What Challenges Can an App Developer Face in App Development?

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Can you remember the last time you were frustrated while using an app?

Did you contact customer support? Restart your device? Delete the app entirely? These are all things that app developers want to avoid for their end users.


But do you know that even developers run into issues like these?


With there being so many moving parts in the development process, it's easy to get caught off guard by unexpected issues. Issues that aren't corrected can cause even more trouble further down the development pipeline. In other words, being aware of these challenges and knowing how to solve them is paramount to meeting deadlines and ensuring the success of your app.


In this blog, you'll learn about common challenges and roadblocks as well as insights and solutions you may come across in the app development process.


Before getting into the potential challenges of app development, let's define the basics of the development process.


What is App Development and Who Are App Developers?

Application development is the process of creating an application for use on mobile and web devices. Through a process called the app development life cycle, an expert development team works together to plan, prototype, develop, test, and publish software applications. Individuals who test and build apps are called app developers.


You can liken each step of the life cycle to a stop on a road trip. Perhaps your first stop after leaving your starting location is to grab breakfast. After an hour of driving, your next stop is a bathroom break, and at some point, you see a billboard for a tourist attraction that's too interesting to resist. Near the end of the trip, you stop for snacks and once more to refuel. Finally, after many hours of traveling, you arrive at your destination safe and sound.


Each stop on the road trip was for a different purpose, but it all worked toward the overarching goal of getting to your destination successfully. App development is the same in that the varying knowledge and skills of the team come together to create an app with a purpose. Much like going on a road trip, it takes time, planning, cooperation, and foresight every step of the way.


Now, imagine that the road trip doesn't go exactly as planned. The line for the bathroom is too long, causing you to wait longer. You no longer have time to stop for any delicious snacks, and even worse, you come dangerously close to running out of gas. After one bad thing after another, you throw in the towel and cancel your plans.


This can happen in app development if challenges and roadblocks are unaccounted for. Poor planning leads to wasted time and money further down the line, creating a chain reaction of negative events that can impact the launch and success of the app.

Without further ado, let's dig deeper into the specific challenges that can occur during app development.


Misunderstanding Your Audience

From design planning to development, your audience should be at the forefront of every stage of the development life cycle.


Think about it: if your core target audience - the people you want to use your app - are left confused, frustrated, and utterly disinterested, who else will be interested in downloading it?


That's why understanding your audience is an incredibly important factor in deploying a successful app. Ask questions about your app, such as what purpose it will serve and when your app is meant to be opened and used. Intertwine these answers with user research. Who are your users? What are their interests? What is their daily routine like? Do they work, and if so, what job fields are they in?


By answering questions such as these and understanding the who, what, when, where, why, and how behind your app and its users, you can fully understand your audience and create an application that they'll fall in love with.


Poor Planning and App Development Process

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Let's go back to the road trip analogy. If you want to travel, you won't make it far without a plan. You need a timeline of how long you'll be traveling, how much money you'll be spending, and a place to stay when you arrive - and there's even more to account for than just those things!


In other words, when it comes to app development, planning is just as important. Answering the earlier-mentioned questions about your app and target audience is part of the planning process. It's a lot harder to go back to earlier stages of development after moving past them, so make sure you know everything you can about your app beforehand.


Here are some questions you should answer when planning your app:


  • What is the scope of the project?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • What are the app's competitors?

  • How much will the app cost?

  • What development model should I choose?

  • Who will be working on the app, and what are their roles?

  • What deadlines need to be set?

Lack of Time

Think of all the things you wish you had time for. If you had all the time in the world, what would you accomplish?


In the context of application development, it may be tempting to create a complex app with plenty of bells and whistles. However, time is money; the more features and complexity you add to your project, the longer it will take to complete. You don't want to be caught at the end of a deadline with nothing to show for the next phase!


This is another reason why planning is vital to successful app development. Outlining the app's scope, budget, developers, and deadlines beforehand will temper expectations and increase the likelihood of development staying on track. It may take some time to get through the planning phase, but you'll streamline the next phases in return.


