Mobile app development is not just about development but it covers the concepts of marketing and consumerism too. There are more than 2 million apps on Google Play Store and iTunes. Billions of people use mobile apps for reading news, communication, shopping, navigating, multitasking and many other things. More and more people are joining the app development industry because of its charms. However, new developers tend to make the same mistakes which not only affect their learning process but also affect their results.
Following are some common mistakes new developers make and let’s see how you can avoid them.
Mobile App vs. Desktop Software
Many of the new developers consider mobile apps a smaller version of their desktop software or desktop experience – but it is not. A mobile app cannot possibly have the same functionality its desktop counterpart have, developer cannot possibly reduce the size of the desktop interface to make it an app interface and most importantly two different form factors cannot be treated the same way.
The difference between a mobile app and desktop software is not just about the display size but it is also about the input, user interaction, sensors and the capabilities of two different things. Compare Facebook website on a desktop computer with its mobile app on an iOS or Android phone to get the idea of preserving functionality while using different user interfaces.
App Development without Actionable Marketing Plan
We all know the official apps of WhatsApp and Instagram have been downloaded millions of times on iTunes and Google Play Store but it doesn’t mean as a developer you can simply publish your app on these app stores and expect the downloads to rise automatically. Developing an app without having a proper actionable marketing plan is a common mistake among new developers.
If you are developing apps for your own sake, then you can do pretty much anything you want. However, if you want to get downloads from organic users then you should focus on the needs of your target audience before laying the foundation of your app. Just like SEO, ASO (App Store Optimization) is important for the success of mobile apps. Do market research on your target audience and create a marketing plan before starting development process.
Mobile App vs. Mobile Website
Many developers (especially companies) build web based mobile apps because of the easiness but users don’t know and don’t care about the development process. They only know their own user experience that could be drastically ruined by using web based apps instead of native ones. As mentioned above, mobile app shouldn’t be a smaller version of the website and the same goes for the mobile website.
Your mobile app shouldn’t be similar in functionality as your mobile website. Also, unless it is impossible to show contents offline because of the nature of your mobile app, it is better to develop apps that work offline too.
Make Users Regular Users
As a developer, you want users to use your app regularly but this is not going to happen unless you give them a strong reason to do so. According to some independent reports, around 90% of the downloaded apps from app stores like Google Play Store and iTunes would be deleted from mobile devices within six months. And this is the average; most of the time people delete the app after first try and never download it again.
The only way to bring people back to your app is by providing them a valuable user experience via your app. Your must focus on the development and designing, you must focus on user engagement via notification and even social media interactions, and most importantly you must focus on the needs of your target audience.
Not Releasing Updates
Professional developers don’t consider their apps perfect at any phase of its lifecycle and there is always room for improvements. It is hard (if not impossible) to create a flawless app that works as intended on all the devices (considering there are thousands of different permutations of models and OS versions). Besides the functionality, stability and performance of the app, users expect innovation and new features every now and then. Always release updates for your app to keep the users interested in your app.
Developing App for Everything
As a mobile app developer, you may want to develop a Swiss army knife type app with dozens of different features. An app that can do ‘everything’, how cool that would be? In theory it sounds like an amazing concept but in reality it is not feasible and not practical on many levels. It all comes down to one thing; the more complicated your app structure is, the more bugs you would experience.
Instead of developing an app with 10 features that it performs like an average app, focus on just one feature and make it the best what you can. There are thousands of popular apps on iTunes and Google Play Store which do just one thing and have millions of users all over the globe.
This is one of the worst mistakes a developer can make. Releasing an app in app store without putting it through the testing phase is like going to a battle without any weapon. Of course testing is hard, especially for Android platform because of fragmentation but there are ways to tackle the issue. On the side not, the device fragmentation issue is slowly penetrating the iOS ecosystem too.
It is expensive and somewhat impractical to use real devices for testing. The alternative is remote testing; tools like Bugfender can help developers test their apps on real devices used by real users, by sending logs remotely so developers can fix bugs before their users discover them.