Mobile App Development Timeline: A Realistic Perspective
Time is money. The longer an app takes to build, the more it will cost. If you’ve started pricing out ...Read
There’s a big difference between an average app and a great app. So what makes an awesome app awesome?
If you want your app to be the best that it can possibly be, you’ve got to constantly get feedback and make improvements.
This shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ve probably got some experience doing this during the pre-launch phases of development.
But with that said, I see this problem all too often when I’m consulting with mobile app owners. They test their app before it launches and then leave it alone.
This is a huge mistake. These apps end up being average or even worse, they fail.
You still need to stay on top of things to make sure that your app is optimized for peak user performance.
As an expert in this space, I’ll help steer you in the right direction.
I’ll explain why reviewing your app is so important and show you some proven methods that will give you valuable feedback. Here’s what you need to know.
You may be sitting there thinking to yourself that your app is fine, which may be true. So does it really need to be reviewed?
Yes. Absolutely. 100%.
I can’t emphasize this enough. “Fine” is only suitable for so long.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody’s app is perfect. There is always room for improvement. But if you’re not always striving to make those improvements, the quality of your app will suffer.
Apps get abandoned for various reasons.
If users stop using your app, it could be due to bugs or glitches. Maybe the loading time was too slow, or the app crashed when they were doing something.
It’s also possible that the app is just not designed well. It’s confusing and those design elements hinder the navigation and performance.
When your app stops getting used, it makes it unlikely that people will rate and review it on the app store.
There is a science behind getting your app ranked in the app store. You’ve got to understand app store optimization.
If someone decides to rate your app after using it just once or twice and then abandoning it, I’m willing to bet that the rating will not be favorable.
Poor ratings and lack of ratings will hurt your search ranking. This is a problem since two-thirds of users conduct research before downloading an app.
So while downloads may be fine right now, it could become a downward spiral if users aren’t happy with the performance.
Ultimately, this will crush your profits, which is the whole reason you built this app in the first place, right?
Reviewing your app on a regular basis ensures that it’s performing at its peak, or at least close to it.
Doing this regularly also holds you and your team accountable for your work. It holds your developers, designers, quality assurance agents, and everyone else on your team responsible for their tasks.
If your employees are just working on salary or on an hourly wage, they could slack off from time to time. They don’t have any investment in the app, and they get paid whether it does well or not.
But if they know their work is always being reviewed, it could impact their job security. So they’ll step up their performance as well.
Now that we’ve established why you need to review your app, it’s time to show you how. There’s no one right way to approach this.
If you conduct some research and ask around, you’ll find lots of different options and methods.
For the most part, you want your app review process to be short and sweet. Keep it simple. People don’t want to take too much time out of their day giving you feedback.
So make sure everything is direct and to the point.
In my experience, I’ve seen lots of different review methods. Some work better than others. I’ve narrowed down the top five ways to review your app.
I’ll go through each one and explain how to do it. Here they are.
1. Use social media channels
Usually, people associate social media as a platform to market and promote their app. While this is true, and definitely something you should be doing, it’s also a valuable tool for app feedback.
There are billions of active monthly users across the most popular social media channels. So chances are, your app users have a presence on at least one of these platforms.
So how can you use these channels to get feedback?
For starters, staying active and engaged on social media will help you keep your finger on the pulse.
If users are having problems, you’ll know about it if you’re constantly communicating with them on all of your social channels.
This strategy isn’t something that you can implement overnight. It takes time to have an active social media presence. You always need to try and get more followers, post pictures, videos, and just keep your brand fresh in the minds of these users.
You have to create an environment where your followers know that you welcome feedback. So if they’re happy, they’ll tell you. If they’re unhappy, they’ll definitely tell you.
While this takes time, there are certain things that you can do right away to start encouraging feedback for your app review process.
Create polls. Facebook and Twitter have had these options for a while on their platforms. But Instagram just recently added a poll feature to their stories.
You’re essentially killing two birds with one stone here if you take advantage of this feature.
First, adding content to your Instagram story on a regular basis accomplishes what we discussed about always staying active on social media. This also keeps your followers engaged since you’re looking for a response.
Second, you’re getting valuable feedback about your app. As of right now, you can only add two responses to the poll, but that’s fine. Refer back to what I said earlier about keeping this process quick and as simple as possible.
You can use social media to ask your followers for new ideas. If you’re thinking about adding a new feature to your app or getting rid of something, reach out to your followers and see their opinion.
Try streaming live videos on social media so you can interact with your audience in real-time.
Here’s something else you need to keep in mind when it comes to managing your social media strategy for feedback. You always need to respond to comments and direct messages.
Don’t ignore people. I understand that these comments and messages can be overwhelming, but it’s a good problem to have.
Consider this. Let’s say someone has a poor experience with your mobile app.
The reactions on this list are all bad news for your brand. So if a user takes the time to message you on social media about this poor experience, you’ve still got a chance to salvage the relationship.
Don’t blow it. Take their feedback seriously and let them know that you’re working on the issue.
