Don’t have the time to sift through all the do’s and don’ts of a mobile app? Not sure what works best for what you want to do? Regardless of your product/market fit, the problem you’re trying to solve, or your business case, the following quick tips apply to all mobile app experiences.
1) Don’t forget the data
Be it Localytics, Google Analytics, Flurry, Mixpanel, or whatever may work for you, don’t underestimate the importance of analytics. While both Apple and Google will give you basic download information from each store (Google is a bit better; it sends you crash data), that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Even at the bare minimum of what they can offer, services like Crashalytics and New Relic can help you be proactive about issues. Tracking screen flows and session times give you insight to basic app usage, with custom events allowing you to dig deeper to answer specific questions. You should have KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and hypotheses you want to check, and analytics is the way to give you the data you need.
2) The customer’s always right
This age-old adage holds more true in the AppStore than it does anywhere else. When it comes to customer feedback, being able to make tweaks before your app is live is invaluable. You can try your best to respond rapidly to your app once it’s it’s in the wild, but a few bad reviews are enough to crush you. Users aren’t forgiving. Especially when it comes to usability. Use services like usertesting.com or post on Craigslist to get people to come in person.The point is that you need people who don’t know your product to use it before it’s ready for the masses. You may think an icon makes sense or a feature is the right solution, but the more usage you get in a beta stage, the better. By the same logic, don’t go underground for months and produce what you think is perfect. You’ll have wasted your time when you realize your customers’ needs have changed.
3) Don’t start with all the bells and whistles
Have an idea? Great. Keep it simple. Build and iterate. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your app won’t be either. Be realistic with your approach. Use BaaS (backends as a service) like Kinvey or Google App Engine, and hack stuff or do things manually vs building custom as needed. It’ll help you spend less time and effort up front so that you can make changes accordingly without burning all your time and money on V1.
4) Know the difference between iOS and Android
Know the patterns. Know the different user expectations. Know that a native method in one OS is different than the other. You started on one platform, learned a lot, and want to go to the other? Great! But don’t just port your iOS design to Android or vice versa– know the differences, or the reviews will be merciless.
5) Don’t make your app difficult
Does your app require a lot of sign up steps to get in? I’m uninstalling. Does it have a 10 screen tutorial or 5 different things I need to learn to use your app? Uninstalling. Does it crash the first 3 times I open or when I try to use the main functionality of the app? Uninstalling. Does it make me do 3 taps when 1 would be sufficient? Uninstalling. Does it need my credit card number and unborn child’s first name? Uninstalling!! Mobile users have a short attention span and aren’t too forgiving. Anything and everything can get in the way of that first experience, and while your download count could be high, actual usage will plummet if you frustrate the user out of the gate. It shouldn’t be hard to use your app.
As simple as these tips may seem, it’s easy to lose sight of things when you’re so preoccupied with your app’s development and launch. The key is to remember that what might seem great and simple to you could easily seem frustrating and difficult to someone else. After all, it is your app. Just keep these tips at heart when developing your app and you’ll keep it away from the AppStore junkyard.
Filed under: Product Engineering | Topics: app development, mobile apps
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