Chapter 3 of 3
Your app is live – time to celebrate! Go ahead and pop that bubbly but your work isn’t done yet. Maintaining an app over the course of its life cycle is a labor of love.
In Chapter 2 of this guide we described the multistep process of app development. (Still lost? Jump to the First Chapter in this installment) Now that you’re in the app store it’s time to iterate. Iteration is the best route to find the proper solutions, functionalities and features that are desirable to your user base. It requires taking into account many different considerations, making educated decisions on improvements and building upon your MVP in increments. There are two major factors to look at when iterating – user feedback and analytics.
Developing a healthy user base requires keeping existing users happy while attracting new ones. The advantage of an MVP is that it allows your product to grow based off actual user needs. Your early adopters will be the ones to tell you what they like, what they don’t like and what’s missing. From there you can continue to build a product that truly satisfies a specific problem, use case or user need.
As you meet the needs of these early adopters you immediately build a supportive user base. One that will vouch for and promote your product. As you further iterate you can introduce extensions and features that lead toward a more robust app. User feedback is gathered in many different ways. This includes anything from messages received in-app, via email or social media as well as through more formalized test groups and surveys.
Direct user feedback provides qualitative feedback (likes, dislikes, behavior). Analytics provide quantitative insight into how users are actually using your application. This will help reveal things like your most habitual users, how often certain features are used, which features are not used, etc. You may even discover that your users are not using the app the same way you do or how you had envisioned. This can be frustrating but important in knowing how to pivot your feature set and iterate.
It’s crucial to pick Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) most appropriate for your audience when you consider analtyics. For instance, an ecommerce app would be more concerned with purchase conversion, whereas a social platform could be more concerned with user retention. Define analytics early and strategically to properly align with your app’s core offerings.
Here are a few tools, which can help you get feedback to iterate on your product:
Flurry is a free mobile analytics platform that allows you to see metrics on both iOS and Android platforms. Their software development kits (SDK) are very easy and painless to integrate.
Crashlytics is a third party SDK which allows you to see crash reports for both your iOS and Android applications. In order to make sure your users have the best experience, it’s important to make sure your application is as close to crash-free as possible.
ZenDesk is a great platform for managing incoming feedback, requests, and bugs from users. They also have an SDK, which will allow users to contact you directly from your app and also see frequently asked questions.
As you can see creating an app is a multistep process that takes time and many different skillsets. This guide should hopefully provide enough information for you to get started and build that next unicorn mobile app!