The 10 Most Common Mobile App Development Questions Answered
Mobile strategy, specifically mobile app development, is the first priority for many businesses. Bringing an app to market requires substantial research and strategic planning. When you begin the process, there are a number of questions you need to consider. Understanding the following ten questions will help guide your decision-making process and determine the appropriate mobile strategy to achieve your goals.
Is a mobile website good enough?
When it comes to deciding whether to build a mobile app or a mobile website, the right choice simply depends on your business objectives. If your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to a wide range of people, then a mobile website might be the way to go. Mobile websites can be a cost-effective way to put your content into the hands of your audience; however, users have high expectations for quality and functionality that mobile websites sometimes can’t deliver. Users can become easily frustrated when faced with performance and usability issues. Factors like load times, small images, lack of information, and network availability all pose the same problem: users have to work too hard to interact with your brand.
Mobile apps are an excellent resource for engaging, interacting and communicating with your customers. An app can be a personalized communication tool, leveraging user interests, location usage behavior, and more. Over time, your brand can drive amplified customer loyalty with personalized, in-app content.
In many cases, you may decide you need both a mobile app and a mobile website. If done correctly, it can be a strategic and valuable choice. In short, when it comes to your brand’s mobile strategy, it’s not a question of a mobile website or mobile app, but perhaps applying a two-pronged approach.
How can I validate my app idea?
Proof of Concept (POC), Prototype, or a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) are the three main ways to validate an app idea. These three approaches are quick and cost-effective ways of validating a product. Aside from validation, they also offer added benefits including eliciting new ideas and areas for improvement, client and stakeholder involvement and making sure the entire team is collaborating towards the overall goal throughout the project lifecycle. If you want to enhance your product launch and increase the likelihood of product success, using one or all of these techniques will help you avoid common mistakes, from faulty features to an app that has no space in the market to begin with. Each method is individually advantageous when used properly, whether you’re looking to test key business concepts, win over stakeholders, or validate marketability.
Exploration and experimentation using these techniques will produce better end results, and above all, help you to create a product that is valuable to the user. With a better understanding of POCs, Prototypes, and MVPs, you’ll be able to avoid app development mistakes by testing for feature validity or market viability to ensure product success.
How will my app make money?
Choosing the right mobile app monetization model is imperative to the success of any mobile app, and consequently, can negatively impact the overall user experience if you choose the wrong strategy. How do you generate a decent stream of revenue without compromising the overall quality and user experience of your app?
Selecting the model that is right for your app will depend on a variety of factors, but you need to establish your monetization strategy before you launch your product. Business objectives will dictate the approach your product employs. At the basest level, you need to consider what your app does. What problem does it solve? How does it solve this problem? What is the service/purpose? Some monetization models will lend themselves to particular types of apps. For example, the subscription model works best for services like music, and video streaming, news and entertainment, and other apps focused heavily on content. In-app purchases, on the other hand, are lucrative for free-to-play games and apps centered around products, like shopping and retail apps.
Careful consideration of how you will monetize based on your product type, your user base, and market intelligence won’t guarantee profitability, but it increases your chances of success. The most common app monetization strategies are:
- Advertising based
- Pay Per Download
- In-App Purchases
Regardless of the app monetization model you choose for your application, remember that it is not an afterthought. It should be worked into your business plan well before the launch of your app. The last thing you want is to invest in a product that has no practical model in place for generating revenue.
Should I choose Web, Native, or Hybrid development?
Native Apps are built for specific platforms making them fast and responsive. They are considered to have the best performance and have the best overall user experience.
Advantages of Native Apps
- They are distributed in the app store
- They are more interactive, intuitive, and run much smoother regarding user input and output
- Native allows developers to access the full feature set of a given platform with whatever performance optimizations the native system has
- An internet connection is not required, although it depends on functionality
- Overall better user experience. To the user, the flow is more natural as apps have specific UI standards for each platform
Disadvantages of Native Apps
- Difficult languages to learn which means you need experienced developers
- More expensive than alternatives
- Not the best option for simple apps
Web Apps are easier to build but are often much slower. Web apps are not recommended for a company that is looking to build an interactive and intuitive experience.
Advantages of Web Apps
- Easy to build
- Easy to maintain
- Inexpensive option
- Build one app for all platforms – iOS, Android, etc., as long as it can run in a browser
Disadvantages of Web Apps
- Requires a browser to run. Entering the URL is another step for the user which can disrupt the user experience
- Much slower than native apps
- Web apps are less interactive and intuitive than native apps
- Unable to leverage device utilities
With Hybrid Apps, you have to contend with issues that stem from both native systems and web systems, which makes fixing bugs more difficult. Performance is also a disadvantage because hybrid apps load in webview. Additionally, the more customization you want within your hybrid app, the more expensive it will be, and therefore a native solution may be more cost-effective.
