Top 6 reasons for mobile app failure


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Small-scale mobile app development will cost you up to $8,000, while gaming app development costs can reach a whopping $250,000. You’d think such investments would have a respectable ROI, but, according to industry research, only one in 10,000 apps will be successful one year after launch. Why do so many mobile applications fail with all the time and resources spent on development? There is a host of reasons, but we have found six important factors that can precipitate your enterprise’s failure. Use our checklist before you start the development process to increase your chances of success.

The app doesn’t have a market

Many people think they have come up with great ideas for a mobile app, but they are wrong. Before you start spending thousands of dollars on marketing and development, make sure your idea has potential clients. Research is boring but vital. You need to find answers to many questions, like:

  • Will the app solve someone’s problems?
  • Will it make someone’s life easier?
  • Are there no apps that perform similar functions?
  • Are there people willing to pay for your solution?
  • Is your idea defined clearly enough to develop an application?

Even if all your answers are a resounding “YES”, start small. Use an MVP to explore the market and find people interested in what you have to offer. Iterative development is designed to avoid market failures, so use it to its fullest.

The app is no different from others

The sad truth is there are dozens of similar mobile apps. Some have millions of downloads and excellent customer retention rates. Others are never installed or discarded within say or two.

If you are not going to develop the next Uber or Airbnb, research is the name of the game once again. To ensure your app’s success, you need to check out the competitor’s products and define their strengths and weaknesses. This information will help you formulate a unique value proposition that will be the driving force of your app’s downloads and sales.

The app does not account for platform differences

If you decide to start with Apple App Store, your application should work perfectly for both iPhones and iPads. Users expect certain features to work the same way, but your development team will have to work extra on making the application work seamlessly across devices with different-sized screens.

Creating a cross-platform app capable of satisfying both Android and iOS lovers is an infinitely more difficult task. The two operating systems use different navigation gestures and buttons. Ultimately, they operate differently. As a result, users have certain expectations, which you have to meet or be faced with frustrated and unsatisfied clients. So if you decide to go cross-platform, make sure to take Android and iOS peculiarities into account.

The app is too slow

Our attention span is shortening with an alarming rate. It is no wonder most applications are deleted within a few minutes after initial download. Users do not want to wait for the app to load, update or perform key functions. There should be no lagging, long load times, endless registration forms. The more time your client needs to spend on getting to know the app, the less chance there is that it will become one of his or her favorites. Remember this before you decide to develop another feature that will add a couple of seconds to the app’s load time.

The app is neither user-friendly nor intuitive

Even if your application is beautiful, quick, and unique, poor user interface and user experience practices can ruin it. People have certain experience with mobile apps on different platforms and specific expectations about the app’s responses to gestures and commands. If your application does not respond in a predictable manner, it will be ruthlessly deleted, never to be used again.

Users have neither time nor desire to inspect the manuals and read FAQs to understand how your app works. It should be easy to navigate and operate for every new user. Luckily, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are commonly accepted UX practices you can rely on to make the app intuitive and user-friendly.

The app is full of bugs

Did you realize that every other iOS app has some performance issues like crashing or the shutdown of the key components? Of course, it is nearly impossible to release a 100% bug-free app, but testing and quality assurance should be among your top priorities.

One crash is usually enough for the user to delete the offending application. You will be lucky if the client is not disgruntled enough to leave a negative review. Otherwise, you might be in trouble. The more poor feedback you get, the lower your chances of getting new users are. It is a vicious cycle you don’t want to start. Test the app religiously before putting it on the market and respond to customer feedback about performance problems as soon as possible.

Of course, there are other reasons why mobile apps never realize their full potential, like poor marketing and lousy monetization strategy. But those are quite a different story. We have tried to cover the main problems your app might have development-wise. And we hope you will avoid these mistakes and create a truly successful app capable of generating a steady revenue stream.

Alex Slobozhan
Chief Sales Officer at FreshCode. I have been working at IT company for 5 years, organizing a transparent development process of creating new apps and implementation of SaaS, ERP, CRM technologies. With a master's degree in Spanish linguistics, I work in the sphere of international communication, marketing, and business strategy.


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