9 Reasons Why Nobody Wants Your Mobile App & How To Fix It

No one is downloading your app and you don’t know why. In addition to overlooking mobile app testing, there are a lot of other common mistakes developers make, causing their apps to sink to the bottom of the app store. This guest post is written by Jimmy Wentz, a budding freelance tech writer. Jimmy writes regularly about O2 and the latest developments in the tech, mobile and gaming world. In this guest post, Jimmy highlights the 9 reasons why noone likes your app, and provides best practices for fixing it. 

A recent Gartner Inc. report estimates that, as of this year (2012) global app downloads will surpass 45.6 billion. Around 90% of this will be from downloads of free apps while premium (paid for) apps will round up the rest of the pie chart with 5 billion.

And with the Galaxy S3, Iphone 5, and “new-kid-on-the-block” Nokia Lumia 920 recently hitting the market (not counting the plethora of tablets already available), we can only expect these numbers to grow even further. This is a truly golden age for the mobile app industry.

So how’s your app doing?

If your app is kicking “Angry Birds” in the butt in terms of popularity or is being touted as the next “Instagram” then congratulations! You obviously know what you are doing. But what if you don’t know what you are doing? And the only thing you have to show for yourself is an app that’s been sitting around in the app store / market for quite some time now. Wallowing in sad virtual dust. If you feel that your app is not getting the attention it deserves, then it may help to look at these top 9 reasons why people don’t want to download or use your mobile app, and tips on what you can do better.

9. Your App Is NOT User Friendly

The Problem: Your mobile app is not designed for human beings. It takes 10 agonizing steps to accomplish anything on your app where less insane apps only make you take one or two to do the same thing.

How to Fix It: Familiarize yourself with the best practices in mobile user experience. Websites like SmashingMagazine and uxbooth are great places to start learning the principles of good User Experience to help you create more usable apps. If you still can’t get it right, hire a professional User Experience (UX) designer to do the job.

8. Your App is Ridiculously Over-Price

The Problem: Your app costs an arm and a leg (and my liver

How to Fix It: Yes, you spent a lot of time and energy creating your mobile app. You can even say you “invested” in it, hiring programmers and designers and all. But ponder upon the fact that most paid apps nowadays range anywhere from 0.99 USD to 4.99 USD. If your users cannot see the value of spending that much money on your app then it will all be for naught.

Consider a “Freemium” strategy, where you have a “free” or “lite” version to get new users hooked, and then offer a more advanced version for those willing to pay more for the added functionalities/ features.

7. Your App Store Description Sucks

The Problem: Whoever wrote-up the product description and other marketing content did a terrible job describing the app. Worse, there is no description at all!

How to Fix It: You’ve only got precious few seconds to convince people to download your app. A distinctive and eye-catching app icon will grab people’s attention immediately and make you stand out from the rest.

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A Side-By-Side Nook Comparison

Barnes & Noble now has four versions of it’s e-reader/table Nook on the market. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is the same thing as the original Nook but with a brighter screen. But the recent releases of the Nook HD and Nook HD+ brought a world of differences to the Nook family. A world a differences that will call for extra testing. Let’s take a side-by-side look at the three B&N tablets courtesy of engadget:

Nook Comparison

The dimension, resolution and pixel density differences will undoubtedly be the biggest challenges for developers and testers trying to make sure apps work flawlessly on all three Nooks.

Test Drive uTest Apphance

ApphanceLast month we launched uTest Apphance, a new mobile quality tool that makes it easy for mobile app developers to understand how their apps are working across a wide range of mobile devices, carriers and locations. Since then, the response has been incredible. Hundreds of customers have already signed up for Apphance, and each day we’re delivering mobile developers incredible amounts of information about crashes and bugs.

Still, as we’ve talked to our customers about Apphance, some of them have asked us to share with them a working example – an app where they could kick the tires and get to know how Apphance works.

We think that trying out Apphance should be as easy as possible. That’s why we’re pleased to announce new Apphance demo apps for iOS and Android (available in Github). These “Hello World” apps are basic projects that already have Apphance installed and ready to go.