If you wait too long to respond, they’ll just abandon the app and you just missed out on the opportunity.
You can also use Twitter’s advanced search to review your app. Just type in the name of your app, your Twitter account, or hashtags associated with your brand to see what people are saying.
What’s the tone of the tweets about your app? Are they positive? Negative?
Are people offering suggestions or saying that your app needs improvement?
Review these tweets in detail to get a better understanding of the user experience.
2. Reach out to other people within the mobile app industry
Don’t be hesitant to ask your peers for advice.
You’re not necessarily competitors with anyone and everyone who has a mobile app.
Throughout the development process and your years in the industry, I’m sure you’ve made meaningful relationships with others. Pick up the phone or shoot them an email. Nicely ask for them to review your app.
It could be a past developer that you worked with on another project. Maybe even a designer that a friend of yours knows. Anybody in the technology industry will be helpful.
Sure, you could just ask a friend or family member to review your app, but that’s not as effective. People in the technology field may be able to help you out with certain things that other people can’t.
The average person may think that your app runs smoothly, but someone with a technical background will be able to pick out more flaws.
If you’re stuck and not sure who you should ask for help, consider joining online communities and networks. Try out something like TechRepublic.
It’s a great way to connect with people who have been in your shoes before. Discuss your app on forums and get feedback from a group of peer experts.
Who knows, eventually you may be able to return the favor and help other people in the industry review their apps as well.
3. Encourage in-app reviews
Let users know that you want to hear from them. Your contact information shouldn’t be a mystery.
Make sure that it’s easy for people to communicate with you and that you provide multiple options for feedback.
For example, check out this mobile app from Final Phase Inspection.
When you click the “Contact Us” button, it brings you to a page where their users have the option to call, text, or email the company for support.
Earlier I suggested using social media platforms to conduct surveys to get feedback during your review process. Well, you can take the same approach directly in your app as too.
In-app surveys are a great way to monitor your performance. It’s just got to be friendly and easy for users to respond.
Users probably won’t go out of their way to give you feedback, so you’ve got ask for it. When they open the app, consider having a popup with a survey.
If they’re unhappy with something, they’ll tell you about it now.
Just make sure that you’re only using this strategy periodically. Don’t send a popup every time a user opens the app. That’s annoying and won’t improve their experience.
4. Use your website to facilitate discussions through forums
Welcome feedback on your website as well.
Designate a specific page or section for users to communicate with you and each other.
Similar to what we discussed previously with the TechRepublic forum, you can create the same atmosphere on your own website for all of your users.
They can share information and help each other out as well. You’ll be there to chime in and facilitate these discussions.
This is another great way to establish a rapport with your app users and keep them engaged.
There are lots of ways you can do this. They can create an account with their real name or username. You can even give them an option to stay anonymous.
If you don’t want these comments to be viewed by the public, that’s OK too. Instead of creating a forum, just create a submission box where users can contact you directly.
Make sure you ask for their contact information so you can reply to resolve any issues they might be having. Even if their comment is positive, you should still reply and thank them for the feedback.
5. Focus groups and beta testers
Focus groups are great for feedback. I see lots of app developers shy away from focus groups because they think it’s too expensive.
But there are lots of ways you can do this for free or at the very least, at a reduced cost. Post information online through popular forums. Reach out to local college students.
You can probably get college students to participate in your focus groups just by offering them a small gift card to a local coffee chain or something like that.
You can use beta testing platforms to review your app as well. Try websites like Beta Family to get started.
Websites like this will help you get feedback through reports and analytics. It will also put you in direct communication with the people who tested your app.
So you can hear what they have to say and have a correspondence with them to get even more details about their experience.
Get organized. You’re getting feedback from multiple sources. Analyze the information.
Start to separate the responses into common problems, compliments, or suggestions. Just because one person suggested something, it doesn’t mean that you need to apply it to your app.
But if half of the users providing feedback have a common issue or suggestion, it’s probably in your best interest to consider making that change.
Make changes in a timely fashion, but don’t rush. If you try to make it happen overnight, you’ll have other issues. But you don’t want to wait a year to apply the new changes.
Don’t get discouraged. If you’re getting negative feedback, just consider it constructive criticism.
This is something to be positive about. These comments will ultimately make your app better.
Make sure that you’re not overlooking the positive feedback. Don’t just throw those to the side and only focus on the negative reviews.
The positive remarks should reinforce what you’re doing well. Keep it up. If people are happy with certain features and functions, make sure you don’t change them.
You should be happy because you’re improving your app. This will make you more money in the long run.
If you want your app to be great, you need to review it on a regular basis.
Your review process will help you figure out what you’re doing well, and what areas of your app need improvement.
Use social media channels to connect with your users and ask for feedback.
Reach out to people you’ve built relationships with in the tech industry or join online communities for advice.
Encourage in-app reviews. Just make sure you’re not annoying your users.
You can set up a section of your website that’s for feedback as well. Use beta testers and focus groups to get detailed responses for your app’s performance.
Analyze all of this data from your review process and make the necessary changes.
How is your app review process helping you optimize the user experience?
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