Are you trying to break into today’s hypercompetitive app market and finding yourself unable to do so, with your app offering seemingly being ignored by your target audience? Or perhaps you’re planning on doing just that, but you also want to avoid the common starting pitfalls and mistakes that have seen many promising apps fall into obscurity.

Whichever the case, you should know beforehand that there is more to making an app successful than simply having a visually appealing interface or working as intended without glitches or bugs. While such traits do help in attracting the attention of users who are looking to download something new onto their smartphones, they just aren’t enough to ensure that your app will be popular and will be sustainable in the long term.

So, how do you make certain that your app will get the traction it needs? The answer to this is to mitigate, in advance, certain factors that could be detrimental to your app’s ability to reach customers. The following is a list of some of these factors, as well as how to address them.

Your app has a horrible UX design

UX, or user experience, is a big contributor to an app’s success and longevity. In the simplest of terms, this refers to how it feels for a user to get their hands on your app. If your app wasn’t designed from the ground up to have good UX, or if it is just poorly designed overall, then there’s a great chance that it offers a very off-putting and irritating user experience for your target audience.

An example of this is when an app has a confusing interface, such as when buttons aren’t clearly labeled or they change graphics/text with every screen. Another example is if the app has too many distracting visual elements on every screen, which can present enough of a sensory overload that it may befuddle users on what to do to start engaging with the app’s main features. Both of these can easily cause your users to get lost in navigating your app, compelling them to immediately uninstall it from their mobile devices.

To prevent this from happening, it’s best to have someone well-versed in designing apps as part of the development team, such as an app design expert. Even better still, consider getting a knowledgeable app design agency involved in the design process instead. While the former can provide valuable input as to how to improve any app’s UX, the latter will have more resources at their disposal to completely fix and overhaul what’s wrong with your app—from the way it works to even its visual or graphic design elements. As such, we recommend consulting with an app or digital design agency when it comes to designing your app from the ground up.

Your app may be too similar to other popular apps

Whether your app is a game app, a utility app, or something in between, it must set itself apart from the competition in a very distinct way. While there will always be some similarities between popular apps with the same target audience and from organizations within the same industry, your app must offer something completely new and of value to your target demographic. Otherwise, it may be quickly dismissed by new users as a clone of a more popular app, and thus summarily ignored.

Resolving this involves designing your app from the beginning to be distinct enough from its competition. One step to start with is to do a lot of competitive research—i.e. taking extensive notes on how your competitors’ apps are designed visually and feature-wise. This will allow you to see more easily what you need to diverge from or improve upon with your own app. Another is to, once again, enlist the help of an app design agency to help you develop your app in such a way that it gives users a completely new experience, even if your app is essentially similar to others available on your app marketplace of choice.

Your app hasn’t been updated in a long while

Too many app developers are new to the scene, and a common belief is that the bulk of the work is simply the process of getting the app from ideation stage up to a working, bug-free release build of the app itself—or in gaming industry terms, “going gold.” This can be certainly true, especially if the app itself offers a high degree of utility or a feature-rich experience. However, such a belief can lead to the misconception that once an app has been released on the app store as a public downloadable, it means that the work is done, and it doesn’t need to be touched anymore. It’s a finished work and should remain as such for the foreseeable future.

This is another reason why many apps fail to capture a large target audience. The simple fact that they have been released to the public does not mean that they’re perfect, as there are always things that can be improved upon in a previously released app, no matter how thorough the quality checking was or if it had gone through multiple reviews. For example, there may be bugs that users encounter in usage scenarios that the QA team may have missed. Typos may be spotted by users that have been missed during the last-stage development crunch. The user interface or user experience may also require some extra fine-tuning based on reviews and user feedback.

App developers must realize that their creations must always continue evolving and improving upon themselves to retain their user base, as well as to bring new users into the fold. It needs to constantly deliver a fresh experience. Without all of these, the app will remain static, which could inconvenience or bore users to the point of them leaving.

Your app isn’t compatible across different platforms and devices

The two leading mobile platforms of today, namely Android and iOS, have very distinct differences, especially when it comes to their controls and user interfaces. One strong example is how Android has a back button, while iOS does not. Another example is how iOS registers different multi-touch gestures to perform specific functions within the app, such as switching apps and closing them. These differences can multiply exponentially if one were to consider the disparities in user interface design across all the different Android devices.

A failure to take these seemingly minor but important control differences can result in your app frustrating new users, especially if you’re planning on a cross-platform release. This can then drive your app’s popularity to very low levels.

Prevent this by keeping such differences in mind during the design of your app’s respective platform builds. Yes, it may take a bit more time and effort, but doing things right the first time rather than waiting for a backlash from customers and app users can help save you from a lot of headaches later on.

Your app isn’t being promoted properly

Finally, another big reason why an app just isn’t catching on is that it’s just not being promoted properly, which can result in it being buried in search results or not being recommended by app market algorithms at all. It’s not enough that you invest in website banner ads or even TV commercials for your app, you still need to ensure that once someone visits their app marketplace, it’s easy enough for them to find your app and download it.

There are two major things that you need to do to promote your app the right way. First, make sure that you use the proper keywords in your app’s name and description. For example, if your app is a game app that has to do with shooting or zombies, then ensure that those keywords are prominently displayed in its title or description. Second, the visual branding of your app should be distinct enough that it can be spotted even amongst similar apps in its genre. Do these things, and they should have a positive impact on your app’s current visibility.

It’s easy to take the factors we listed above for granted. After all, it makes sense that a well-designed and soundly coded app should gain a large user base just by it being a working product. However, due to how today’s current app marketplace is a hyper-competitive one, an app needs to stand out a lot more to get the traction it needs. By resolving the above-mentioned challenges, you should be well on your way to garnering the attention your creation deserves.


Sumit is a Tech and Gadget freak and loves writing about Android and iOS, his favourite past time is playing video games.

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