Developing an app is not an easy task. Even if you have a team of experts on board, mistakes will likely happen. However, some mistakes are more critical than others can determine whether your digital business achieves success. In this article we’ll go over the most common app development mistakes as well as tips on how to avoid them.

1.Not Properly Researching The Users’ Needs

Mobile app development is no different than any other kind of development in that the research eliminates a lot of the guesswork. One of the most common mistakes business owners make is assume their needs are in line with their customers’ needs. Which is, more often than not, not the case. When you initially have the idea to build a mobile app for your business, your next instinct should be to do user and market research and validate that idea. Not to jump straight into application development.

Validating Your Product Idea

During this research you need to determine who is the target audience for your mobile app and try to describe this group in as much detail as you can (lifestyle, social status, interests, professional life etc.). When you have all that information in place, try to figure out what key problem will your app solve for those users. What is your Unique Value Proposition? During this phase of the project it’s very useful to use UX research tools or UX canvases, because they can guide you through this process.

2.Copying Your Web Or Desktop App

The next very common mistake is copying your existing web or desktop app and “packaging” it as a mobile application. That’s a big no-no when it comes to creating a smooth, enjoyable user experience. When you build an app you need to ensure it’s optimized for the specific platform you intended it for (iOS, Android, Windows etc.). App users are used to the interface of their operating system and so just copying your web or desktop product will create chaos. The app will not be usable and confuse the users.

3.Focusing On Too Many Platforms At Once

Similarly to the common mistake above, many companies try to launch for all platforms at once and make the mistake of not tailoring the user interface to the specific platform. If you want to develop a cross-platform mobile application you need to pay attention to the native features and elements of the interface and include them in your app.

Creating A Native-Like Experience

When working with technologies like Flutter, your development company or team will be able to make the app feel like a native app to the users because of the widgets and native components. However, if you fail to consider the differences in app design for different platforms it will very likely turn the users off of your app. The best way to avoid this mistake is to focus on one platform at a time and develop them separately, which, depending on your budget, might not be an option. If your budget doesn’t allow you to build separate native mobile applications, work closely with your design team and use user interface kits and design systems to include native elements in your design.

4.Adding Too Many Features And Functionalities

Another common mobile app development mistake we see is adding too many features to mobile apps. There’s still a lot of people who believe that the more features their mobile application has, the happier the users will be. But this myth was busted a long time ago. Adding more functionalities to your mobile app just for the sake of it is bound to create problems. Users will get overwhelmed and lost inside your app, consequently deleting it from their phones. So when developing an app you need to think about what the users need it to do and what they want instead of adding features left and right.

5.Designing A Poor UI / UX

Among the list of mobile app development mistakes, poor UI and UX is actually responsible for a lot of users simply deleting mobile apps from their devices. Design is one of the most crucial stages of the mobile app development process so to build a successful mobile app you need to either hire an excellent team of designers or outsource this to a software development company. One way you can avoid this mistake is by testing with the target users.

6.Wanting To Be Absolutely Perfect

In our Product Manager’s Handbook Series we talked about how achieving perfection is impossible when it comes to mobile app development. Not only that, it’s actually really hard to “get it right” with the first launch of your mobile app. And that’s what holds back a lot of people. They delay the launch or an update thinking they can get the mobile app to be perfect. But that’s just not something that any app developers can achieve. There’s always things that, even with extensive testing, you can’t be prepared for. And so it’s a natural element of the mobile app development process to make development mistakes that you will need to correct as you go.

7.Not Testing Properly

Speaking of making mobile application development mistakes – some of them can be avoided with proper testing and quality assurance. Among the most common mobile app development mistakes there’s insufficient testing. When developing a mobile application for any platform, you should plan tests along the project at different stages of development. Doesn’t matter whether you’re developing an app for your business to use in-house only or a huge app available to a large target audience on the mobile app market.

Conduct Different Types Of Tests

During the development process you need to test the app in various different scenarios, under different conditions and with representatives of the target user group. This way you can avoid issues you weren’t previously aware of. And some problems are really hard to detect without doing user research and testing. Things like accessibility issues, thinking patterns etc. which can greatly influence whether your app is actually a success.

8.Not Listening To User Feedback

Okay, so you’ve successfully launched your app but you, your developers and designers can’t sit back and relax. Creating mobile apps doesn’t end with the launch. Every app should be improved constantly and one of the best ways to find areas that need some tweaks is listening to user feedback. Surprisingly, not many app developers and app owners do this. A common app feature that can help you be closer to the users is a “feedback” tab as well as reviews on the mobile app market (Google Play, App Store and others). This way you will always get a steady stream of ideas for improvements and be in constant touch with the user’s needs.

