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Why do some mobile app projects fail?

21st December 2023

6-minutes read

Mobile apps are an integral part of daily life but not all mobile app projects are successful. In fact, many of them fail to even make it to the launch stage. This raises the question, why do some mobile app projects fail?

Lack of market research

Failing to investigate and understand the needs of your target audience is one of the key reasons why many mobile app projects fail. Without proper market research, developers are essentially shooting in the dark, unsure of their target audience, their needs, and their preferences. This lack of understanding leads to developing an app that simply isn't relevant to the intended users.

Market research helps in identifying the potential demand for a mobile app and understanding the competitive landscape. And conducting thorough research gives the project sponsor insight into what users are looking for in a mobile app, what features are most desirable, and what their pain points are. This information is crucial for designing an app that meets the needs of the target audience.

Additionally, market research can also uncover potential security risks and identify competitors who are already offering similar solutions. It helps developers avoid over-complicating the app with unnecessary features and ensures that the app is user-friendly and intuitive.

By investing time and resources in market research, app developers can greatly increase their chances of success by creating an app that is truly valuable and appealing to their target audience.

Feature overload

Many mobile app projects fail due to a common problem known as "feature overload." This occurs when developers try to incorporate too many features into their app, resulting in a cluttered and confusing user interface. While it's tempting to load the app with every possible feature, this has a detrimental effect on the app's success.

Firstly, a feature-heavy app can lead to poor performance and slow loading times. Users are increasingly demanding faster and more efficient apps, and if your app fails to meet these expectations, they will quickly lose interest and uninstall it.

Secondly, an app with too many features can be overwhelming for users. They may struggle to navigate through the app or find the specific features they need, resulting in a frustrating user experience.

To avoid feature overload, prioritise the most important features that align with the app's core purpose. Conducting thorough testing and gathering feedback from users can help identify which features are truly valuable and necessary. By focusing on simplicity and usability, you will plan and deliver an app that is intuitive and easy to use.

It is also important to consider the security implications of incorporating multiple features. Each feature adds complexity to the app's code, increasing the risk of security vulnerabilities. By carefully selecting and thoroughly testing features, developers can ensure that their app remains secure and protected.

Similarly, a staged approach - where you develop the app in clearly defined steps - allows you to evaluate the app's success to date and incorporate users' feedback in your plans for moving to the next stage. Often, project managers find that the features they thought should be part of Stage 2 are not the features that users are asking for and so adjusting the strategic direction of the app to align with customer feedback will produce a more satisfactory outcome for the app's user base.

Poor user experience

When it comes to mobile apps, user experience is paramount. A poor user experience is a major reason why mobile app projects fail. Users have high expectations for the apps they download, and if they find the user interface confusing, navigation difficult, or the overall experience frustrating, they are likely to abandon the app and look for alternatives.

One common issue that leads to a poor user experience is an over-complicated design. Mobile apps should be intuitive and easy to use, with a clear layout and straightforward navigation. If the app is cluttered with unnecessary features, buttons, or menus, users can quickly become overwhelmed and lose interest.

Additionally, slow loading times, crashes, and technical glitches can all contribute to a poor user experience. Users want apps that are fast, reliable, and perform seamlessly.

To avoid a poor user experience, developers should focus on creating a simple and user-friendly interface. Conducting user testing and gathering feedback can help identify any issues or areas for improvement. Regular updates and bug fixes are also essential to maintain a positive user experience and ensure that the app continues to meet user expectations.

Remember, the success of a mobile app project relies heavily on providing a seamless and enjoyable user experience. By prioritising simplicity, ease of use, and regular maintenance, developers can greatly improve their chances of success.

Also, bear in mind that the iOS version of your app should not be identical in look and feel to the Android version.

iPhone apps have a familiar look and feel and a user’s experience of using one app often gives them sufficient intuition to use another. And this holds true for Android users too. But when you compare your app running on an iPhone with your app running on an Android device, they shouldn’t look identical.

Insufficient marketing

Insufficient marketing is a common reason why many mobile app projects don't succeed. Developing a great app is only the first step; effectively promoting and marketing it is equally important. Without sufficient marketing efforts, your app may go unnoticed and struggle to attract users.

Many small business owners face the challenge of being overwhelmed with various business tasks, making it difficult to prioritise marketing efforts. However, neglecting marketing can be detrimental to the success of your mobile app project.

To ensure that your app receives the attention it deserves, you should develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. This includes identifying your target audience, understanding their needs and preferences, and determining the best channels to reach them.

Consider utilising various marketing tactics such as social media marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, and paid advertising. Each of these channels can help you reach a wider audience and increase app visibility.

It is also important to monitor and analyse the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as app downloads, user engagement, and retention rates, you can make data-driven decisions to optimise your marketing strategy and drive app growth.

Planning and delivering a successful mobile app requires that you get a number of things right. If you're the project sponsor or you're heavily involved in the app development project, a step-by-step approach - where you deliver little and often - is usually a more reliable way of producing a successful project when compared with a "big bang" approach of delivering a large scale, all-encompassing mobile app in one single iteration.

Planning a mobile app and don't want to risk it failing? Call Jeremy Flight at Rubiqa on 01332 331332 to explore your options...

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Jeremy Flight

Jeremy Flight

Technical Director

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