Guest post written by Sarah Hurd.
Around the world, people are turning increasingly to apps for internet usage. This creates big opportunities for developers who can bring something unique to the app world. Whether your app is debuting this year, or just needs an update, here are some strategies for how to develop a successful app in 2017.
Focus on Security.
Recent high-profile cyber-attacks have drawn attention to the security of user platforms. The last thing you want is for your app to be linked to a future attack. By highlighting security in your app and balancing convenience with security, you can set yourself apart from the competition. Start by closing security vulnerabilities. If necessary, hire someone specifically to try to hack your platform to test its resilience.
Require strong passwords. If your users are able to use the password “pw1234,” many of them will! And, they will still be upset when their account is compromised. By requiring more complex passwords, or using two-step authentication, you can keep users from being their own worst enemy. Using encryption as part of your security protocol will help protect you from the hackers and malware. Lastly, you should always be updating. Cyber-threats are always moving and changing, and you will need to stay one step ahead.
Gen Z, Millennial and even Gen X smartphone users tend to be app-savvy. They are used to the idea that if they need information, content or products, “there’s an app for that”. Older generations aren’t as accustomed to relying on apps, but as smart phones, tablets and smart TVs become more intuitive, older people are able to adopt these technologies with greater ease. By molding your app to the wants and needs of these demographics, you can build a very loyal clientele. Older people like stability and are less likely to jump ship when the next big trend pops up the way younger people do.
If this strategy is a good fit for your business, you should work directly with these potential users to see what they like and dislike. This might mean bringing in some older people and getting their feedback on the usability of your platform or offering perks for participation in a short survey. Touch-screen technology has allowed users to engage with their electronics in a highly-intuitive way. However, this is only possible if the apps they are using are similarly intuitive.
Remember your Bottom Line.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the creative elements of app development and think of your product as an extension of you. While there is a convincing argument to be made for apps as art, the goal should be profitability. Innovation is highly valuable, but in certain cases it is better to stick to what has worked in that past rather than gambling on a new way of operating. It might be tempting to incorporate a bold new piece of technology that you might be excited about into your app, but if the bugs aren’t worked out, this might backfire.
Users get spooked by big changes, but will also get bored and move on to a new app if an interface feels outdated. Balance small, gradual changes with consistency to keep your users happy. Also, be willing to ditch parts of the app that aren’t being utilized enough by users. Space is valuable and it’s better to offer a limited number of services well than to take up unnecessary space with unnecessary features.
Always be Updating.
Unfortunately, you can’t create the perfect app and then sit back and relax. Your competition is constantly looking ahead and you need to be one step farther than they are. Aim to have a small update at least once a month to keep yourself relevant for your users. Keep an eye on the feedback you get from your help desk on what problems users run into often and what parts of your interface could be improved. Keep an eye on your competition to make sure that any improvements they make to their apps will also show up in yours.
In 2017, your biggest focuses should be usability and flexibility. The more you can adapt to changes and keep the wants and needs of your users in mind, the more success you will find in the crowded app market. Make sure to keep the security of your users in mind while providing them with the services they use most. Keep an eye on markets where app use is growing and tailor your product to fit their needs.