Where App Developers Go Wrong With Creating New Branded Apps

Here at Kumulos  we’ve talked before about the potential mistakes you can make when developing apps. There are a myriad of potential pitfalls and easy to make design faux pas that litter the landscape of app development. This is especially true as high end smartphones become ever more common and move from being luxuries to something closer to a ubiquitous accessory that almost everyone has to some extent.

Of course this proliferation of devices and also the now very strong indicators that if your business has an app you are very likely to pull in more customers and money (up to 26% was shown in a study done in Christmas 2012), is attracting big business customers who want to be part of this trend.

On the one hand this is great for app developers out there as there are many companies willing to play good money for apps that carry their brand name. On the other hand it is quickly meaning that the app markets are filling up with overly complicated, functionally useless or “one-shot” apps as corporations seek to utilize the app market without truly understanding it and how successful apps work.

So here we’re going to quickly break down the 3 main problem areas of business centric apps.

Full of features, or has nothing useful at all.

This is a big one, and these problems – especially the former – are all too common in many apps. It may sound good on the surface to have an app that is feature heavy, after all, you get more bang for your buck right? Well on the surface that may seem true, but in reality it’s often not the case.

Filling your app with features that have no real use to the user is a quick way to get downrated on the app stores. For example, if a customer wants an app that tells them the bus times, they want an app that tells them the bus times. What they’re unlikely to want is full social media integration and the option to take pictures of bus stops with their phone.

On the other side of this, filling your app with features that are useful, but not essential, will end up swamping the user. Using the same example of a bus times app, you may also have features to book bus tickets, find information on routes, find friends who use the same bus routes etc, but really, all your customer ultimately got the app for was the actual times. Everything else is mostly just noise and is likely to have detracted from your overall design quality as you silver plated the hell out of your app.

Making an app that looks just like their website

Many big companies are guilty of this one as well. To take Amazon’s shopping app for example, it’s a near copy of their website design and in reality only marginally improves the user experience over just opening a browser instead.

There’s no point in making an app that doesn’t improve the user experience for mobiles over the website. You may be making an app to increase your customer base, but people who want apps from companies normally want them because they are already customers and want to expand their access to your services rather than new customers trying out new ways to, say, shop.

Making “one-shot” apps

The most recent 2012 US Presidential election was terrible for this. There were a good 20 apps on the app market, including the two official campaign apps for each candidate, that were only meant to last the election season and then they were no longer of any use and were just left to rot with the other one shots.

Another major sinner in this regard are events like concerts, festivals and other big, one off gatherings. They will usually have some kind of app that you’ll be encouraged to download but the app will only be useful for those few days that you’re at the event, and then it’s just cluttering up your phone and using resources that could be put to something more useful to you.

The way to success in the market is to avoid the “build and forget” model. You want to be with your customer for the life of the app, so selling add on services like push notifications, app store optimization and reporting and analytics is a sure fire way to keep your customer close and guarantee your company recurring revenue for months ahead.