B test variants against each other without jumping through technical hoops.

Mobile users can be fickle creatures. It doesn’t take a major app edit to have a major impact on key metrics. That’s why we built the Visual UI Editor: for quick iteration on the small in-app elements that make a difference.

Variable Manager: Deep Updates On Demand

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While the Visual UI Editor excels at tweaking high-level elements, the Variable Manager enables edits that are bound to in-app code. Users first define a variable in code that toggles the new element they want to test (e.g. an alternate layout for a retail app that displays items as a list instead of a grid). Once configured, this variable can be toggled through the Leanplum Variable Manager, without having to open script files and manually adjust it.

The Variable Manager helps for a couple of reasons. As every mobile team knows, you can’t edit the code of an app that’s live in the store. You have to compile a new build and re-submit — which can take days, depending on the App Store review team’s backlog. Enabling/disabling variables is a trivial task, but the molehill becomes a mountain when you try to push that update to users.

Moreover, it’s risky for large businesses to share the app’s codebase outside the engineering team. There’s too great a chance of unknowingly breaking something.

This is good practice from a development standpoint, but it grinds iteration to a halt. If the marketing or product team has to request an engineer’s assistance for each variable edit, it becomes harder to run timely and thorough experiments. Removing control from the marketer’s hands is inconvenient for both marketers and developers.

The Variable Manager was designed to solve this problem. Once a new feature is built and correctly bound to variables, non-technical teams will be able to toggle those features at will. With this, A/B tests and last-minute updates are a snap.

The Best Tool for A/B Testing In-App Content

user experience

A/B testing is a tried-and-true process, but marketers often emphasize messaging to the detriment of in-app elements. In reality, UI testing matters as much as push notification testing. With the two features of the App Editor combined, it’s possible to A/B test nearly every piece of in-app content. You can optimize button placement, copy, onboarding flow, even entirely new features — the code’s the limit.

Normally, this degree of freedom would only be possible by directly editing the app’s code. With the App Editor, marketers are given the power to test complex features side-by-side. This is especially useful when pushing a major update. Instead of sharing the update with your whole user base, mobile teams can A/B test the update and confirm that it doesn’t hurt key metrics before pushing it to everyone.

All in all, the App Editor is your go-to feature for rapid edits and versatile A/B tests. It’s an instrumental part of our integrated solution.

Leanplum is building the marketing cloud for the mobile era. Our integrated solution delivers meaningful engagement across messaging and the in-app experience. We work with top brands such as Tinder, Tesco, and Lyft. Schedule your personalized demo here.