Top 3 Mobile Application Development Mistakes to Avoid
Top 3 Mobile Application Development Mistakes to Avoid
21 April 2022
Building mobile apps is an exciting journey. However, it’s a road strewn with peril for those who pay no attention to the potential pitfalls. Before you decide to add an app to your existing service or product, you want to pay attention to these three mistakes in the pre-production and development phases of your app project.
Not doing the proper research
You’ve heard this one before. But what does research really mean? First of all, make sure to find out if your app will solve a problem. The golden rule of marketing is: “If you provide a solution to enough people, you can have everything you want.” So the next step is discovering if your audience needs your app idea to solve their problem.
The second big discovery is how to approach your target audience. What are their specific needs? What’s the (metaphorical) language they speak? Where can you find them? Finding or building a community that will get engaged with your app demands extensive research. It’s also essential to keep track of the trends — fresh mobile app ideas that are gaining momentum among users — because no one wants to build a new app that’s already behind the times when it launches!
The third part of the research process is discovering what goes into the investment of building an app. Obvious costs are overhead, material, and space, as well as operating a team. However, there are often overlooked expenses, like functional costs of third-party integrations. Examples of these are satellite-based geolocation services or payment processing gateways. When it comes to the design of elements, costs of app management, and marketing, it’s easy to drop important infrastructural costs from your planning, like server costs for small businesses. But all these add up and, together, can cause financial strife before your app gets off the ground.
Not paying attention to testing and iterating
“No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” This bit of 19th-century military wisdom also applies to app development. Reality checks and iterative development processes are a must in any industry, especially in times like these when many industries are overcrowded with products. That’s why it is important to start with a prototype that can be tested and adapted in an iterative process.
Prototyping methods and purposes are well known. The primary goal is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) to test with your audience. This practice helps development teams avoid feature creep, which is overloading your app with “cool” features that no one will use.
The best example is early text processor apps, which became bloated with features that didn’t matter to 90% of typical users. In your app, although some features might be cool, or others could save time, they’re unnecessary if users aren’t looking for a cool factor or don’t need to save more time. Whenever users don’t understand a feature, have trouble accessing a feature, or don’t need a feature to solve a real-world problem, then those features are a burden on your product.
That’s another reason testing is a must. When testing, it’s important to know what kind of feedback to ask. Prototype testing is best done with the help of experts because they are experienced with abstracting the rough state of the product. It’s also critical to determine which technical testing factors you want to emphasize, and which you might want to avoid because they go beyond the original scope of your app.
Focusing on creating that minimum viable product is essential because it allows real-time tests with actual users. This is a golden opportunity for app designers – and disregarding feedback from early testers is one of the biggest mistakes app developers can make. However, tests need to be carefully designed; otherwise, feedback is not easy to read. Remember, the target audience can point to a symptom, but rarely will they have the deeper technical insights needed to detect the root of a problem. Those deeper diagnoses are easier to make if the tests are meticulously designed to reveal the functionality or potential vulnerability of specific app elements.
Not considering challenges facing the team and the development process
The driving force behind production of the app is always the team. In a modern business environment, a team is much more than a group of skilled individuals; it also includes operational strategy. What development approach should you select — agile or waterfall? What is the workflow of the project? How is the project managed, planned, monitored? How are the costs and risk management handled?
First, of course, you want to make sure that whatever development path you choose, your people have the top tools needed to develop an application from scratch. Your choice of tools will depend on (a) your development approach and (b) new capabilities, software, and dev tools introduced to the market. So, together with your experts, take these into account as you plan. Failing to consider the latest tools can overly complicate your process, increase development time, increase costs, frustrate your dev team, and cause you to lose ground to competitors.
Then, there is the critical issue of assembling your app development team.
For example, very few businesses understand the power of distributed software development teams. Not all outsourcing solutions are created equal, and the organizational style of the team you select can make a difference to your costs and outcome.
Traditional remote teams are usually entangled in hierarchical structures. Decisions are made slowly, with higher-ups overseeing every step of development. Even the best iterative agile plans can collapse under the weight of an inflexible centralized decision process.
This is why there has been such growth in distributed teams. Distributed teams are all about delegating most decision-making to the team itself. Ultimately, this approach leads to better performance, as the agility of the development process is preserved. Decision-making is shared so that critical decisions can be made by experts who understand emerging issues best.
Distributed teams are often less expensive, more easily scaled, risk resilient, and provide enough staffing flexibility to satisfy the ever-growing need for more developers and other key roles, giving any company a large pool of talent from which to draw.
Mobile app development is a process that needs to be carefully approached. Advance planning to avoid potential pitfalls can save a lot of money, time, and effort. With careful preparation and a great team, your app development process is on much firmer ground and puts your app on the path to success.