“People learn little from success, but much from failure” A Famous proverb amon the Arabs
It will not be an overstatement if we say that mobile apps are the modern way to become billionaires. You just have to work on your idea and boom money will follow. Mobile apps have captured our imagination (and our smartphones) in a relatively short time. There are around 5 billion smartphone users in the world right now and most of them are hooked on to one or other app. Having seen countless unicorns like Uber, Shopify, Airbnb, Snapchat in the past decade, it is obvious that you want to jump on to the app bandwagon. According to a report by Gartner, for every 10,000 apps, only one app can be deemed successful.
Don’t worry, as we have brought some simple steps and cautionary measures for you so that your app can be a part of the 0.1% elite club.Let’s start!
It is surprising to see that many app owners lack clarity regarding such a vital aspect. First, you need to identify (and verify!) the real-world problem that your app is trying to solve. Then analyze whether the market which you are targeting is big enough. There is no point of making an app for targeting a market which is either too small or even if it is big, there are not much paying customers in the market.
Cool features, fast loading times, great UI and loads of offers fail to attract users if your app does not solve any purpose. Hence give hard thought to your idea, because solid research about the user behavior is very important for building a good app. Many app owners fall into the trap of trying to make their app like the next Facebook or the next Uber, while it’s not bad to get inspired from your competitors, but a blatant copy won’t serve you well.
App owners suffer from something known as maker bias, they tend to think that the customer sees the product the same way that the app owners see it. Remember, you have spent countless hours in building the product from scratch, you will have a much better idea about the product than a user who has just installed your app.
Think from a user’s perspective, validate your assumptions about how the mobile app is being perceived by the user. For this you will need to conduct deep research regarding your users, this research will help you in identifying a user persona. User persona defines your ideal user for example for a sports app the ideal user might be a young male who frequents sports websites and reads sports-related news.
Note that there may be multiple user personas for your app, for example for a nursery rhyme app provisions must be made to include grandmas and moms as they would constitute an important user base.
Look for usage patterns by analyzing demographics and reviews posted by users on competing apps, conduct online surveys to know more about user preferences. Use data analytics tools to evaluate the data, conducting this exercise will benefit you by providing you with invaluable insights regarding your users.
Imagine a situation where your app starts crashing on an important feature. Your users won’t be too happy about it, and the ratings of the app will plummet. There is a way out, it’s called beta testing. Beta testing allows you the luxury of testing your app without too many risks.
Beta-testing is the process of testing your completed app with a selected narrow range of users before a public release. Google used beta testing to its advantage, Gmail was used internally by Google for years. Even when Google decided to release the service to the public, it was done in stages, by allowing only select users through invite-only route to experience the service at first.
Many app entrepreneurs get so excited by their app idea that they do not think that beta testing is necessary. The mistake proves to be death knell the app. Beta testing allows you to remove bugs, refine the UI and make the app more user-centric. A general guideline is to account for 20% of the beta testing period, meaning that if your app is going to take 10 months to complete, 2 months should be kept for beta-testing.
Taking continuous and constructive feedback is what differentiates a successful app from a failed one. In-app business(like any business!) it is of utmost importance that you listen to your customers. Ask for feedback from your customers, it is important because if you don’t ask for feedback proactively your customers might just prefer to leave. A report published on super office suggests that only 4% of customers complain about the service, the rest just leave! This can prove to be detrimental to your business.
Give too few app features and you won’t be able to attract a sizable number of users. On the contrary loading, your app with too many features will make the app big and data-heavy. Thus you need to maintain a balance between too many and too few features. A proper research on the user environment would give you a better idea of the ideal feature quantity.
Android and iOS are the two most popular platforms on which your app can be published. You need to select the correct platform to launch your app on, depending on customer preferences. For example:- Customers from the USA, Canada, and Australia prefer iOS over Android while customers from Russia, India and Latin America prefer Android over iOS.
(Image courtesy : https://deviceatlas.com/blog/Android-v-iOS-market-share )
The onboarding experience is the first interaction of the user with your app. Therefore, it is a must to have it smooth, as it will create a lasting impression on the customer. As is evident from the below-mentioned graph the onboarding experience has a huge implication on app retention.
When the onboarding experience is not great, the user experiences un-necessary stress while learning about the app’s features. This stress is detrimental to your app as your app will be deleted promptly if the learning curve is too steep. To solve this issue the following steps can be taken.
• Eliminate lengthy signup process by allowing for sign up through Google or social platforms like Facebook or Linkedin
• Reduce scrolling and make the app frictionless by providing most used features at the top of the screen
• Reduce the number of steps required in reaching each destination
• Use auto-fill to reduce the stress experienced while logging in to your app
• Make the onboarding process more interactive by including simple yet engaging games for the users in it.
The mobile app should not only look good, but it should also have that ‘X factor’. The app must feel good and for that, you will need to carefully craft a UX(user experience). There is no use of an app which has beautiful designs, is a charm to watch but a pain to use. The mobile app must be intuitive to use and easy to navigate.
It’s a red flag if your user needs to tap multiple times or scroll down to find the most useful feature every now and then. You must integrate search function into your app if it contains lots of features or information that needs to be searched. This feature will make the user’s life easy and hook the users on to the app. Imagine the pain you would need to go through if you had to go through n number of menus to search for that blue xl size jacket on an e-commerce website.
Another bugger of an issue is when the user fails to understand what that small blue icon (which is nearly invisible) does. Use the correct size of fonts and international conventions to signify features wherever possible. This will make the user experience more intuitive. There is no use of loading your app with features if your users cannot understand what these features do. For example:- do not use some strange symbol to signify your settings menu, a simple gear icon will do the trick.
Users are becoming more aware about data privacy. Cases of hackers stealing credentials from mobile apps are becoming common, and with the expose of cases such as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, users are weary to share un-necessary data with apps. With both Apple and Google making it mandatory for all apps to disclose explicitly the permissions required by them, the trust of your users is becoming a thing which you cannot take for granted. Even countries have started taking data privacy of their citizens seriously. The onset of GDPR(general data protection laws) enforced by the European Union is a shining example of this.
Honesty is the best policy here, ask for permissions like location, camera, and contacts only if your app requires it and mention explicitly how you would be using their data.
Leave no stone unturned while marketing your app, it is advisable to keep a separate budget for marketing your app. Your brilliant idea will easily find it’s a way to the graveyard if nobody knows about it. Make sure to use all the channels, whether social media, TV, radio to promote your app. Use innovative campaigns to create a buzz around your app, it is advisable to up the ante just a few days before the app launch.
Your app description on app stores is a crucial contact point of the user with your app. A user will look at the app description to know more about the app and decide whether your app is worthy of his/her time. Hence it is absolutely essential that the app description describes the benefits and features in a lucid manner. Make sure the description is as short as possible and covers the major features. You do not need to go into the details, explaining every little feature as this might make the app description long and boring to read. Include videos and snapshots of exciting features to pique interest in your app.
Finally it is advisable to have a holistic view regarding your business. Many mobile app owners fall into the developer mentality, they start thinking that their only goal is to publish the app on the app store and dollars would start rolling into their bank account. Remember that your app is just a part of the business and not “the business.” Like every business, you should take care of other aspects like marketing, human resource planning, managing finances and bypassing regulatory hurdles.