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October 2019

8 Deadly Mobile App Mistakes

By Development, MobileNo Comments

So you have an idea for the next killer app? Did you know that only .01 percent of consumer-facing mobile applications became financially successful in 2018? B2B apps fare slightly better, but we must first ask why do so many apps fail? What can we do to avoid making the same mistakes?

Primary reasons mobile apps fail

  • Excessive supply – there are tons of apps being made and launched
  • Apps are expensive – many people begin building apps without realizing the investment required to build a successful app. They’ll cut corners to save money, not realizing they are cutting things that are critical to the app’s success.
  • Poor user experience – if you are lucky enough to get a user to download your app it’s going to be critical that you deliver an excellent user experience to retain the user.
  • Poor technology – not all app developers are the same. As mentioned above, people rarely realize what it takes to be successful and will hire developers who are inexperienced or incapable of building a properly functioning application that has a great user experience.

8 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid Before Building Your Mobile Application

 

Not performing enough upfront researchdeath star

It’s critical that you perform the right research before you spend valuable resources trying to build a new application. This research needs to cover your potential audience, competitors, and the overall marketplace. Does a solution already exist? Have others tried to solve this problem before? Why did they fail? What obstacles did they face? What mistakes were made?

You’ll need to engage your prospective audience in conversations to validate that the problem you are trying to solve is real as well as the impact it could have on them if you are able to help them solve this problem.

You’ll want to engage as many subject matter experts to validate the problem’s existence as well as what other attempts have been made to solve it. You’ll need to talk to technical experts to make sure that technology would even be capable of solving this problem.

Not engaging users for feedback early enough

If you don’t gather user feedback at every step you run the risk of building something that users do not care about. The way to eliminate this risk is to launch something early and iterate often. By launching what is often referred to as a Minimally Viable Product, you are putting something in front of potential users very early in order to gather feedback as early as you can. Your goal is to validate every piece of functionality with user feedback. By launching, testing, and learning you’ll be able to move forward with the items deemed necessary to the app’s value proposition. Again, limit your assumptions.

Don’t fall in love with your idea unicorn

Don’t fall in love with one potential solution to a problem. Instead, you should fall in love with the problem you are trying to solve. By being laser-focused on solving the problem by whatever means necessary, you test and learn from feedback and are prepared to pivot when the feedback tells you to. This is why it is so important to engage user feedback early at every step because the worst-case scenario is your building and launching something that your audience does not care about.

Failing to properly define your value proposition

Your value proposition should live at the intersection of what your best prospects really want and what you do very well. As you add new features to your app you should prioritize based on the impact they will have on delivering your value proposition.

Failure to define user’s pain points

As you collect and incorporate frequent user feedback it will be critical to identify the user’s pain points. You could potentially create a high functioning application that delivers a great user experience but it doesn’t solve their problems or speak to their big pain points. As a result, your app becomes a nice to have as opposed to a need to have for them.

Not being honest about your available resources

Do you have the budget to solve this problem? Do you have the resources to pivot and change paths should you learn something along the way? You do not want to ignore the feedback that tells you to go another direction.

Not performing proper quality assurance before launch

Good developers will spend extra time rigorously testing a product in order to launch with confidence that it will perform on a high level. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and developers who are in a hurry will often skimp on the rigorous testing that is required to deliver a quality mobile application. Skipping QA at any phase of the development can result in a launch with critical bugs that render your app a flop.

Failure to define success metrics for both the business and the users

In order to be successful, you must have a clear vision of what success looks like for both the users and the business. For example, you obviously want to have a laser focus on the user’s needs but not at the expense of delivering something that will not deliver an ROI for the business.

Byte.lion is the premier mobile application development company on the east coast. We have an elite team that is dedicated to lean product design to significantly increase the odds of your mobile application being successful. We complement our expertise in development and user experience design with the business acumen that’s necessary to translate your idea into a financially successful innovation.

Have a mobile app idea? Contact us for a free ROI assessment to test the financial viability.

Key Takeaways from Baltimore Innovation Week’s Session on Lean Product Design for Startups

By Design, MVP, Product Design, TestingNo Comments

Bytelion was thrilled to partner in Baltimore Innovation Week 2019 (BIW19), hosting a session titled, “Lean Product Design for Startups”. Since inception, over seven years ago, Bytelion has been a proud supporter of startups in the Greater Baltimore area and beyond. As an everyday practitioner of agile methodology for software development, the team at Bytelion has spent countless hours taking a “lean” approach to designing and developing software and applications for both startups and well-established businesses.

Baltimore Innovation Week 2019 logo

Last night, Bytelion’s Head of User Experience, Marc Hausle, led the session for a large group of BIW19 attendees at Clark Burger in Harbor East. If you were unable to attend the event, here are some of the key takeaways from the session.

What is Lean Product Design?

Clark Burger with people

Founders and entrepreneurs commonly will fall in love with an idea or a “unicorn vision” they have for the business, which is usually based on their untested assumptions. When they build based on these unvalidated assumptions they are more likely to waste valuable time and resources building something nobody wants. The goal of lean product design is to avoid this waste by focusing efforts on only building what you can validate as required based on reliable data and/or customer feedback. Lean product design recommends building something fast so you can begin to test hypotheses against real user feedback.  

Move Fast and Iterate

Once you start gathering feedback and performing other research it is critical to document everything as well as clearly defining how to measure success for both the business and the users. By building what is commonly referred to as an MVP, you can test your hypotheses, validate your assumption or pivot if necessary. Don’t try to be perfect in the beginning and be ok with being wrong as it will allow you to make necessary iterations early before you go too far down the wrong path.

The Design Process

When you are in the design process, you’ll want to create a prioritized list of potential features. Focus on first building the things that you know will have the biggest impact on delivering your product’s value proposition.  “Fall in love with the problem you are trying to solve as opposed to particular features or solutions you are building”. You’ll be more successful if you stay focused on the problem and are willing to iterate towards the developing features that will best solve it and avoiding those that don’t.  Marc also introduced the concept of time-boxing for certain design activities so that you don’t waste any unnecessary time or energy trying to perfect something before you test it.

When taking the lean approach there are a number of practices you can incorporate into building the best user experience for your product. For example, Marc discusses user personas and user journeys, red routes, information architecture, user flows, hand-drawn sketches, wireframes, and prototypes. These practices are all ways to gather and incorporate data garnered from real user interactions and testing. Each exercise also builds off of the other and makes the next step in the process easier. It is also easier to go back and improve and iterate on past versions of what you have done.

Lastly, he discussed design sprints which are a unique five-day process for validating ideas and solving big challenges through prototyping and testing ideas with customers.

Feedback is critical!

If you were able to attend the event we thank you and would love to get your feedback. 

Or if you didn’t make and you are interested in learning more about Lean Product Design please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to see if it makes sense for you. Contact Marc directly via email at marc@bytelion.com.