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App development mistakes that will kill your chances of success

In late 2018, the two leading app stores each had about 2 million apps available for download. Navigating in this multitude is getting increasingly difficult, as any app is going to have dozens if not hundreds of analogs that do more or less the same, are called similarly and often look alike. It is no wonder that 75 percent of users fail to return to the app the day after the first use – there are just too many alternatives vying for their attention. If an app isn’t absolutely perfect, if it doesn’t speak directly to your users, they are not going to return to it. They will find something just as good or better in a matter of seconds. When competition is so savage, even a small mistake can leave your app dead in the water. In such a situation, success is often tied not to performing the intended function of the app better than anyone else does but avoiding making the same mistakes as your competition. In this article, we will cover some app development mistakes that will surely lead to failure.

1. Not investing in security

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If your app achieves any kind of popularity, somebody is going to try to hack it sooner rather than later. It doesn’t matter if you believe your app doesn’t deal with any kind of sensitive or important information – you have to protect your clients’ information, the data they send and receive and the app itself from tampering. All messages that go through the app should use AES/SSL/TLS encryption, and it should be arranged end-to-end, meaning that every message is encrypted before sending and decrypted only after it is received, without getting repacked in transit.

2. Neglecting bandwidth optimization

In app development, the goal is not to develop an app that will be the best at doing its job but the one that will balance out results and resource consumption. Your app may be better than anything else on the market, but it won’t matter if it eats up most of the user’s bandwidth and only works under optimal conditions. He will prefer an app that delivers poorer results but has humbler appetites. Even today, most users don’t have a broadband connection 100 percent of the time, and an app that performs when connection is perfect will soon start driving users away.

3. Not paying attention to battery consumption

Battery life is one of the major concerns of any smartphone user. It doesn’t matter how good an app is, if it is found guilty of quickly draining batteries, users are going to look for more energy-efficient alternatives. During app development, pay attention to how the energy is used and where it goes. The most important reasons why apps turn into battery drainers are unnecessary background activity, constant refreshing, and reliance on geographical location. This is something you should keep in mind from the very beginning. When you choose a platform or infrastructure to build an app around, look at the ways their providers try to reduce battery consumption.

4. Overcomplicating design

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In their effort to make their app unique and recognizable, some developers go overboard and overload their apps with unnecessary functions, complicated design solutions, superfluous menus and suchlike. More often than not, this approach repels users, who are usually more interested in the app doing its job than in any kind of unique design decisions. So make sure your app can be used without any hassle and doesn’t require a lengthy tutorial to get into. Users these days are too impatient for this kind of thing – they are more likely to go off and look for something else if the app’s features aren’t immediately obvious.

5. Not maintaining after-download engagement

As we’ve already said, 75 percent of users never use an app after trying it out for the first time. This means that if your application fails to engage a first-time user immediately, he is doubtful to get back to it. One way to rectify the situation is to create a plan for after-download engagement to maintain a constant connection with the user. This can be done with the help of real-time alerts and notifications – they are rather easy to implement and do an excellent job of reminding users that the app is still there and can perform its function even if it isn’t currently open. Send your users engaging messages and remind them that you are there.

6. Not keeping scalability in mind

Apps that really go global and acquire millions of concurrent users are relatively rare, and one of the reasons why it is so is that app developers often underestimate the appeal of their creation. The last thing you want to happen is to have your app achieve great popularity only to realize too late that you don’t have the infrastructure to ensure speed and availability for the required number of users or for the users from regions you didn’t originally expect to be attracted to the app. This means that during app development you have to keep scalability in mind before the need for it arises, lest you lose your big chance. To achieve this, you need global coverage and redundancy: that is, multiple data centers your users can connect to irrespectively of where they are and sufficient failover to ensure stable performance even if the number of users grows or one of the points of presence fails.

7. Not making your app compatible with different OS versions

Although it usually seems that most people do everything to obtain the latest model of a smartphone and OS as soon as they appear, there is still a significant minority of those who use older models and OS versions. If your app doesn’t support their hardware and software, you automatically exclude them from your potential users and send a signal that you don’t care for your community enough to provide backward compatibility. It is especially noticeable for the apps that drop support of older OS versions after an update — your loyal users may suddenly find out their smartphones are no longer able to use your app. If this happens, it is unlikely that they are going to get a new one just to accommodate you — more likely, they will find an alternative for your app.

8. Going monolithic rather than modular

Monolithic app architecture is self-contained – all its components are interconnected and interdependent. Modular structure presupposes many isolated microservices that work independently. The latter makes your app more scalable and failure-proof because if one element doesn’t work as intended, it can be isolated and worked on without endangering the rest of the app.

App development: Get it right

Of course, many other things can go wrong when developing an app, but we believe that if you avoid the ones we’ve mentioned here, you are already halfway through to success.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Melissa Burns

Melissa Burns is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. She spends her time writing articles, overviews, and analyses about entrepreneurship, business innovations, and technology. Occasionally, she also conducts workshops and provides consulting services for young, but promising startups.

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