9.Not Coordinating Development With Marketing

When building your mobile application one of the mistakes mobile app owners make is not coordinating the app development process with your marketing strategy and timeline. Because what’s the point of launching an excellent mobile app that no one will know about? That’s why you should have a marketing strategy ready and line up your marketing efforts with the development process to ensure you start marketing your app early and getting leads before the launch.

10.Tracking The Wrong Metrics

Next on the list of common mistakes we see mobile app owners make is tracking the wrong metrics. By doing this you can actually create a false sense of success and security, eventually slowing down your business’s growth. Lets the the number of downloads for example. If you’re just tracking that and see the number growing on each and every one platform – that seems great, right? Well, not necessarily. Because tracking this metric alone is not a realistic representation of the customer behavior. They might as well download your app and 5 minutes later delete it. That’s why besides the number of downloads you should also track your user retention, the customer lifetime value etc. If you’d like – here’s an article about top SaaS metrics you should be tracking.

11.Not Adapting To Market Changes

When it comes to mobile application development there’s another big, big mistake. And that’s not adapting to market changes. Similarly to not listening to user feedback after the launch, many mobile app owners don’t do additional market research after they have validated their app idea. But the market and its needs are constantly changing. Even with the pandemic you can see how quickly the market trends come and go. So keeping up with new research papers, reports and industry insights is the best way to ensure your app is evolving along with the overall market.

12.Poor Budget Management

Mobile apps often “die” because of poor budget management. Because, let’s be honest, developing a mobile app is neither quick nor cheap. Most apps that you see on the market today required hundreds of thousands of dollars at least for the owners to launch them. So when the budget is not managed properly you will run into issues when it comes to later updates, marketing, correcting mistakes etc. The best way to avoid this is to create a budget plan that’s as detailed as possible and strictly sticking to it. Of course, when it comes to developing a mobile app it’s really hard to anticipate everything, so your budget should also consider the unexpected issues, additional developers needed, setbacks etc. It’s really hard to create a budget like this so you might benefit from outsourcing your mobile app’s development to an outside agency.

13.Insufficient Communication During The Project

Mobile apps are made by people and then used by people. This means there’s always room for human error. And more often that not those errors occur when the teammates are not communicating properly. Sometimes there’s issues on which co-founder to listen to when they don’t agree. Sometimes there’s misinformation speaking like wildfire within the project team. The best thing you can do to avoid this, when working with an in-house team, is setting up communication processes and tools, onboarding everyone and setting a clear structure of communication.

Building An MVP To Avoid Miscommunication

However, if you’re working with an outside contractor to develop your mobile app and you’re worried they won’t get your vision and requirements, you can always develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) first. It will serve as a point of reference when building the actual app. Building an MVP and sharing it with the contractor’s experts ensures each developer is familiar with the concept and knows exactly what are the key features and objectives of the project.

14.Not Preparing For Updates

Most apps (Android, iOS and other) get regular updates. Some once a month, others once every 6 months. And it’s a natural part of all applications’ life cycle. However, sometimes the app developer doesn’t consider the need for updates, forgets about them, delays them or for whatever other reason just doesn’t push them out. And from the customer perspective it’s not great. Updates need to happen because they fix issues, bugs, improve the performance of the app and introduce new features. When working on your own app in the future or right now you need to start gathering customer feedback right away and create an update roadmap outlining the key updates and their features.

15.Choosing The Wrong Development Team

When it comes to mobile apps or any other applications for that matter, you can take three different routes to develop them. First, you can hire your own in-house specialists and onboard and manage them on your own. Second, you can pay an outsourcing company to find those people for you. And they will take care of all the employments processes, costs and the onboarding process. Lastly, you can hire a company that specializes in developing web, desktop or mobile apps (depending on your specific needs) and pay them to take the entire process of your shoulder.

Choose The Development Approach Carefully

Those three approaches all have their pros and cons which I won’t get into in this post. However, because there’s so many variables you can simply choose either the wrong specialists or the wrong company to partner up with. Applications of any kind are a complex thing to build. Consequently, the partner you choose to do build them with will greatly influence the outcome. It’s important to find a company that aligns with your values and objectives and has a tested process for developing apps so that you as their customer can feel safe and taken care of.

If you’re looking for an excellent agency to help you with you mobile app development (or with web or desktop development) – contact us and let’s get your project started!