As an aspiring app developer, a winning app idea is something you must begin with. But an idea alone is nothing until you justify its potential with development and ensure audience engagement and traction through adequate marketing measures on your part. Even if you consider your idea to have the potential to become next ‘Subway Surfer’ or ‘Evernote’, you need to put that idea into decisive action through app development process.
Even if you are not building a stand-alone app for the market but just want to extend your web presence with a native mobile app, you need to deliver an app with standout features, engaging design and robust marketing. With millions of apps fighting each other for discoverability across various app marketplaces, perfection and proactive engagement remain the key to ensure success. In this respect, it is always important to stay clear off certain mistakes that undermine your effort as a developer. Let us introduce here six common mistakes that every app developer should avoid at any cost.
Developing for several platforms at once
First of all, it is better to admit that every subsequent app which is on the verge of publication faces tremendous competition from millions of apps in the market, namely Google Play and Apple App Store. These two platforms enjoying the biggest share of market presence are targeted by most developers including the aspiring and budding ones. But in consideration of the huge cost and effort involved in building and marketing an app for any of these app marketplaces, it is advisable to build an app for one platform at a time and avoid developing for two platforms at once. When you focus on the single product, your time to market with the minimum variable product gets minimised.
Moreover, by building for both platforms at once you need to engage with both versions of the app at the same time. For example, when you need to change certain design aspects or features, you have brought the changes simultaneously in both apps. This is why it is always better to build a perfect app for one platform and then porting it to the other within a span of time. Do you want to know about an example of this from the big names? Well, Instagram with their first ever iOS app could manage 30 million user base before they decided to develop their Android app. Similar is the case of Pokémon Go.
Using webpages as reference
Do you think a mobile app is an extended version of a webpage? Many developers and businesses still consider so, and this is one of the misconceptions leading to failed apps. An app should create specific value for the user. This value offering should not be the same as which is offered by websites.
A native app in spite of representing the same business or brand should deliver specific value for the mobile users. The user experience should be optimised for the native mobile interface, not for the mobile browsing. This is why using webpages as a point of reference for mobile app design and development is a big mistake. Here, we introduce the key device specific aspects that one should remember when building native apps.
- A native app should easily integrate the device features like calling, instant messaging, using device camera, using other installed apps like DropBox and Google Drive.
- A native app should be built keeping the device specific screen real estate in mind.
- A native app allows easier access to device data and storage.
Too many features
Many developers consider a number of features to be a crucial determination to enjoy user appreciation. This is why the epithet ‘feature rich’ is used so often and so positively by the app marketers. But from the present day experience tells something otherwise. Actually, too many features make an app clumsy and heavier without really adding any major value to the user experience as such. On the other hand, fewer and most effective features that users find helpful for the purposive use of their apps often make an app great. Do you want to know the negative outcome of too many features? Well, here are they.
- Too many features including many that are seldom required make the user experience cumbersome and confusing.
- Too many features make the app heavier and thus actually make the loading speed slower.
- Too many features mean additional resources in terms of development time and investment. This leads to drainage of resources and lingers the time to market for the respective app.
Not doing pre-launch marketing
These days, mobile app marketing needs to take a start as early as the app is in development. Widely dubbed as pre-launch marketing, it should be started way before the app is actually launched. Pre-launch marketing is crucial because you need to create buzz around your app before it hits the marketplace and only then, you can start your post-launch campaign with a decent following. What are the key things to do as a part of the pre-launch marketing of your app? Just watch out the following tips.
- As soon as the basics of your app including the app concept, name, logo and basic design elements are decided, build a small website for your app and publish contents on the app idea. Target keywords to come on to search ranks.
- Create social profiles and business pages in the name of your app and publish regular posts on your upcoming app. You can also use adverts, promotional campaigns and feedback gathering drives engaging your social audience.
- If you have an established business and website, try to reach your loyal audience first by email marketing, direct messaging and banner ads.
- Try to contact influencers in your industry and niche and take them in the loop about the upcoming app idea.
- Try to make your launch as big as possible by colliding it with a big event related to your niche. Publish press release, run media ads and gather your loyal audience in the launch event.
Keeping analytics out
What analytics do? It gives you relevant insights about your users and their in-app behavior. These insights further help an app to mend its faults and make the user experience better. This is why any digital interface these days come invariably with an analytics tool inside.
From websites to mobile apps to social media platforms, every digital interface uses analytics to give valuable insights about the users. Naturally, an app without an analytics tool within is bound to be less knowledgeable about its users. Let us mention here the key metrics of app analytics that app developers and publishers should focus on.
- Daily active users (DAU)
- Monthly active users (MAU)
- Average session length
- Retention rate
- App crashes
- User engagement
Not giving much importance to testing
As a user smooth and glitch free performance of an is what we expect mostly. Especially, when beginning to use an app, any performance issue just takes out the good impression about the app from the user’s mind. The only way to ensure a glitch-free user experience is to test the app as much as possible across the platforms and devices. Remember, performance issues are often not assessed by the developers themselves, but they are better assessed by third-party experts or impartial users. This is why as far as testing an app is considered, one should always opt for professional help.
Finally, to conclude we must say that the mistakes mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg considering the huge number of faults that are being committed by developers. But while most such mistakes are widely taken care of, few mistakes like the ones mentioned above still continue to undermine the user experience across most apps.