Launching a new app is exciting. You’ve spent months dreaming up a concept, planning and developing the app, and the time has finally come to share it with the world. Or is it?
Putting an app on the app stores is a lot like handing in a final thesis in college. You spend tons of time and energy on the paper, and you hope your professor – or your users – will love it.
The good news is that unlike a final paper, you can take steps to ensure people will love your app and give it the highest ratings possible. Here are 3 tests you should run before launching a new app to make sure it’s successful.
You only have one shot with users, so it’s important to make a good first impression. And a good first impression starts with great design. In essence, design is what makes your app…yours. It’s the unique identifiers such as the colors, language and fonts used, and the way the user interacts with the app. A good design can either leave people smiling, and loving using your app, or they can get fed up with the lack of thought put into the design.
Do your menus, titles, fonts and colors show as you want them to? It’s important to stay consistent with the look and fonts used within your app. If you use Magnifika in your home page, you should be using Magnifika in your other pages as well. You should also put thought into the images you use. Make sure they’re in line with your brand. If your app is in the early education space, use photos of children, teachers, and parents. If your app is in the e-sports space, your photos could be of sports fields, players and crowds cheering. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines walk you through design principles your app will need to meet to be accepted to the App Store, while Google’s Android Design Principles take you through material design guidelines for the Google Play Store. Remember, conformity and consistency are key.
You will also want to see how your app renders landscape and portrait mode. If your app is meant to be used in both formats, you will want to make sure your images can be viewed both ways. If not, you can adopt a portrait-only format.
A great way to test your app’s design is with a 5-Second Test. This is a great and quick way to get the desired feedback regarding your app’s design.
A main KPI for any app is retention. Do people download the app, check it out then exit to never return again? Or do people download the app, open it, click through, interact and engage – and keep coming back?
Usability is what leads to retention and therefore should be thought of strategically. A usability test checks to make make sure your app works as it should, and does everything you want it (and everything you promise your users!). Even more important than this, testing for usability also shows how quickly users get familiar with your app’s interface.
Think of your app like a funnel. You want people to be aware of the app, download it, enter the app and be taken through it. The more they interact with your app and familiarize themselves with it, the better. So think about what you want your users to do when they open the app.
Maybe you want them to register with their email and phone number. If so, they should be taken to that screen quickly after opening the app for the first time. Or maybe you want them to start creating their profile. You can create a tutorial of how to get started to walk them through. Lastly, you should test out forms within your app. It’s important your forms are mobile-friendly and in 1 column so that you move from field to field as your scroll.
Want to test usability? Check out Proto.io where you can mock-up different flows and options quickly, and test what works best.
The last thing you should test before releasing your app into the world is its performance. This test is less about users and the look and feel of your app/brand. It’s about your app and its technicalities. Of course, this feeds back to users: no one wants an app that’s sluggish or that crashes all the time.
If you let people register and login to your app using their social channels, check that the login buttons work. Check that your buttons correlate to the right destinations or pages. You should also test the app for compatibility with other devices and browsers. Making sure that everything looks and works as it should no matter what device it’s on. And of course, your app should also be tested to see how it affects phone battery life.
For technical testing, have a look at these 20 open source mobile application performance testing tools.
3, 2, 1… Blast Off!
There you have it, the 3 critical tests every app developer should conduct before launching their app. Not only will checking the design, usability and performance of your app ensure a better product, but it’ll get accepted to the app stores quicker and with less fixes needed.
The last item to check off your pre-launch checklist is a top notch ASO strategy – but you know where to go to for that!