In previous articles, we discussed how to design, specify and build your app, it is now on applications stores: Congratulations!
But the most important is to come: make your app live and grow.
From the beginning you took users’ needs into account, now the app is in theirs hands: it is the perfect time to gather some more feedbacks and thus increase the value you offer them.
What to change?
A mobile product lives and changes continuously. You have to make it change for the better and maintain it.
In a user-centric approach you may want to offer new features to comply with users’ new needs, enhance features they love or even remove the ones they do not use.
Nevertheless you should pay attention to maintain your app in perfect operating conditions with maintenance. There are different types of maintenance: corrective maintenance to fix bugs or abnormalities which can occur and adaptive maintenance which consists of maintaining your app up-to-date with evolutions of operating systems and third-party systems.
Broaden features set: understand what are your users using
Do not rush into adding features, you should first understand what is barely used, used a lot or not at all. To help you, let’s explain some quantitative and qualitative methods.
Quantitative method: tagging
The most-known quantitative method is tagging or analytics. This method consists in placing “tags” on every action or step your user goes through, to analyze her behaviour. These data are anonymized since we only care about statistics and not to individuals behaviours.
A lot of top-notch solutions exist in terms of SDK (Software Development Kit): Firebase, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, AT Internet, facebook Tracking Campaign… They all have in common this logic of tags. Once you have decided which one suits you best, you should decide what to track: that’s the tough part! Actually it is complex to balance between too much and not enough.
First thing to do is tracking all screens to reconstruct user journeys. You may then want to identify most important stories, the ones particularly critics for your business for example (conversion funnel, purchase journey…) because they require a specific tagging to be well analyzed.
Pay also attention to features you are not quite sure of, the ones you want to test or strain. You may also want to measure the momentums when your users leave your app and at the opposite side the paths to download (to track the efficiency of your campaign for example).
Qualitative method: users feedback
You have now statistical data but it is not enough to understand user behaviour: why do they never use this part of the app? Is it unreachable? Does it crash? Do users have no need of it? Did they miss it due to an unclear title?
To be sure and add some insights to statistics, you may use solutions to gather users feedbacks. For instance ask them to give you a note, a comment or send you a message.
The most common practice is to redirect them to applications stores to give a note, but a more clever one is to ask them before, in your app, if they are satisfied or not. If so ask them to write a commentary, otherwise give them the opportunity to explain why with a mail for instance. Some SDK propose these features, like Usabilla. Last, do not forget to prompt users for review at the right time: when they have used your app enough to have a precise idea, or when they have completed a task. If you ask for a review at first launch, or after a technical defect, their reviews may be worst than expected.
Qualitative method: users interviews
To match users needs – it may sound silly to say – a good way to proceed is to meet your users. You should observe them in real context of use, in order to see their difficulties, wonders or even enchantments. It may last 20 minutes or one hour, it may be led with various methods but the most important thing to remember is to stay open to their experience without trying to influence them. We gave some pieces of advice in a previous article.
Quantitative method: A/B testing
Users feedbacks and analytics may have revealed the need to make your app evolve. But it is not easy to know how. A/B testing may help you answer this question: it consists in creating 2 versions (or more) of your app and test them on various segments of users, to measure impact of each variation and choose the best-suited one, according to your KPI. To know more about A/B Testing.
Detect and fix bugs
It is something to enhance features set of your app, but you should ensure the perfect operating condition of your app and then avoid the famous one-star comment “such a shame, always crashes”.
You have to know how to deal with this kind of comments: turn it in your favor. You should thank the user for this feedback, engage conversation to fully understand the problem and you may also quote your user in the next release notes. Your users will appreciate the fact you do your best to do things right.
But, do not wait for users to complain on app stores. You may launch beta test campaigns to put your app on stress and detect all vulnerabilities, before they affect your users.
You can also automate crashlogs gathering. Some SDKs like Crashlytics or Hockey App propose to user, after she encounters a crash, to send logs to developers. Thanks to these data you can detect most common crashes, or the ones which affect particular devices. It is useful to fix remaining bugs on a regular basis: every month you may fix the ten most-common crashes or fix bug if it occurs more than a certain threshold.
Fuel your roadmap
All these tools may have given you some ideas to enhance your app. It is now time to put them in a roadmap. First thing to do is to prioritize them: give them a note to describe its business value and one for its complexity to implement. With this matrix, you can now plan your next releases. Be sure to balance your release to include new features and bug fixes. It is not a good message to do numerous releases with only “bug fixes”, it may sounds like your app is full of bugs. And it is also a bad idea to push a lot of new features if you do not care about fixing defects.
Last do not forget to do benchmark, to watch for new ideas or new opportunities, especially for Operating Systems new releases or in your third-party SDKs, they often proposes some interesting features. Pay attention also to change in regulation and legal requirements.
You have now all the tools and methods to enhance continuously your app. You now have to promote it broadly, that is the next article of our series. Do not miss it!
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