Advantages of Hybrid Apps
- No browser needed as opposed to web apps
- Access to internal device APIs can access storage, camera, and other inbuilt features
- Faster to develop than native apps
Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps
- Slower than native apps
- Less interactive than native apps
- More expensive than standard web apps. You will need to work with a wrapper which means you’re essentially dependent on a third-party
Although the initial cost may be higher with a native app, you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money in the long run. By offering a great user experience, better performance, and leveraging the device features, you’re able to provide your users a more personalized experience.
Should I outsource mobile app development?
When you’re starting with app development, many companies have a lot of items to consider, the first being who is going to build the product? Outsourcing mobile app development comes with experience and expertise, early adopters in new trends and technologies, and flexibility.
The demand for mobile apps is growing every year, and many internal IT teams are unable to keep up with the rate of change. There will always be a limit on what can be accomplished by an internal team in a given timeframe. If your company already has many internal projects on the go, outsourcing for development may be the best option to ensure your project is prioritized correctly.
Resourcing and recruiting talent is among the top challenges for enterprise app development. A lot of times, enterprises don’t have the required bandwidth for in-house app development, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify and hire for the required roles to build an app.
Mixed-sourcing is a practical option for delivering mobile apps. Companies can leverage their internal teams in areas where they excel and outsource for additional expertise.
What is agile development?
The app development process is not linear, and an agile methodology allows for flexibility and adaptability. Agile is an iterative process in which features and requirements are built, tweaked, and approved before the project reaches completion. Each iteration, or sprint, will end with a small part of the final product. This style of development will allow you to review progress before the project is finished. You should familiarize yourself with this method of development as many organizations practice agile to some degree.
What should I look for in a development team?
It’s smart to choose a vendor that focuses specifically on mobile app development rather than offering it as an ancillary service. These firms typically employ an agile development methodology, emphasize product strategy and UX/UI Design, and have strong technical capabilities and specialized platform knowledge.
When you are evaluating a development team, it’s important to look at their portfolio. You should be looking at relevant case studies and verified reviews from credible sources. Also, ask for examples of previous work. The best way to determine if a potential team is a right fit for your project is to find out if past projects have met the expectations of clients they’ve worked with before.
Which is better, manual or automated testing?
With manual testing, you get visual feedback, and it’s less expensive in the short run. You also get real human feedback like you’d get from your actual user base, which is very valuable. Manual testing is best suited for exploratory, usability, or ad-hoc testing.
Concerning exploratory testing, the tester’s knowledge, experience, logical skill, and intuition is necessary. Human ability is required to execute the testing process in this situation. Human consideration is also critical for usability testing. This type of testing is the area in which you determine how user-friendly, convenient, and capable the software is for solving user pain points. For this type of test, manual testing is the best option. In an ad-hoc testing scenario, there is no specific approach because it is entirely unplanned. The insight and knowledge of the tester is the only significant factor for this type of software test.
With automated testing, you get speed and efficiency, reusable tests for code, and better visibility into app performance. Automated testing is the preferred solution for regression, performance, load testing, and repeated execution. It’s a good idea to ensure that your app receives both automated and manual testing.
How do you plan to maintain your app post-launch?
After you’ve launched your app into the market, your project isn’t entirely finished. You will still have to release updates, fix bugs, add new features, and improve functionality. In other words, you should consider your app as a living product that needs continuous attention. It’s essential to have a plan in place to maintain the stickiness of your app.
Once you’ve launched your app, you should monitor analytics closely and identify areas where you can provide more value. You need to analyze screen flows and evaluate how users move through conversion funnels. By paying close attention to these metrics, you can determine how to expand your product to optimize lifetime value.
An app cannot remain static and still be successful. Make sure your app can evolve as user behavior changes.
How much does it cost to develop an app?
The cost to develop an app depends on a vast variety of factors ranging from project size to technical complexity to your choice of development partner.
Small apps will typically range from $75,000 to 150,000. Medium Sized apps will run from $150,00 to 250,000, and large-scale apps will cost upwards of $250,000, which typically involve two platforms, with over five features and user flows.
For a more in-depth breakdown, we’ve written at length about the factors that will impact mobile app development cost in our post: How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?
In 2018, it’s impossible to overlook mobile, and before you start an app development project, you need to give thoughtful consideration to what type of product you’re building, how you will maintain that product, and how you will drive revenue.