The popularity of devices such as smartphones and tablets has spawned a new industry built around mobile apps. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), app developers today release more than 1,000 mobile apps every day. This includes apps released by social networking sites, gaming companies, news outlets, sports teams, retailers, lawyers, as well as doctors. However, developing a mobile app is extremely tricky, and most apps end up in the dump. Hence, it is important to avoid app development failure to improve the chances of the success of your app. Here are some handy tips on mobile app development:
A lack of expertise and experience can lead to project mismanagement for an app development project. Project mismanagement can occur because of any of the following reasons: unclear project objectives, errant project planning, lack of a risk management plan, unclear project milestones, misjudged scope, scope creep, lack of communication, absence of resources or compressed timescales. So, even if all the other aspects of an app are perfect, the app is likely to fail if it’s not managed well.
Poor Design and UI
Some mobile apps have world class on board functionality, but they still appear second-rate and get neglected by the public as a result. This happens when the visual designs on the app are less than ordinary and the user interface (UI) of the app is extremely poor. This can happen because of a combination of factors. The primary causes of poor design are: poor colour and text combination, wrong choice of colour, inferior quality images and designs, lack of intuitiveness and simplicity, unresponsive gestures, inappropriate button sizes, design inconsistency and absence of on-boarding features.
An app should not be packed with too many features. An app bloated with features tends to degrade the user experience. This problem usually occurs when developers try to make the app a replica of the related website. To avoid this problem, rethink the entire user interface and make it as simplistic and user-friendly as possible. One way to go about is to do few things excellently than doing dozens of things mediocrely. Packing in dozens a lot of features in your app does give you the impression that other apps are no patch on you. But, when it comes to mobile app market, it is the other way round. Apps with multitude of functionalities end up reaching nowhere, whereas apps with few defining features top the charts on a regular basis. So, narrow down your focus and find a niche; do few things but do them impeccably.
Targeting Multiple Platforms at Once
Although there are several app marketplaces, most developers target Google Play and Apple App Store because they are the dominant players in the mobile app landscape. But, regardless of their popularity, targeting both of these stores at the same time is not a good idea because it requires shipping out updates, fixing bugs, and introducing new features requested by users in both the apps regularly. In other words, launching your app on two platforms at once increase costs pertaining to maintenance, marketing, and development. To avoid this bottleneck, an app should be developed for one platform and then ported to other platforms later.
Lack of Integration and Scalability
Apps development should be done keep the future in mind. Since mobile technology changes in a very short time, apps often require upgrade or enhancement. Apps also have to utilize the functionality firmware of the mobile phone at times or integrate with different APIs. A lack of integration and scalability can seriously hamper the chances of the success of an app and make it obsolete.
Lack or Inappropriate Use of Mobile Phone Functionality
The best thing about mobile apps is the fact that they reside on mobile phones and have complete access to the various mobile features. These features include call and text capability, camera, and availability of sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pedometer, light and proximity sensor among others. It is critical that apps utilise that these valuable features wherever appropriate to be able to do things that they are capable of. Inappropriate use of these features only confuses the user, while not using these features defeats the very purpose of a mobile app, which is to provide unprecedented value.
Extensive Research and Analysis Before Finalising Requirements
In many case, the failure of an app is all down to its porous foundation on it is based. That foundation is the app idea and the app’s inherent features. An app that is built on an app idea that has already been done to death in the app market, is likely to see only marginal downloads. Similarly, an app with nothing useful or valuable to offer to the users will be discarded in no time. So, think about what features people expect from an app, how these features will provide value to the users and how they will be using these features. An extensive research about the different use cases of the app and habit of the users should be done to ensure that the app developed is exactly on point
Before embarking on developing your app, you must define the intended goal of your app. You must stress upon this goal thorough out the app development lifecycle and see to it that all the efforts that are being put are converging in achieving this ultimate goal. The questions that might want to ask yourself to be clear about your goals can be: what do I intend to achieve from this app, what should I include in the app to achieve that goal, will users behave or react the way I want them to and how can the app be optimised to derive the desired behaviour from the users.
Develop an App Development Roadmap
Companies need to put together a detailed roadmap of what steps need to take place when, how much time will this steps take and how much each will cost. A well-put together roadmap can assist the designers and the developers to get a good idea of how to go about with their tasks and finish them within the allotted time. It also takes care that unnecessary expenses are avoided and each dollar of the huge app development investment is spent wisely. Additionally, it enables you to plan according to the time expectations, building padding along the development cycle wherever required.
Choose an App Development Company over an Outside Agency or Hiring Freelancers
Companies developing an app have plenty of options when it comes to by whom they want the app developed by. Possibly, the cheapest options are hiring a team of freelancers or outsourcing it to an app development agency. However, this involves a lot of risks. Some of the major worries can be a lack of quality, the app being completely different to the one demanded or a malfunctioning app. So, although it might be slightly expensive, you should develop the app in-house or hire an app development company to develop the app.
Put Someone In Charge of the Project
The most difficult part of app development is managing the dozens of tasks and ensuring that they are completed within time and while meeting the quality standards. Since project management is a skill in itself, a person with excellent coding or designing is not able to do justice to the job. Hence, for the purpose of the development of the app, a project manager should be assigned. Hiring a project manager speeds up the various development and designing tasks bringing a harmony among them while also assisting in communicating with the client and his changing requirements on a regular basis.
Get User Feedback by Pilot Testing
An essential ingredient of the app development process is the pilot test. A pilot test is aimed at getting feedback from a user’s perspective. For this, the app should be tested minutely to come to a proper evaluation of the app pros and cons. This can be accomplished by putting a feedback tool on the app for the entire course of pilot testing. After the app is evaluated, the necessary changes should be made in the app.
Test your apps thoroughly
Testing is the stage when you check all aspects of an app and validate that they are working as you had desired or expected. A well-tested app is likely to be functioning impeccably, which reduces the chances of the app getting rejected from the app store. The first thing to check for when it comes to an app is whether it crashes or not. A frequently crashing app is as good as worthless. The app should be check for its functionality, any text errors, visual design and graphics. The app should be check on different devices to ensure that it works smoothly on all devices regardless of their size or operating system. It is also necessary that the app works optimally without consuming 75% of the device memory or draining the device battery. For multi-utility apps with extreme complexity, a test bed should be created and then the results magnified for the app. This assists during the process of app upgrade.
Communication between all the members of a team is very essential. A transparency in the team setup encourages communication. A regular dialogue between the developers and designers goes a long in correcting any problem before it becomes worse. A healthy participation in the communication by the project manager ensures that the project does not deviate from its predetermined objectives.
Mobile apps usually store or relay consumer information from one point to another and this generally makes them enticing to hackers and identity thieves. For this reason, security should be a top priority when developing an app. To start with, you should deploy protocols such as SSL/TLS to encrypt usernames, passwords, and other important data submitted by users. Secondly, obfuscate source code to make it harder to reverse engineer. Thirdly, remember to disable debugging tools before publishing your app on Android or iOS marketplaces.
You should include analytics tools in your app to track user metrics. This information will help you measure metrics like retention rate, Daily Active Users (DAUs) or Monthly Active Users (MAUs), average time spent within app, app crashes, and in-app purchases if any.
Involve users during both the design and the test phase to help you determine what works or does not. For example, determining the correct size of buttons and icons can be tricky if you do not have users on your development team.
In conclusion, a well-designed app can propel a business from obscurity to a recognizable brand overnight. However, achieving this goal requires proper planning and avoiding common mistakes like project mismanagement and bloated features. Some best practices include involving users, taking security seriously, and using analytics tools to track user metrics.