The learning process for developers in mobile application development is never complete as mobile continues to evolve rapidly, said Nick Durrant, managing director of Bluegrass Digital, who offers advice in avoiding four potential pitfalls.
Durrant said with the continuous release of new and more powerful smartphones equipped with new features “it can be a challenge to keep up with this rapidly changing environment and it is easy to make mistakes along the way that could jeopardise your business”.
According to Durrant, one of the problems developers create for themselves is attempting to cover too many platforms from the start.
“Developing for several platforms at in the release raises the cost significantly and can actually reduce the success rate of the app. Rather try focussing on one or possibly two platforms first, do some research to find where your target market predominantly are, also look at which platform would offer the best value proposition,” said Durrant.
Furthermore, Durrant said developers should use social media polls and market research to ascertain “where the main interest lies”.
Regardless of whether the development is for iOS or Android platforms, enough initial research and focus may save on costs as well as ensuring the developer has covered the necessary functionality.
“If it is determined that your market is too spread across various platforms you might want to consider starting with a mobile website to test the waters as this is easier to target across platforms and can give you better insights into what the main access platform is,” said Durrant.
The second pitfall involves the inclusion of too many features.
Durrant said similar to developing apps across too many platforms, too many features at the initial development stage could result in the application having limited appeal across a target market that is too wide or a wide range of features, which are too limited to be useful.
The third pitfall involves creating an overly complicated application, which is difficult to operate and navigate. Durrant said the user interface should be easy for first time users to learn.
“Try to make the user journey as simple as possible with the least number of steps required to achieve the goal,” said Durrant.
“Map out the wireframes and user journey and get someone outside of the development team to run through it to see if they follow. If the app requires more complicated features you need to ensure there is at least a simple [process] to follow and [a] detailed user guide.”
The fourth pitfall happens within the marketing of the application.
Durrant believes research must be conducted to learn how the application will be discovered before launching it.
This includes establishing in what category the application will be classified as as well as how it will be marketed.
“Marketing messages and press releases should never be sent out until the app has been listed in the relevant app store and fully tested,” concluded Durrant.
“There is nothing worse for a newly launched app when a user sees all the marketing for an ‘available’ app to come to the store and see it isn’t actually available yet for whatever reason. This can create bad feelings towards the app and that user may actually end up not coming back.”