December 7, 2014
Launching an app is like having your first child; it’s a good idea to talk to someone who’s been through the process before anything goes off the rails. When my company launched its app, we did some things right — and we made a few mistakes. Here are five lessons we learned that you should keep in mind to ensure your digital baby grows up to be healthy:
1. Find a Developer Who Cares
While working on our app, we fired two different developers before we finished the first beta version of the app. The person we initially hired didn’t have a real interest in our business, and it showed. If a developer is a bad fit, don’t hesitate to sever ties. Fire fast, and hire slow.
Our third developer, however, was punctual and efficient. We could reach him at any time if there was something urgent that needed to be fixed. He under-promised and over-delivered, which was the complete opposite of the other two developers. Find a developer who isn’t solely concerned about development or his own bottom line. A good developer should also be able to contribute creatively.
2. Share Wireframes and Storyboards
Looking back, the creation of our wireframes and storyboards was rushed. As a result, we changed a few features and some of the layout after beginning development. It’s much harder and more expensive to change things after starting the design phase.
It’s a better idea to use the wireframes as a prototype to share with friends, family, and experts who can provide honest feedback before development begins. Save time and money by making changes in a wireframe instead of waiting until the actual code is in place.
3. Prepare for Fans and Press
Set up your social media accounts and press ahead of time. Create your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram pages, and use a tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to write and schedule your social media content.
Write a press release, and know where you’re going to send it, including sites like PRLog, PRWeb, and PR Newswire. I recommend writing your own copy or working directly with a writer so the enthusiasm you feel about your product makes its way through to potential customers.
Do your research, and reach out to bloggers and reporters who would be the most excited about your app. Offer them a sneak peek or a video to show off your app’s interface and capabilities. This gives the press a chance to write a more in-depth article about your app. You can even use a free smartphone screen emulator like SimFinger or iShowU to make a professional-looking video tutorial for the press.
4. Spend Time on the Screenshots and Descriptions
Some companies fail to spend the proper amount of time on mastering the visuals of screenshots and the intricacies of descriptions. Screenshots and descriptions should outline your app’s four or five biggest strengths. Conveying your app’s greatest features will tell your potential customers why it’s worth the download.
Each screenshot that’s posted should make a point to the user. Add a short and sweet amount of text to each picture to clarify that point. Remember, you have limited space to show off your app, so make it count.
5. Give the Bugs a Quick Fix
Our biggest struggle with the app was working out the bugs after the release. While we tested the app thoroughly before releasing, there were still a few minor things we missed. We tested the functionality of the app in sandbox mode, but one feature that worked there failed to work once it was in the App Store. We got this fixed right away, which was one of the advantages of having a punctual developer.
Getting those bugs fixed as soon as possible was crucial. Make fixing bugs your highest priority to avoid making a bad first impression.
Every first-time app parent is bound to make a mistake or two. But as long as you have the right support on board and plan ahead for promotion, your digital baby will survive the bumps in the road during its delivery to the App Store.
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