The Worst Mistakes In Mobile App Development
Alright, so you have just planned to hire developers for a Mobile App which could potentially steer your business ahead. The reasons for your decision would be quite obvious on the surface. Mobile App development is a core part of today’s businesses. It provides a near-perfect platform to serve customers through the portable devices they own.
But it’s easy to be a sheep! If you really try to understand this market, you’ll realize that more than half of the apps fail to earn revenue, and a significant amount of them barely cross 1,000 downloads. As per a Gartner report, it was found that barely 0.01 percent apps will find financial success by the year 2018.
Video Link: How to build a Billion Dollar app?
In its initial phases, the app markets of Google Play store and the iOS app store had immense potential for profits. But with new apps being developed and hundreds of them getting published in the stores everyday, there’s a lot of research and effort required in executing an action plan for a feasible and profitable Mobile Application.
So what should you do if you want to avoid any mistakes and earn good returns out of your efforts in Mobile Application development? Before understanding what's right, it’s necessary to know everything that could actually go wrong! So here’ a comprehensive list of mistakes that are common in App development, and ways to avoid or counter it.
1) Developing an app to reach a wider audience
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes in Mobile App development is associated with lack of information. More importantly, lack of awareness. Gone are the days when people used to actually visit Play Store and App Store on iOS to find new apps to use. At the end of Q1 2018, there are over 6.2 million apps available on both the iOS and Google play app store platforms.
There’s little to no chance of your app being “discovered” within such a heap. In this day, an application market no longer serves as a discovery portal for new apps. This is the reason why its not wise to invest on an app if the target is to only reach a wider audience. The investment could be better if spent on website development instead.
2) Developing and marketing the app with focus on downloads instead of retention
There was a time when businesses used to focus more on grabbing as many downloads as possible for the app. The perception back then was that it's the number of downloads which would dictate an app’s popularity. Though that opinion is still valid upto some extent. The focus now among businesses has shifted more towards increasing retention rather than the number of downloads or the rate of initial engagement.
User retention is important because it is what ultimately makes the user well-acquainted with the services and features of the mobile app. The success of an app is determined by the time spent by the user on an app, and how long it stays on their devices. In most smartphone markets, people on average have about 80 apps installed on their devices, out of which 40 are accessed at-least once a month.
The priority for any business in its mobile app development process must be to create a user-friendly interface and implement features in a way which makes the user open the app frequently, and have no reason to uninstall it from their device.
3) Allowing and implementing an uncontrolled beta testing
This is mostly a subjective opinion, and might be considered as nitpicking by some. But in a rush to push an app into markets, many apps are published in a beta stage which allow anyone to download an app, access and review it.
What the businesses and app developers need to understand here is that most users actually don’t care about the “beta” tag on apps. A lack of functionality and a horde of bugs would still piss them off and create a negative opinion about it.
The purpose of crowd-testing a new app is well understood. It’s necessary to weed out some unnoticed errors by the in-house testing team, and even more important to get users’ feedback on the app. But such an implementation should make the testers have a formal agreement to report errors and bugs in the app.
In the case of apps such as Google and Whatsapp, an open beta testing platform is separately created as they have a diverse range of users, and many of them are eager to test new features at the earliest.
But not every business is Google or Apple. So having an uncontrolled beta testing can actually result in misunderstanding and subsequently, bad word of mouth which shatters your reputation.
A beta tag for some users seems similar to “early access”, and then if it doesn’t meet their expectations, they’re pissed off regardless of the knowledge that they’re actually supposed to report errors to the testing team in the first place!
So it’s much better to let your developers have their sweet time, and release a fully functional app after beta-testing it through a controlled user environment.
4)Focusing on Mobile App development in multiple platforms simultaneously
The application markets of Google Play and iOS App store could be considered by many businesses to be highly similar in nature. But the reality is that they’re totally different both in terms of revenue potential and market dynamics.
So if you, as a business, intend to launch your app in the most well-known platforms. What do you need to know before hiring developers to do so?
In a nutshell, if you have limited capital and thus want a cheaper platform for app developers, it's better to start with iOS as it caters to only a specific set of devices. Thus its development won’t be as time-consuming in comparison to android, which is a more fragmented platform.
Development on both platforms simultaneously should be only considered if there are no budget constraints, or if you target a wider base of users within a really short span of time.
