In some iterations of the “watchmaker theory”, which holds that the presence of good design must imply a designer, the creator builds a thing and then walks away from it, allowing it to develop in its own way and disowning further responsibility for it.
In theology, that might be an interesting theory; in mobile app design, it’s very bad practice.
Mobile apps aren’t a one-shot enterprise: build it, finish it, leave it alone in the app store to do its thing. Rather, it’s akin to a craftsman’s favourite tool: you must oil it and sharpen it over time if it is to continue to be effective. Maintenance is key.
Our age of digital technology is famous for its rapid rate of development. The flipside of that excitement is that left to their own devices, apps that one day was the latest thing will tomorrow feel out-dated and drab. In order to match your customer’s expectations, you need to keep up with them.
For example, your app needs to stay up-to-date with the latest versions of the various mobile operating systems on which all software for mobile devices runs. Whether the Apple iOS or Android – or something else – ensuring your app looks its best on the latest iteration will ensure that users remain loyal to you. Start to lag behind, on the other hand, and your users may abandon you – if an app isn’t easy to use it won’t be used at all.
Likewise, design fashions change – from the skeuomorphic to the flat, for example – and you’ll want to update your app’s user interface to reflect those shifts in taste. This will keep your app feeling fresh, and again ensure that it matches and exceeds your users’ expectations. Everything is about maximising the urge your customers feel to open and use your app.
It can be worth building in some sort of feedback element to your app, too: a formal satisfaction questionnaire, or simply crash reporting, that can provide you with invaluable information about technical issues and room for design improvement. Above and beyond changes forced on you by others, this customer input will enable you to assess your own app – and where it needs further tweaking.
Amid all this, it can help to implement a maintenance plan in advance. This can really save costs in the long run, since it helps you monitor developments more strategically and plan for your range of development phases. Running to keep up can become exhausting, and there is no need – new OS versions are announced well in advance, so you can plan pretty clearly.
In other words, always think about the future: what’s going to happen, and how might that impact on your app? How can your app be better? By addressing these questions, and planning for them, you’ll improve customer satisfaction with, and take-up of, your service … and that is why it is important to maintain your mobile app!
We provide mobile app design and development for all project requirements, both consumer and business apps. If you’re in need of a mobile app or just have an idea for a project you wish to discuss, please contact us to arrange a consultancy.
Call us on 024 7683 4780 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.