How to Avoid 3 Common App Development Mistakes

App development can be a tricky beast. That’s not to say it’s inherently complex; but rather, there are several factors that make it so. Technical interdependencies present in a project, combined with a slew of internal and external factors — time, money, expectations… Brought together, it becomes very simple to overlook certain things and committing basic mistakes that affect the quality of your app. Thankfully, most common mistakes are avoidable. Here’s how:

1. People aren’t downloading your app

The Problem: You put all this work and effort into creating your perfect killer app, or so it seems. You’ve built exactly what you envisioned, but the only people to download your app are a few friends and colleagues (OK, your mother probably downloaded it too). You’re stuck asking yourself: “Why doesn’t everybody want this app? It’s amazing!”

The Mistake: You assumed that “if you build it, they will come”.

The Solution: App marketing is a massive part of new app projects. Without good marketing, you’re one of 1.2 to 1.3 million apps out there, a number that figuratively makes your app a needle in a haystack.

Do your homework from the beginning. Ask yourself these questions (just to name a few), and answer them with an action plan before your app goes live:

  • Where do people find new apps like mine?
  • What’s the problem I’m trying to solve? Where are people looking for answers to that problem?
  • What does my app do differently?

2. People aren’t using your app

The Problem: Alright, so you managed to build an audience of users who have now downloaded your app. The problem? They install it, and remove it shortly after. Your active users have dropped significantly — and suddenly, your audience again consists of Louise in accounting and Mark from your soccer team.

The Mistake: You either missed the ball on your app’s value proposition, or you didn’t do anything to keep them in your app.

The Solution: User retention is tough — with the average interaction frequency being only a few sessions before most apps are uninstalled. Make sure you’re following these guidelines:

  • Don’t inundate your users with notifications, ads or alerts
  • Offer dynamic content through the app, that changes or updates every so often
  • Offer a valuable solution to a user problem, that is made better through continued use

3. Your app doesn’t work well on device XYZ

The Problem: Users on [device xyz] have trouble using your app. One element doesn’t display correctly… It crashes on [device abc]… Your translation for [language def] is missing a string…

The Mistake: Chances are: you either blew through development and didn’t adequately test your app, or you didn’t plan your deployment properly to anticipate some of these issues.

The Solution: Test as thoroughly as you can before releasing — particularly, if you’re going to be releasing on Android — with its wide variety of devices. When you think you’re done testing, test again! Chances are, you missed something the first time around: once you’re entrenched in a project, it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees.

  • Have you tested your app on multiple devices? Landscape/portrait? Smartphone/tablet? Low-resolution/Retina?
  • Have you had people external to your organization take a look? It can be daunting, but they often offer the best feedback!
  • Testing won’t always catch all issues. Be sure to keep an eye on your app after it launches!

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of common mistakes — we’ll share more soon, along with easy solutions you can use in your next project.

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