With almost everyone scrambling to deploy an app to bring their services closer to the customer’s fingertips, your app must be top of the line, have great functionalities, be smooth and have a great UX if it is to make its mark. Sounds like a tall order? That’s because it is.
Developing a great app isn’t rocket science, provided you do your research on the end-users. Such apps must be customer-centric (we cannot reiterate this enough) and be developed with your customers (think usability tests). Doing so, as you can imagine can be rather costly as it involves many hours of design, development and testing before you can finally release the app. You must then focus on marketing your app to ensure your app gathers traction with your users. That’s it, right?
Not quite, as the business landscape your app would be operating on is bound to change very fast, requiring the app to stay ahead of the curve. This is why we recommend our clients to set aside a portion of their app development budget for upgrades that can preempt new customer requirements.
Need further convincing? Take a look at how your peers think and compare your app against these 7 traits of outdated apps.
1. It lacks the latest functionalities
One of the simplest reasons you might want to consider updating your app is to add new functionalities to it. Doing so gives your end-users what they want, preventing their migration to other apps, whilst attracting new users who will contribute to boosting your bottom line. Such updates impact the experience your users would have within the app and might open new revenue streams that just might be the break your organisation needs.
A fantastic example of this is Facebook Owned Instagram, who started replicating the exact features Snapchat offered in its app in a bid to lure young users to it (after a failed bid to buy it in 2013 for $3 billion). The strategy worked as Instagram stories now see 400 million daily users whilst Snapchat who introduced the stories feature and considered it a key differentiator is now at 191 million users.
Another interesting development you might want to keep an eye on is Instagram’s IGTV which might prove to be a worthy rival to YouTube.
2. App performance is declining
The success of your app is dependent on its performance, which is why it’s important to go dig into the quantitative data. We encourage all our clients to have a set of metrics through which they will be able to measure the performance of their app, and set benchmarks through which the performance could be measured. A few of our top performance metrics include but are not limited to
- Active users – the number of users who use the app in a set period of time
- Session time – time spent on the app
- Uninstalls – the number of users who uninstalled the app
- Crash rate – even a single crash is unacceptable. An increase in this is definitely a push to upgrade your app
The above quantitative metrics will inform you of the decline in performance and therefore the existence of an issue. Finding the exact issue, however, is only possible through qualitative data gathered through your interactions with the customer and observations of user behaviour within the app.
3. Your users have trouble navigating
Most apps have set design standards that provide users with a sense of familiarity and intuitiveness when navigating their way within the app. A break in this can have the user feeling disoriented and at a loss on how to use the app, impacting the overall UX. This will then cause a decline in the app’s performance, driving your hard-earned users to rival apps.
Can you imagine an app that doesn’t stick to Google’s Material Design being a hit? What about one that goes against Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines?
Remember, the hardest battle is retaining your users and not gathering them.
4. Reviews/requests from users
The best judge of an app is its users, which is why we encourage our clients to pay attention to reviews on the App/Play Store. Another way through which you can supplement this feedback is via the gathering of in-app feedback.
A sizable amount of negative feedback or weak ratings on your app should give you pause and deserve a closer look at what is amiss. Such feedback is essential to establish what is working and what is not so that you know the actual scale of the upgrade that is required.
Similarly, you might find a sizable number of users asking for a feature that deserves consideration. Deploying an upgrade with such a feature will allow you to be seen as an organisation that listens to its users and create a positive impression with your end-users.
5. Your app doesn’t follow the latest security protocols
With security breaches divulging user information on an almost constant basis, there is simply no reason for your app to be behind the latest security protocols. Remember that an apps owner is solely responsible for any breaches and can be held liable for any damages caused to the users.
Such breaches also dampen the trust your users place in you and can cause irreparable damage to your brand’s reputation. Remember Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal? How about Yahoo who had 3 billion accounts hacked?
6. Your app doesn’t support many devices
The goal of developing an app is to bring it to the hands of as many users as possible and is one reason you should support multiple devices. Doing so with new hardware devices such as tablets require the development of another version of the app, in order to ensure it matches the new display, graphics and device-specific features.
Remember, your users should receive a very consistent and cohesive experience whilst using your app, whether it be on a mobile or a tablet.
7. The codebase is long outdated
The codebase of an app is the complete source code that maintains its functionality. Such codebases usually contain a time interval after which they will cease to function as usual and should be updated over time in order to ensure its compatibility with your app’s operating systems.
Such information is usually conveyed to a client by the software developers in advance and should be taken very seriously.
Wrapping it up
App updates with today’s technology and lean development processes do not take much time as they used to. Investing is such updates will ensure your app remains relevant, boosts your bottom line and is a brand asset that will improve your ROI many times over. Doing it wrong, however, can have you experiencing the opposite as negative reviews create bigger waves and lasting impressions than those that are positive.
Are you ready to roll the next update for your app? Let us know how we can help you here.