Pitfalls for app development

Pitfalls for app development

The development of apps is a true adventure. If you don’t have a solid plan and know upfront about the possible pitfalls, apps can be traps. Or more specific: time and money pits if you don’t know where you are going. In this article we present 8 common pitfalls and tips how to avoid them.

1. Unrealistic expectations
It’s easy, I’m launching an apps and will get rich”. Well, there is no such thing as an instant success. The Apple appstore and Google Play each contain more than 700,000 apps. There is a lot of competition out there. You have to focus on providing added value to be successful.

2. No business model
Start with the “why”. Why would users download your app? What can you add to their daily lives? Give your added value enough thought. Launching a paid app? Make sure you have a solid business model. The ‘Business Model Canvas’ from Alexander Osterwalder is a good starting point.

3. Starting without a final design
Mobile developers are expensive and in general not very good designers. Changing stuff along the way is very inefficient. Make sure you have a final design before they enter the ‘code modus’.

4. Developing apps and API simultaneously
Often, your app will be powered with content from the web. An API or webservice has to serve this content. Make sure you have a mature API before you start coding one single line of code. Doing both in sync will make your developers efficiency go down. 

5. Lab tests
We have often seen that things don’t work as (fast as) expected when an app goes live. In most cases this is caused by the fact that the app was not ‘torture tested’ with real live data or only under optimal conditions. Is your app dependent on a mobile connection? Make sure you also test on a poor connection. Does it have GPS? Schedule some test in environments where you don’t have a clear line of sight to the sky. Does your app contain a lot of content? Make sure you are not only using test records in the test phase.

6. Mix features and bug fixes
There will always be small bugs when you go live that you missed in the testing phase. Don’t mix solving these bugs and the introduction of new features in your next release. If any new errors occur in your next version, it will not be sure whether the new features or your bug fix are causing the new errors. Keep both isolated in a separate release. 

7. Poor (appstore) marketing
Apps that turn into an instant success are very rare. You have to promote your app to be successful. If nobody knows about your app, it will not get any downloads. Did you know that about 60% of all apps get zero downloads? Our general rule of thumb is that it is wise to spend about 50% of your time and budget on marketing.

8. Developer dependency
Avoid being dependant on a single developer. If that person leaves the company or chooses to focus on something different, your knowledge is gone. Also, make sure you have the ownership of the code. And launch the app under your own company account. With these tips you will always be in control.

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