Dan Woods posted an article on Forbes.com a few months ago discussing the ten most common mistakes made in creating mobile applications. If you’re thinking about developing a mobile app, the article is well worth reading. Here are some highlights.
The first common mistake is developing a mobile app without thinking about how the user will actually use it. When it’s your idea, it’s easy to have tunnel vision and think you know how everyone else will use with your app. That’s not always the case. You should do some testing during the early stages of development to make sure the user interface is intuitive and has a natural flow. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money here. The main thing is to keep in mind Steve Krug’s first law of usability – “Don’t Make Me Think.” If I have to figure out how to use your app, I’m probably not going to bother trying unless the content/function is really, really compelling. If you don’t believe me, check out this article at Wirelessweek.com by Monica Alleven discussing a Harris Interactive study on app usability. According to the study, “The study found that the majority of mobile phone users who download and use applications choose to download those apps based on recommendations and good user experience (UX), rather than on the brand name company or organization that released it.” Enough said.
A corollary to the first common mistake is doing too much. Better to do one thing really well than to be mediocre at a bunch of things. Putting too much functionality into your app will make it a mile wide and an inch deep. You may like the mile-wide party, but the market penetration for the app is more likely going to mirror its inch (or less) depth. Find a niche. Narrow your focus. Do as few things as possible and do them really well.
Finally, keep in mind the number of mobile devices out there. Sure, you can target one platform if you want to limit your market, but even that is problematic. If you’re going after the Android market, there are many Android devices with different screen sizes. Make sure your app works (well) on all of them. This problem exists even within the relatively narrower iOS platform as anyone who has used an iPhone app on an iPad can tell you. As Woods notes in his article, what you want is a consistent user experience across platforms. This may require a bit more front-end coding, but will likely result in more market penetration.
These are just three of the most common app development mistakes discussed by Dan Woods in his Forbes.com article. If you’re thinking about developing a mobile app, you really should read that article. If you need help finding a developer for your mobile app, visit one of our quote sites.