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5 popular myths in mobile app developmentYakup Kalin
Mobile apps don’t need any introduction. They are here to help us communicate, buy things, do financial transactions and even keep little toddlers quiet. When we look at the number of apps available in leading app stores (as of 1st quarter 2018), we can see that there are nearly 3.8 million apps available in the Google Play store and 2 million apps in the Apple App Store. When we combine those two, that’s nearly the same amount as the population of Denmark! And that’s not even counting other popular app stores in countries like China.
Before an app gets on the app store, it obviously needs to be developed first. That’s where a mobile app developer shines. The mobile developer produces the code necessary to build and launch the app on the app stores. Once it’s launched, the mobile developer grabs a cocktail, sits back and finally relaxes.
Well unfortunately, that’s not how it goes. Mobile app development has its own pitfalls and myths that often cause misinterpretation of mobile app development. To help you avoid these, we carefully selected the 5 most popular ones here.
1. Once the mobile app is launched, you can sit back and relax.
This is one of the most overseen myths of them all. Once the app is out there, you can sit back and relax with your mojito. Nothing is more false than this. The hard work starts right after you launch your app(s). To keep your app relevant, you need to keep engaging with your audience by gathering feedback and insights such as usage statistics. Are your users actually using all the features of the app? Do they experience any hassle? Is the app (still) compatible on the devices they’re using (software and hardware)? Even after iOS/Android updates? By keeping an eye on those insights, you’ll be able to keep finetuning your app to your users’ needs.
If not, users will abandon or even delete your app. According to data from analytics firm Localytics nearly 1 in 4 people abandon mobile apps after only one use. Besides that, 77% of users never use an app again 72 hours after installing. This proves how crucial it is for app developers to stay in touch with their audience and gather usage and valuable insights.
2. Mobile app development is only about writing code
Another popular myth in mobile app development is the myth that app development is only about writing code. The fact is, before you even get to type one letter of code, you need to consider a couple of other crucial steps. One of them is the validation and testing of your idea or concept with end users. You’ll also need to identify the so-called non-functional requirements, such as…
- Will the app support offline mode?
- Which devices with which resolutions will we support?
- Are you considering a multilingual app?
- Are you going to do any third party integration (backend, API, security, …)?
Once you finally get to the coding part, you need to validate and keep the defined OS and UX guidelines in mind to ensure a usable mobile app. This means recurring UX/OS investigations and close collaboration with UX and UI designers. Another aspect during development which can be (very) challenging, is the part where you decide on frameworks and other technical choices. Will you go full native? How about mobile web apps, those are cheap, right?! Should you go for React or Ionic? Will a cross platform framework like Appcelerator Titanium do the job?
A lot of developers do face these questions. The interesting part here is that you need to ask those questions the other way around. Instead of letting technology decide your solution, your solution needs to decide your technology. In other words, you need to choose the right tool for the right job based on their pro and cons. You can check this presentation we published which will give valuable insights on how to choose the best mobile tools in this scattered mobile landscape.
Once done coding and testing internally, you need to package, beta test and distribute your app along with a marketing strategy to ensure that you launch your app in a well-thought-out manner. And remember: after launching your app, don’t lean back and grab your mojito. There are still some crucial things to do: see the first myth. 😉
3. The more the features, the better the app
Quality is more important than quantity, which also applies to app features. It’s a dangerous misconception to think that more features deliver more value for users. If you create an app with a lot of features to do everything for everyone, you’ll end up with an app that’s overly complicated and completely unusable. Besides increasing your time-to-market, you’ll be also investing in features nobody probably wants. To avoid this, you should always validate features and concepts with end users.
You can do this by setting up a User Story Mapping or doing a more advanced Product Design Sprint (we call this a S.T.O.R.M.) where you go from a (business) idea to end user validation in merely 5 days. If this sounds interesting to you, you can learn how to do that here.
4. Anyone can create a high-quality application
Anyone can create a mobile application, but not anyone can create a high-quality application. It’s the same as building a house. Some engineers might cut corners (hopefully not literally, though) to keep the price low and build you a house that does the job in the short term. But after a while, you’ll notice the cracks and experience issues. The biggest problem then is that you’ve already moved in and started your life there.
It’s the same with mobile app development. Do you want to start or build your business on something that won’t deliver the value for you (and your business) in the long term? Just like in a cheap house, you might notice some ‘cracks’ in your cheaply developed app after a while. Have the developers thought about the non-functionals of an app? How about the code quality? Is the app secure enough? And – here it comes – how does the app cope with privacy and GDPR?
Preventing issues is better than fixing them. Invest in developers that will support you and your business in the long term and help you reach your goals.
5. Mobile App Development has a fixed cost and strict timeline
Last but certainly not least, the myth about the cost and the timeline of a mobile app. As stated above, the mobile app development process consists of multiple crucial steps, such as analysis, design, development, release and measurement. Those steps can all expand or shorten your predetermined timeline. Since you’ll also be getting feedback from your end-users, the chance is (very) high that you’ll be considering eliminating or adding features. This will introduce a significant impact on your cost and time.
Does this mean that you’ll never know the cost and timeline? Well, if you go for an agile approach, you’ll definitely get a cost and time indication of a MMP (Minimal Marketable Product) which will help you define your budget. This approach will also give the possibility and flexibility of steering your mobile app to usefulness in a very organized way.
It’s important to know there are a lot of (other) myths out there in mobile app development that could lead you to misconception. We might write another blog post about those, but for now we tried to list 5 of the most popular myths out there for you to keep in mind when developing a mobile app.
Did you experience one of those myths yourself, or do you have any questions regarding one? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll be glad to answer them!