Although we first published this article in 2015, it’s important to remember the tips outlined below if you want your mobile app to be successful.
It’s easy to get excited about a new mobile application development project. While the initial buzz is great for motiving the team, rushing into app development without proper planning can cause many shortcomings in the final product. Below are seven common app development mistakes that can plague both new and experienced mobile app development companies.
Not Differentiating the Mobile App From the Website
Websites are compatible across a broad range of devices, allowing near universal access to content. They are immediately accessible and don’t require the user to download or install any software. In most cases, websites are less costly to develop than native apps.
That being said, native apps do offer compelling advantages compared to websites. Apps can access device hardware such as recording devices, accelerometers and cameras. They can offer enhanced customization of the UI, and allow offline usage so web connectivity isn’t always required.
Before you begin your app development project, make sure you leverage the advantages of native apps to deliver an experience a website cannot provide.
Having a Poorly Defined Monetization Strategy
If a goal of your app is to generate revenue, make sure you identify your monetization strategy early in the dev process. Ad revenue, paid subscriptions, in-app purchases and freemium strategies are all valid methods for generating revenue. Identifying the monetization strategy early allows proper integration of the revenue model into the app. Changes to the revenue model during or after app development can add significant costs to the development and result in awkward execution.
Choosing the Wrong Platform for your App Development
The iOS and Android platforms are the dominant mobile app platforms and together capture over 95% of the smartphone market share. However, the two platforms are not equal. The Android platform has significant market share advantages through most of Europe and Asia, while North American market share is equally split between the two. While iOS has a smaller user base, surveys show significantly higher lifetime revenue and higher average revenue per user for iOS apps compared to Android apps. Make sure you know your market and choose your platform accordingly.
Trying to Make the App Do Too Much
Technological advancements continue to expand what apps can do. However, just because the ability to do something exists, doesn’t mean you should do it. Define the core purpose(s) of your app and make sure it handles those tasks perfectly. Adding unnecessary functionality can add unwanted complexity to the app and take away from the user experience. Make sure there is a clear net benefit before adding more options or functionality to your app.
Assuming Everyone Uses Apps the Same Way
Gender, age, education and technical literacy all influence how people interact with technology. Do not make the mistake of assuming that everyone will interact with the app the same way you do. While a super-user may make use of all available gesture inputs and keyboard shortcuts, a novice user requires a more intuitive way to interact with the app. Ensure you accommodate your anticipated user base and try to account for how different people are likely to interact with the app. Excellent analytic software is available that tracks how users interact with an app. If possible, try to collect some beta stage user data and use this feedback to improve the usability of the app.
Releasing the App Before It’s Ready
The app marketplace is very crowded and users can be quite fickle. Releasing an app before it’s been thoroughly debugged is sure way to elicit poor product ratings and negative feedback. Even if you do manage to fix all the bugs in subsequent releases, the negative halo from poor review is hard to shed.
Failing to Develop a Marketing Plan
The Google Play store and Apple iTunes store each offer over 1 million apps. How are you going to get your app noticed? Even the most fantastic, life-changing app will be relegated to obscurity without a proper marketing plan. Web marketing, cross-promotion, affiliate marketing and app-store optimization are some things to consider when marketing your app. Take time to develop a marketing plan to ensure your target audience finds your app.
App development can be an immensely rewarding experience. Bringing an app to market, growing the user base and receiving positive accolades are professionally and financially satisfying experiences. Whether you create your own apps or outsource to a mobile app dev company, avoid the common pitfalls and you can increase your odds of success with your next app.
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