When developing an app, the smartest thing you can do is start with solving a clear and distinct need for users, says Zachary Drew, head of business development for app developer Blue Label Labs. And if you don’t know what problems you’re solving for, do more research, build prototypes and get feedback before building.
“If you’re not solving a clear and distinct consumer or business need, your app will not be successful,” he says.
Zachary recently checked in with us to offer more insight on considerations to make when developing apps for both Android and iOS. Here’s what he had to say:
What do brands need to know about developing apps for iOS vs. Android?
While the split of actual phone ownership in the U.S. slightly skews towards Android, the iOS app marketplace is bigger and iOS users are far heavier users of apps. Brands need to consider a handful of topics before they decide which operating system is the right one for their apps:
1. Which countries are you initially looking to launch in and what does phone ownership (iOS vs. Android) look like in that country?
2. What type of user are you looking to target (i.e., personal vs. business)?
3. Given that iOS is a generally the more functionality restrictive operating system, is your app even possible on iOS or does it need to be built for Android?
iOS is a bigger marketplace and users more readily download and use apps, but Android is a less restrictive marketplace that allows for a wider set of functionality and features than iOS. For example, Android’s NFC/RFID capabilities can be used for many purposes, but iOS currently restricts NFC/RFID use to ApplePay only.
What are the smartest things we can do when developing an app for both of these platforms?
We would recommend building an app for one platform first, getting all of the kinks out of the design, front-end and back-end first, before moving to the second platform. The reason being, if you build apps for both platforms at once the debugging and design changes have to be made on both, costing the sponsor time and money.
What are the biggest mistakes you see brands making when developing apps for these two platforms?
The biggest mistake we see brands making is assuming that design can be 100 percent the same between the two platforms. The aesthetics, expectations and user experience on each platform are different, so designs should be different and take advantage of what each platform has to offer.
What are the biggest trends in app development you’re observing today?
Messaging as a platform to attract users and then adding additional supplementary features; building apps for the Internet of Things (IoT) – home appliances, TVs, etc.; building apps for car operating systems and all of the challenges associated with providing complex functionality in a simple, non-distracting way.
Apps without a sales, marketing and PR plan, or budget – an app’s success is driven 10 percent by great design, 10 percent by great development and 80 percent by sales, marketing and PR. Hoping and praying “to be discovered” is not a plan.
What considerations do you coach your clients to make when developing an app?
1. Build an MVP with a truly minimally viable feature set – not something over-wrought with too many bells and whistles;
2. Carefully consider your call(s)-to-action to ensure that you’re clearly directing users to use your app in the most complete way;
3. Understand use patterns via analytic and engagement platforms to determine where user are finding the most value.