Lack of Funding

If time is money, then a lack of funding can also become a significant roadblock. Funding is a critical factor in app development. Your app is an investment; it should provide value to your users and returns for you.


Development can easily become a costly process. Here are some factors that affect the cost of developing an app:


  • Complexity and Amount of Features and Functions: Much like time, the more complex the app, the more it will cost to develop. A complex app will require more experienced developers than a simple app; this entails hiring a larger team or more skilled individuals, which both drive up costs.

  • Development Platform Used: Choosing the wrong development platform - or using multiple platforms - can be a costly mistake. Prioritize the platform that works best for your app and its users. Notably, cross-platform apps save development time and money while reaching more users.

  • Labor Costs: Depending on the scope of your project, you can hire an in-house development team, outsource the project to another company, or hire freelance developers. While wages for team members vary depending on where they live, outsourcing is a great cost-effective option.

  • Marketing: Marketing is key to letting people know that your app exists. Opting for cost-effective options such as social media can spread the word without being heavy on the wallet.

  • App Maintenance: Work on your app doesn't stop with launch. It'll need to be periodically updated to fix bugs and update infrastructure.

  • App Store Fees for Mobile Applications: If you're building an app for mobile devices, app stores charge fees that must be paid before your app can be offered.

Compatibility Issues

In the world of mobile app development, there are many factors that must be taken into consideration. You may be asking some of these questions:


  • What operating system do I want my app to run on?

  • Should I use an app builder or software development kit?

  • What other developer tools should I use?

  • What programming language should be used to create the app (JavaScript, Python, etc.)?

  • Will my app be rejected by app stores?

  • Should I build a native app, a hybrid app, or a web app?

Users benefit from having options and flexibility, but when developing an app, it's important to keep app functionality and your target audience in mind to reach as many people as you can without sacrificing quality. An app that lacks responsive design - the practice of making it clean and usable on all screen sizes and resolutions - or doesn't function properly between platforms such as iOS and Android will frustrate users and cause them to uninstall.


Of course, you may intend on having your app compatible only under specific circumstances. Make sure it works where it will be available for download and use.


Poor UX/UI and App Design

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UX/UI - that is, user experience and user interface - are two app design concepts that make up your overall application. User experience is how users interact with your app. Good UX is designed to be easy, efficient, and provide great utility for your users.


User interface is the front-end visual presentation of your app. This includes images, fonts, colors, and shapes. Good UI is pleasing to the eye and complements the UX. Together, they form a cohesive and effective application.


Sounds exciting, right?


The truth is, UX and UI play such an important role in development that poor implementation can make or break an app's likelihood of success. Whether you're planning a web app or mobile app, you want it to be easy to use, provide value, and keep your users coming back for more while recommending it to others.


Hiring knowledgeable UX/UI designers - people who work on user journey maps, wireframes, prototypes, and other similar tasks in development - will ensure that you'll be on the right track to having an app that provides a great experience for your customers.


Poor App Marketing

There are around 1.96 million apps available for download on the Apple App Store and around 2.87 million apps available on the Google Play Store. That's a lot of mobile apps! As you can imagine, there's a lot of competition over grabbing the attention of smartphone and tablet users, and this is no exception for web applications and internet users.


You can do everything right concerning the development of your application, but if nobody knows it exists, it won't be downloaded and used. Thankfully, you don't need to break the bank when it comes to app marketing. You can start by posting on social media, writing blogs, and even creating simple videos to spread the word online. If you don't have the budget for paid advertising or a marketing agency, there's a lot you can do with your cell phone and some creativity.


On the Road to Success

Let's recap: throughout the app development process, you may encounter many challenges that can hinder your efforts. From planning to launch and beyond, the key to a successful app is a delicate balance of planning, cooperation, and foresight.


Armed with the knowledge of common roadblocks, you can now be prepared for anything that threatens the success of your application. With a successful and streamlined development process, both you and your users will arrive at the end of the journey both happy and satisfied.