The mobile application industry continues to grow to meet increased demand, with the average user spending 4.8 hours a day on mobile apps. This growth presents an enticing opportunity for businesses, since the mobile app market is expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023.
Mobile apps are crucial to help businesses engage with users and provide services. Many businesses and developers, though, fall prey to common misconceptions about what they need or should do to develop mobile apps. This article will examine these misconceptions so that you can avoid them in your app development.
Myth #1: You Need to Provide Native Applications
A native application is an app developed for a specific operating system (OS) such as Android or iOS, as opposed to a web app, which runs in various browsers regardless of the OS used.
Many organizations believe they must provide native applications to users, but native applications work best when users need to access a lot of device-specific hardware or features. If this is not the case, you might be better served with a web app. Users don't need to download the app; they can just visit the app's URL to start using it. In addition, the extra steps and time it takes to download an app can discourage some people from using it.
Myth #2: You Need to Develop for Every OS
Another misconception is that you need to develop your app to run on every OS (such as Android, iOS, and Windows). Instead, you should research your intended users to find out what platforms they're on. Mobile application development takes time and effort, so it's best not to waste resources on something people won't use.
Depending on your app's requirements, some features might only be available on a specific OS anyway. And some OSs may restrict certain functionalities, which could also impact your app. For example, Apple's privacy restrictions affect personalized advertising.
Myth #3: Cross-Platform Conversion Is Difficult
Cross-platform conversion is the process of duplicating features across the different platforms you support—for example, porting features from Android to iOS. Many believe this process to be notoriously hard. While you cannot always convert every feature, you can use multiplatform frameworks like Flutter and Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM) to ease the process. Such frameworks simplify conversion by helping you develop and share features between platforms. For non-platform-specific features, you can use a single codebase.
Myth #4: Word-of-Mouth Is Enough Marketing
When it comes to mobile apps, the market is heavily saturated. Every month, over 69,000 apps are released on Google Play and over 32,000 apps are released on Apple's App Store. It's not enough to rely on word of mouth when you develop and release your app. You need to invest in a proper distribution and marketing strategy to reach your target customers.
Myth# 5: Adding Many Features Is Enough
Many companies focus on releasing as many features as possible. While having the right set of features matters, they must deliver value to the user. Features must not be buggy and should work well together to help your users achieve what they're trying to do through your app.
You should research your intended users and get feedback on feature development and usage so that you don't end up with a bloated app. Track key metrics and iterate on the app based on what users actually want.
Myth #6: Building and Releasing an App Is Enough
Building and releasing a mobile app is not a set, finite process. You need to iterate on the app based on feedback. It's crucial to thoroughly test your apps to ensure they are bug-free, as well as constantly solicit and address user concerns. App development is continuous in nature.
Another important reason why your app will need constant updates is that platforms such as Android and iOS release yearly updates with new features and potentially breaking changes. Your app will need to update to address these changes to the platform.
Myth #7: Mobile Apps Are Only for Smartphones
Mobile apps are not exclusive to smartphones. They can be used on a variety of other devices, such as tablets, Chromebooks, and smart devices like TVs and refrigerators. Apps can even be developed to run on top of the different OSs for smart cars. This presents additional opportunities for businesses, since you can engage with your users outside of their smartphones and on other smart devices they use.
Myth #8: Mobile Development Is Straightforward and Cheap
Many people assume that since mobile apps are everywhere, they must be easy and cheap to develop. This is unfortunately incorrect. Developers need to support different devices with multiple vendors, some with vendor-specific restrictions (for example, Huawei devices running Android cannot access Play services). These devices can come in different screen sizes, aspect ratios, and configurations (right to left, portrait/landscape) that your app needs to be tested against. In addition, your app may need to support different platforms and platform versions. All of this can make developing mobile apps a complex, costly process.
Myth #9: In-App Communication Is Difficult
Most applications need to have some form of in-app communication, which could be anything from a simple feedback form to a full-blown chat experience. This is a critical factor that needs to be designed early on and can become a major hurdle in later stages of the development process. Various design considerations must be taken into account, such as security needs, whether communication should be asynchronous or real-time, and what types of communications (text, voice, video) to support.
With the right frameworks and libraries, this process can be a breeze. While building a chat app from scratch can be difficult, plug-and-play solutions like CometChat can simplify the process, making in-app communication easy to implement.
Myth #10: Choosing the Right Architecture Is Vital
Which mobile development architecture to choose is always a contentious issue. Organizations can waste time debating the "right" architecture (MVVM vs. MVI vs. MVC vs. MVP), language (Java/Kotlin, Objective-C/Swift), or testing framework, or whether to set up dependency injection. A lot of these are opinionated takes and there's not one correct choice. Spending this much energy on architecture decisions can slow down and complicate the process. Your team needs to be agile and continuously iterate on their chosen architecture, refining it over time rather than initially fixating on it.
Myth #11: Building Everything from Scratch Saves Money
Another belief is that building all aspects of your app from scratch will save you money in the long run. This is not only inaccurate but may end up being more expensive. There are cases where it makes sense to develop from scratch and cases where it does not. For example, if a desired feature could be complex to create, or if you need to develop something fast and a solution is already available, it may make sense to buy rather than build. If an open source library exists that fits your needs, it may be redundant to build from scratch.
However, if a ready-made library or solution does not meet your needs or can't be improved upon, it might be better to develop the feature from scratch. Before making this decision, evaluate your team's skill set, the feature requirements, the time needed for development, and the cost involved.
See also our detailed guide to building chat vs. buying.
Mobile application development offers financial and marketing opportunities for businesses. To capitalize on these opportunities, though, businesses should avoid misconceptions about mobile application development. Creating an app can be both harder and easier than you might expect. Keep in mind that there are many tools, libraries, and frameworks to make developing your app as easy as possible.
One of those tools is CometChat, a library for implementing in-app communication. It comes with SDKs for Android, iOS, and web, making implementing secure and feature-rich in-app chat a breeze. Adding text, voice, and video messaging to your app is easier than ever with CometChat. Try us for free today, and don't pay a thing till you're ready to launch.