Saying mobile apps are popular at the moment is an understatement. They’re literally dominating the global market and may one day be as big as the Internet itself.
But as app technology continues to find new and more innovating features, this rapid pace comes with many risks. App developers are not faced with huge mistakes that could potentially jeopardize their app and even their business.
“I think that you can screw up five times before you get up in the morning, in ways that you never even thought of,” says Josh Koppel, CCO and co-founder of ScrollMotion. “It’s a dicey business sometimes to try something new, but the truth is, it’s the mistakes that help you actually learn stuff. ”
Therefore, to navigate the murky waters of app development safely, here are 4 common pitfalls to app development and how to avoid them.
iOS, Android, or Windows?
Every app developer will find themselves in this platform predicament, but not every developer will thoroughly consider the options available. Many people even choose a platform based on stereotype or the revenue they think they can earn.
For instance, it’s common for people to develop apps for iOS because they believe monetization on the APP store is easier. Even if it is true, it’s certainly not universal. While iOS may be extremely popular in the U.S., Android is the global king.
“I would never say you have to launch on iOS, but you need to think about what the app needs to do and which platform is going to help you deliver on the value prop that you want to give consumers,” says Kevin Nakao, president and COO at White Pages, Inc.
If you’re looking to tap into the global market, Android is the better choice. On the other hand, many developers feel that the Android market is fragmented, and because it has too many versions of its operating system, deciding which version to build for is troublesome.
Thus, before you make any platform decisions, make sure you consider every possibility and all their alternatives, otherwise you risk severely limiting your audience.
Apps Are Just Miniature Website
Mobile apps are fundamentally different from their desktop cousins. They’re different in design, functionality, size and scope, and it’s these differences that make apps so valuable. They can be accessed on the go, they can be customized and personalized, and their intuitive interface is unprecedented.
Some people miss the point of apps and assume their apps should do everything that their website does. But this makes your app less valuable in the public eye. In fact, with responsive web design making the desktop browser more user-friendly than ever, apps need to do more than justify their existence. They need to be unique and actually provide something of value to users.
Before you hop onto the trend, do your research and laser in on what makes your app unique and better in regards to solving consumer problems.
Apps Sell Themselves
Even if your app makes a pretty big wave at launch, it’s swimming in a sea with thousands of competitors. Without a comprehensive marketing plan that increases awareness and visibility, you run the risk of disappearing altogether.
So before you start any marketing, you need to define and frame your audience. Are you targeting a small niche, or do you want a piece of the broader market? Regardless of what you choose, ensure you app identifies the actual issues affecting the market, and then solves them.
Tools like Google Trends and Xyologic will help you identify the major trends and consumer demands in the current market. There is also Mobiledevvhq, which provides tools for app store optimization and data-driven analysis to help you find the right keywords for the category you place your app in.
Beta Testing Your App Yourself
If you’ve ever questioned the value of beta testers, stop and go no further. While you may think you can test your app yourself, beta testers offer valuable perspectives that will find issues with your app that you might have missed.
And it’s not just the bugs. Your app needs to be incredibly user-friendly. For instance, maybe your in-app advertisements are making the experience a bit annoying, or perhaps the interface is not as friendly as you thought. But because you built and designed the app yourself, you may not find these critical flaws. Thus, the more people you have beta test your app, the better.
“Test your app outside of your office. If your app has anything to do with receiving information remotely, test it in different places around the city: in subways, in a lot of different conditions. Just make sure your developers get outside of their offices,” says Koppel.
With that said, a great app doesn’t just come down to the data. You just need one great idea marketed in the right way, before your app skyrockets to the top.