Jan 31 2018

Top 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your First App

So, you’re pretty sure you’ve got the next million dollar app idea and can’t wait to get started? We’re just as excited as you are! But building an app is no small endeavor. Avoid these four common mistakes for your first app building experience to go as smoothly and successfully as possible.

    1. Forgetting Your End-user

While it’s tempting to make an app that does everything for all people, it’ll flop if that’s your goal. An app that is lightweight, simple to use, and solves a problem for your ideal end-user will be your money-maker. Before you start, be honest with yourself and your idea. Sketch out your ideal app user by determining their basic demographics — age, gender, location, etc. Then, answer a few crucial questions:

  • Is this solving a problem for my end user? What is the essential reason that someone would download this app?
  • Could I explain the concept and how to use the app in just a couple of minutes? To my grandma?
  • In what context would my end user interact with the app?
  • What platform is your end user using?

Once you have these answers established, tape them up somewhere where you can see them. Getting too far off this track will leave you with an app that will be cumbersome, confusing, and a a dud in the marketplace.

  1. Making Your App Requirements Too Big

You’ve sketched out your ideal user and you know exactly what they need in an app. In fact, you have it down to the detail, and compiled it in a very lengthy, single-spaced document for your developer. Unfortunately, your developer is going to give you some bad news. Not only can an idea of that magnitude not be completed in a timely manner, but often the app never gets started, or even worse, sometimes never gets finished.

To avoid this, aim for the minimum viable product (MVP) of your idea. Another way to define MVP is minimum usable product. You’ll know you’ve found your MVP when you’ve reached the simplest form of your idea that solves your ideal user’s problem and can also be monetized.

Usability is the key! Then, as your users interact with your app and provide feedback, you can edit and add according to what they’re saying. Your MVP gets you the biggest bang for your buck, while providing your customers a lightweight app with updates that are responsive to their needs.

  1. No Clear Business Plan

Whether you realize it or not, building an app is an entrepreneurial pursuit. You are creating a product that you have to release and sell. Just like starting a business, it’s imperative to critically think through your app and how you’re going to make it profitable.

Before you begin with development, we highly recommend writing a business plan so that you’ll be optimized for success. An often underestimated step in an app-based business plan is preparation. Allotting time for pre-work like exploratory design, users studies, and user experience design (tasks designed for the user to produce clear paths toward success) will establish a solid foundation for the project, and help answer questions that could save time and money when it comes time to lay down code.

Writing a business plan will also help you answer those difficult questions such as:

  • Who is going to pay for the development?
  • Does your app have a viable market?
  • How are you going to market your app and acquire users?

This will help you to refine and test your idea as well as prepare you for launching your app.

  1. Relying Too Much on Third Party Frameworks

Now that you’ve got your target market, your MVP, and your business plan in place, you’re ready to begin. To save money, you’ve decided to rely heavily on a pre-built, cross platform framework and have your developers customize from there. That way your app will be able to work on Apple and Android products without having to pay to tailor it to either. While this looks logical and attractive, you’ll find whatever money was saved up front, will cost you in the end.

Once your app is launched, you’ll most likely notice that your third party frameworks often causes compatibility issues, introduces bugs, and has bad support. And, while your cross platform framework technically works, your app is actually fairly difficult to use in either platform.

Even if you manage to pull off a miracle using third party frameworks, Apple’s increasingly high standards could result in your app eventually becoming obsolete, or worse, removed from the marketplace completely. Recently, Apple set a new standard for apps and expelled all template-based apps from the App store. While they later offered a revision to this standard where small businesses could work around the ruling, you can avoid future hassles all together by going full native.

To avoid this frustrating experience, do your best to develop an app from the ground up in its native platform. You’ll find yourself with a much better user experience, less developer hours after the app is launched, and fewer headaches in general.  

Get the Help You Need From the Start

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, you’ll be set up for success for the launch of your dream app. However, sometimes you may run into hiccups or unforeseen difficulties. With our years of experience and depth of expertise as a mobile app development company, we can navigate you and your product to a successful launch in the app store. Don’t hesitate to contact us — we’d love to work with you!

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