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How NOT to Make a Mobile App: 13 Mobile App Development Pitfalls

Black and white image of an iPhone X

Every app has a lifecycle. In today’s saturated marketplace, maintaining a high level of quality control through each and every phase is critical to an app’s success. From design to development to marketing and maintenance, there are so many variables that it’s easy to lose sight of the many moving parts that make up the long game. If you don’t want your app to wind up a warning post along the way, be careful to avoid these 13 common pitfalls.

Huge advances have been made in cross-application compatibility since that time. The evolution of application programming interfaces (APIs), for example, has doubtless improved the success of custom systems integration projects.

Still, many of the traditional challenges with custom systems integration still persist today. Many challenges aren’t in fact technical – they’re the issues that human beings run into when taking on complex projects. That’s why these issues are likely to remain core dilemmas for custom systems integrators. So how can you ensure a successful custom systems integration project?

Mobile App Design Pitfalls

  1. Starting design without establishing use cases and outlining user flow Before anything else happens, you need to be sure you’re solving a real problem. Then, you have to be sure you’re solving it in a more efficient, intuitive way than anyone else has. The market simply doesn’t support an “if you build it they will come” attitude. Define clear use cases and then develop a user flowmap around them. Having that strong foundation will help guide the entire app lifecycle.
  2. Adding too many features Hone in on the essentials or you might mistake the forest for the trees (or exhausting your team and/or budget). After core requirements have been met, then you can consider adding additional functionality.
  3. Developing for too many platforms Developing for every platform can be a very costly, time-consuming endeavor. Choose wisely and focus in on the platform(s) that will best serve your goals (stay tuned here for more on cost-effective ways of publishing to n-number of platforms).
  4. Creating elaborate user interfaces Overcomplicating UIs leads to confusion and frustration. Here again it pays to keep your eye on the prize.
  5. Not factoring in budgetary constraints Design, development, marketing, and support all have their costs. Make sure you know the whole budget and plan accordingly. Otherwise, you might design features that can’t be implemented or rob marketing of the funds it needs to get people to actually use your app.

Mobile App Development Pitfalls

  1. Undersizing the hit area You’ll likely be packing plenty of buttons into scarce screen real estate, so be sure to make them big enough and adequately spaced to be easily tapped. Nothing causes frustration more easily than accidental hits.
  2. Starting low-res and working up Best practice is to design for retina and high-res screens first, then scale down. If you can, use scalable vector graphics.
  3. Copying style from other OS versions Each OS has its own style and guidelines to ensure a consistent aesthetic across apps. For users familiar with a single OS, following that platform’s conventions can make an app more intuitive and its feel more comfortable and enjoyable.
  4. Ignoring (or misusing) gestures Gestures can improve the usability of your app, as long as they’re used for appropriate, commonly use functions. You don’t want users to inadvertently delete their progress with a misplaced swipe, but you do want to facilitate efficient use.

Mobile App Marketing and Maintenance Pitfalls

  1. Neglecting reviews and updates Reviews are users’ outlet. Whether it’s positive or negative, the feedback they provide can help you improve your app and enhance its ability to gain traction.
  2. Not adding new content Users need a reason to use your app regularly. Keeping content current enhances the app’s usefulness and provides the incentive to keep them coming back.
  3. Not monitoring user-generated content Only applicable to social apps, UGC needs to be regulated to prevent spam and offensive content where appropriate.
  4. Forgetting to market your app You’ll need a solid marketing plan in place well before launch. Once your app has been approved in its respective platforms and marketplaces, promoting it is the next step. Make sure it’s discoverable and be as active as possible in creating a buzz around your product.

Cort Buchholz