The app development world has truly taken off in the last decade. With smartphones dominating the cell-phone market, mobile app development can be a smart investment for both businesses and individuals.
Despite the huge potential that app development may present, a lot of research and consideration should be taken before jumping straight into the app development world.
Whether you’re trying to create the next big mobile gaming app or develop an app to bring your storefront directly to the hands of millions of people, app development isn’t as simple as creating an app and putting it on the market.
And even though it’s widely accepted that app development can be one of the most successful parts of a business, for each app that succeeds, many fail. So having an app doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be well-off.
One of the primary concerns people have before investing in an app is the actual process of creating the app. In other words, many people struggle with the programming side. But programming alone won’t make or break your app.
You can always read through some books and watch some videos online to help get a better grasp on the technology side. But where app developers really need to focus is on building up their idea and navigating the sea of mobile apps.
This doesn’t mean that that you don’t need to focus on creating the app itself. With so many apps being developed, having a sophisticated, well-developed app is just the minimum to break through the crowds. After that, it comes down to being able to offer the most to users and being able to even reach users.
So what are some things you should know before investing in an app?
Here are five important things to consider:
1. What is mobile app development?
This might not help you design your app to be the best, but before you start thinking about developing an app, it’s good to have some context.
According to Digital Authority, mobile app development is the process of writing software for mobile devices. But this also includes the entire strategic process that defines, designs, builds, and launches the product.
Mobile apps are primarily designed to bring existing businesses to users in the most efficient manner. Now that the world is becoming increasingly digital, more specifically in the form of mobile devices, being able to connect on this platform will help businesses keep up with their customers.
2. What does it take to be successful?
As mentioned before, it takes a lot more than just coding skills to make a successful app.
When it comes to app development, there are two primary sides: technology and business. Having in-depth knowledge of both will keep you from many of the perils faced by other app developers.
As featured in the New York Times, Phillip Ryu, the chief executive of Impending, noted that anyone can make an app, but when it comes to “making it a smart investment that pays off, that’s almost a fairy-tale ending now.”
3. Pay attention to app design
Although apps are primarily designed for efficiency and function, there’s a lot of room for creativity and innovation. Part of designing an app is making sure that people can use it, but another part is understanding how users connect with the app – and this comes through its design.
Your app’s interface will tell users a lot about not only the app itself but also about the business it represents. So, if users are frustrated with your app, chances are, you’ll end up losing business elsewhere too.
As such, app design should heavily weigh the needs of its users. No matter how experienced you are with designing apps, your skills and ideas should reflect what the customers want from your app.
But sometimes it’s not enough to simply ask what users want, because what they don’t want can be just as crucial. As such, the best way to understand how to better your app design is to simply test it out. No matter how many questions you ask, you won’t get as honest or thorough of an answer as to when the customers are actually using your app.
4. Invest in marketing
Even if you have an app fully-developed, you need to get people to use it.
While many people tend to think that app development ends after the development stage, it doesn’t. App development takes a lot more to be successful.
Marketing can help get word of your app out in the market. With so many apps littering the mobile app world, it can be difficult for users to even come by your app, no matter how well-designed it is.
At first, many apps seem very similar. If they’re promoting similar products, users don’t initially have much reason to use yours over someone else’s. Marketing can help by introducing users to what makes your app unique and better than others, without having to download a bunch of apps and go through them one by one.
Not sure where to start with your mobile app efforts? Check out this list of companies that can help you strategize, develop, and market your idea.
5. Avoid common mistakes
Despite the many successes in app development, there were many failures that taught successful developers what not to do.
Some primary mistakes to watch out for are making your app too complicated, not testing the app, not focusing on retention, and insufficient planning.
Because apps are meant to be efficient, overloading your app with too many features can actually deter people from using it. Although having features that competitive apps don’t can be a pro, putting too much on the user’s plate can give them a headache.
Testing your app is one of the most easily overlooked part of development. Even if you have a great idea, you won’t know how users feel about it until they see it. And their opinions are what matters, at the end of the day.
You don’t just need to test the final product, but you should test continuously throughout the development process. This will save you time and money later on.
Another important factor to consider is retention. It’s one thing to have users downloading your app, it’s another to have them actually using it continually. If users aren’t using your app regularly, chances are it’s going to become irrelevant.
Lastly, planning is a huge part of app development. Although this is fairly general, not planning can lead to disaster.
One of the biggest things you should plan for is the cost of developing your app. Many app developers don’t plan for a lot of additional costs, and this causes spending to go way over budget, creating many problems during the app development process.
With these aspects of app development in mind, deciding whether or not to invest in an app should hopefully be more clear. Although app development is generally considered a smart investment, making sure that you can put in the time and money necessary for it to be successful is just as important.
Understanding the world of app development will also put you in the best position to make a crucial decision. This will help you design your app to be at its best and prevent you from making easy mistakes along the way.