The big question: when is a mobile application market-ready?

Building a mobile application is relatively easy, but its usage is very complex. It is important to focus on the core feature, fail early, learn fast, and improvise, solving one problem at a time.
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When is a mobile application market-ready? Never. Is that how you are feeling now? Or, was it ready a few iterations back?

Many of us start with the belief that with a perfect idea and a strong development team, our mobile application can do wonders. This is until we look at some facts. More than 80 percent of applications are abandoned after a single use. How do we make sure we are a part of the successful 20 percent?

Unless your idea is truly unique and novel, we are talking about an over-crowded application space. You are competing with clones already launched, and clones who are seeing what is there, making it better and planning to launch tomorrow.

Yet, we know that there are those few apps that stand out in a user’s mind, and don’t get hit on the uninstall button for a very long time. So, at what point in your application development lifecycle do you feel confident that your mobile application is ready for a market launch?

On one side is the primary problem that your application is solving and how effective is your solution. On the other side is the diverse user demographic that you are targeting. There is a huge risk if you are unable to connect the two.

Let us dig deeper into each of the above.

Effectively solving the market problem

Each application has a primary purpose or problem that it is solving. Whether you are looking at an entertainment application, an educational one, something spiritual, shopping or food delivery-related or informational, there will be a set of primary features it delivers. This would be augmented with certain add-ons.

When we get into application development, at times we get bogged down by making that perfect application which gives the entire bouquet of services along with all the add-ons. In such cases, the market launch keeps getting pushed indefinitely.

I know it sounds obvious, but most of us still fail to live up to it. It is strongly advisable to focus on the core feature, fail early, learn fast, and improvise, solving one problem at a time.

A good solution is not enough in itself; there is zero place for bad user experience in the market. The key question is how easy is it for a new user to find what she is looking for? Discoverability is paramount.

Another key question is how many steps does it take for a user to reach where she wants to? For example, if this is a shopping app, how smoothly does a user go from select to purchase. Similarly, for an OTT (video streaming) app, how quickly can the user find her favourite movie and watch it?

Above all, the application should not have obvious bugs. It should not crash, its buttons should work as intended, it should be easy to navigate, and not consume too much battery or space on the phone.

While there is no denying that aesthetics play a key role in how attractive it is for users to download, the ease of usage and adoption is perhaps even more critical. Either your application solves a new problem or solves an known problem in a more effective way than many other applications.

Handling diverse user demographic

Let us now look at the other aspect of the potential set of users who would be downloading and using the application, and the diverse set of circumstances under which it will be used. Building an application is relatively easy, but its usage is very complex.

No matter how much we try to check for quality within our labs, it is interesting to note that the customer base in the case of consumer applications, such as mobile, is always fragmented. We are talking about hundreds of device models with different screen sizes, resolutions, and OS platforms and versions.

Further, people would be using it across good and bad quality network coverage; some use it while travelling, others from remote locations.

Further, the demographic of users and their usage preferences and stereotypes also come into play. For e.g. an icon design in your application with obvious meaning, could have a totally different meaning in another culture.

These and many more questions come into play when you are looking at your application being market-ready. One of the more viable routes to align with such market usage is through crowdsourced testing where you tap into people who are geographically widespread and can replicate real-time user scenarios. This will always include the human aspect and look beyond basic limited simulations.

So now going back to the initial question, when is your mobile application market-ready?

Clearly, ensuring the quality and feature coverage of an application can be a never-ending activity. Therefore, there is a point where your decision-making and risk appetite kick in. A point where you are comfortable with the quality and usability of the core features of your application. This is when you are willing to take the plunge and ready for capturing quick market feedback, making updates as needed, and driving adoption.

In summary, solving one right problem at a time and making your user experience easy and bug-free is the quality standard required for an application in 2021. This will make it market-ready.

Edited by Teja Lele

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)