In the world of app development, nothing stands still for long. Experts suggest you should aim to update your app once per month with bug fixes and new features, but the truth is that some of the world’s biggest apps – including Twitter and TikTok – are updated even more frequently.

Why? Brands want to be at the cutting edge of technology and offer their users the most exciting and innovative features to keep them around. If they don’t, consumers will likely uninstall their app and move over to a competitor’s. Regaining the attention of a user after they’ve disengaged with your app can be twice as difficult as acquiring a new customer.

If you’ve found success on the App Store or Google Play Store but haven’t updated your app for a while, a modernisation strategy could be necessary. Even if your app runs smoothly and quickly, the chances are that it’s missing some of the modern features users have come to expect.

Below, we’ve put together some app modernisation tips to offer food for thought.


Define your modernisation aims

Before you make any changes to your app, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:

  • Why is my app outdated?
  • What are customers saying about my software?
  • Who is doing what we’re doing better?
  • How has my app changed since it launched?
  • How have users’ needs changed since my app launched?

From there, you can define some clear aims for your modernisation project.

You might discover that your app is doing everything it’s supposed to be doing and that modernisation is simply a branding and marketing exercise.


Retaining customers is essential

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” might be true in the business world, but modern customers are fickle and want all of the bells and whistles. According to AppsFlyer, the average day-one organic retention rate (that is, a user found your app by searching on the App Store, Play Store, or Google) was 26.1%. On day seven, that dropped to 10.3%, and by week eight, just 7.9% of people who had originally installed the app were still using it.

There are indeed many reasons why users might uninstall your app, but one of them will be the lack of new features and functionality. By implementing a regular update schedule and ensuring your app is modernised when necessary, customers will likely stick around longer.


Put speed and functionality first

App modernisation might be as much about aesthetics as functionality, but you must put speed and functionality before anything else. In recent years, some of the world’s biggest brands have ‘rehosted’ their apps – a technique known as ‘lift and shift’ where you repackage and move an app from one platform to another without making many changes.

Sometimes, this can be due to data protection regulations and ensuring your app is hosted in the right country. For others, it’s about speeding up the app. For example, you might want to use a content delivery network (CDN) for your web app or mobile app to ensure it’s hosted in the same country as the user, boosting speeds and ensuring they can access localised content.


Listen to feedback

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do when modernising your app is listening to feedback from your end-users. We’ve already shared some tips on analysing user feedback to improve your software and some strategies on the best way to gather feedback in the first place.

It’s also a good idea to respond to feedback when you receive it, even if you’re not planning on implementing changes overnight. And you can learn a great deal about app modernisation by looking at what you’re competitors are doing and reading their negative reviews to find USPs.

Get to know your customers and what they want from your app – hosting a focus group, offering gift cards in exchange for their comments, and making them part of the app modernisation journey will benefit both parties. It will also lead to more engaged and loyal power users and brand advocates you can depend on repeatedly as your app scales and grows.


Consider a ‘ground up’ refresh

Although some modernisation strategies might involve a new logo and colour palette, you may occasionally need to consider a ‘ground up’ approach when modernising your app. Think about how it was built and how the needs of your brand and your users have changed.

If necessary, rather than making significant changes to the underlying technology of your app, you might decide to start from the ground up and take what you’ve learned from the first version of your app to create something special for version two.

Sure, this is more expensive than building upon the work you’ve already done. Still, it can give you a fresh start and allow you to implement the technologies, capabilities, and functionalities you want without compromising.

Rather than duplicating the same screens and workflows with some new typefaces and designs, you can spend time reimagining the way your app should be used. This is a particularly valuable exercise in cases where your app has been ‘abandoned’ for many months or even years.

In such cases, it may even be worth considering renaming the app and hosting a ‘grand relaunch’ to get existing users and new targets excited about the product you’ve created.


If you’re looking for support modernising your app, reach out to the team at Zudu today. You can call us at 01382 690 080 or click here to arrange a consultation with the team.

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