1) Research Your Market Thoroughly
While there are those rare applications out there that rocket to success without any market research, the vast majority of apps are built by people who have studied what their users want ahead of time. By dedicating a little time to learning your market, you'll get a better understanding of what competitors are out there, how they're serving customers, and what their potential weaknesses are. More importantly, market research can help you find out about potential pitfalls and avoid them. Make sure you check customer reviews for competing applications; this is where you'll learn exactly which point's people like and dislike about applications in your field. If you're already aware of key "pain points" when you're building your own app you stand a better chance of resolving them.
2) Be Efficient With Data
Efficiency and accuracy are important in all sorts of software development, but when it comes to mobile applications you need to focus specifically on data efficiency. Keep your app lightweight for faster downloading speeds and keep its data usage under tight wraps. Apps that gobble up data - especially on limited mobile networks - are prone to getting uninstalled or forgotten after users see how much network activity they cause.
3) Make Your App Novel
Have you noticed that whenever a new restaurant opens in your town, it gets a big boost in its early weeks regardless of the quality of food it serves? This is the power of novelty. Consumers get bored of purchasing the same thing over and over, and this holds true in virtually every industry.
This principle is certainly at play when it comes to mobile applications. Make sure you present users with something new and distinctive that they can't get anywhere else and you'll be well on your way to engaging with users.
4) Minimize Load Times
Every time a user loads your application you get another chance to make a first impression. You want to keep load times to an absolute minimum. A user who's waiting for your app to get moving may start thinking its malfunctioning; even if they're patient with your app a long load time gives them a chance to get distracted.
If an extended loading process is inevitable, make sure you include indicators and/or animations that make it clear to users that your app is working as intended. Progressive indicators - those that give some indication of how much time is left - are generally better than uninformative loading animations.
5) Use Smart Pricing
Pricing is a huge challenge in the market for mobile applications, and there is no guaranteed perfect price for your app. Besides remaining competitive with other apps, you also need to deliver good value to both casual and heavy users. Is the app purchase itself going to be your primary revenue stream, or do you have other ways to monetize your software? All of these factors need to be considered before you launch your app.
6) Understand Your User's Needs
Knowing what your audience wants is crucial in developing a mobile application that becomes successful. You should know who you're designing software for and what you're trying to help them accomplish very early in the design process. If you successfully create a tool that meets your users' key needs and does it in a way they find convenient, you'll be well on your way to market dominance.
7) Focus On Mastering Individual Platforms
Major apps are frequently launched with broad cross-platform support. Of course, they also have huge design teams with dozens or even hundreds of experienced programmers. As long as your resources are limited, Concentrate your efforts on one platform and learn how to use it effectively before contemplating multi-platform launches.
8) Utilize an App Building Platform
Depending on your needs you may be able to make your own app via an app building platform. There are a number of options out there that allow a user to create apps via a template and do so in a matter of minutes with no coding needed. If this is what you're looking for then this option is worthy of consideration.
9) Build A Marketing Campaign Along With Your App
If you want your app launch to get immediate traction and start drawing lots of attention, you need to lay the groundwork well in advance of launch day. Integrating your marketing into the last stages of app development will give you a big leg up; many developers fail to put this sort of effective marketing work in place. As a general rule of thumb, you should have some sort of active marketing going on at least three weeks prior to launch.
10) Test Thoroughly
You need to have first-hand reports from real users before you formally launch your application. An organized testing period will alert you to both technical problems and user experience issues that you can remedy before the official launch date. Make sure you budget enough time and money to both testing and resolving any issues that come up during testing.
Cormac Reynolds writes for alternativenetworks.com and has written for a variety of tech, business and marketing blogs in his time. He has worked full time in the marketing industry since 2011 and in that time has worked with a variety of great companies of all sizes.
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