Learn more and watch tutorial videos at the Software Testing Blog >>>

Government Keeping an Eye on Mobile App Landscape

Government watches mobile landscapeDepartments of the US Government have been taking steps to keep an eye on the consumer mobile space. Their goal is to ensure this new field keeps the public’s interest in mind as it continues to advance. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening lately.

FCC and Mobile Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission has been monitoring land-line broadband connections and speed for a few years. Now, the Commission is looking to include mobile broadband speeds into its annual “Measuring Broadband America” report. This step is part of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan which is an attempt to “improve the availability of information for consumers about their broadband service.” Several major wireless carriers and CTIA (the wireless association) have already agreed to work with FCC to measure and report speeds.  The Commission is also looking to include citizen research groups in the effort and held an open meeting on this topic last week. Read more about the FCC’s plan in their press release posted by engadget.

Commerce Department and Mobile App Privacy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (a branch of the Commerce Department) has been gathering a group of privacy advocates and mobile app stakeholders to discuss the current state and future of mobile data and consumer privacy. This series of meetings is intended to give the two groups a chance for discussion, to work out details and set vague parameters that will help guide a future mobile app code of conduct the NTIA hopes to create. From PCWorld:

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Survey Shows Developers are Confident in Native

 A few weeks ago Facebook’s Mark Zukerburg openly admitted that focusing too much on HTML5 was a mistake, and that the company will now be all-in on native development. Now, a recent survey as covered by Ryan King of Gigaom, shows that developers strongly agree. In fact, two-thirds of developers believe that Facebook in its current state could get pushed aside by a startup with a mobile-first focus.

But that’s not all the study found. The study also showed that developers are not happy with HTML5:

“The developers also expressed their disappointment with many of the features in HTML5. Developers said they were neutral to disappointed with HTML5′s monetization (83.4 percent), security (81.8 percent), fragmentation (75.4 percent), performance (72.4 percent), timeliness of updates (67.9 percent), user experience (62 percent) and distribution control (60.3 percent). Developers were only positive on HTML5′s cross-development capabilities (83.4 percent) and immediate updates (81.8 percent).”

It looks like HTML5 is becoming more of a burden than an “easy to build and maintain” app type. So what does the future hold? The study also mentioned that developers predict by 2015 they’ll be writing a lot of mobile apps for devices even beyond smartphones and tablets. Some of their predictions included native apps for televisions, cars, game consoles, Google Glass, and foldable screens. If the native-focus continues to grow , and the places native apps exist continues to grow; we may be moving towards a native-reliant world.

What are your thoughts on the native vs. HTML5 debate? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.


Developer “Must-Knows” About iOS 6 App Store Ratings

Developers depend on App Store ratings for the success of their applications. When updates are made to App Stores, it can really throw off development teams. The iOS 6 update has caused a panic about changes to the Apple App Store, with many dev teams claiming that the updated App Store rates apps differently.

An article by Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch explains that it is not the app store rankings that have changed, but rather the app store functions like Search, etc.:

“….the evidence actually points to there being no or minimal changes to the actual algorithm governing rankings, and instead any changes are due more to other shifts, like the way search works and how the top charts are set up.

‘If the algorithm had indeed been changed to a system based on anything other than the velocity of downloads, the repercussions would have been obvious and fast,’ he explained in an email. ‘If the algorithm were based purely on sessions then Facebook would not be dislodged. We can already see that a good amount of apps are resuming their positions after the initial drop in rank. So the message is simple, carry on as normal and understand as best you can the App Store dynamics.’

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5 Things to Know About Mobile

Future of MobileLast week Gigaom held its Mobilize 2012 event. Speakers discussed the current state of mobile, analyzed how quickly it is evolving and made a few forecasts for the future. Gigaom’s Kevin C. Tofel took all those talks and picked out five themes that kept cropping up. Here’s a few snippets from Kevin’s “Future of Mobile: 5 takeaways from Mobilze 2012.”

