Q Manning Makes Pretty Things


Articles written for AlleyWatch


3 Ways to Stay Ahead of the App Development Market

As the old saying goes, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” For mobile development, that couldn’t be more true.

In app development, major advances don’t typically come out of nowhere. More often, small waves of subtle evolution pave the way for bigger breakthroughs as each developer builds on top of what the last one created. This copycat style of innovation leads to better products as a whole, but it does make it hard to differentiate between dozens of products that perform basically the same function. Innovation is fleeting as competitors quickly incorporate the best ideas into their own apps.

An app is a business. If no one needs what your business has to offer, you’re going to struggle to get customers. If your app doesn’t meet a need of smartphone users, you’re going to struggle to get downloads.

Too many entrepreneurs feel like they can build any type of app, release it, and enjoy endless success. Creating a successful business isn’t like “Field of Dreams.” You can’t build it and wait for customers to just show up.

For many startups, the term platform agnostic represents a kind of unattainable utopia in the world of mobile apps. The idea that a development team has only to create an app for one mobile platform and have it easily converted to work with the rest is an undeniably attractive one.

In practice, however, a 100 percent platform-agnostic approach brings its own unique set of headaches: Performance often suffers when web-based technologies such as JavaScript are used in favor of platform-native tools; operating system-specific features like Apple’s 3D Touch are usually out of the question; and OS updates can mean months of waiting for platform-agnostic systems to catch up.

Enjoy the Simple Pleasures (of Your App)

When it comes to creating an app, one of the worst things you can do as an entrepreneur is to try and please everybody. It’s an easy trap to fall into — in theory, the more people you can please right off the bat, the bigger your potential audience will be. But in reality, this approach to development rarely yields positive results.

While one good idea can give birth to another, it can also open up a can of worms — nuggets of inspiration that seem good at the time, but actually just bog down your core idea. If there is no discernment when it comes to choosing the right features, a project can quickly grow unruly, causing users to become frustrated and abandon your app. And, before you know it, all of that hard work trying to please everyone goes down the drain.