How does a mobile app company project itself as ‘superior’ to its rivals? Unfortunately, most of them focus on the volume of apps they have already developed…that are already showcased in their portfolio. Fair enough, the ‘quantity’ of work does speak about the experience of a team of developers – but what about the ‘quality’ of those applications? Simply saying “We have created XXX number of apps in the last 6 months” does not, in any way, imply that those apps were good ones. In today’s AppBoard Tuesday (ABT), we will point out why ‘quality of work’, instead of ‘quantity of work’, needs to be the USP of any app development company:
- Delivering value to clients – Take a look around on the World Wide Web. You will find scores of companies that proudly proclaim ‘cheap app making services’, or ‘mobile apps at less than $50’, or some similar sort of attractive, and thoroughly baseless, promises. Their focus is on capturing as many customers possible at one go – and more often than not, the latter are given sub-standard, hurriedly made apps. The result? Absence of any repeat customers. You need to deliver value to the paying client – in order to ensure that (s)he will come back to you when another app needs to be developed. Trying to make as many apps as possible in a time-period, and compromising on their quality in the process, is a myopic strategy. There will always be some companies that offer cheaper services – you need to ensure that your rates are justified.
- That thing called pride – A short anecdote here. When one of our mobile apps for children – Kids Tiles – was released late last year, it received positive reviews from several sites and portals. The app development team in charge of making Kids Tiles used to actually search for such reviews and citations of their ‘baby’, and share the same on their personal Facebook and Twitter pages. This went on for close to three months. A good mobile app is more than likely to earn user-appreciation, and appreciation perks up a developer more than any monetary incentives can ever do. If your employees start taking pride in their work, they will raise the standard of their products on their own. Detachment can be disastrous.
- Importance of having an expert team – In addition to the quality of apps, the quality of the developers matters too. The entrepreneur of a mobile startup company can very well consider hiring app developers who are novices – simply because they will demand lower paychecks (the ‘freshers are cheaper’ philosophy). What is often not considered is that – a person with relevant experience in the domain of mobile app development can do the work of 8-10 such freshers on his/her own. The total workforce would also not become unnecessarily big. Never try to cut corners by looking for cheap app developers – remember, inefficiency comes as a free baggage with cheapness. Consider this: a lady needs 9 months to deliver a baby…but if there are 9 ladies, can you reduce the delivery period to 1 month for each? We rest our case.
- Client-satisfaction is your bird’s eye – When you provide free app quotes and take up third-party app projects – you promise the client two things. The first is stated – that you will finish the project within the mentioned deadline. The second (and arguably, the more important) generally remains unmentioned – the app you create must ‘satisfy’ your client. Delivering half-baked apps to customers is a surefire way to spark off negative word-of-mouth publicity. You might have made more than 1000 apps – but what’s the point if most of them have horrible reviews? You lose the client, and the reputation of your app company gets eroded. Focus on quality instead, that will make your clientele a lot happier.
- Need to make a mark at app stores – Don’t get it wrong – you have every right to boast about the number of apps your company has created (heck, we do it too!). The point is, you also need to add how many (or what percentage) of them have been featured at iTunes/Play Store, won app awards, and received any other form of recognition. And the only way to get such appreciation? That’s right – by ensuring that each of your custom mobile applications is of optimal quality. “We have made more than 650 apps” sounds good – but when you add “82% of our apps are featured at the store”, it sounds a lot better!
- Shorter app development cycles – Another thing that is often overlooked. A constant focus on Quality Analysis (QA) makes the entire app development more streamlined, and, for lack of a better word, ‘predictable’. When your team is, say, creating an iPhone app, they will know the best practices for coding, prototyping and testing the application – and will follow these steps systematically. There would be no uncertainties, and that would minimize the chances of undue delays in project completion. If you focus on quality, meeting that apparently challenging deadline also becomes easier.
- Quality, Time & Money – The Tradeoff - Creating a mobile app involves taking a stand on three fronts: How good should be its quality, how much time would be given to the developers to make it, and the amount of money that a client is prepared to spend on it. Now, the best of all the three worlds cannot be simultaneously obtained – and optimizing any two would require a bit of compromize on the third aspect. Quality is by far the most important aspect in the long-run perspective. A client should always get apps of the best quality, even if they take a couple of weeks more to make, or cost a few extra dollars. If an app turns out to be poor, the client will not be pleased – not matter how quickly you had created it, or how reasonable its cost figures were.
- Giving out the ‘right vibe’ about your company – An unsuspecting, first-time client might not realize this – but anyone with at least some experience in the field of app-making cannot be fooled by hollow promises. It is easy for the latter to find out whether a company is racing against time to make as many apps as possible and earn quick bucks, or if it is actually focusing on creating high-quality, cross-platform, customized applications. You want to be viewed as one of the latter companies, right?
- Users have little tolerance for buggy apps – And this is true for both simple mobile games, or personal finance calculator apps. When a company tries to race through the process of making apps, the phase that gets neglected the most is app testing. A buggy app will be rejected at iTunes forthwith, while it might just sneak through at Google Play Store – but will find little love from final-users. Unless you are making something absolutely ground-breaking (you won’t find too many takers in such cases either!), make sure that no bugs/malware remain in your app. It takes seconds…literally, seconds…for a user to uninstall a buggy app, and download another, similar one. Your loss, your competitor’s gain.
- The importance of reliable source code – Any Android or iOS app developer worth his/her salt would confirm the importance of code reusability. Maintaining a high standard of operations includes the maintenance of proper software documentation. Doing this simple, everyday task helps: i) existing developers, working on multiple projects, and ii) those new on board, who need to get familiar with the source codes quickly. Keeping all source codes and documents properly organized is a smart, and rather overlooked, way of speeding up the entire app development process.
- Making your apps stand out – Ever heard of that adage, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’? Well, at least for apps, this does not hold true. If two applications have similar tech features and functionality, the one that is more ‘good-looking’ is likely to be more successful. This is where the importance of quality work by the graphic designers and app UI animators come into the picture. Mobile apps churned out in an assembly-line-like process often have a sameness about them. The visual features of your application should be good enough to bring it to the notice of target users.
- Ease of upgrading – A marker for a good mobile app is one that is regularly upgraded (new features, extensions, etc.). Provided that developers had abided by high quality parameters while making an app in the first place, releasing updates to it (as and when necessary) would also become a lot easier. Of course, there would be lesser need for exclusively ‘bug-fix updates’ as well. When you invest on quality from the first, the entire workflow becomes straightforward, hassle-free.
Professional reputation, client-satisfaction, happy employees and positive word-of-mouth publicity – these are the four pillars on which the success (or otherwise) of a mobile app company critically hinges on. An unwavering attention to the quality of your products would help you attain all of these, and keep exceeding the expectations of your clients/end-users. There is no shortcut to business success…you simply have to invest on quality.
Ok then, that’s about all we had to share in this week’s edition of AppBoard Tuesday (ABT). If you feel that the quality aspect of app development (or, for that matter, any software) is important for any other purpose – do write in to us. Want some other topic to be covered in future editions of ABT? Let us know, and we will try to include the topics you want to know more about.
We will have something new, something interesting, something else related to mobile applications to discuss in next week’s AppBoard Tuesday. Till then, love thy apps!
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