The rapid growth in the adoption of mobile apps in recent times has been phenomenal. The total number of apps on the Google Play Store is estimated at 2.8 million as at March 2017, almost thrice what was recorded in 2013, according to Statistica. While this trend has been of immense benefit for users who now have a large assortment of apps to choose from, it presents huge challenges for developers who have to design top tier apps that can compete effectively in the international market at the lowest cost possible. Do you want your product to stand out from the pack amidst the myriad of apps churned out yearly by over 12 million developers across the globe? Avoid the common pitfalls made by a lot of business owners. Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid when building an app for your business.
1. Failing to make sufficient product management considerations
Lean startup and design thinking are the two most common approaches to product development today. However, a major challenge faced by product managers and developers alike is not knowing the approach to apply at different stages of the product development cycle. This is probably the most important pitfall to avoid because other processes depend on it. As such, it’s important to understand the differences and similarities of these two approaches to app development. Design sprints, a recently developed approach provides a perfect merger between lean startup and design thinking.
2. Failing to develop a cross-platform strategy
It’s no longer fashionable to develop an app for a single operating system. Developers can now launch their applications simultaneously on different platforms in order to reach a larger audience. However, the challenge that confronts most developers is the decision on which platform to publish their apps. iOS, Android, Windows are the 3 major platforms available to app developers today.
Without having a second thought, developers are usually quick to publish their apps on iOS platforms because they believe it’s easier to make money through the App Store. They however fail to consider the fact that Android has a greater international presence than iOS, which can set a limit on the adoption of their apps across the globe. Therefore, it’s important to put every consideration in place before making a decision on the platform to publish your app.
With available tools today, developers can easily write apps using a single source of code that can be deployed onto multiple platforms. There are some drawbacks with this, however it is a great start if you’re looking to test the market.
3. Failing to develop an appropriate pricing strategy
It’s important that you develop a pricing strategy most suitable for the app you are developing as early as possible. This would, among other things, save you from irrationally opting for any pricing strategy when you’re ready to launch your app. Usually you’ll have to choose between adopting either a subscription model (where only subscribers can access the app) or a freemium model (whereby certain features of the app are freely accessible to all). Taking time to study the pricing strategies adopted by app developers producing similar apps as yours will be helpful in this regard.
4. Failing to adopt a marketing strategy
There are now over 2.8 million apps on the Google Play store alone all competing to be the “user’s favourite app.” The success of your app in the market, especially in the app store, highly depends on the marketing strategy you’ve put in place during the app development process. Don’t wait till the app is ready to be launched before deciding how you’ll go about your marketing, as you’ll most likely succumb to the pressure of just “getting it out there.” Decide early on your target market and how you intend to reach them. Do you intend to sell to a small group of people in your locality or do you want your app to break into the international market? Have you conducted a participatory market research where you’ve understood your potential customer’s “pain points” and integrated the necessary features into your app to address them? These are some of the considerations that should be in place when developing a marketing strategy for your app.
5. Failing to find beta testers for your app
Even if you’re a genius in app development, it’s important that you don’t undertake the task of beta testing your app yourself. It’s advisable you employ the services of beta testers that would not only help you discover bugs but will also help in making you app user friendly. As an app developer it would be difficult to discover hidden bugs, especially those that don’t seem to initially affect the functionality of your app. Moreover, even after conducting your market research you might still not be able to objectively determine the features that would make your app appeal to customers. Expert beta testers would help you avoid these pitfalls.
6. Failing to integrate the designer’s and developer’s preferences
Designers and developers are often at odds during the app development process as a result of the different roles they have to play. Designs created by the designer would have to be implemented by the developer. It’s recommended that the designer gives room for the developer to make changes to the initial design in order to improve the app’s functionality. Designers should not be adamant on maintaining their designs even when developers deem it fit to make changes in order to optimize the app’s functionality. On the other hand, developers should also not focus on functionality at the expense of a user-friendly design. This therefore calls for both parties to be involved in the decision making process during the app development.
7. Failing to have a practical budget for the app development process
Even for small and medium startups, app development involves significant financial investment. It’s important to have a budget in place that covers every aspect of the app development process. This would require an in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the production cycle and ensuring that the funds allocated would be sufficient to cover the project’s total cost. Failure to have a budget in place can lead to delay in the implementation of major aspect of the app production process. You should therefore ensure that your budget does not in any way underestimate the funds required to complete the project.
8. Wanting to launch your app with all features in place
You cannot have a perfect app on your first release. You must therefore overcome the temptation of wanting to integrate every little feature before taking it to the market. The app world is very volatile; as such, a first mover advantage is crucial to gaining a foothold in the market. While you should not launch your app without fixing major bugs that can affect its functionality, you also shouldn’t wait until every feature is in place before releasing to the market. Moreover, adding new features to your app after its first release can help towards improving its user ratings.
9. Lack of stable developers
While you can’t always avoid having to change developers during the app development process, it’s highly advisable that you try as much as possible to retain your team of developers, especially your best hands. Changing developers regularly can make your code more complex and eventually delay the release of your app. Ensure that you take time to bring in expert developers who are also willing to remain with your team till the completion of the project.
10. Cutting Corners
Make sure that you do not compromise on functionality when developing your app in order to reduce the cost of development. An app that fails to measure up to the functionality and design promised will not gain widespread acceptance in the market. Customers want value for their money and will not shy away from rating your app poorly if it doesn’t meet up to their expectations.