With over 4,7 billion mobile phone users around the world, who spent an estimated $19.5 billion globally in the first quarter of 2019, developing a mobile app to tap into this vast number might seem like a no brainer.
A mobile app, however, is an extension of your brand, and developing one should be approached quite carefully to ensure the app brings its intended benefits and doesn’t cause more harm than good. Another reason why we recommend the consideration of the below eight factors is as a haphazardly developed mobile app can have you losing money, time and opportunities.
1. Do you really need it?
You’d think this to be an odd question from a mobile app development company such as ours, but asking questions such as this makes our clients evaluate themselves and their expectations.
Remember, an app is an extension of your brand and developing one for the sake of doing so is not a smart idea.
Creating and adding value for your end user however is.
All apps should be developed after extensive research as doing so helps to understand the current offerings on the market and the expectations users have of such apps so that your app may serve a better solution. The top four questions you must ask yourself therefore is
- Who are my competitors and what is their app offering?
- What’s their strategy and unique selling point(s)?
- Are there any weaknesses?
- Customer sentiments to the app offered by competitors
Having answers to the above should give you an idea of the state of the market you intend on entering and help identify threats as well as opportunities. Upon establishing this, we recommend doing some research on the end-users themselves as the success of any app lies in its user-centeredness. The question you should ask yourself, therefore, is
- Why are customers using these apps?
- What are needs that are being met at present
- Are there any needs that are not being met?
3. Operating system
The global app ecosystem is dominated by two key players, iOS and Android, who each command 81.8% and 18.2% respectively. Any development of an app, therefore, should cater to these platforms and their users.
It might be tempting to aim for the dominant Android platform and leave out iOS users, but do keep the following in mind
- 30 million iOS users switched to Android in 2017, whereas Android lost 112 million to iOS.
- Almost half (45%) of iOS users have more than 5 paid apps or subscriptions, whereas only 19% of Android users could say the same.
- Revenue from the iOS App Store was double the revenue from the Play Store in 2018
We have a great article that can give you more information to help make a decision on your platform here.
4. Native or cross-platform development
Once you’ve made a decision on the platform you’d be opting for, it’s important that you pay attention to the technology that will be used for app development. A key option you can pursue is native app development, which is essentially apps developed for the specific operating system, which gives them the ability to utilise device-specific hardware such as camera, GPS and fingerprint scanners. We at Mood Up favour native programming languages such as Objective-C, Swift for developing iOS apps and Java for Android apps. The downside of such an approach, however, is the increased development time and cost a client would have to incur if the apps need to run on both iOS and Android.
There is however a second cross-platform option through which developers can create one code base and use it to run apps on both platforms. Such development using frameworks such as React Native and Flutter can reduce development time and costs, allowing the app to be deployed faster. One must, however, remember that such an approach is not always best if the app that is being developed need to be tightly integrated to their operating systems and/or will be performing heavy duty tasks such as graphic heavy games.
5. UI/UX Design
UI is the interface that the user interacts with whereas the UX is the experience one has with it. Both design elements are equally important and can mean the difference between the success and failure of your app. Such design thinking at the early stages of the design of an app is vital as it sets the look and feel for the app, which then allows the developers to start coding.
A well thought out UI/UX design will provide your end users with a seamless experience that will translate into increased revenue, customer advocacy, faster growth and better brand image.
6. Mobile analytics
It’s impossible to improve on something that we cannot measure and that’s where mobile analytics become highly useful. This, however, should be done in conjunction with your business goals so as to recognize and optimise the performance of your app. Integrating mobile analytics to your app will help analyse and pinpoint functionalities that are performing well with those that are not, so that the design and development team can continue optimising the app to achieve your business goals.
An app that works is more useful than an app that looks pretty but is riddled with bugs. Such buggy apps that do not respond, crash and is generally unstable will have your hard earned users abandoning you for your competitors and damage your brand.
That why at Mood Up place a core focus on running automated and manual tests on each the end of builds we produce. Such testing allows us to discover bugs (if any!) that are then passed onto the developers, who ensure the issue is rectified. This rigorous process ensures that the product build our customers get at the end of every sprint is one that can be deployed should they decide to.
Custom app development is not cheap and anyone who says otherwise should have you worried. The benefits of a custom app with a good UX/UI, strong backend and no bugs however far outweigh the costs of making it, and should be considered as an investment in your business with far-reaching benefits,
Development costs, however, could be reduced if you choose a software partner with agile pricing where charges are only incurred for the development done, unlike the fixed pricing method which locks clients into a contract with set expectations and higher costs (due to set profit margins).
Another thing to consider is, will you be charged separately for the design, development and QA? If so the bill will be on the hefty side.
Mood Up, however, offers design and QA as value added services for our clients and only charge for the app development work that is done.
Mobile app development as we mentioned is no walk in the park with many factors contributing to its success and continuity. Being prepared and giving due consideration to factors such as the UI, UX, the development frameworks used and QA, however, can help transform an idea to a great mobile app, at a considerably low cost.