Your application does not have a second chance to make a first impression. Studies show that only 16% of people will use a buggy application more than twice. Everyone else will move on before you release a patch. Treating your customers as guinea pigs to test half complete iterations from your application development team is a weak business model.
If your company wants to create a hit application that provides an ample ROI, you need to work out the glitches in advances. Where do you begin? Here are the core strategies you cannot overlook if you want to keep your customer list from being as empty as a ghost town.
1.) Use Various Tactics to Discover What Users Need
End users, oddly enough, tend not to know their true needs. Users instead fixate on surface level desires, leaving their actual needs unaddressed. That is why the best application development teams employ strategies to extract unconscious needs and translate them into incisive user requirements. Effective techniques are:
- Participant Observation: Watching users interact with your application or similar applications can be enlightening. The errors they make can quickly identify flaws in usability and help build a more intuitive experience.Additionally, the logistics of your participant observation should evolve as you collect data from your future end users. There will always be shortcomings in your initial observation strategy that if not improved upon in real-time can overlook essential data points.On a final note, never be dismissive of user mistakes. Their beginning errors can help you fail early so you succeed later.
- Interviews: Feedback straight from the end users’ mouths can be indispensable. However, not all interviews garner the most informative results.For starters, participants should be a representative sample of all target users. Focus on your target demographics and invite people of different ages, experience, and other factors to answer your questions. Moreover, ensure that you are obtaining feedback from both lead users (those who will explore every facet of your application) and extreme users (those who will use your application with extreme frequency).Second, not all interview questions are created equal. Stray from yes or no questions. Avoid questions that outright ask users what they need (their answers will be spotty at best). Instead, ask questions that identify pain points.How do they use similar software? What current processes help them achieve what your application promises? Be curious, ask follow up questions, and don’t be afraid to stray from your prepared questions. They can provide unparalleled insight.
- Story Mapping: Why limit your requirement gathering to bloated reports? Story mapping adds a visual component that allows participants to imagine the application from the top down.The ultimate vision of the application is divided into goals (the users’ needs) which are divided into activities (what users do to achieve goals), tasks (the steps behind each activity), and user stories (development activities that make the big goals possible.
Every member of the team is integral to this process, which takes on a life of its own (and plenty of wall space) as ideas evolve and complexify. Your team also has the ability to see the intricacies of the project early on, so you can plan timelines accordingly.
2.) Get Your Entire Team Involved
Other processes can be employed (the creation of personas, contextual inquiries, etc.), but one of the most important parts of requirement gathering is including developers and engineers. Quarantining them until application development begins creates a rift between their mentality and that of the ideation team.
Taking your application development team out of the requirement gathering equation loses the vision in translation. That can usher in a product that is out-of-synch with the original vision and requires serious edits immediately before or after the planned release. This is why we at AIT Global include the ideas of end users, analysts, developers, and stakeholders to ensure the application moves through development stages without snares.
3.) Release a Minimal Viable Product
The application market is saturated at every level from the consumer to the B2B market. Competitors will fill the gap meant for your product if you take too long. In response, many developers under pressure push themselves to release a comprehensive application at launch, often risking an end result riddled with glitches. In truth, they can save themselves pain and still satisfy customers by launching a minimal viable product (MVP).
Each application has a core purpose. With an MVP, you build and deliver an application that fulfills that core purpose in the most distilled form. For a program like Gmail, an MVP would be limited to Compose, Send, and Reply features. Saving drafts, archiving emails, and SMS chat are all icing on the cake.
Remember: early adopters do not need the full extent of your vision. New features and iterations can be released later as long as you land the initial release. That is why your initial output needs to be delivered under the guidance of an exceptional application development team with a strong MVP track record.
4.) Surgically Fix Feedback & Bugs
Once you have released your MVP, it is equally important to proactively evaluate your work and fix user-facing issues. One important tactic is to provide clear and simple channels of feedback for your users and assign someone to watch for issues and conduct a little triage. That way, the problems are quickly presented to you.
From there, you need an experienced QA team at your disposal to quickly and methodically go through the application with purpose. Randomly adjusting the underlying code is a game of chance: you may luck out and find the issue quickly or you may waste days. The inefficiency alone is reason enough to follow the code’s execution process.
A Complete Solution to Successful Application Development
To do each of these steps justice, your application needs the attention and care of experienced professionals. That’s the value of our teams at AIT Global. We can handle application development for companies of any size: from startups to Fortune 500s. Best of all, our process is flexible to meet your needs and deliver an application that keeps customers in your court. Contact us today to get the advantage of our experienced application development team.