An app is like any other piece of software: it needs to be scaleable. What does this mean? Simply put, that it needs to be usable by many more users than the number for which it may have been initially built.
Let’s assume your app is initially intended for use by a small number of people; it might be tempted to build the app in a way that best serves exactly that smaller cohort. If your app is a success, however, this approach will incur additional expense later, when you will need to retool your code to work better for a larger user-base.
StartupGenome has found that 74% of app start-ups fail because they don’t consider scalability early enough in the development cycle. Essentially, this means they produce an inflexible product that cannot respond to market conditions with the efficiency that can secure success.
Scalability has a secondary meaning, too: a good app should be updateable without significant down-time involved. The more successful your app becomes the more disruptive updates which interrupt service can be. Build your app from the beginning to enable developers to add functionality seamlessly, and you’ll make your future life a lot easier.
The over-riding goal here, of course, is to create a great user experience. By ensuring that your app will not fall over if its user number change radically over time, and by building in update capacity from day one, you’ll be guaranteeing that your app’s future users will never become frustrated or alienated. This will in turn boost not just your retention rates but peer referrals – a key means of audience growth.
In fact, scalability is all about growth: it’s about building in beforehand the tools an app will need to respond to whatever comes at it in the market. That means hiring a skilled, flexible, imaginative developer or agency, of course: good developers build apps that exhibit reliable performance … and reliable performance wins users’ loyalty.
Critical to achieving scalability, too, is testing: all the functionality in the world is only as good as its first encounter with users, so ensure that – before launch, without fail – your app is tested in a range of environments, heavy use especially.
To build the app appropriately, and test it effectively, plan ahead: how many users are you aiming to recruit in 6, 12, 18 months? Might you exceed or fall short of that target? How will your app need to react in all three cases? Don’t build an app that will only need to be rebuilt later; build a flexible platform that can grow with your business.
In other words, don’t build a static app, but a dynamic one. This will improve your app’s performance –and your users’ experience. And, ultimately, rewarding users – and the benefits that accrue – is why Ensuring Scalability of Your App is Important.
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