The competition in the app development realm is very fierce. There are so many apps in various app marketplaces, fighting to hold their place firmly that a proactive approach in avoiding mistakes and continuously improving is necessary to ensure success. As per Gartner, less than 0.01 percent of all consumer mobile application became financially successful in the year 2018.
With so many apps failing because of their developers’ or entrepreneurs’ unpreparedness for contingencies, there is definitely a big lesson to learn –‘identify the mistakes, learn and improve’. So, we bring you some of the most common mobile app development mistakes that every app developer must avoid.
Developing for multiple platforms at once
In this age of smartphones and smart applications, every subsequent app which is developed faces tremendous competition from millions of apps in the market. Whether it is Apple App Store or Google Play, both the platforms enjoy the biggest share of market presence and are targeted by most developers. But, a lot of money and efforts are involved in building and marketing apps made for any of these app marketplaces. Therefore, it is always a good idea to build an application for one platform at a time in order to keep the costs and efforts less.
Also, when you build for multiple platforms at once you need to engage with all the versions of the app at the same time, which can be tiresome and costly at the same time.
For example, if you want to change certain design aspects in one version of the app, you have to bring changes simultaneously in all the versions. When Instagram built their first ever app, they developed it only for iOS, so they could manage 30 million user base. It was only after the success of the iOS app they decided to develop their Android app. Pokémon Go adopted the same approach too.
Using WebPages as reference
Today, the number of mobile users has exceeded the number of desktop users. But, many developers and businesses still make the mistake of considering mobile apps to be extended versions of WebPages. It is due to this misconception, most of the apps fail. The purpose of an app is to create specific value for the user and that value offering should be different from the value offered by websites.
Here are some key device specific aspects that one should remember when building native apps:
A native app should have the ability to integrate the device features like using device camera, calling, messaging, and using other installed apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. It should be built keeping the device specific screen size in mind. The app developers need to ensure that all the app features can be easily accessed on the go.
By integrating website information with smartphones features, apps offer developers a different opportunity which is missing in desktops.
Not focusing on the target audience
In order to develop a well performing mobile app, it is important to focus on the user experience, which is the first step towards the success of any application. While having an innovative idea for an app is good, but unless your app provides real value to a specific group of people (your target audience) your app won’t succeed. Therefore, take time to define your target audience first. There are two ways to define your target audience when developing an application –
- Based on the app’s category.
- By analyzing information about your industry, category and competitors.
Too many features
It is a misconception among many developers that greater number of features is a crucial determination to enjoy user appreciation. But the user experience tells something otherwise. Too many features have many negative outcomes and they don’t add any major value to the user experience. Here are some of the negative outcomes of too many features:
- Too many features make the user experience cumbersome and confusing.
- Too many features mean additional resources in terms of development cost and time.
- Too many features make the loading speed slower by making the app heavier.
On the other hand, fewer but well researched and effective features that users find useful often make an application great.
Not considering the analytics
A very common mistake the developers make is that they put in all their efforts in the design process but pay little or no attention to analytics. While in case of website development, analytics is deep rooted, mobile applications typically do not use in-depth analytics. This mistake negatively affects app’s usage and adoption.
Analytics can provide a huge amount of valuable information that the developers can use to make actionable content, design and even UX/UI decisions going forward. In order to ensure the success of your application, it is important to look at your daily active users, your engagement rates, your retention rates and more. Considering these metrics will help you build a better app as quickly as possible. UX/UI companies can help you in this critical process of data gathering and interpretation.
Skipping the beta
One of the most important steps in software development lifecycle is the beta testing. Beta testing provides quality assurance testing and invaluable UX feedback. It serves multiple purposes, like –
- Ensures good quality
- Ensures good performance
- Ensures app stability
- Ensures app security and reliability
- Beta testing can also fuel product hype, for example: About nine months were spent in beta testing of Tempo – a calendar app, before it was finally launched. As a result, it got lots of media attention and an eventual acquisition by Salesforce.
Modern day mobile phone users are smarter than ever. Therefore, if you fail to deliver a good user experience through your mobile application, they would move on to other applications. So, don’t rely on assumptions, always perform beta testing to test the waters before launching your app.
Testing exclusively on emulators
Emulators are important developers’ tools that allow developers to run their applications in a simulated environment, testing it for bugs. However, they shouldn’t, entirely replace device testing. While emulators are good for initial quality assurance and user interface testing, real device testing is very essential for performance testing. Device testing also helps you assess the performance of your application under less than optimal network conditions.
Therefore, for the success of their application, the developers should always try to the right balance of device-based and emulator testing to support their QA standards throughout continuous integration and deployment.
Ignoring Speed Optimization
Speed optimization is a vital thing that absolutely should not be ignored while creating mobile applications. In this fast-paced world, app users want to enjoy the advantages of mobile applications with the speed of light. If an application is slow to load then users are quick to switch to competitor’s solution. Hence, speed optimization is very important to enhance the effectiveness of an application. Here are some ways to optimize the speed of your application:
- Use a reverse proxy server
- Use a load balancer
- Optimize SSL and TLS
- Cache your content
- Keep software versions updated
- Perform data compression
- Constantly monitor app’s performance
Mistakes are common in almost all development processes. If you stumble into any of the mistakes listed above, don’t despair. Even the most experienced developers have had their share of setbacks and disappointments. If you learn from your mistakes and make improvements based on your experiences, you are sure to make it big as a successful app developer.