Before you embark on an app development journey, it’s vital that you get to grips with your audience and understand exactly what they need. You might think you’ve found a gap in the market or a niche for the Next Big App. But with millions of apps on the App Store and Google Play Store, it’s essential that you gather feedback from your target audience before building and launching your app to help improve your product and minimise potential risk.
Below, we’ve put together some strategies to help you get started.
Conduct market research
Unless you’re operating in a niche industry, the chances are that there’s already an app on the market like yours. After all, Google Play has 2.78 million apps on its store, and the figure is growing daily. Spend some time getting to grips with the wider market: what’s already out there for customers? Which apps are doing well and which aren’t? The chances are that you know more about your industry than anyone, so benchmark similar applications and look for ways you can elevate existing products and become the go-to resource in your sector.
You can learn a great deal from negative reviews on your competitors’ apps, too. Review their listings on the App Store and Play Store and make notes. What do users praise them for? What are the sticking points? Consider every negative review as an unmet need: devise solutions in your app that will solve customers’ issues and help you outrank rivals.
Interview your target audience
Sometimes, sitting down with a potential user to discuss your plans for an app can give you some food for thought and help get into the psyche of your end user. As a developer or business owner, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement of the app development process and forget about the people you’re making your software for, so one-to-one interviews can help.
A face-to-face conversation can help you determine what they pay attention to and the features and functions they’re looking for. Asking open-ended questions can help you collect invaluable information about your end-users that will go a long way in creating an app they want to use and interact with. Try not to influence their answers and don’t show examples or prototypes beforehand: this could sway their feedback and limit the value of their responses.
- What issues could our app resolve for you and people like you?
- Tell us some of the features and functionalities you’d like to see
- What apps are you currently using that offer similar features?
- How do you prefer to pay for apps? Ads, subscriptions, in-app purchases?
Use interviews as a starting point and remember them and their feedback throughout the app development journey. You might be able to persuade existing customers to be interviewed online or in person. Alternatively, you could advertise your new app and pay a small fee to anyone willing to be interviewed and part of the target audience research phase.
Hold focus groups
Once you’ve met with your target audience one-on-one, you might want to consider a more extensive crowd through a focus group. Rather than asking questions to one person, you can ask them to a group of people with a moderator leading the conversation to gather feedback from a larger segment of your target audience. Rather than the closed-off nature of a standard Q&A, focus groups allow you to start discussions with your audience, offering richer insights and deeper conclusions about the features and functionality of your software.
Remember: common problems and sticking points are viewed by different people in different ways, and your average users won’t all be the same. Seek respondents that represent different segments of your app’s potential users. If you’re building an accounting app, speak with a bookkeeper, a small business owner, a startup founder, and an administrator to ask for feedback and ideas on your user experience, design, and onboarding process. Keeping it broad means you’ll appeal to different subsections of the market when your app launches.
Build and test with prototypes
Developing a prototype or minimum viable product offers immediate value to your target audience and will deliver the most realistic results. Allowing users to test an early version of your app allows you to spot things that might have gone unnoticed, like usability stumbling blocks or even hidden benefits of the application that you could use as a marketing tool.
Putting your prototype or MVP in front of your target audience also helps you see how your app will be used in the real world: you can work out how easy your app is to use, how its appearance is perceived, and what still needs work. Plus, for end-users and beta testers, it builds excitement and anticipation, and many will go on to become brand advocates if they like what they see. Building a prototype or an MVP might require more time and investment than heading straight to development, but it can be advantageous.
A prototype for your app can be something as simple as a few lines on a piece of paper, showing users how your interfaces will look and design ideas. Click-through prototypes are more complex and typically designed on platforms like Figma and Sketch, offering a comprehensive look at your app’s functionalities and design. High-precision prototypes, on the other hand, work like the finished product, allowing you to conduct a full assessment of its design and functionality.
If you’re looking for help developing an app for your business, the mobile app developers at Zudu are on hand. Call us today on 01382 690080 and check back soon for more insights.
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