Top 4 Mobile App Development Mistakes to Avoid

Take a look at some of these fun statistics

  • There are 6.8 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion of them own a cell phone Source: Mobile Marketing Association Asia)
  • It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message. (Source: CTIA.org)
  • 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. (Source: Mobile Marketer)
  • 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7. (Source: Morgan Stanley

Today, mobile browsing accounts for anything from 1/3 to ½ of all of web traffic worldwide and mobile users spend over 80% of this time on mobile apps. Be it for social networking, emailing, texting, and gaming or for making purchases, having a great mobile app has become a business imperative. Hundreds of new apps hit the app stores every day. The Q is how can app developers ensure that their app is the best app to use? How can developers determine that theirs is not some buggy app that the user deletes almost as soon as it is downloaded? In this blog, we talk about four mobile app development mistakes to avoid to develop great mobile apps.

  1. Platform
    Not paying attention to the platform choice for mobile app development can easily be the biggest mistake developers make. The right platform choice for developing mobile apps is a critical contributor to mobile app success as it defines the approach to the development process. So should you go Native or Hybrid? A native app is developed specifically for a mobile operating system such as Java for Android, Swift for iOS etc. These apps are more mature and have a great user experience since they are developed within a mature ecosystem with a consistent in-app interaction. They are also easier to discover in the app store, have access to the device hardware and software and enable users to learn the app fast. Native apps are known for their great user experience.
    Hybrid apps, at heart, are websites packaged as native apps with the similar look and feel. Hybrid apps are built using technologies like HTML 5 and JavaScript. They are then wrapped in a native container that loads the information of the page on the app as the user navigates across the application. Unlike native apps, hybrid apps do not download information and content on installation. However, hybrid apps have one code base that makes them easier to port across multiple platforms and access easily through several hardware and software capabilities via plug-ins. These apps have cheaper origination costs and have a faster initial speed to market. Since hybrid apps are platform agnostic they can be released across multiple platforms without having to maintain two different code bases.
    Along with these are browser based apps. These applications run within the web browser with instructions written in JavaScript and HTML. These are embedded in the web page, these applications do not require any downloading or installation and can run easily on Mac, Linux or Windows PC.
    So how do you decide between these options? If you need to get your app into the market within a very short period of time or check the viability of the market then hybrid is the way to go. On the other hand, if you need an app that has a great user experience then you should be taking the native direction. The platform decision thus rests purely on the business requirement and the time that you need to move things to production.
  2. UI and UX
    Leaving app design as an afterthought can be a huge and costly mistake. High-quality design ensures higher engagement which translates to higher ROI. Strong design also makes sure that all future app updates can be done easily and have lower support costs.
    To build an app with a great UI and UX design developers first need to understand the behaviour of their target market to build the foundation of the apps functionality and then move to app design. The User Interface or UI defines how an app will look while the User Experience or UX design needs to ensure that the app is in fulfilling the emotional and transactional response it is supposed to generate. Developing functionality of the mobile app before developing the UI and UX can be counterproductive as this makes it difficult for mobile app developers to remain true to the overall UI/UX design and deliver great app experiences.
    To design a great mobile application, developers can first design UX Mock-ups first without worrying about the UI design. This enables them to ensure that app feels at home across platforms and form factors. Once this is done developers can move to UI design to build the visual appeal and usability of the app.
  3. Developing Bug Free Apps
    Since mobile app users are picky and impatient, they have zero tolerance for slow, buggy apps. While developers need to keep their eye on the ball and develop a great app, no app is truly great if it has not gone through rigorous testing to identify any shortfalls and bug fixes that the app might need. Along with this, it is equally essential to test the right things at the right time. For example, functionality testing should happen at the beginning during app development and should examine, amongst other things, all the media components, script and library compatibility, manipulations and calculations the app might require, check for submission forms and search features etc. Performance testing should not only focus on the load but also test the transaction processing speed of the app.Developers need to focus on User Acceptance Testing to ensure that the development happens in a timely manner. For this, User Acceptance Testing should be a part of the development process and should not be left until the last minute to build in feedback as it is received.
  4. It’s a mobile app NOT a mobile website
    Finally, a mobile application is not a mini website. Mobile apps are supposed to provide tailored, crisp and easy mobile experiences and hence need not have the same interface, look and feel as that of a website. This means that developers have to focus on sharper interface design, offer better personalization, send out the right notifications and also make the user experience more interactive and fun. Along with this, mobile apps should have the capability to work when offline. While apps might need internet connectivity to perform tasks, it is essential that they are able to offer basic functionality and content when in the offline mode. For example, a banking app might need internet connectivity for processing transactions. However, it can offer basic functionalities such as determining loan limit, instalment calculations etc. when offline.

With an increasing number of users turning away from websites and turning towards mobile applications, mobile apps act as gatekeepers of experience and engagement. App development thus has to be more than just building the app. Developers have to take a structured and strategic approach to app development to ensure that the app delivers on all the metrics required to further business goals by being responsive and reliable and fit in with user expectations.

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