Some days, it seems as though every person I run into has an idea for a mobile app. Some are really good and some probably wouldn’t fly, but I think this illustrates the need (or at least desire) for more useful mobile apps.
This also illustrates that your customers (or vendors, or employees) are probably wondering why you haven’t created a mobile app to allow them to do that one thing that will make their lives easier. You know what I’m talking about, it’s that idea that has been developing in the back of your head over the past months or years that you just haven’t fully committed to. It’s time to flesh it out.
Do you remember the days where if you had a business card and a coffee cup with your company name on it, your customers knew you were a legitimate business? This quickly gave way to the need to have a website, which gave way to the need for a social media presence. All of this is quickly giving way to customers expecting that you are going to have a mobile app for them to use.
I’ve seen some common barriers to people making their first step towards creating a mobile app. I thought I would share them with you here…
Barrier #1… People believe that creating a mobile app is more expensive than it really is. This is typically not the case. The reason for this is largely due to fact that most mobile apps provide a simple service and there is not a lot of complexity in what they do. As a result, development time doesn’t take as long and mobile apps do not cost as much as a web or Windows app.
Barrier #2… People believe that their app won’t get approved in the associated app store. There are some requirements that need to be met in order to publish an app in the popular app stores, but let’s face it, the big players want more apps in their stores so they can sell more phones and tablets. This is especially true for the Android and Windows Phone app stores as they build their arsenal of apps.
Barrier #3… People aren’t sure what platform to commit to. Whether it be iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, the solution to this barrier is to pick one and start with it. It is important though to have a good plan in place on how to move to the other platforms BEFORE you start development.
Barrier #4… People aren’t sure what type of mobile app they should build. This is typically a decision between a native app and a web based app. In most cases, the nature of the app will help you decide on the technology to use. The toolsets for mobile development have grown extensively over the past few years and the gap between native and web apps is quickly closing.
Like any software development project, there is a recipe for success…
- Find a good development partner that can get the job done right the first time. This will shorten time to market and reduce costs and anxiety.
- Do NOT select your development partner based on lowest cost. This will end up costing you more money and headaches in the long run.
- Set a realistic timeline with realistic milestones. Don’t rush things and make sure you allow time for the creative process to take place.
- Start small and set yourself up for success. It is far better to have a simple app that works than a complex app that doesn’t.
- Select a platform to start, with a plan to move forward. Develop on one platform, then move to the next platform when the app is ready.
- Discuss the pros and cons of native vs. web apps with your development partner and determine the best fit for the functionality you need.
The bottom line is this. Your customers (or vendors, or employees) are waiting for you to create mobile apps that will make their lives easier. Holding back on these apps may make it appear as though you are not a forward thinking organization. We both know this isn’t true, so what are you waiting for?