Though you might have embraced the latest technologies and user interface design when you launched your app four years ago, you’ll know just as well as anyone that things don’t stand still in the world of app development. New operating systems, changing consumer habits, and competition from other players means it’s important to keep your app up to date as much as possible – and if your budget doesn’t stretch to continuous app development and tweaking, it might be worth considering one major overhaul to your app every two years.
There’s no getting away from the fact that app development can be timely and expensive, and as a result, many organisations build an app and then forget about it – expecting results to flow whether their app is six weeks old or six years old. But the truth is that consumers expect cutting-edge tech and functionality, and if your app is outdated, they’ll delete it from their smartphones before you’ve even had a chance to convince them that it’s worth using.
Below, we’ve rounded up the telltale signs that your app is outdated and needs an overhaul.
Lack of voice control
Though you don’t need to rebuild an app from the ground up and develop your own Siri, it’s worth introducing voice input and control as standard, allowing users to dictate and search in your app using their voice. The good news is, you can use Siri and Google Assistant APIs to power your voice input controls. Google reports that 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile, and that figure is only going to climb in the years to come.
No accessibility options
It’s no longer an excuse not to have an accessible app – there are numerous frameworks that reduce development time and research. It’s vital that your app supports text scaling as standard so that your users can change the size of your typeface within the app – even better if it’s done as standard and leans on users’ device preferences. Develop consistent navigation, create a simple and easy to follow layout, and be considerate of colours when you design your app. Testing is also critical to ensure your product is accessible and usable.
An embedded web store
Five years ago, you’d be forgiven for embedding your eCommerce web store into your app to reduce the burden on app development time, but the truth is that modern consumers now demand a truly integrated, mobile-first experience. Although it saved time and allowed you to develop multiple apps for different devices, web stores embedded into apps offer poor user experiences and interfaces – and support for account sign-ins and native wallets is tough, too. Develop a sleek, customer-focused eCommerce interface and your sales should boom.
Not supporting dark mode
There are a number of reasons why consumers love dark mode on their Android and iOS devices – not only does it reduce eye strain, but it can cut down on blue light exposure and even increase battery life. According to one study, a whopping 81% of Android users say they use Dark Mode, and if a user has dark mode turned on by default and they open your app, only to be greeted by a bright white interface, the chances are that they’re going to be disappointed. Apple has put together a simple documentation guide on supporting dark mode inside iOS apps, and there’s a similar document for Android app developers, too.
Failing to utilise modern user interface features
Although there are still major differences between iOS and Android, many of the core elements from one operating system are carried over to the other, albeit with different codes and names. Long-press gestures are one of those – on the home screen, users can hold down on an app icon to be greeted with more functionality. For a ride-hailing app, for example, users might long-press on the app icon to order a taxi or cancel a booking. On Android, the feature’s called touch-and-hold. Incorporate some of these features into your own app – users expect them, and failing to do so could mean you’re missing out on an opportunity to improve your user experience and ultimately increase app engagement.
You don’t support Apple Pay
Modern consumers expect to be able to pay for goods and services inside of their favourite apps using the payment methods they’re most comfortable with. Though credit card and PayPal support are still nice to have, it’s likely that Apple Pay and Google Pay will be your consumers’ preferred payment methods. Not only do these digital wallets reduce friction in your app, but they shorten checkout times, as emails and addresses are usually pulled from the users’ device, meaning they don’t need to create an account or manually type in data.
Not embracing single sign-on
If you’re looking for ways to reduce friction and boost engagement on your app, then offering a single sign-on option is another way to go. Consumers are growing increasingly frustrated with manually typing in (and remembering) usernames and passwords for apps, and that can lengthen your onboarding process and reduce sign-ups. Single sign-on from services like Sign In with Facebook and Sign In with Apple reduces the time it takes to make accounts and users don’t have to remember their passwords – they’ll just sign in on their phone using Face ID or Touch ID. Sign In with Apple is more secure and offers cross-platform support.
Lack of mini-apps
Both iOS and Android offer miniature apps that allow users to ‘try before they buy’ or access some limited features on their phones without downloading your app at all. On iOS, they’re known as App Clips, and on Google, Instant Apps. Supporting these as standard, and using the relevant App Clip tags and QR code tags to encourage users to launch them, can have a major impact on engagement and ultimately increase brand awareness and app downloads.
Worried your app is out of date? Ready to get started on overhauling your software on iOS and Android? Click here to arrange a consultation with the app development team at Zudu.