7 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY DEVELOPING A MOBILE APP
Mobile apps are rising more and more popularity. The industry is currently a beacon for investment, but many developers are struggling to create an app that can stand out from the competition or last beyond the initial hype.
So how can your team approach app development in a way that will steer your app towards success?
1. Identify The Core Benefits
Before designing your app, clearly identify what its core benefits would be. A core benefit is what customers would say is the reason to download or purchase or an app. It’s the value people get from using the app. It's also the positive factors that separate the app from its competitors its industry. If you wait to think about this in depth until the app is well into production, you may be making very costly missteps in your design and implementation.
Think about core benefits as something that falls into one of these categories: It's anything about the app that solves a problem, builds on an opportunity, provides a unique experience, or entertains in a new way. If your app covers all of these things, then you truly have something special on your hands. Three and your app has potential, but two or less, and you may want to leave the idea to stew a little more in your mind before implementing it.
For example, maybe your potential app only covers the solving a problem or building on a opportunity, and that’s fine, but what makes it stand out from the sea of apps that already in that industry already doing the same thing?
This is why you app needs a unique experience or a more entertaining factor would help it stand out from the competition. Think of when Netflix first broke onto the scene. It covered all four of these the criteria and people flocked to it like bees to honey. Now this isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions to this rule, like some apps just generate viral excitement and catch on as a social craze, but their more rarities than the rule.
2. Plan Your App Out
Planning your app before you design and implement it will lead to less issues in the long run. When building your app, you should have your target users, business model, and platforms in mind, instead of going backwards and implement these adjustments after the fact. This bad design habit often leads to bugs and other costly issues that may put a wrench in your app's success.
3. Research Potential Customers/Competition
First, identify your target customer. What type of person would be interested in the core benefits of your app? Where could you find them? What’s their budget? How would you entice them to try your app? What would be their end goal and possible challenges faced while using it?
This customer research should also help you see if it would be worth it to make the app in the first place. If there does seem to be solid interest in your app, then all of this information should then be implemented into your app design as well, so that your app really speak to your customers and draw them in.
Now see who your potential competition would be and how they’re approaching the industry. This research will help your team determine possible alternative solutions to provide to stand out from the competition or how to deliver to an unseen niche market that's being catered to by other businesses.
4. Determine the Platform and Business Model
Next determine platform and business model for your app. Whether your gearing for IOS or Android, or multiple operating systems, your app needs to built with their specific standards and compatibility is mind. Why tie up your team up in performance issues that were entirely preventable?
You should also determine the business model. Freemium allows potential customers to get a taste of how the app works before committing money to it; usually for more personalized or advanced in-app features. While subscriptions offer more consistent and predictable income, making it easier to plan for the long-term.
Whatever you do, put yourself in the best position to cover your costs and generate a profit. It sounds obvious, but many businesses meet their end because they get tunnel vision and steam roll ahead. If research shows an inability for your app to generate a profit, that may be a sign that the market is not interested in your app just yet. Don't throw money and effort down the drain when you can wait for a better time or opportunity.
5. Present Your Business Case
A business case helps you present to stakeholders why your app would be profitable and worth their investment. Now the good news is you’ve already done a lot of the research above.
It’s because you’ve taken the time to plan out your project in more detail that your team can come up with better cost and revenue estimates. It will also make you cost and revenue estimates tighter in range instead of the previous ballpark figures you were working with (in case you are unaware of how to present a business case, learn more about it here).
6. Design & Build The App
Now if the pathway to success is still green, move forward with designing your app. Take into consideration all the information you’ve gathered in your journey to this design phase. If you do this, your app will not only help generate more loyal and happy customers, it will cause less issues for your company because many will be caught in the planning phase. It’s much more costly to try to fix an app after implementation, so why not save it for a better use?
Now investors are all about action. They also want to see and experience the core benefits of your app because it shows more tangible results than simply describing them. This is why your team should develop a prototype of your app. Stakeholders want proof that people are excited and interested in your app, and prototypes allow you to present it. Prototypes also allow your company to find unseen bugs or make any changes in the app before the official rollout. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes to see where the UI could be sleeker or where a necessary feature is missing.
7. Track User Behavior for Improvement
Track user behavior to determine where your app needs to be readjusted or improved to maximize its growth potential. Look for ways you’re losing money, like factors that lead to people unsubscribing or removing your app. Look for ways to make more money by improving processing and learning what features are your biggest draws. Even look into where users are discovering your app and figure out how you can maximize it.
Use this information to create a dialogue with your customers where you work together to achieve a more personalized app experience for them. Do this by responding to their interests and concerns and using them to make your app better for them. In this highly competitive industry, apps that work to create a better experience for each customer are the ones that more likely to sustain loyal customer.