Joe Dawson

Joe is the director of Creative.onl and oversees all of the design and technical work that we produce. Find him on Twitter.

You have a brilliant app idea and are excited about getting it developed. But how do you ensure you get everything right and give yourself a better than evens chance of succeeding?

Apple alone has some 2.2 million apps available for download. In Android stores there are around 2.8 million. Across the world, apps on all platforms are likely to deliver revenue in excess of $189 billion by 2020.  

Getting your mobile app perfect for the market, however, is a challenge and you need to plan smartly from the outset.

All to often, app businesses fail to do this properly or don’t understand what they are trying to deliver. 

To help out, here’s our list of the 6 most common mistakes you’ll want to avoid. 

1. You haven’t listened

To your app developer? Your designer? To your team? No, the biggest mistake new mobile app developers make is actually not listening to their users. 

You are obviously going to make your app for a specific audience. It might be a group of teenagers who love games. Perhaps it’s a certain sector of business where you hope to improve productivity. Or maybe you simply want to make life better for Joe Bloggs with an exercise app or online shop. 

A vital part of the development process is ensuring you understand your target market and are delivering on their expectations before you put together all those great design features. You can’t just assume you know all this. You have put in the effort to find out and nail your demographic down.

That means reaching out to your customers and really listening to what they have to say. They may be as excited as you about what you plan to develop. They may throw stones in the works and scupper your idea. They might even come up with suggestions as to how you can improve your app. 

In short, to succeed, your app needs to fit your market

2. Too much flash, not enough UX

With all the technology available, it’s easy to get carried away by the visuals. What creators of first-time mobile apps tend to ignore is that the user experience almost always trumps how great your product looks. 

For example, having visuals that take a long time to download before the customer can interact will ensure that a significant number will get frustrated and delete your app from their desktops. 

The trouble is that user experience issues can cost you a good deal. Bad news travels fast in the world of apps and if people start leaving negative reviews because your design is getting in the way of their experience, it can quickly impact on your reputation. 

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3. Too much too soon

No app ever really hits the market as a complete product. It’s important to develop a roadmap beyond the initial launch.

Most developers need to strike a delicate balance between what features are essential from the start and what can be added later to help keep users interested and connected to your product. 

This will, of course, depend on the type of app you are producing. If it’s one for businesses where you’re hoping to improve their productivity or an e-commerce shopping app, you’ll want to get as much available from the outset as possible. However, there is a benefit in holding some features back so that you can turn around and say: Here’s something new and exciting we’ve added for you now. 

Not only does this deliver new value to your app and refresh it in the user’s mind, it also maintains that connection which is vital for long-term success. 

4. Not using the right tech

If you’re looking to build an app from the ground up, there are plenty of different technologies that you have at your disposal. It’s important to stay current with this and actually use those tools because they can greatly reduce the time, effort and money you spend on development. 

Most app creators, for example, will want to get their product out on various platforms including iOS and Android. In the past, this would have involved using different techniques and coding to cope with each one. Creating a uniform experience across platforms could be a real nightmare. 

Nowadays you have tech available that can be deployed on multiple platforms. Making the right choice in tech is vital if you want to maintain continuity and reduce your costs. 

5. Not building a launch strategy

You’ve spent all that time and effort on building your app, testing it out and making sure it works properly. The one thing you’ve forgotten is your launch and marketing strategy

This is a big mistake that newbie app creators generally make. They focus so much in one area that they fail to realise that they have to put as much, if not more, effort into telling people about the app and encouraging them to download it. 

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That means having your app marketing in place before the app is ready to go to market. You need to create anticipation, get yourself noticed and take a whole host of other steps that will improve uptake. 

For instance, one thing that you need to understand is how to optimise your app when it’s displayed in stores. You’ll need to get a social media account up and running and reach out to prospective users. You may want to try some pay per click advertising to improve awareness or run a public relations campaign to get yourself in the mainstream media. 

6. Picking the wrong payment model

Finally, new app developers often fail to understand the payment model for their product. There are several options here and it’s important to choose the right one if you want people to download your app in greater numbers. 

  • Free: This is a good idea if you have a service or product but want to add value with a free app. For example, if you’re a supermarket and want to encourage food deliveries, producing a dedicated shopping app is a good idea. 
  • Free with ads: Games apps often use this model because they can earn revenue from advertising as well as offer their product for no cost to the consumer. Users can opt to play this way or buy to have ad free content. 
  • Freemium: This is where you have a mix of free content and premium which you have to pay for. An example would be a productivity app where some basic services are free but others not. 
  • Paid: You can decide from the outset to ask users to pay. Most mobile developers do this by having a ‘lite’ app so you can get a taster and a fully working app that requires a small, one off payment. 
  • Subscription: These look for a regular monthly or annual payment from the user. This model works for things like news apps or services that are regularly updated or continually providing services. 

While paying attention to these common mistakes doesn’t guarantee your success they should ensure you avoid many of the pitfalls other companies encounter and will certainly improve our chances of long-term success.

There’s a lot to consider when planning to release your first mobile app. If you’d like to have a chat about your development options, don’t hesitate to request a free consultation.

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Praise

“We recently engaged with Creative.onl to create our mobile apps, with which we are thrilled!”

Mark Crosby
Communications Director
Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland