7 tips on supporting successful mobile apps: A developer’s guide

| 5 min. (984 words)

Many things go into the success of your mobile apps. As developers, we can feel disconnected to that success, telling ourselves that we don’t really have a say in whether our app is successful or not. We just focus on what’s in front of us; writing bug-free code to the best of our ability. But, in reality, you can have much more of an influence on the success of your application than you think.

Better yet, showing a little more involvement outside of your usual dev tasks highlights your leadership skills and shows you care – skills that go a long way in the competitive technology industry.

I’ve highlighted seven below.

1. Watch out for new OS updates

The release of new updates to an OS brings a variety of new features and opportunities. Quick adoption of the latest OS features can help get your app featured on official app stores, putting your app in front of thousands of new potential users.

Staying up to date can also help you anticipate problems introduced into the platform with the latest releases. Check the release notes to intercept potential issues that will hurt your app’s success.

2. Know your ecosystem

Each mobile device has strengths and weaknesses, but they are becoming more and more advanced with each generation. Taking advantage of the latest technological advances like iOS Metal or Google Daydream gives your app the step up it needs to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Security is a popular issue in mobile development, so build your apps with this in mind from the beginning. Make good use of the security features offered by the OS. As a general rule, keep user’s information safe with encryption and restrict your app’s permissions to the minimum. Make security a priority to ensure your app is less vulnerable to malicious users who don’t want your app to succeed.

3. Know your audience

The number of devices your app can or should support grows almost month to month, but knowing the devices your customers are using is a must. (You can use Raygun’s Real User Monitoring for discovering insights into your user’s environments.) Integrating the latest features on the newest hardware may not be as important as fixing a critical bug affecting a significant portion of users on legacy devices. Your app could benefit more from prioritizing solving problems where your users are and not where you want them to be.

4. Sharpen your knives

App abandonment is a common problem caused by your users perceiving your app to be slow and unresponsive. This means developers can have a direct impact on solving poor page performance. Knowing how to use a performance profiler can give you an edge to resolving trickier problems. It might be that your app isn’t really broken – it’s just slow.

Customers are much less likely to abandon your app if you can get bug fixes out quickly and often. (We also have a comprehensive article on mobile app abandonment rates here.)

So, keep your tool knowledge sharp and be ready for problems.

5. Run the simulation

Sometimes, getting your boss to open their wallet to invest in physical devices for testing can be a hard-fought process. While physical devices are useful, you do have the option of testing on simulators for mobile devices. You can even get a hold of free simulators for devices that are yet to be released. Ironing out the bugs by running your app through a variety of device simulators can help save you time and help exponentially to make your app a success by improving the user experience.

6. Expand your vocabulary

Being able to convey your ideas in a way that people from different disciplines will understand is key to resolving problems promptly. To do this, you need to expand your vocabulary to include terminology others use. And don’t be afraid to ask! As a developer, you probably aren’t expected to understand what ARPPU means. But, from experience, I know that learning a few key terms will show your team you are serious about the success of your mobile app.

Many developers I know tend to stay away from talks of analytics as they don’t understand the acronyms. Getting to grips with what they will allow you to provide a technical insight into improving metrics and making your app a success.

For example, is a buggy app causing abandonment? Help make a case for allocating more resources to debugging by explaining to a financial manager how it affects the bottom line.

Here are a few common ones you might hear around the office to start you off:

  • MAU/DAU (Monthly Active Users & Daily Active Users)
  • ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User)
  • ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying User)

7. Be present in meetings

Lastly, let’s talk about meetings – a subject of contrasting opinions among developers.

As you know, meetings can either help or hinder the development of apps. They can be long-winded and pointless, but let’s look at the positive here. Meetings fuel conversations and it’s where ideas end up becoming tasks. If you’re serious about your app being a success don’t zone out in meetings – as this is where you can really shine. Offer a developer’s perspective on topics, which is highly valuable in avoiding technical issues down the road. A variety of perspectives on an issue from different departments can help teams know which ideas are relevant, and which are going to slow you down.

Finally, developers are essential for creating apps and can offer much more than bug-free code. Think of ways you can be more valuable to your company by providing technical insights into success.

What else do you do to support the success of mobile apps? Let me know in the comments below!

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