Many companies are developing a mobile app for their customers to access their product, service, or content offering, and it’s no secret why. Mobile apps present many benefits.
For starters, the Android and iOS app stores provide a great platform for acquisition since they both have high levels of organic traffic. Customers that may not have known about a company can, therefore, find out about it when searching through an app store. Moreover, once a customer downloads an app, the app owner has more means of engaging with them, including push notifications, app software updates, and new functionalities that could interact directly with the customer’s smartphone.
However, too many companies rush into their app development efforts too hastily, and as a result waste a large amount of time and resources. These apps often have to be redeveloped from scratch either because the idea for the app was ill-conceived and not based on market needs, or because the app was built on outdated technologies.
These are the things that any business owner should consider before building a mobile app. Factoring them in early will save you a lot of time and sunk costs in the future.
1. Market Demand
Most companies developing a mobile app go wrong by not conducting rigorous market research before beginning development efforts. Intuition can be a wonderful tool. However, when assessing whether an app idea makes sense and whether there is actually a market that is willing to make the limited storage space on their phone available to use it, it makes sense to look at the data. Too many entrepreneurs or business owners get caught up in an enticing and romanticized idea for an app, without making sure that the data support their intuition.
When conducting market research for a mobile application, there are several things to take into consideration. A good first step is to create a profile of your targeted end-user demographics and conduct an analysis of that demographic.
In other words, determine who the ideal user of your app is as well as their characteristics, behavior, and interests. Platforms like Google Trends, your keyword research tool of choice, and market research software like Buzzsumo can be a good starting point. Be comprehensive in collecting data on your target users’ search queries, buying patterns, and needs.
The nature of your market research efforts will vary based on your company’s niche and the kind of product you’re building. Nevertheless, whatever the product is, adequate research is crucial.
2. User Experience Research
A good next step is to reach out to anyone in your network that matches the demographics of your target user. Ideally, this is someone that your app is a perfect match for who isn’t a friend or family member. Friends and family will tend to bring a positive bias towards your product when evaluating it.
Show your user tester wireframes or mockups of your app if you have them, and if you don’t, explain the functionality of the app in as much detail as possible. Take notes on their feedback, and be sure to include questions related to the business model of your mobile app. For example, if you plan to release a paid application, ask your tester if they would pay to use the app you have in mind.
It can be useful to employ a note-taking tool to streamline communication and ensure accurate notes.
3. Which Features Will Enable Monetization
You would be shocked by how often business owners ignore what is, perhaps, the most important part of building an app – how it will actually make money. Based on the feedback you’ve received from talking to potential users that are part of your target market, it’s time to determine which features need to be built into the application that will allow you to monetize it.
According to Digital Authority, out of every 10,000 apps developed only one will succeed. This is largely due to many apps not integrating functionality that will enable monetization.
If you plan to monetize your application by selling user data, for example, you have to make sure that your development team builds in ways to collect, house and organize that data. If you plan to sell the application to users, consider any payment gateways that must be built-in and verify if your price points are realistic with market demand.
If you plan to sell advertising placements on the app, consider what kinds of integrations or SDKs are needed to enable that. An additional step would be to contact potential advertisers and ask if there is any interest on their part in advertising on the app when it’s built. You will also get an idea of what kind of metrics you would have to meet in order to sell ads by speaking with advertisers beforehand.
4. Which Technologies and Programming Languages Will Be Used
A common mistake when building apps is using the wrong technologies and dependencies when developing the product. This can have dire consequences when distributing the app through an app store, making new updates, or introducing new features. The Apple and Android App Stores have specific requirements any app must meet when being uploaded, and building the app on unsupported technologies might mean it will get denied.
The Android App Store lists as one of its best practices that developers build software geared towards current versions of its operating system. Most of these requirements are demanded as a way for app store companies to ensure the quality of the products being offered on their platform. Most experienced mobile app developers should be familiar with these requirements, but you should be as well!
The Apple App store has its own set of best practices to consider before starting development.
5. The Cross-Compatibility of Different Technologies
Some other things to consider when choosing which technologies and dependencies to implement is whether the technologies used are cross-compatible for different operating systems. Certain programming languages are only supported on specific operating systems, while other languages and frameworks are deployable on multiple operating systems.
Finally, when choosing which tools to use for development, determine whether those frameworks will allow the code in the software to run natively on a user’s smartphone. Tools that allow for the implementation of native code will often mean the app runs more quickly. It also enables certain functionalities that are closely tied to a smartphone’s hardware.
Building an app isn’t easy, but with proper planning and research, it can be an amazing way for many business owners to capitalize on the trend towards mobile usage.
Author bio: This article comes from Marina Turea, content manager at Digital Authority Partners.