Launching the first mobile app for your million-dollar product idea seems like the way to success in today’s world of Android phones and iPhones. Everyone is using mobile apps nowadays. People can’t imagine their lives without Facebook, Google, or Instagram.
So why can’t you grow your profits by exploiting the masses’ hunger for the next big social media app, or the next big iPhone game, or the next big app that solves 99 percent of their problems with just a few gestures on the screen?
Obviously, you can.
Whether you are a newbie, just beginning to build your empire, or already an established business owner looking to expand by investing in a mobile app, you just have to get started. Sooner or later, you will make it happen.
You can solve 99 problems for your users and happily rake in the dollars if your app is good enough. But that’s exactly the problem for most people nowadays. You have to be good enough. And being good enough is extremely challenging!
Most of the apps today get lost in the app traffic, or get poor reviews and are never downloaded after a few months, or the owners are forced to pull them back due to various bugs or UI/UX issues.
In this article, I will therefore touch on a few pitfalls you can avoid when starting out in the world of mobile apps. Of course, I won’t make any guarantees, but I do hope these tips help you get the most out of your app idea.
1. Does your product idea need a mobile app at all?
The first thing to consider is if your product actually needs an app at all. If you want to start developing an app just because everyone else is doing it, my recommendation is to not do it. Maybe think of other ways to grow your idea into a thriving business.
For example, if you are a company that sells wholesale goods to distributors, you can easily run your business on phone calls and emails. The only people you should be concerned about are the distributors you work with directly. The general public won’t even know or care about your app even if you create one, which means your investment in the app will go completely down the drain.
On the other hand, if you are a company that sells goods directly to the consumers, creating an app that lets users create and track their orders is a good idea.
2. Does your app have a sufficient market size?
Another thing to think about is market size. Here you have to beware of pitfalls. Most people fall into the trap of just analyzing the number of potential customers for their business. Seeing that this size is huge, they just dive headlong into the process and start developing the app.
However, if you only look at the size of the potential consumers, you are missing out on a large chunk of the data required for market analysis. What you are missing is the number of your competitors. There are so many apps that do the same thing nowadays that a new app almost definitely gets lost in the vast number of search results that you normally get in the online app stores.
If you are doing what every other app in your niche is doing, you will be hard pressed to find any success. Therefore, be creative, add flavor to your app, and make sure you get to the masses by doing something that no other app has ever done before.
3. Is your UX designer good enough?
UX design has always been one of the most underrated aspects of software development. It doesn’t matter if your app is solving a thousand problems for users if these users’ main problem is the app itself. Users need to intuitively be able to access the solutions you are providing through the app.
Today, designing is not about where to put boxes and buttons, or what font and color to use. It is more about how intuitively your users can access and use those boxes and buttons to get where they want to go. Or, how naturally they can read the instructions and solutions written on the screen. UX design is a science in itself.
Therefore, make sure you hire an actual UX designer and not just make do with the backend developer who happens to be "very good at designing as well."
4. Do you really need cross-platform development in the beginning?
Today’s app world is dominated by two operating systems, Android and iOS. Therefore, it might seem counterintuitive to create your app for only one platform at first. However, developing the same software for different operating systems without knowing whether it will succeed is a huge gamble.
Your choice of platform completely depends on the target market analysis. For example, if your market is in the U.S. or Western Europe, you should probably go for iOS first. For anywhere else, Android is probably your best bet. You might also think about developing a web app if your target market consists of a large older audience that sways heavily in the direction of more PC usage.
5. Is your network good?
The Internet is almost as important as air today. We know it’s there, we use it subconsciously, and it sustains us.
Without networking, you will almost never grow your product to reach every nook and cranny of the world. Therefore, make sure to focus on how your app communicates with other devices in the network as well as the Internet as a whole.
For example, if your app controls all the electronic appliances on the same local network, make sure that the app understands and can translate all the standard response codes sent by the connected IoT devices.
6. Do you have mitigation strategies for dealing with inevitable software flaws?
When it comes to software applications, there are tons of things that can go wrong. Bugs are an inseparable part of a program. You need to accept this and make sure that you are ready for mitigation when something goes wrong.
Try to think ahead of time and make sure that your users understand if there is anything that can go seriously wrong. This way, they are aware of the problems that might occur while using specific features. In the long run, you can also maintain a communication channel with the users to let them know that you are doing your best to fix the issues.
One last warning: avoid showing users vague error notifications such as Oops, an error occurred. Be specific!
Steer clear of these six common pitfalls and you will be ahead of the curve with your mobile app.