You’ve done it. You’ve come up with a brilliant idea for an app, secured the investment and built the application. Now you just need to sit back, relax and watch the business roll in. Right?
Despite the growing number of mobile app downloads year on year (143.9 billion in 2016), 25% of these apps are never used and a staggering 26% of these apps are abandoned after first use (*). A report by Adobe has also found that less than half of organisations who create mobile apps measure their user engagement and return on investment. That’s a costly mistake.
Here are some key reasons why we’ve seen mobile applications fail at the first hurdle: ## Insufficient market research
One of the main reasons mobile apps fail is because you have either not properly identified your target audience or you don't properly understand their behaviour and preferences. A fantastic idea doesn’t necessarily translate into a great app. A great app strategy needs to be properly backed up by sufficient research. Some key questions to ask before you start development are:
What challenge are we trying to solve?What value are we actually providing?Why would people download this app?Are there other apps that do the same thing? What's the level of competition?What would motivate people to use this app?Have we identified different use cases?
You could create the best app in the world but what's the point if nobody knows about it? Once you have established who exactly you will be targeting and what value your app provides, you then need to have a solid go-to-market strategy. Here are some things to consider when planning your marketing strategy for the app.
How will people find us?
Have we optimised it for the App Store?
_What are the best keywords to help us get discovered? _
How can we best promote it through our website/ social and channel networks?
We spend a lot of time with our clients up front, establishing the objectives and the value of the app they wish to create. We look to create relevant persona sets and challenge them to think of differently to their preconceived notions. We’ve got a pretty solid idea of what does and does not work. It’s also a good idea to create a minimum viable product (MVP) at this stage for testing and optimisation with persona sets. ## Substandard UX
You have one chance to make a good first impression and if not, you can wave goodbye to a large majority of your users. There are a lot of components that go into building a fantastic user experience but this takes time and dedication. A good user experience incorporates different elements including information architecture, visual design, interaction design and usability.
At it’s very simplest level an app should at least be intuitive. It needs to perform basic functionality such as:
Quick load times Swift, easy and efficient on boarding Platform compatible Easy navigation
One really important thing to take into consideration when designing a mobile app is the difference in UX/UI best practices across different platforms. For example iOS and Android will have different requirements when it comes to implementing best practice features.
At xDesign, we live and breathe great UX. We take a cross functional approach and focus on the creation of user stories and design prototypes which help our clients to visualise the final product but also help us to identify any potential issues before coding. It's also beneficial for gather user feedback and alternative design ideas to help us shape the final product. Our designers are experts at bringing all this together to create a beautiful, seamless user experience.
Incompatibility across platforms and devices
Apps need to work seamlessly across all platforms and operating systems. Platforms such as Android , iOS and windows all operate differently with very different user expectations. Each operating system have very specific intuitive interface guidelines.
Mobile compatibility testing is checking or validating that your application behaves as expected across the combination of mobile devices and browsers that your customers will be using to access your application. It goes without saying here that if a user downloads an app and it’s obvious it’s not compatible on their device or operating system, this quickly results in frustration and you can wave goodbye to returning users. ## No proper testing
44% of app defects are found by the user either through direct feedback or for through public user reviews in the app store.
Having no proper app testing strategy is a big mistake, especially if you have invested a lot of time and money into crafting a fantastic user experience. If bugs appear, this will significantly impact your well thought out and designed UX. Even one single crash in the app is enough to push users away and tarnish your brand. As mentioned above, one of the biggest drivers for mobile testing is the increased device fragmentation and various different operating platforms.
Make sure that you have conducted proper testing before you launch the app. There may inevitably be smaller bugs that appear after launch but take steps to ensure that any potentially fatal bugs are caught and dealt with before launch.
Having a robust documented process in place and invest in pre-production testing will help you to avoid common pitfalls such as UI glitches and incompatibility issues and will also help you to ensure a successful launch and avoid negative reviews and a poor overall user experience.
We strive to ensure that QA is implemented as early on in the development process as possible to identify and fix bugs before it becomes detrimental. We utilise continuous integration techniques that requires our developers to continuously enter code into a shared database several times a day. Each check in then verified by an automated build, allowing issues to be detected faster. ## You don't update
So you have defined your market, came up with a good app monetisation model, created a fantastic user experience, tested the app and successfully launched it to market.
Unfortunately this is not the stage where you hang your boots up and watch the money roll in. Apps need to be constantly updated and undergo continuous iteration to keep your users engaged and active. There is nothing worse than an “out of date app”, you need to ensure you are doing regular release updates. This will require having putting in place a content strategy (much like you would do for your website and blog). It also means keeping your UX fresh and keeping up to date with rising user expectations. Utilise push notifications to keep your users updated about what’s going on and consider app specific incentivisation tactics to continuously drive users to use the app.
Consider mechanisms where users can contribute constructive feedback which will allow you to continuously develop the user experience into the future. Try experimenting with different functionality and features to find out what really resonates with your users.
We guarantee that by considering these tips, it will put you in much greater stead for creating a successful app that your users and customers will love now and in the future.
xDesign are experts in successfully building and deploying state of mobile applications and digital solutions for our clients. Got an idea for an app or a project you'd like to discuss? contact the team for a chat!
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*Perfecto Mobile, Why Apps Fail Report 2016
*Adobe Mobile App Engagement Statistics 2016