Building an app is a complex undertaking that most would consider to be in the domain of the uber technologically savvy.
But these days, as more and more companies offer their services through apps, it’s not uncommon for the tech layperson to find themselves playing a role in their development.
Whether you’re a business owner working with a development team to build an app for your company, or a developer creating your very first app, there’s a lot to learn about the entire process (read more about that here), including how to avoid the most common mistakes made during the app development process.
At Yeti, we’ve been designing and developing apps for over 10 years. Over those years we've been approached by hundreds of people needing help in fixing their botched apps. These are the 3 most common - and costliest - mistakes we see.
Not Starting With An MVP
There are a lot of app ideas out there - unfortunately, they won’t all go on to become successful products. Though it might not sound ideal, allowing your product to fail quickly in these cases is the safest route to saving you lots of time and money.
Developing a new product based solely on your own beliefs about what the market needs can be a dangerous misstep, so getting feedback on your ideas from potential users early on is essential. This is where your MVP comes in to play.
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, and it’s essentially a very scaled down version of your product consisting of only the most essential features. Your MVP is released to the public for the purpose of testing and validating your concept, allowing you to determine whether it has the potential to succeed.
If, upon releasing your MVP, you find that users are excited about your product, you can start working on a full production version of the product with some assurance that your final product will be successful.
On the other hand, if your MVP fails to make an impact on users, you might decide to pivot and take your product in a different direction - or you may realize that it simply isn’t a good idea to see it through to a full production version. In this scenario, the time, money, and effort saved is usually huge.
Failing to User Test
Developing an app is time consuming and costly, so before diving headlong into the process it’s crucial that you first make sure that the product you’re creating is one that people actually want and need.
Far too often we hear about apps that were created with the assumption that the features and design would be a huge success with users...only to be met with crickets upon launch.
User testing is the process of understanding the user's experience of your app, an app feature, or even your idea for an app. At the most basic level, it’s about testing and quantifying how someone uses or thinks about your product — which is often different than how you think they should.
User testing allows you, the product creator, to gain a sense of how real people will interact with your product. You can see what pitfalls they might encounter, their reaction to the layout and the colors - and you can determine if they view your product as something useful that they would actually use.
Continuously user testing throughout the development of your app will allow you to create an intuitive product that truly provides value to its users - and it will provide you with the ability to move forward with ideas, designs and features that work on every level, while avoiding countless hours on those that don’t match your users expectations.
Not Focusing on the User's Experience
Every day over 5000 apps are submitted to the app store. Some are successful, while many fail to thrive. What are the differentiating factors in these cases?
The truth is that creating a successful product isn’t just about building something that “works''. What users really want is an app that works well and feels good to use.
Having a positive experience with an app is the result of great UX (user experience) design.
UX design is all about optimizing your users' experience by understanding their needs, and creating an app that will allow them to meet those needs in the easiest and most pleasurable way possible.
A good test for determining whether an app has good UX design is how long it takes a new user to learn how to use the app proficiently - if they can start using the app quickly, without much guidance, then the UX has done its job.
Because good UX design is nearly invisible (people usually only notice UX when it creates a difficult experience), it’s common for people unfamiliar with the app development process to have a hard time understanding why they should spend the time and money on UX Design.
Aside from creating a positive experience for your user, spending time on UX Design:
- Ensures your product will attract and retain users
- Creates more revenue. Users are more likely to pay for something that meets their needs and is easy to use - and they’ll be more likely to recommend your product too.
- Gives you room to grow. UX design is all about knowing who your users are, helping you to anticipate and build for future needs.