Think back to the last time you looked at an app on the app store, and decided not to download it. Why did you take that decision? For many users, one of the most common reasons is simply that the app hadn’t been updated in recent history. As the mobile app industry crosses halfway into the second decade of its birth, the app stores are littered with apps that have been languishing in unsupported hell for years on end. As the shape, format, and size of the devices that these apps are made of have changed, so too is it important to keep updating the app to take advantage of these.
In this article, we will detail the many ways that a regular mobile app maintenance plan will keep your app in excellent shape, and continue to make it a pleasant experience for your users.
As you are aware, while a user of the app is going about their business, data is collected about how they use the app. These statistics are called telemetry, and help us understand what parts of the app are malfunctioning, or not properly optimized. In addition, they also reveal important metrics about where users prioritize time. A regular app improvement plan will use these stats to fine tune app performance over time, increasing user satisfaction and app performance in one shot.
Mobile Devices are still a maturing market, and the formats of the devices change very quickly. Just in the last five years, we have seen the headphone jack vanish, screen sizes increase dramatically, and the elimination of the top bezel with the introduction of the notch. Now, we are even beginning to see folding screens and dual screen designs. All of these hardware changes require refactoring the design, that cannot be accounted for when the app if rist made. With a maintenance plan, these innovations can be leveraged in time, making for an app that works on all devices properly.
Across the millions of combinations of software and hardware that exist in the market, it is impossible to completely test an app for bugs and errors. While developers do their best, there is no substitute for market deployment. When this happens, bugs and errors are bound to crop up. Developers on a continual basis can then immediately fix and patch these bugs, which they can only do after the app is first launched.
Technical debt is the term for the future cost of a decision taken now that will result in larger amounts of rework later for a short term easy decision now. Basically, the frequency of app updates being smaller mean that issues can be fixed as and when they arrive. If an app is only updated occasionally, however, then each update is a more costly task in terms of time, money and complexity, with more chances for errors due to the larger number of major changes.
This is a less apparent benefit, but has measurable increases in satisfaction and app downloads. Basically, people are more likely to download an app the more recently it has been updated. This is due to a combination of factors, as they perceive(almost always rightly so) that an app that has been updated recently is more likely to be working properly, smoothly, and support their device. This is especially true of those with more recent devices, who are also more likely to make up a large portion of mobile revenue.
Mobile apps are tricky business, with lots of moving parts. And as standards and technologies change, a lot of those moving parts can break, or simply have small errors that compound over time. With a regular App maintenance plan, you can account for these inevitable issues, and count on your proactiveness to catch and fix problems before they become worse. Over time, this will also translate into a reputation for quality and stability amongst your customers and users, leading to increased trust, affection, and conversion!