On May 23, 2017
Due to the huge popularity & availability of Smartphones, more and more businesses are now in favour of developing smartphone applications to give customers access to digital services & content from the smartphone.
But creating an app is not the same as creating a website. Every app needs to serve a purpose and it needs to have a clear utility, otherwise users won’t download and use the app.
Web has been around for over two decades but the whole concept of mobile app is relatively new.This is why many businesses struggle with their app strategy as they don’t know what to expect and how to measure their project’s success.
So majority of these businesses chooses to outsource their entire project to a software development company, however often times they are not able to clearly identify what they want. So this also makes it extremely difficult for the development company to work on because the client’s direction is not clear to start with.
To address this, we at Monstar Lab have identified couple of key questions that you need to ask yourself and answer to make your mobile application a commercial success. This will also be an excellent guideline to follow for businesses who plan to outsource their mobile app development work to an app development company.
I always follow this simple mantra, “If you are doing something, do it with 100% efficiency and accuracy, else don’t just do it.” This is something users expect out of every available mobile application. When I say efficiency, I mean data efficiency too. Smartphone apps which excessively use 3G or 4G data are most likely to be downloaded and forgotten, if you don’t want your phone app to fall in that category, make sure that your app uses data efficiently and does not consume more data.
2. Why does your business needs to have a mobile app?
Its very important to first address why does your business needs an app. Is there a problem in your business that the application can solve? Do you think introducing the app add some convenience for your customers? Do you think that having an mobile app can bring in new opportunity & business for you?
So think about these questions and figure out exactly how the app fits into your business. What exact problem are you solving and how introducing the app can benefit your customers or improve your business. These answers will help you to better formulate the idea and value proposition of your application.
3. Deep Market Research
Before hitting the market and start developing an application you should conduct a proper market research. Analyzing the market thoroughly will give you insights about your competitors, their strategy, their strengths and weakness too. This information will prove to be useful as you can avoid repeating the mistakes your competitors made. Researchers often overlook customer reviews. These reviews can give you a glance of likes and dislikes of users about a particular type of app. Thus, you must ensure that you take a note of the pain areas and try to resolve it in your mobile app. This strategy can give you a chance to win over your competitor’s customers.
4. The importance of application speed
Losing that string with the users while your phone app is loading may prove to be fatal, as the users might think that the app is malfunctioning. Also, it adds to create a negative impression in the user’s mind, hence giving them a bad user experience.
To avoid feeding your user’s mind with this, you can try using the loading indicators and animations to give them an assurance that the mobile app is still working, but it’s just waiting for the phone network. A progressive indicator is always better.
5. Who is the the primary target audience of your mobile app?
If you do not understand your target user group, it is difficult to succeed with an app. Making your app target “everybody” is not ideal as it often ends up serving no one. As such, before you start developing or planning, you should first be clear about who you are making the app for.
For instance, you could pay attention to the following:
・Attributes of the user
・Circumstances of the user
・Problems the user is facing
・User’s impression of similar apps & services
・User’s mobile internet usage
With the above knowledge and understanding, you will be able to visualize what kind of people make up your target user group, the kind of needs he or she has, at what point of time will he or she need the services of your app, how he or she can come across your app, and why he or she might choose your app.
6. What value does your app provide to users?
When planning an app or service, there is tendency to think from the perspective of the company and the company’s merits.
Are the app or service’s features really benefitting users? What kind of needs are you looking to fulfill? What sort of user experience are you aiming for? You have to consider these points from the perspective of the user and not the company.
7. Should it be a native web or web app for smartphones?
Apps that operate on a web browser are called web apps. On the other hand, the typical app that most people are familiar with, like iOS apps and Android apps are called native apps.
Before development, you must decide which kind of app you want to create.
Characteristics of Web Apps
Web apps do not require development for each operating system (OS), thus you can save on labor cost.
On the other hand, web apps tend to be slow, and do not sync well with the device. However, it is said that these demerits have been largely improved on in recent years.
