App fatigue is a real issue. The app gold rush of the late noughties and early teenies has left a surplus of sub-par apps, tools and games that haphazardly litter the App and Play Store. Users these days have to dredge through dozens of identical tools and applications with varying degrees of UX or actual usefulness. Sadly, there’s no real way to spot a bad app from a good one, unless you actually download the thing and clutter your precious phone with a potentially problematic app.
How do you make sure that your app endeavour isn’t relegated to the ranks of redundancy or poorly put together platforms? Well, that’s what we’re here to help with. Hopefully our expert insight will help guide you on your development journey, and make an app worthy off app-lause.
There are 3 golden rules when it comes to any run of the mill development process:
- Test again!
Sadly some unscrupulous individuals and developers skip rules 1 through 3 altogether. It’s not necessarily their fault; there might be a lack of resources or tough time constraints which turn crucial user testing into an afterthought, but the result is always the same - an inferior product is brought to launch and the users are left with a lacklustre app that’s fallen at the first hurdle.
We cannot stress how important testing is to the success of your app.
Testing isn’t just a case of simply giving your mate or significant other an invite to fiddle with your app on testflight. We’re talking about multi-device testing across different OS’s, makes and models, and using external test subjects either through remote sessions or conducted in-house. Be meticulous in your approach, and most importantly plan to test from day one. Develop in sprints and maybe even consider an agile approach where frequent assessment and evaluation forms the very core of the development cycle.
Don’t let confirmation bias or fear of feedback cripple your app before it’s even made it to the market. There is absolutely nothing worse than launching an insipid app that scares off users and potential downloads from the get go. Spot and fix those irksome issues before they’re spotted by your users.
Users will decay and drop off over time unless you give them a reason to stay engaged with your app. How many times have you removed a swathe of apps from your device because you never use them and need to free up some spare MBs?
If your app idea has frequency of use as part of its core function - e.g. a messenger app – this’ll be pretty easy. The rest of us will have to get creative. We have to keep finding touch points with our audience, be it through gentle push notifications, periodically adding features or just updating the design and UX. Plan the life cycle of your app, routinely update and improve it at the very least. Whatever you do, don’t leave your app to get uninstalled due to lack of usage.
“UI is like a joke, if you have to explain it, it’s not very good…”
Design is make or break for many apps. Some people can focus too much here - they know it needs to look great, and that’s all they strive towards. The problem with this is that the app can look great, but might not work all too well… Sure, the app needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but it also needs to have an intuitive User Interface that should be readily accessible to everyone. If you need to have a lengthy set of instructions on how to actually use your app then you’re creating a significant barrier to entry for all but the most persistent of users.
Using stand out calls-to-action, simplified menu structures or familiar action icons can drastically improve your apps ease of use. Pay attention to the initial usage features of some of your own favourite apps for inspiration.
Don’t forget to pay attention to potential formatting issues as well. Depending on the language your app is being viewed in, or the text size specified in a user’s phone settings, text can appear truncated or overlap certain elements. Ugly little oversights like this can really make a difference to your apps UX and overall success. It’s the minor details users pay the most attention to.
“If you build it, they will come” is a lie when it comes to app development.
Unless your idea is mind-blowingly revolutionary or is in fact the ‘Uber of <insert-service>’, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get inundated with downloads through word of mouth alone. To truly stand out from the crowd and ensure your app has some longevity, you need to market your app and generate some actual brand awareness.
PPC and advertising are an easy way to show clear ROI from your marketing efforts, but don’t forget about the obvious stuff like App Store Optimisation, social media sharing, email and encouraging in-app reviews.
Spend time interacting with users online, spend time writing an enticing app description and spend time putting together a screencast or demo video for the App or Play Store. All of this time spent will pay dividends in app downloads.
Measure & Improve
Measuring success is subjective. It’s up to you to decide your KPIs, but make sure you do it early on and clearly define what success looks like to your developers from the get go.
Downloads, emails, sales, whatever it is you’re looking to garner, make sure you have a decent measurement and reporting framework in place so you can track any potential triumphs or tribulations.
Download our guide “Secrets Of App Success” for more tips on building a better app for your business.