Things you’ve already thought of
Once a company decides to create a mobile app, they usually take one of several paths.
1. Competitor research
First you’ll probably try to perform competitor analysis on your own. You’ll compare apps of your competitors and often pay attention to apps in other related domains. This approach can be rather risky, as business approaches aren’t universal and what works for one business, even a similar one, might not work for another.
2. Copying the website
Given that your company already has a successful website with good traffic and clients who constantly make purchases, there’s a high chance the company’s first idea will be to copy the website in a mobile app.
Playing safe by relying on your web success is a good move, but not always great, as specific mobile expertise can bring so many new opportunities. An app that copies a website doesn’t reach its full potential and doesn’t actually bring any value to the user.
When I look at newcomers to mobile app industry, I see how many great opportunities are left out. Luckily, you can talk to an expert and choose which mobile possibilities can work well with your business strategy, and the earlier you decide this, the better.
3. Creating additional value
This approach is one of the best, as it actually gives users a reason to download an app and use it. Adding value also helps your business. For example, if you sell technical appliances, your app can have a feature for calling the service center.
There are also other features, only a mobile app can provide, for example:
- Push notifications to reach customers instantly
- Instant payments
- Augmented reality
- Voice search
These are features that can become a game changer for your business, increase sales, improve customer journey and make it shorter and more effective. To increase effectiveness, you need two ingredients:
- Your own expertise in your business structure and its target audience
- Knowledge of a mobile expert who knows all the opportunities of mobile devices and who understands how they can provide solutions in your particular case
Short takeaway: Creating additional value is the best strategy out there, as it gives users a real reason to download your app. Mobile-specific features like push notifications or AR can become a game-changer for your business
So these are three most common approaches to preparing for mobile development. After you choose your strategy, you’ll need to create a technical specification. Some companies do it on their own, but this can be risky. Let’s discuss why.
These are the risks you need to pay attention to. If you don’t have an experienced business analyst who’ll be able to create a technical specification for your app, these risks will be higher.
1. Missing your audience and its needs
This is probably the biggest risk. Imagine spending more than a year and thousands of dollars on an app that users simply don’t need. It’s extremely important to make sure that your app will find an audience after its release.
You know who you created your business for, but does your audience actually need a mobile solution? How well do your business goals correspond to your mobile solution? Not everything and not everyone need digitizing.
You need to make sure your app solves a problem and optimizes a process for users who are used to mobile apps. To find whether your app will be useful, you need to:
- Know how users of different types react to mobile tools
- Validate the connection between your business goals and your app’s goals
- Analyze how convenient and available are your mobile solutions for your target audience and the context that surrounds it
2. Ignoring technical nuances
After your app is specified, and all mockups are ready, comes the time to implement your app. And this is where the hard part begins, as it has so many peculiarities you might not even know existed.
Your development team needs to take into account hundreds of details concerning platforms, backend, APIs, target devices, and UI and UX peculiarities. Let me give you a few examples what you might risk addressing someone who isn’t experienced in mobile development.
- Platforms prioritization. Platforms and their versions aren’t prioritized correctly, the development and release plan doesn’t correspond to the releases of new versions.
- Bad choice of tools. Developers chose compex and inflexible tools and technologies that will be difficult to adapt and maintain.
- Mistakes in architecture. Wrong architecture can lead to problems with scaling the number of users and adding new features.
3. Forgetting about the importance of marketing and nuances of app release
App store marketing is extremely important if you want to attract traffic. Marketing for mobile apps is completely different than marketing for websites or other digital products. You need a solid marketing strategy to enter the market successfully.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Release your app
2. Set up all necessary analytics to track technical and marketing metrics
3. Describe, present and promote your app
4. Analyse analytics results and make conclusions on what needs to be changed
As you can see, analytics is non-negotiable. It’s essential that analytics are properly set up; otherwise, you won’t be able to change your application according to market needs.
Releasing your app to app markets is also a rather complex procedure: there are lots of rules and regulations your app needs to meet, to be certified by a app market.
App stores have rather strict publishing rules, especially the Apple App Store. Apart from obvious standards of marketplaces, you also need to take into account other laws, for example, making your app compliant with GDPR.
4. Underestimating security risks
You need security expertise for your app as well. Since you get data from you clients and receive access to personal mobile devices, you need to cover all security risks. Unfortunately, stakeholders often save money by neglecting security features such as:
- Login and password protection
- Personal data protection
- Secure communication channels
Short takeaway: There are many risks in approaching mobile development without expert guidance, from mismatch between app’s and business goals to technical problems and security flaws
In the world where personal data protection is becoming more and more important, and risks of data infringement are high, data breaches can end up in massive fines and reputation losses for your company. Mobile channel is as important as any other, so you need to take care about protecting it.
Consulting as a solution
Mobile agencies whose primary work is creating mobile apps are experts in this sphere. Just like in house building, an expert can help you save lots of time, money and regrets about something you’ll find hard or even impossible to change.
This is a checklist of questions and answers that will show you the process of consulting and help you to plan and evaluate risks of your project even if you decide to develop it with your team without getting help from consultants.
Step 1: Service analysis
These are the questions you’ll need to answer first. If you decide to consult an expert, you’ll later discuss them during a call.
- What are your expectations?
- Who will use your app?
- What business goals will your app achieve?
Try to think more about what users will get out of your app. This will help you and your consultant understand what features are absolutely necessary and what can be done later.
Service analysis is the fundamental part of your mobile development preparation process. Your app’s MVP will consists of features that answer three questions about your target audience, business goals and expectations
Step 2: Projecting
Once your company starts to build a concept of your app, a consultant will be able to tell you all about potential pitfalls and technical nuances. First things to decide on are:
- Operating system versions
- Skill set for your future team
After this you’ll need to affirm:
- Safe work with APIs
- A list of resources for backend developers
- Possible difficulties
- Ways to prepare your backend team for API development
- The development workflow
- Principles of internal acceptance testing
- Stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities
Step 3: Сreating a team
The last point is very important for the success of your project: everyone involved in the development process inside your company should know exactly what they should do and what they’re responsible for. These are the main specialists every development project needs:
- Project manager — Coordinates the work of the whole team and holds meetings with developers, quality assurance engineers, marketers, top management, and other people involved in the development process.
- Development team — Responsible for the technical part of the project; develops features and is responsible for proper interaction with the backend.
- Quality assurance engineer — QA engineer is responsible for the performance of your application. You should make sure every part of your mobile application is tested for the sake of high quality and flawless performance.
Short takeaway: If you plan to develop an app with the help of your in-house team, be sure it covers all necessary roles: project management, QA and development
You’ll also probably need a business analyst to help you decide key features you’ll need to include into your MVP.
Consulting with an expert might be one of the wisest investments in the future of your application. Consultants who make money developing apps know all the details of the app development process.
In ten years of our existence as a mobile development company, we’ve made over a hundred apps for different businesses of different scales, from small startups to large enterprises and delivered more than 250 consulting sessions. That’s why we have unique expertise that helps companies create apps that bring real value to their clients and therefore to their businesses.