Developing a successful mobile app requires deliberate research and understanding user perspective. Make sure your app concept is original, emphasizes user experience, and includes a marketing budget to help it succeed.
We have overseen our fair share of successes during our 10 years of experience as app developers at Foonkie Monkey.
We’ve also experienced our share of development failures.
Through all of our experiences – both successes and failures – we have learned and shaped our development process.
This article outlines 6 things to keep in mind to improve the chances your app development process succeeds.
1. Make Sure Your App Idea Is Original
At Foonkie Monkey, we are always open to hearing about new ideas for apps.
On average, we receive 3 app ideas per week, or about 12 per month. Of those, however, approximately 10 already exist in one way or another.
Unfortunately, we have seen very interesting projects halt or change their objectives because creators fail to research whether their idea or concept already existed on the market.
It is imperative that you conduct extensive research to make sure your app idea is original. Google your concept, search on different app stores, and research products that serve international markets to ensure that your idea is legitimately unique.
Good research can both save you a lot of money and give you a better overview of the market. It can even give you new ideas for how to differentiate your app from similar offerings.
2. Consider If a Responsive Web App Is a Better Fit for Your Idea
Before you develop a mobile app, make sure it is necessary for your company to create an app rather than a mobile responsive website.
Users have a finite amount of storage on their mobile devices, which means they are selective about the sorts of apps they choose to download. So, to convince users to download your app, you need to offer something they feel they need to have on their cellphone.
Apps that succeed are those that change user behavior to the point that people feel they need your app to operate regularly.
For example, Waze is a totally indispensable application because it changed user behaviors. This also applies to your bank or health-provider apps.
If your app is not indispensable to your users, it might be worth it to instead invest in a responsive website.
A mobile responsive site also provides information about your company and a mobile user experience. They don’t, however, require users to sacrifice much storage on their phone. They also tend to be cheaper to develop than a mobile app.
3. Pay Attention to User Experience
User experience is vital for mobile applications. An app that is not intuitive or does not provide users with the experiences they expect is doomed to fail.
To ensure your app’s UX meets user expectations, your entire development team needs to be involved with the development process.
We recommend that your company has meetings that include UX experts and programmers directly involved in a UX problem. This allows you to brainstorm solutions according to their impact on user experience and logistics of the development process (time, cost, functionality).
A better user experience guarantees a better product, which is beneficial for the whole team. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to be flexible and understand that a negative impact on the project (adding more functionalities, and therefore more work) also affects the company and the team.
Our general opinion is that the simpler the solution, the better everything will be.
For example, adding more features generally reduces usability and delays the development schedule. So, in this case, ask yourself if it is worth it to delay your development process for this particular improvement.
4. Keep It Simple
Adding more features to your app is not going to make more users download it. Instead, more features often increases development time and the possibility of bugs.
Users are not explorers: They use your app for its core functions. Focus on making those really good, at least in your first iteration.
If you experience success, in later versions, you can include additional interesting features.
And believe me, there will always be interesting topics to improve after the first stage.
5. Devote Ample Time to Quality Assurance and Testing
Your app-testing team is a fundamental part of the app development process.
They should have enough time to review the application from top to bottom and check for bugs. Ideally, this process entails conducting multiple tests until no bugs are found.
The problem is that in most development schedules, only one round of tests and corrections are offered or considered.
As a rule of thumb, you should spend a minimum of 30% of the time it takes to develop for testing your app and ensuring your corrections are effective.
6. Include Marketing in Your Budget
Developing an app is not cheap. It has happened to us on several occasions that customers fail to consider a marketing budget in their original plans.
A marketing budget is crucial, though, to ensure more than just friends and family download your app. At Foonkie Monkey, we have a digital marketing team that publicizes our development products in the most cost-effective way possible.
Your marketing budget depends on your target customers and the value proposition of your application.
Although not all companies can afford an in-house marketing team, publicizing an app always requires some investment. So, consider your app marketing options when forming your project budget.
Research and Focus on Users to Avoid Headaches During App Development
Developing a mobile app is an incredibly complex process that can involve a number of headaches.
To reduce the stress involved in this process, ensure your app concept is original, relevant, and necessary.
Research is key to this process. The more research you do before you start your development project, the better your app will be.
Always keep users in mind during development. Your app needs to provide a real solution to users' problems and stand from other apps on the market.
Finally, although budget is always limited, make sure you invest in marketing. People need to know about your app before they consider downloading it.
About the Author
Carlos is the CCO of Foonkie Monkey and runs the company's art department.