Deciding to incorporate a mobile app into your business strategy can be a daunting decision. You might be wrestling with uncertainties, wondering if it’s the right fit for your company or organization. I hear these concerns from some of the clients 14 Oranges eventually works with. That’s why during our initial interactions and meetings, we focus on getting a clear understanding of a client’s needs and expectations and help you decide if a mobile app is the right way to get your company where you want to go.

While many business owners feel hesitant when it comes to considering a mobile app because they don’t know much about the technical side of app development, what’s more important is getting clear on your business objectives and understanding how a mobile app could (or could not) help you achieve those objectives.

Understanding Your Audience: Is a Mobile App the Answer?

You might not even be sure if a mobile app is the right answer for your company. The key lies in understanding your audience – their needs, preferences, and expectations.

To do this, we start by defining the personas and crafting user stories, a technique that unveils the specific needs and preferences of different user groups. Then we use a practical litmus test we’ve devised to help you decide if a mobile app will help you achieve what you’re looking for.

  • The Mobile App Relevancy Litmust Test
    • Frequency: Consider the frequency of interaction your business envisions with the app. If it’s a sporadic engagement, like once a month or even once a year, a mobile app might not be the optimal solution. However, if your business model involves daily or frequent interactions, a mobile app can be a powerful tool. This is where its true potential shines, enhancing user experience and giving you real value.
    • Nature of the Interaction: Consider a scenario where your business wants to conduct quick, on-the-go surveys or feedback collection from customers in various locations. In this case, the need for immediate camera access, geolocation features, and seamless data transmission aligns with the capabilities of mobile devices. In scenarios like these, a mobile app equipped with these functionalities is often the best choice to make sure the interactions are smooth and efficient.

This litmus test, considering the frequency and nature of interaction, becomes a compass in steering you toward the right decision—whether a mobile app is the optimal solution or not the right fit for your unique business needs.

Setting Clear Objectives: What About Budgets and Scope?

Many people thinking about having a mobile app developed worry about the cost and the scope of the project. This is normal, especially if you’ve never had an app developed before. I find that the best way to ease any concerns is by setting clear objectives and defining a Minimal Viable Product (MVP).

Breaking down your objectives into this MVP and refining and streamlining their requirements serves a dual purpose. It not only helps in clarifying the project’s scope but also acts as a budget-conscious strategy. Focusing on the essentials is kind of like you’re dating before marrying the entire project.

It’s a pragmatic approach because it lets you navigate the app development process with a precise and cost-effective plan and also reduces your time to market allowing you to bring revenue sooner. Furthermore, by creating an MVP you get feedback from your customers sooner which can be crucial in the early stages of product development.

UX/UI: How Do I Bridge the Gap Between Design and Business Goals?

UI/UX, short for User Interface and User Experience, forms the architectural backbone of your app. It’s the blueprint for how users interact with your digital space. From button placements to colour schemes, it defines the look (UI) and feel (UX) of your application.

But it’s about much more than aesthetics. It’s about creating a seamless and intuitive experience for your users. That’s why the initial steps around understanding your audience’s needs and understanding the different personas of your customers are so important–you want to ensure the app functions the way they expect it to so they’ll be sure to use it. A mobile app can look beautiful, but if it doesn’t take UI/UX into account, it may never end up being used by your customers.

Addressing Security Concerns: How Do I Keep My Customers Safe?

Are security worries keeping you up at night? You’re not alone and you’re not being irrational. Security of your customers’ and users’ data should be one of your top priorities when considering a mobile app. At 14 Oranges, we talk about security considerations from the very first conversation so we understand our client’s specific security needs and can determine what’s necessary from a security standpoint.

It’s similar to setting the strength of a fortress’ walls – understanding the level of compliance required and deciding how robust our defence should be. Even for seemingly simple apps, we advocate for regular checks and updates.

Choosing the Right Platform: Balancing Functionality and Finances

When it comes to mobile app development, you’re typically presented with two main approaches – crafting a bespoke app from the ground up or leveraging a mobile app platform. The decision hinges on the intricacies of your unique requirements and your budget. A custom-built app offers tailored precision, addressing specific needs, while mobile app platforms tap into pre-existing frameworks to make development more efficient and cost-effective. Both approaches hold merit, and the best choice depends on your project’s intricacies and objectives. It’s akin to choosing between a bespoke suit or an off-the-rack ensemble – the decision rests on the fit that aligns with your business aspirations.

Ongoing Maintenance and Performance: Anticipating the Road Ahead

One thing many companies having their first mobile app developed don’t think too much about is how they’ll maintain and update their app. Mobile apps require care and upkeep to make sure they stay relevant and work efficiently. Platforms like Apple, Google, and others regularly usher in updates, deprecating certain features or APIs. This continuous evolution requires monitoring and periodic updates to align with the latest standards.

When you’re considering developing a mobile app, it’s important to know what to expect from an update and maintenance perspective–will your developer help you? Will you be on your own? That way you can be prepared for the future.

App Performance: How Do I Make Sure My App Doesn’t Get Lost in the Crowd?

When I first started working in app development and mobile apps were something new, you really could have a, “If you build it they will come,” mentality. But in today’s world, it’s important to have a strategy for promoting and monitoring your app’s performance and gauging audience uptake. It can’t be an afterthought. Ensure your next mobile app development team can give you recommendations, or better yet a downloadable guide that serves as a compass for marketing your mobile app and will help you strategically market your apps, ensuring sustained user engagement.

If you’re thinking about having a mobile app developed for your company, it’s worth reviewing the considerations I’ve outlined above into account before diving in. If you want a mobile app to be successful you need a keen understanding of your business objectives, user needs, and the ever-evolving tech landscape.

If you’d like help determining if a mobile app is the right step for your business, the team at 14 Oranges would love to help you walk through everything I’ve outlined in this post. We can help you decide if a mobile app is the right step to take so you can feel confident before making your decision. Book a call today to see how we can help.

Sylvain Marcotte is CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

Is a Mobile App Right for Your Business? Making An Informed Decision