Characteristics of Native Apps
Native apps need to be developed to suit each device, and if you plan to make the app available on both iOS and Android, you can expect labor costs to double. Additional costs will inevitably be incurred as you will need to modify your app when the OS is significantly updated. However, there are merits, like faster loading and being able to make use of iOS and Android Marketplace to increase publicity.
You should first decide what kind of app you want to create, the kind of user experience you wish to provide, your budget, how long the development process will be, and whether it will be a native or web app. It should be noted that hybrid apps, a combination of the two, are fairly common as well. It is recommended that you discuss in detail with a development company.
8. What platform or device should the app be made for?
When you develop a mobile app, you must decide if you want to build it for iOS or Android, or both. You may want it to be available on both systems, but only have sufficient funds and time for one. In such a situation, you should do research on your target user group’s smartphone, tablet and PC usage, and consider the pros and cons of the App Store and Google Play.
You not only have to consider the platform, but smartphone models your app can be run on. For example, if it is an iPhone, should the app be available only from iPhone 6 onwards, or if the app can be operated on older models as well. This list of models that the app can run on is an important factor.
Generally, the more operating systems and devices your app is available on, the more time and money development is going to cost. It is recommended that you discuss your budget thoroughly, and consider releasing your app in stages for different platforms.
9. What are the fundamental functions of the app?
When creating an app or web service, it is commonly assumed that the app should be completely and perfectly equipped with all the features intended for it before launching. However, as the mobile app industry is extremely competitive, recently apps are often released as soon as their basic functions have been implemented. The development process then continues based on user feedback. This also means that you may have to modify or change your plan completely.
Important, but often overlooked points to remember for commercial success
10. Make beta testing before your application hits the market
It is important to test your mobile application before you launch it in the market. You should have an experience in prior of how the users will see your app. Your app should be creative, easy to understand and deliver high performance. Testing it before the launch will allow you to iron out any nooks and crannies before it reaches the mass market.
11. How to balance user mindset with business?
You must always consider the user during app-building, but not forgetting that your app is a business that has to succeed. You should create a business model that describes your methods, estimated profit, and sufficiently explains why users would be willing to pay for your app for long-term success.
12. Know your Budget before approaching development company
All the steps included in the development of a mobile app involve money. Knowing your budget and allocating it properly among each stage of app development is essential. I would recommend you to appoint someone who can keep a strict eye on the cost to ensure that your budget remains the same till the end as it was in the beginning.
There is no sure shot success pill of anything you do in this entire world, but these tips can definitely help you if you are planning to develop your mobile application and want it to last long.
13. How often should you update the app?
Most smartphone users tend to get bored easily, 75% of mobile apps are inactive with none or minimal downloads. This means that if an app falls behind in ranking, it will quickly be forgotten. To prevent this from happening, regular updates, modifications and improvements should be made to keep the app relevant and active.
14. Do the developers have a full grasp of the app’s design and usability?
It goes without saying that an app does not only have to be aesthetically pleasing, but easy to use as well. Compromises cannot and should not be made, and the developer must be someone who understands the value of design and usability.
Before and after you develop an app, you need a strategy for the app’s growth. To check the feasibility of your strategy, you should ask yourself the following questions.
- Will this increase our transaction volume and, therefore, revenue?
- Will this increase customer adoption and retention?
- Will this increase our brand recognition and loyalty?
- Will this decrease our costs?
- How many people do we want using our app?’
- How do we want to integrate the solution with our social media program?
- How will we integrate with our existing analytics tools?
What do you think? You may think that getting a development company means that you, the client, can just sit back and relax, but for a good plan and ultimately, a commercially successful app, to be realized, the client needs to be a part of the process as well.
The planning stage is most crucial to the overall success of the app. You can even say that it either makes or breaks the project. As such, those unfamiliar with app-building should definitely discuss and plan with a professional development company.
15. Know your target audience
Defining your target audience is very important as the audience plays a huge impact on the development of your mobile application. All these questions such as who will be using this app, and how is it going to help them, be answered well before hand. If you meet your user’s expectations, your smartphone app is likely to get more popularity.