About 80-90% of mobile apps that appear in app stores lose consumers after a single use. Obviously, that’s a sobering statistic for hopeful companies launching what they want to be the next best app. Of course, that’s far from easy. For every Uber and Instagram, there are hundreds of thousands of competitors that failed.
So how can you make sure your app doesn’t become one of the majority that ends up in the failing category? Start by asking yourself these 10 questions.
1. Is your app solving a problem?
The foundation of any great application is identifying its purpose. Hopefully, you came up with the idea by identifying a problem. You will attract users to your product by demonstrating how it solves a problem that many people are experiencing. For example, dating apps help people find potential matches; the problem, of course, is that they have trouble meeting other single people in their area, and apps streamline the process.
2. Is your app unique?
Your app may be solving a problem, but it still may not be necessary if it’s not unique. To survive and thrive, it will need to provide something that other applications do not. If competitors offer the same features in their products, why should consumers turn to yours?
As part of your strategy, determine how you can differentiate your application from similar products. What features and fundamentals can you offer to make your application unique?
3. Do you understand your target audience?
For your app to be successful, you need people to download and use it. That requires understanding your target audience. You need to focus on the users you are trying to reach from the beginning, as well as their preferences, interests and needs. This will help you develop a product that appeals to them.
This involves market research. You will want to develop personas to consider how different users will interact with your application and what they are looking for in the product.
4. Have you evaluated your budget?
Application development can be expensive. Before you begin, be sure to develop a budget estimate. This will dictate the limitations of your product development. Whether you are using an external development team or creating the application in-house, you should establish monetary guidelines to understand what you can and cannot do.
This is also an important step if you are using a contractor. They will want to know your budget so they can determine the feasibility of the product.
5. Is your app easy to use?
In an effort to design a unique and attractive product, you could end up making it too complex. However, above all else, you should focus on making sure that your users can do what they need to do with your product, without any problems. Sacrificing a streamlined application experience for sophisticated and intricate features will result in a poor product, one that no one really wants to download or use because it is too complicated.
6. Is your app well designed?
Hand in hand with ease of use is strong design. This is where a user experience (UX) designer comes in. The UX designer focuses on how the user experiences and interacts with the application. This is not limited to visual design, but also involves micro interactions, such as pressing buttons or viewing animations, along with other elements.
The design of your application can also play a key role in the success of the product. Along with a product that is easy to use, consumers want an app that offers an attractive, enjoyable and engaging experience.
7. Has your app been tested?
This is a critical step that is too often overlooked. You must thoroughly test your application. Dedicated quality assurance (QA) experts must carefully examine your product, identifying as many bugs and defects as possible. In addition to detecting bugs, they will also evaluate important product qualities, such as usability, performance and functionality. This process is extremely important to ensure that you are releasing a high-quality product, one that is not riddled with bugs.
8. Have you differentiated between critical features and “nice to have” features?
One mistake that companies new to application development often make is not differentiating between features that are critical to the application and those that are not necessary, but nice to have. If you try to pack too much in, you’ll overwhelm and confuse users, not to mention stretch your budget, possibly beyond its limits.
To avoid falling into this trap, spend some time determining which features are really fundamental and critical to the product itself and which ones you can leave out. It doesn’t have to be forever, just until the base product has proven successful. In a future version, you can add other features.
9. Have you put effort into marketing?
Having a great product is only part of the battle. You could have the best application on the market, but if no one knows about it, it won’t be successful. Whether you do it in-house or hire an outside team, you must invest in marketing.
Marketers will generate excitement and hype about your app, making people aware of the product before it is launched. By using channels such as social media platforms, they will spread your message and get potential users excited about it. Remember to set aside money in your marketing budget, because you will likely need to invest in paid promotions such as Google and Instagram ads.
10. Do you offer support?
When your customers run into problems – and they will, no matter how many tests and quizzes you’ve run – you need to provide them with an easy way to resolve them. That usually means having top-notch customer service.
You should offer customer support within the application, as well as an FAQ section, a chatbot or an option to speak to a live specialist in real time. If customer service is hidden, difficult to access or non-existent, you are likely to have problems and end up with dissatisfied consumers, usually resulting in a poor product and brand reputation.
The mobile app development process is complicated, time-consuming and often frustrating. But you can reduce the complications and give your app a chance to thrive. Asking these questions won’t guarantee your app’s success – nothing can – but they will go a long way toward helping you solidify your strategy and ensure you don’t make avoidable mistakes.