Few things can be more stressful—or as rewarding—as releasing a new app. After months of design and hard work you finally have a finished product, ready for the world to see. Unfortunately, no matter how hard a development team has worked, an app’s success is by no means guaranteed.
Competition from other apps, user preferences, and market trends can all impact how successful a release is. In spite of this, there are several things a company can do to increase the odds of success.
Know Your Customers
Properly understanding your customers—both existing and future—and understanding exactly what they want and expect in an app can go a long way toward ensuring your app gains the traction it needs to be successful.
For companies who are entering a market and trying to secure potential customers, studying existing apps in their target market can help paint a picture of what users want. What are customers saying in app reviews? What features do they like? What are the pain points? What features would they like added? Knowing the answers to these questions can help a company enter a market with a product that stands out enough to gain attention.
Companies who may already have an app or apps on the market, but are looking to expand their offerings or release a major new version, performance monitoring analytics can provide valuable insights into what users want. Understanding how users are currently interacting with your company’s existing apps can help you understand what features are being used the most and what parts of your existing app are causing frustration—all of which can be used to help make the next release—or the next app—even more successful.
Follow User Interface Guidelines
One of the biggest mistakes some companies make—especially those new to mobile development—is thinking they can take a desktop application and merely shrink it down to provide a mobile experience. Unfortunately, what works well on the desktop, complete with mouse and keyboard, rarely translates to a positive mobile experience.
Android and iOS both have user interface guidelines that outline the overall theme developers should work within. For example, Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for iOS place emphasis on Clarity, Deference and Depth, specific techniques to ensure that information stands out and that the user can easily navigate your app. Similarly, while early versions of iOS featured skeuomorphic design—where icons and interfaces looked like real-world items—more recent versions emphasize a flatter, more modern look.
While these principles can and should be applied to desktop development as well, they are far more important within the confined space that mobile operating systems provide. In addition, while many users are tolerant of legacy interface styles on desktop computers, they are often more exacting about how the apps on their mobile device look and operate.
Choose Your Release Date Carefully
When it comes to app releases, not all days are created equal. For business apps, early to midweek may be a better time as users are more heavily involved in business activities and more likely to be looking for a pertinent app. In contrast, games, entertainment and reading apps see more use during the weekend, making this a better time to promote an app’s release.
In contrast, when looking to release a major update—especially to a mission-critical application—it might be prudent to choose one of the slower days to help minimize disruption for the end user. Nothing will sour customers’ views faster than a release that disrupts their workflow at a critical juncture.
Engage Your Customers
There’s an old saying that ‘no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.’ The same principle holds true for mobile applications. We could adjust that saying to: “No one cares about your app until they know you care about them.” In other words, many customers will consider a developer’s track record of support—as evidenced by the feedback and comments in reviews—when evaluating whether to spend time, energy, and money on an app.
This makes it imperative to engage with your customers at every step of the way. Have a feedback system in place that makes it easy for customers to share information, requests, insights, and concerns as quickly as possible. Similarly, mobile performance monitoring tools can help you see issues customers may be experiencing before users are aware that an issue even exists. Performance monitoring tools give you the opportunity to proactively address issues and generate tremendous brand loyalty.
Nothing in life is guaranteed and nowhere is that more true than in the realm of mobile development. However, with careful planning, adherence to guidelines and customer engagement, your company can greatly increase the odds of success. Take Embrace for a test drive to see the advantages a complete monitoring platform provides.