There are approximately 4 million apps available for download today—and that’s just in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
It’s no longer cool to have an app—these days, CEOs and business owners know that this sort of value-add is becoming downright necessary if they want to stand a chance against the competition.
Of course, as mobile app developers, we’re here to help with that. We guide our clients to bring to market an app that matches their business needs and that their customers will love.
But what will their customers love?
App standards vary greatly—you can see that just by taking a look at what’s out there today. The thing is, it’s all about the preference of those building it. Is the goal to develop and launch quickly? Is the goal to provide the most innovative, mind-blowing experience? Is the goal to reach as many people as possible?
While there are many ways you can go about building a great app, the best developers know a few simple truths that will give you the best shot at success.
A Great App Takes Time To Build
How does the saying go—”Nothing great comes easy”?
Or perhaps “Slow and steady wins the race”?
Or maybe you can hear your mother saying, * “If you did it right the first time, you wouldn’t have to do it again!”*
Whichever phrase you prefer, they all mean the same thing: It’s better to take your time than to work too hastily. This certainly rings true when you’re building an app, and great developers know it.
Being able to build and launch quickly is the ideal situation, sure, but in most cases, it’s not realistic, and it’s not smart.
Your goal shouldn’t be to throw an app together in record time; it should be to build the best app you possibly can with the time, budget, and objectives that you have. And you can’t design, build and launch an app without some strategic planning to get you off on the right foot.
In the initial conversations with your client, you need to determine a few things; mainly: What is the purpose of your app? Who is it meant for? Is there a demand for it? How will your users respond to this or that feature? There are so many questions that must be answered before you can even consider inputting your first line of code.
Put in the work upfront—do the proper brainstorming, mock up your ideas, and conduct in-depth user testing. This will give you time and flexibility on the other end to make final tweaks and give your app the launch it deserves.
Apps Shouldn’t Be Complicated
Great developers know that you can’t build a winning app without the partnership of a great designer or design team. And a great designer knows that the simpler an app, the better it will be received.
That’s not to say your app should be dull or boring—but you don’t need all the features.
This mistake is so common and so widely discussed in the industry; it’s hard to believe the concept is so difficult to grasp. Many of us know what needs to be done, but the true skill is in the execution – and not many developers can master lean design.
Bottom line: ** Don’t overwhelm your users.**
You don’t need to overload the first iteration with every cool, innovative feature in an attempt to attract and impress people. In fact, doing so has the opposite effect and makes users run for the hills.
Native Is Where It’s At
Yes, web-based apps have their time, and hybrid apps have their place, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot more you can do with a native mobile app.
Apps were designed primarily for use on smartphones. Building for an app’s intended purpose, on its intended platform, can make the difference between an app that’s well-designed, high-performing and widely loved, and an app that works OK.
The benefits of building natively include faster speed, more reliability, and better overall user experience. App stores cater to apps created for their platform, which means superior promotion and support as well.
While progressive web apps are blurring the line between native and web-based functionality, the user experience you get with a native app is still unmatched.
And yes, while native apps may take more time and money to build, there are some things you can’t skimp on if quality is what you’re after.
Apps Don’t Sell Themselves
Like any new product brought to market, an app won’t do much good just sitting there waiting for people to stumble upon it.
To attract new users and to keep past users returning for more, you have to be strategic about marketing your app, as well as optimizing your app for future changes in user preferences.
The best developers don’t leave their clients hanging when the app is launched. Educating your clients on the importance of branding and marketing should be part of the conversation, even if you don’t provide those services yourself.
Introduce them to another team you trust to continue from where you let off, ensuring a seamless experience that your clients will remember for years to come.
Wrapping Things Up
So there you have it.
With so many apps vying for users’ attention, how do you ensure that you’re building something people will love?
There are endless reasons an app may ultimately fail—but with the right preparation, you can prevent a fatal outcome (or at least lessen its impact).
The truth is, the market can still be unpredictable no matter how much you prepare, but not preparing at all will guarantee your app doesn’t make it off the ground.