5) Not choosing an appropriate model for app revenue
Monetization is one of the most important aspects you need to plan before going ahead with the mobile app development process. Apart from the revenue offered by the app market, a few other ways to earn revenue involve the implementation of in-app purchases (Freemium model), subscription services, pay-to-download model and earning revenue through advertising.
Now, the model used by your business depends on the identification and understanding of the following:
- Features to be offered by the app, and determining which feature deserves free access, and which doesn’t.
- The creation of need, i.e., how will you convince your customers that they really need an app or its feature.
- The value of services offered by the business and how useful would its implementation be in an application platform.
- What could convince users to prefer the app instead of using the website of the business? Or what does the app offer which the website doesn’t?
- How would a model such as advertising or in-app purchases affect the users’ impressions about the app.
(Image source: Gartner. Link: www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2017-01-26-gartner-survey-finds-that-most-smartphone-users-spend-nothing-on-apps)
Though the decision of the revenue model largely depends on these aspects. The market trends as per a Gartner’s survey in 2017 show that most smartphone users do not spend even a single penny on apps. This reflects the preference of customers towards a freemium model more than any other form of revenue.
6) Creating a resource intensive and battery-hogging Mobile app
This is the most basic principle to be followed, yet is something that in many cases is disregarded. No matter how beautiful or functional app you prepare, it would satisfy the user only if it runs smoothly on their phones.
Today’s smartphones do come in larger storage capacities which may have eliminated the issue with an app taking storage space. But processing power of most smartphones is still limited, and not everyone uses flagship devices.
If your user base involves people with mid-range smartphones and those living in areas with inconsistent internet connectivity, then apps optimized for a low bandwidth and a light interface are a necessity.
There's a problem to this aspect and that can be understood. It’s impossible to develop an app which makes the most use of a smartphone's capabilities, is interactive and functional yet lightweight. But there’s a good solution to that which finds its implementation in Android smartphones, but is somewhat missing in iOS devices.
The solution is the use of an alternative light version of apps, which find a good user base in those having entry-level smartphones and others living in areas with low-bandwidth networks.
Implementing either functionality at the cost of accessibility or vice-versa on a single app may result in a significant loss of potential new users. But multiple apps providing the same services, made for different types of devices could definitely cover a larger share of the market.
In these cases, a strategy for more than one app for multiple types of users may take some and cost, but would not only cover a larger audience but can also fetch more respect and goodwill from users.
So what's the takeaway here?
The mistakes defined above are what constitute the failure of many mobile apps published in the two most popular app markets (Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store). Mobile app development is expected to be booming for several years from now, but it can be said without a doubt that the humongous number of apps have clouded the market.
In such a scenario, the only way to stand at the top would be to think wisely, do good research and invest in an application platform that your customers need and understand. Most importantly, it should not be one which earns the most profits or one which crams the most features.
The retention rate of a mobile app along with its smooth functionality itself has a huge potential for profitable returns in the long run. In such a competitive market, growth can take some time, a few bug fixes and a lot of updates.
These mistakes in mobile app development are not just to be remembered by you, but should be carried forward to the mobile app development company you’ll be working with in the future.
I attained the knowledge of these mistakes that many businesses make from my experience working with a lot of vendor software development firms. I can recommend a few of those for you as well. So here goes:
Offices in: India, USA, UK, Australia
Clutch Rating: 5/5
Goodfirms rating: 4.6/5
SoftwareFirms rating: 4.72/5
Offices in: India, USA
Clutch Rating: 4.9/5
Goodfirms rating: 4.8/5
SoftwareFirms rating: 4.76/5
Offices in: USA, UK, Dubai, Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Norway
Clutch Rating: 4.8/5
Goodfirms rating: 4.89/5
SoftwareFirms rating: 4.89/5
Offices in: USA, India, Germany
Clutch Rating: 4/5
#5) Happiest Minds
Offices in: India, USA
Clutch Rating: 4.5/5
Goodfirms rating: 4.6/5
SoftwareFirms rating: 4/5
These are my recommendations for best mobile app development companies you can consult for your projects. These are just recommendations, so I’m not associated with any company among them. You can choose to contact each of them on your own, or perhaps look elsewhere for a vendor mobile app development firm that will help you the best.