However, mobile development is a complex process with many pitfalls that pose a grave danger for those who come unprepared. The average app can cost $40,000 – $100,000+ and takes almost 18 weeks to publish. Those two figures alone should be enough to convince you that it pays off to properly plan your mobile application development and familiarize yourself with all top 3 pitfalls of mobile application development described in this article.
1. Over-PromisingThousands of new mobile apps are being released every single day, with only a handful of them ever gaining any significant traction. Backed by venture capital, overzealous developers often promise features they, at the end of the day, can’t or are unable to implement.
Users have gotten used to this and developed a keen intuition for spotting empty promises, and companies who indulge in them get mercilessly bashed on social media sites like Reddit and Twitter. The last thing you want is a negative marketing even before you have a chance to launch your app.
The solution is, as always, simple: focus your marketing efforts on the key features of your app and, if you can, over-deliver on launch. It’s always better to let users discover what extra things the app can do rather than risking bad reviews. You can always introduce additional features with subsequent updates, which also serves as a nice segue into the next point on the list. The term MVP – Minimal Viable Product is tossed around the development industry frequently, however challenge yourself to consider a CVP – Commercially Viable Product. A CVP is required to compete in a fast-paced industry where STM (Speed To Market) can make or break an idea or company.
2. Letting Your Apps Sit StaleMany see the release date as a finish line after a long and often strenuous run. In reality, the initial development phase is more akin to a months-long preparation before stepping on the stage of the Mr. Olympia competition. A few slip ups and your entire effort could go to waste. And if you want to enter the stage again the next year, you better do what you can to become even stronger.
Both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store have many long-term apps that have remained popular to this very day. The continuous effort of their developers has been helping them keep pace with OS updates, releases of new design guidelines, and requests from the users.
On the other hand, both app stores are filled with apps that were once incredibly popular but fell into obscurity due to lack of updates. App companies need to budget for continuous improvements and updates as Apple and Google can update their respective OS’s without much warning. Failing to comply could render your app useless. In order to stay relevant, expect to spend money on ongoing app maintenance and new features. More often than not, simply listening to what your users say about the app is enough to give you a good general sense of direction as to where your app should be heading.
3. Spreading Yourself Too ThinIf you look at Wikipedia’s list of mobile phone features, you’ll quickly realize just how much has mobile phone development evolved over the past 10 years. And if you consider where the industry is heading, it will become clear that the average mobile app of today will likely have little in common with the average mobile app released another 10 years in the future.
The growing complexity of mobile app development boils down to one thing: it’s impossible to have it all. During a conference meeting, it’s easy to throw in features such as push notifications, cloud synchronization, multi-OS support, and many others, but it’s usually much harder to implement all of them in a timely manner and without exceeding the budget.
Instead of asking yourself “How can I build an app that takes advantage of all these cool things?” as Julian Mellicovsky puts it in his blog post, try to get in the mind of your users and focus on solving their most painful problems while prioritizing most-wanted features. This will prevent your app from becoming bloated and overly complex.
Use a similar approach to streamline the user interface and user experience. Focus testing is a great way how you can keep your own design sensibilities from intervening with what your users want and like to use.