When your business has a custom mobile app developed, you’ll be given the option of subscribing to ongoing app maintenance. Some initially view that as a kind of extended warranty, like one you would be offered for a vacuum cleaner.
But it’s nothing like that.
Ongoing maintenance is a proactive service that makes sure your new business channel is always on and working well.
At Big Fish, we’ve identified seven dangers that apps fall victim to when they aren’t protected by a maintenance program. Be sure to read them before deciding whether it makes sense to forego app maintenance.
1. Crashing apps
Apple and Google release major new versions of their operating system once each year. iPhone and Android owners need only update their phones and they’re all set.
But the new operating system can cause existing apps to not function as built, or crash altogether.
Fortunately, app developers like Big Fish are given an opportunity to download pre-release copies of the new operating system before the final version is released to the public. That way we can proactively make sure the apps we’re maintaining will continue to function properly.
If your app isn’t covered by a maintenance plan that includes these checks and tests, your company stands to lose a lot more than the cost of the maintenance plan.
2. Outdated security
Important security updates are an integral part of new versions of iOS and Android.
You want the users of your app to be as secure as possible while using your app, and you want all collected data to be secure. That will happen only if the app is revised to take advantage of security updates in the newest version of the platform.
3. Lack of performance data
An ongoing maintenance package that includes performance monitoring will reveal how users are interacting with your app. You’ll know:
- Is the app meeting its goals?
- Are there app crashes, and if there are, what’s causing them?
- Is any unexpected user behavior contributing to, or taking away from, the success of the app?
All these questions are addressed by performance monitoring. The data gathered also points your team towards changes that should be made in the next version of the app.
4. Poor fit in new phone sizes
Over the last few years we’ve seen iOS and Android phones released in brand new sizes. Many users prefer the larger screens available today.
While an app will adjust to fit the new size of a phone, it won’t necessarily do it in a way that maintains the integrity of the design. For example, Apple’s notch made a lot of apps look strange.
Imagine the disappointment when a user of your app upgrades to a phone with a larger screen, and the app design is “broken.” In some cases, buttons have been difficult to use because they are partly off the screen.
5. Stale features
Technology and business changes all the time. The app created a year or two ago might have been just what was needed at launch, but it’s likely that the features need some tweaking for the app to be as valuable to your users today as it was the day it was released.
Staying current with technology, user needs and business requirements is a huge advantage of a well-thought-out maintenance plan.
6. Outdated look and UI
Without keeping the design and user interface current with the latest visual and interactive standards, your app could gain attention for the wrong reasons.
No business wants their app to inspire negative comments and reviews.
When an app doesn’t look or work as expected, people may just stop using it.
7. Old listing date
When users go to the App Store and/or Google Play to download an app, they see when it was last updated. How does that date get there?
This is an indicator that the app is being kept up to date. Without a maintenance plan that provides for updates in the App Store and Google Play, your company’s app will show the same date it did when it first became available.
Users are apt to feel more confidence in an app that is kept up to date.
Before you go
Developing new versions of custom mobile apps over time is a common practice that works for the betterment of the app over its lifetime. Between versions, a good maintenance plan will help your company’s app stay relevant to users and provide data that informs improvements to the next full version.
Clearly, the dangers of saying “No” to app maintenance are great. Far from being an unnecessary expense, it’s one of the best investments you will make in your app.
Have questions before starting a new custom mobile app project? Contact Big Fish and let’s discuss them.