  • Don’t count out HTML5 just yet. Mark Zuckerberg may not have been happy with HTML 5 for Facebook, but Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow said, ”In my mind, we’re moving more towards a world where apps are basically bookmarks for mobile websites.”
  • The “point of sale” is now everywhere. While near-field communications (NFC) payment methods haven’t yet taken off significantly, alternative solutions that align more with traditional payments are becoming popular.
  • Video is becoming a primary mobile activity. Google’s YouTube is now delivering 25 percent of its content to mobile devices and the figure is likely to rise
  • Connected homes will only appeal if the solutions are simple and add value.Watch for more plug-and-play modules that talk seamlessly with each other instead of more complex, centralized home servers for connected homes.
  • Developers need to consider the broadband their software needs. Third party apps that eat through gobs of mobile broadband could [be] passed over for similar apps that use less data.

Read the full article at Gigaom >>>

A few of these points are pertinent right now (broadband considerations, mobile video). A few are teetering on the edge and could crash down on the mobile market any day now (mobile payment, HTML5). While widespread prevalence of connected homes still seems fairly distant. But the major take away from these five key points made at Mobilize 2012 is that the mobile world is still turbulent and changing, and we’ll have to keep a sharp eye if we want to stay ahead of the wave. Who knows where it will end up.

The Maps App Battle: Google vs. Apple

The release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 has brought about a new debate in terms of app quality: Does Apple or Google offer a better maps app experience? There have been mixed reviews, but the majority seems to claim that Apple’s map is just not on Google’s level. This is to be expected since Apple is new to the game. But what is Apple lacking?

Edward C. Baig of CIO Today drew a few conclusions about both maps applications after some testing:

“When it comes to Maps, give Google the advantage.

I’m not pleased that the public transportation routing feature that had been available in the Google Maps app for the iPhone is not included in the Maps app that Apple delivers with iOS 6, at least directly. You can still get those directions for buses and trains through third-party options that pop up when you request such routing through the new app.

For example, when I asked for transit directions from my Midtown Manhattan office to a building on the Upper West Side, more than two dozen app options appeared, most of them free but some that will cost you a subway ride or two.

It’s also too bad that the new Maps app lacks the ‘Street Views’ Google provided.

Others have pointed to fewer listings for points of interest, stores and restaurants in the databases Apple is using compared with its rival. And some of the slams are coming from as far away as ‘across the pond.’ BBC News, for example, wrote that users ‘reported missing local places, such as schools, or strange locations; and provided a screen shot that ‘showed a furniture museum that was apparently located in a river’.”

Clearly Apple’s mobile app still needs some in-the-wild testing, and has a bit of a ways to go. The advantage Apple does have to Google maps is the spoken turn-by-turn directions feature – that Google had kept out of the iOS version of Google Maps.

What do you prefer; Google or the new Apple maps? Share your thoughts on the two mobile applications in the comments section.



Amazon Tackles Device Fragmentation Issue

Amazon KindlesDevice fragmentation is a huge issue in the Android world. Amazon has latetly contributed to this issue by offering its Kindle Fire tablet in three distinct sizes. This presents developers with the issue of customizing their apps to three different screen sizes and resolutions for the Kindle alone – not to mention all the other Android devices. From there users need to pay attention when they’re downloading apps to make sure they select the correct one for their device. Amazon has decided to tackle this issue head on. Here’s the scoop, from Gigaom:

Amazon added a new developer feature called “device targeting” on Monday, which will make it easier for device owners to find the right applications for their particular smartphone or tablet. Mobile app developers can use device targeting to build multiple versions of their software so that the correct version is installed from Amazon’s Appstore for Android, regardless of the device. By allowing this, Amazon can help reduce or even eliminate any potential application fragmentation of software that works on some Kindle Fires, but not on others.

Here’s how Amazon explains it:

“While it is easy to support optional APIs and device capabilities within a single binary, you may decide that it is easiest for your apps to generate different binaries for the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.   For each title, you can now offer separate APKs for Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, and general Android (all non-Amazon) devices.”

Learn more at Gigaom >>>

This will almost certainly increase the need for in-the-wild testing to make sure each device-customized app is working correctly and that the right  binaries are being pulled.