Tuesday, April 11, 2017

appCare - App maintenance matters

You have submitted your app to the Apple App Store after months of development and spending a lot of money to get it right. Congratulations! “But wait”, you might think, “is there anything I need to be aware of after my app has gone live?” Sure, there is.

Challenges


Many app owners forget to consider that there are ongoing efforts and costs in order to keep their app healthy and profitable. Without preparing for the challenges of maintaining an app you’ll likely find yourself in a reactive position – putting out fires – rather than pro-actively working on a successful lifecycle. There are a multitude of threats that your app will face and additional issues that are not evident, but might have an even deeper impact on how your app may prosper.

Mobile app maintenance includes fixing bugs, monitoring of crashes, anticipating platform changes, keeping your app compatible with new iOS releases, reacting to changes in third party services and libraries, tracking user behaviour, updating your app on a frequent basis, supporting customers, and driving continued engagement.

Monitoring


Although fixing bugs seems obvious, you need to know how to prioritise bugs and crashes, i.e. when to fix what.  How does a crash impact your user base? What is the frequency of a crash? The answer to theses questions is provided by crash monitoring and reporting.

Compatibility


The second most evident technical challenge are new iOS releases. Just remember the UI appearance switch from iOS 6 to iOS 7. Although this switch did not pose a threat to the health of apps at that time, it soon became a turning point for acceptable styling and design of modern apps. And there are technical challenges with new iOS releases. The upcoming iOS 8 will most probably not support 32 bit applications anymore. Last but not least, your users will expect your app to support new iOS and device features. As a bonus, implementing support for new features will help your app getting featured in the App Store.

Compatibility challenges are also lurking around another corner. Many apps rely on third party services and frameworks. Remember Parse? Facebook decided to turn down Parse, a mobile backend as a service provider, in 2016. Many apps were impacted by this decision and app owners who did not react to this announcement were faced with their apps not working anymore as of January 28, 2017. App owners have to be wary of changes to services and frameworks that their apps are depending on. Taking these changes into account well in advance is of utmost importance to the health of your app.

Updates


Finally your changes and fixes have to be aligned and incorporated in an app update. Updating sounds easy and should be a streamlined process, but we all know that there are several things that could go wrong. Besides, frequent updates are important because your users are expecting you to keep your app up-to-date.

User Feedback and Engagement


In addition to technical challenges you have to react to user feedback and drive engagement. However, user feedback can be tricky and blindly following demands and criticism in reviews or support emails might not work out as expected. The most valuable information about what users really want and expect is usage tracking. Do not listen to your customers, monitor what they are actually doing and trying to accomplish. Analytical monitoring of user behaviour should be part of every app, because it is invaluable to use as a basis for future decisions.

Delighting users with the next big thing is great, but initially attracting users is not enough for long term success. Users need to be drawn to your app again and again. You want them to use your app on a regular basis and therefore reminding them of its value is key to ongoing engagement. This can be accomplished by fresh content or features as well as general forms of notifying your users, such as push notifications, emails, and special events.

appCare


To sum up there are a lot of tasks that have to be executed during the lifetime of an app. Maintaining a mobile app is a full-time job. “Oh my, how much will this cost?”, you might ask yourself. A good rule of thumb is that you should expect to spend 10-20% of the total cost of development as maintenance each year for a well-developed app. The good news is that you are able to reduce costs by opting in to a regular maintenance service versus per case maintenance paid by the hour.

appCare offers to care for your app and resolve the aforementioned challenges on a monthly paid service plan. We - appGarten - are providing a maintenance service that offers high quality for an affordable price. Ordering appCare is easy and hassle-free. Get your quote today on appgarten.io.


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