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5 Common App Development Problems and How to Avoid Them

Every mobile app development project comes with its own challenges. There are also many problems that each project has in common. How you confront these problems will determine the success of the project.

Let’s take a look at five of the most common problems and, as importantly, what you can do to solve them.

Problem #1 – Project Delays

Delays cause issues in any software development project. These issues get compounded in mobile app development, where the focus is often placed on speed. Large apps tend to encounter more issues as development goes on. Each of these issues leads to a delay. No matter how slight, each delay costs the client money and slows down the development process.

The Solution – Capacity planning plays a large role in helping developers avoid delays. Developers must understand their working capacities before they start work. Overestimating the team’s abilities or underestimating the time it will take to complete tasks both result in delays. Good capacity planning avoids this and ensures the team works within its abilities and to a realistic timescale.

Beyond this, the developers should consider iterative development. This is a common process in the Agile development methodology. Instead of focusing on getting a perfect app out first time, the developers could focus on releasing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This is a version of the app that satisfies initial consumer needs with the promise of more to come. The iterative process allows for updates to go on throughout the app’s life cycle. This means the base version of the app gets released quicker.

Problem #2 – Poor Platform Considerations

Every mobile app development project comes with its own challenges.

You’ll have to choose between mobile platforms prior to starting development on the app. This choice usually boils down to iOS and Android, especially in the wake of Microsoft discontinuing its support of Windows Phone. Your choice determines the path the development process takes. It will also have an effect on the success of the app.

The Solution – It all comes down to research. Developers need to know what each platform has to offer before they start work. Does the platform offer them the tools needed to accomplish what they want with the app? Where is the target audience? Which platform is easiest to develop for? If you can answer these questions confidently you will avoid delays.

You could also create a hybrid app. This is a mobile app that works across all available platforms. While this allows you to get an app out quicker across several platforms, it also comes with disadvantages. Hybrid apps tend to not take advantage of platform-specific features. As such, they can cause more problems than they solve. This is especially the case if you later have to go back and remake the app for a native system.

Problem #3 – Not Considering the User Experience

A poor user experience will cause issues in any mobile app. Users will migrate away if the app doesn’t make them feel immediately at home. The app itself may do everything it’s supposed to. However, if users don’t enjoy using it they will look elsewhere. You can snatch defeat from the jaws of success with an app that offers a poor user experience.

The Solution – This is where prior research comes to the fore. You need to know what your users expect from the app before development begins. Examine the competition too. Look at the most popular apps in your sector. Ask yourself what they do well that brings so many users on board. Emulate that while making improvements in any areas that need them.

Testing also plays a huge role in creating a good user experience. You won’t know exactly what users think of the app before you have a few people test it out. Always remember that what developers may see as simple could be complex to an untrained user. A user testing period will highlight sticking points that developers can work on to improve the user experience.

Problem #4 – Talent Gaps

Every mobile app development project comes with its own challenges.

Mobile app development spans a wide range of skills. Many project teams find they lack certain skills at some point during development. These talent gaps need to get filled. The app development process hits delays if there isn’t a plan in place to do that.

The Solution – Development teams benefit from complete honesty in the planning stages when confronting the issue of talent gaps. It’s easy to tell clients you can deliver what they want. It’s hard to deliver if your team doesn’t have some of the skills necessary for completion of the app. Be honest about what you can do and look for areas of improvement so you can fill talent gaps.

Outsourcing is an alternative solution. It can help if you have a time critical project that doesn’t allow for the filling of internal talent gaps. Identify the gaps during the planning stages and find third-party developers who can help. You could also hire new team members with the specific skillset required to fill the talent gap. The latter option costs more but improves the overall ability of the team.

Problem #5 – Not Understanding the Mobile Experience

This is an issue that hits developers that have previously focused on other types of software. Many see the mobile platform as a downgraded version of what they’ve previously worked on. That leads to oversimplified software that isn’t fit for purpose. In some cases, the mobile app just offers the bare bones of what an existing software or website already has. This fails to take advantage of the specific features of mobile platforms.

The Solution – Developers must understand the fundamental differences between mobile apps, websites, and other forms of software. The app doesn’t need to do everything that software on other platforms do. This is not an excuse for bad design. In fact, a poor design could see the app get rejected upon submission to Google Play or the App Store.

Mobile apps offer differences to other software. They provide intuitive user interfaces. Users can access them on the go with simple touch functionality. Apps can also use specific device functions and developers have the ability to customize them quicker. Many failed apps don’t take these benefits into account. They focus on creating miniature versions of what already exists without incorporating the things that make mobile platforms so useful. The key is treating a mobile app development project as a completely separate entity to any other software projects.

The Final Word

Good mobile app development teams confront these common issues and ensure they don’t become problems later on. This ensures they avoid the delays and cost issues related to these problems. Interactivated can help you develop a good mobile app that avoids these common problems.

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By interactivated • on July 27, 2017

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