5 tips we wish every first-time mobile client knew
After meeting scores of clients with ideas for an awesome mobile app. An app that will be revolutionary and will be destined to become the next uber, snapchat or whatapp. What these clients fail to understand is that technology is changing way too fast and what may have worked for these apps may not necessarily work for them. Undoubtedly ideas are amazing, but you also need to keep the process for a lean, mean startup in mind.
We loved working on every single mobile app that we built. Some became successful, some dint see the light of the App store. We would still love to share our experience and some bit of advice:
1. Reference apps are helpful but complicated
First time clients often use popular apps to explain their idea. For instance, a recent request we received was “an uber style app for car washers and car owners”. Though this explains the idea, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For example, what is the revenue model? how will the business logic run? what are the added features? What will be the USP? etc. Such a simplistic request forgets to distinguish between the car washing industry and a cab sharing space; each with a different set of variable, laws and pricing structure.
Our advice: What may be an easy description, may not turn out to be sound business plan. Be as detailed as possible. It affects design and more importantly user experience.
2. UX means planning for negative testing as well
All our well-meaning first-time mobile app clients have all their workflows in hand. Starting from sign up screen to dashboard to any activity (one that user is supposed to do). Based on this flow, they have low expectations on development time. However, they miss the point that planning a user flow also requires a detailed analysis of every possible step that can go wrong. 100 users may perform as expected, but a single user not doing so can bring down your entire system.
Our advice: Plan for the time that is part of your initial design- negative testing. It is an important aspect of User Experience design.
3. Adding a button is never a small change
As compared to desktops, mobiles have very limited screen space. This means multiple click options on a single page is not possible. Therefore ‘adding a button’ implies adding ‘one more click’ to the user flow. On top of that, where to link the button, how will user come back, what if the user is lost, other such considerations of the user flow need to be met. Adding just one button, also leads to increase in scope of testing for the entire application.
Our advice: Spend time during UX design to brainstorm all possible ideas, but stick with whatever design you decide. Change the user flow only if necessary, as it will create a ripple effect on the entire app.
4. Do not take data usage for granted
First-time mobile app clients often look for added services like camera, GPS etc to be integrated within the app. According to Nielsen’s data, on an average smartphone owners use 29 apps a month. This means your app is competing for bandwidth already. New apps need to be light for use on-the-go. A few extra seconds to load can affect user sentiment and drastically affect repeat usage.
Our advice: Do not use extra bandwidth if you can avoid it. Keep your app lean, especially during alpha/beta testing. If you are using hybrid app, it is every more important to avoid external applications as it may create functionality issues later.
5.‘Do-it-all at once’ approach
Often, first-time mobile app clients want to go live with all features on Android and IOS at the same time. Though, it is a great business strategy, it does not work for most mobile apps. In a bidding war, Apple and Google (and competitors) are releasing devices or operating systems or software updates every quarter. This creates the need to ensure your app is compatible with every change. Having a lean app helps you surf these uncertainties in real-time.
Our advice: Focus on one technology at a time. We help you keep your app lean with short sprint development cycles focusing only on core/basic functionalities. Scaling up or adding features can be a continuous process.
If you have an awesome idea and are looking for a process driven technology expert, feel free to contact us.