Your customers as well as your employees have increasingly cut the cord connecting them to a desktop computer. The first mobile apps may have only created a few ripples, but the demand has reached tsunami levels in recent years. Mobile apps have become essential for any business that wants to optimize customer engagement, deliver marketing messages that will actually reach the intended audience or provide field personnel with powerful tools to make their jobs easier while improving customer service. However, when developing a mobile app, it is important to avoid these five common pitfalls.
Thinking of a Mobile App as a Miniature Version of Your Website
It can be easy to think of a mobile app as little more than a responsive website that has been optimized for a variety of devices. Mobile apps differ from websites in functionality, size and scope, and it is these differences that make them so valuable to users. Users expect a mobile app to offer them something new that goes beyond what a website could offer. They want mobile apps that are designed with the smaller screen, time-consuming input methods and navigation difficulties in mind — and overcome. Instead of replicating your website and calling it a mobile app, focus on providing a few of the most important things in an innovative manner that harnesses the new mobile technologies.
Not Investigating the Different Platforms
Mobile apps can be developed for Android, iOS or Windows. Each platform has its share of die-hard users who have no interest in any app that does not perform properly on their preferred platform. One of the first decisions you will need to make is to determine whether to develop for a single platform or choose cross-platform app development. One important factor to consider is the geographic location of your users; Android is the leading platform in most countries, but iOS is still the most popular in the United States. However, Android has been gaining ground in America, and Windows has an extremely loyal customer base that is also increasing.
Failing to Plan an Engagement and Retention Strategy
With most mobile apps, about 90 percent of those who download an app have abandoned it within six months. To retain users, your app must provide them with ongoing value. Plan ways that you can use the app to engage users and encourage repeated use. For example, you could offer content, discounts or contests that are only accessible through your mobile app. Make it easy for users to communicate with you through the app. Use the app to let customers know that you value them, listen to them and want to meet their needs.
Beta Testing Your Own Mobile Apps
Writers know that it is better to allow some time to pass between committing their words to paper and proofing their work. Distancing themselves from their work allows them to catch errors or confusing passages that seemed perfectly fine at the time they were written. Similarly, having outside testers can help you catch issues that make your app less user-friendly; because you know how the app is supposed to work, you will approach the testing with a different perspective.
Failing to Have a Plan to Market the App
Having a mobile app does not mean that users will rush to download it. You must have a strategy to make people aware of your app. Use every channel you have available to spread the word. Be sure and highlight the benefits your app will provide to users. If you are offering the app on your website, display the download button in a prominent location.
Mobile apps are valuable tools, but they can become costly mistakes if their development plan is flawed. Your apps will have a much better chance to provide you with the benefits you want if you can avoid these common errors.