Mobile app development has many common pitfalls. In This article I will go over some of these oversights as well as the recommended approach to remedy your development process.
With competition levels between app developers still on the rise, every aspect in your application can be your advantage or your downfall.
It’s important to keep in mind that almost every obstacle you’re experiencing is probably giving headache to many other developers as well. I see it as both an advantage and a disadvantage, giving the edge to those of us who are creative and able to learn fast from others’ mistakes.
In this article we’ll discuss some of the most common flaws in the mobile app development process, and hopefully you’ll be able to take away a few critical don’ts for your dev workflow.
Rushing to Market
First impressions go a long way in the mobile app world, and users are unforgiving when it comes to a buggy app. I myself am extremely judgmental within the first 30 seconds of opening a new app. If I feel the UI is ugly or I am not seamlessly guided to the intended function of the app right away, I am liable to instantly delete. Do not rush a half-baked product to market.
Likewise, do not be in a rush to release both an android app and ios on the same launch. Make a calculated decision of where most of your users are and perfect the product and user experience on one platform before launching for the other.
Instagram had 30 million iOS users before rolling out their android app. Just saying…
Having too many superfluous features convoluted the entire user experience. When in the early stages of mobile app development,special care needs to be given to perfecting the core functionality. It is that lack of clear core functionality that leads many users to churn. Additional features can be added later, and with careful judgment.
A super insightful interview from last month with start-up mentor Hillel Fuld dove deeper into this topic. You can read it here.
Cloning the Website
Apps must have an actual added value for the users in order to be used (yeah, duh). If your app is a simple downsized micro version of your website, there is no real need to download it when users can just use their web browser to get the same/better functions.
The advantage of apps on smartphones is the ability to interact with the device’s camera and gps features, as well as take advantage of push notifications. In the early stages of mobile app development the questions of core functionality and app value need to be set as clear targets.
Over Monetization or Under Monetization
If you plan to make money with your app, then the monetization architecture must be designed in advance. Is the app going to cost money to download? A freemium model with in app upgrades? Or do you simply add advertising with the option to pay for an ad-free version.
These options can all be mixed and matched, but a fatal mistake is definitely to overplay your hand and try to squeeze money out of the user at every turn. Too many advertisements can lead to churn. Too few features in the base version can lead users to competitors.
Monetization strategies better be implemented gracefully and with special attention to user experience.
If you haven’t read my article about the importance of retention for monetization yet, go for it.
Self Beta Testing
Do not merely rely on in house teams or your best friends to look over your apps. You need actual users with fresh eyes and low patience levels. This outside feedback will be critical in getting all the bugs out of your app before pushing to market.
Secondly, be sure to have a good analytics system in place to measure how long users are in the app, and where the sticking points in the ux chain care. There are even analytics systems that provide you with “hot-buttons” that illustrate which buttons in an app are used the most.
One remarkable similarity that exists between all of these common mistakes and their solutions, is that you are catering to users with low tolerance for mistakes. The mobile app development process of getting a product to market is a methodical one and needs to be done with great care.
A dedicated marketing campaign is meaningless without a useful product with great user experience.
To sum it all up, my advice for you is to examine your app from the angles we just covered and ask yourself whether you’re heading down the crash and burn road, or are you on the right track. I’m a huge supporter of AB testing and real-time optimizations, but getting the basics wrong from the start can be a fatal mistake for your app.