5 Mobile App Development Mistakes that Can Sink Your Project
This article outlines five common mobile app development mistakes we frequently see other companies make. They may be common, but they’re certainly not best practice. Keep reading to learn why.
There is a lot of content online about mobile app development and how to make it more efficient. We’ve noticed that some of the advice developers give readers is so focused on making mobile app development faster, it actually encourages the development of products that don’t accomplish what’s needed to truly save time or make money.
Among the most frequent of misguided counsel we hear are these two pieces of advice:
- You don’t need to do user research.
- It’s okay to start designing before you understand the product need.
Beware! Both of these suggestions lead to pitfalls. In fact, they are the source of some of the most common mobile app development mistakes.
When efficiency results in a lesser product it’s time to reconsider your strategy and how you can build an app that fulfills your business goals.
Below are some common mobile app development mistakes resulting from a “faster is better” mindset and how they can lead to project failure.
Don’t Make these Mobile App Development Mistakes
iOS and Android represent the overwhelming majority of the mobile platform market. If possible, your app should be designed for both locations. It may require launching on one platform first, and then moving it over to the other platform. That’s perfectly acceptable. Your app should be largely designed the same way for both platforms to keep your business’s branding and the user experience consistent between the two locations.
There are a few minor user interface differences that need to be accounted for in design, such as toggle buttons or adding functionality for the Android back button. But the design differences between iOS and Android should be minor.
If you are in a position where you must choose between iOS and Android, there are multiple considerations to make. You can examine your mobile website analytics to find out which system your mobile website traffic is using. This involves the user research that should be part of the mobile app development process.
You may also want to keep in mind that while Apple maintains a high level of popularity in the U.S., Android is a more popular system worldwide. Be careful about automatically assuming stereotypes about the two platforms, and make sure that you thoroughly way your options before selecting one.
An Overcrowded App
It’s your website’s job to educate potential customers and persuade them to buy. It’s your website’s job to make sure that your customer can do anything that they need to do from one location. Your app doesn’t need all that added baggage.
Instead of crowding your app with extra information, menus and callouts, identify the basic functions that your users will need while they are on the go. Make those the primary, if not sole functions on the app. The value of a mobile app is that it’s a lighter, more intuitive alternative to a website.
For example, a restaurant app that simplifies online ordering or reserving a table can be extremely valuable. As you enter the design process, ask yourself a few questions:
- How can you use your online app to add value for your customers?
- What can you simplify for a better user experience?
An Exaggerated Emphasis on Downloads
It’s only natural to want your audience to download your app. Ideally, more downloads means more exposure, which means more value for your company. But this is only true if the app is well planned from start to finish. One common mistake is to place too high of an emphasis on attracting downloads, and not enough focus on retention and bringing users back.
This is where it helps to figure out the product need before designing the app. The number of responsive and mobile friendly websites is quickly increasing. Most companies are placing a growing emphasis on mobile usage for their websites. This means that the product need for the app should be something uniquely different than the website. When you make a few key functions easier, you can keep people returning to your mobile app.
The key to a successful mobile app goes beyond downloads – it must also include a plan for retention.
Taking too Many Shortcuts
An app should provide the user with a unique experience, and it should add value for a company. It takes a significant amount of planning for a company to meet these types of objectives in mobile app development. Every design decision should move you a step closer to filling these larger-picture objectives.
As stated above, an app should be more than a duplication of what’s on a mobile website. “Because my competitor has one” is not a good reason to build a mobile app. It takes a significant amount of planning and thought to release a mobile app that will differentiate your business. Don’t waste time or money on mobile app development if you’re not going to invest in creating a product that will add significant value to both users and your company.
A Lack of Testing
Beta testing is essential to the success of your app. Skipping this step in the process can lead to a wide release of an incomplete product. Beta testers offer a third-party, impartial view of your product, which is critical. You and the beta testers have something in common as well. You both want to see the best possible product released. With that in mind, it’s crucial to pay attention to the feedback you receive during beta testing.
The same thing can be said of app reviews from the app store. The negative reviews may sting a bit, but implementing some of the constructive suggestions buried in the content can improve the quality of your app.
Don’t Be Steered Wrong! Choose Your Dev Partner Carefully to Avoid Mobile App Development Mistakes
Before you start designing and building, make sure the development company you’re partnering with isn’t a misguided author of poor advice. Do your homework before committing to work with any software vendor. To help you get started, here’s what to look for in a software development company, plus three critical questions you should always ask before signing on.