The mobile web is going through an exciting growth phase as consumers and businesses shift their interests toward the "second screen." Even the media is taking notice of the trend: Forbes declared 2015 the "Year of the Mobile Web."
If your business is not yet treating mobile web and app development as a priority, now is the time to start. But do not get swept away by the excitement: Your business should not build an app just for the sake of having one. Avoid these 5 mobile development pitfalls to get the most out of your online presence:
1. Neglecting the Mobile Site
Don't forget about your mobile website. While apps make up most of the interaction time with users on mobile devices, many users opt to view your content through the mobile web. According to comScore, as of mid-2014 mobile devices made up 60 percent of all web interaction, with mobile apps accounting for around 85 percent of that time.
Apps boast higher interactivity — but they aren't always the best way to expand your audience, because they need to be installed on the device prior to viewing content. Making sure your content is also on the mobile website helps expand your audience by allowing new visitors to stumble upon it.
2. Laser-Focus on Functionality Over Content
While a solid user experience is necessary to the success of any app, an app that performs well technically will not be successful on its own. According to InformationWeek, the majority of negative reviews apps receive stem from performance and crash issues — so it is very easy for developers to fall into the trap of only addressing those issues at the expense of providing quality content and a smooth user experience. Stay focused on the big picture with the app, and do not get distracted by limited-scope negative reviews.
3. Not Considering User Flow
It is essential that your team considers how the typical person is going to use your app and cater the design and functionality to that process. Mashable recommends interpreting the user flow and designing the user interface before actually starting to work on the app's programming. Links and navigation should be designed in a way that makes it easy for users to finger-tap their way around the app without accidentally selecting the wrong links. Your development team needs to consider how the typical user will be interacting with those links, and whether those links are spaced far enough apart for comfortable use.
4. Insufficient Testing
While the app may seem to work on the surface, there can be major underlying problems that cause crashes and lead to scathing reviews on your app pages. Your business can avoid this pitfall by allocating sufficient time for testing, using a wide variety of devices to identify problems. Automated testing helps cut down on the busy work, while load testing can help prevent problems with data server overload.
5. Overdoing It
While businesses are often drawn to the idea of adding new functionality to existing products, the narrow scope of app development often leans more toward the notion of "less is more." Your developers should be focused on making sure the core features of your app are working and easy to use. Overcrowding an app can make it more difficult for users to find the features they actually want to use — and count against overall engagement.
Cloud-Based Load Testing for Mobile Apps
Monitor mobile performance and user experience with load tests for mobile devices by a professional supplier. Conduct complete online load tests regularly. That will ensure top quality customer experience and may shave seconds off mobile response times for maximum profit margins.
Sven Hammar is Founder and CEO of Apica.