How to Make It in Digital: Successful Web Development
At EightDevs, we've been developing countless applications and other digital products for customers since 2009. We've found that the issues listed in this article apply to Fortune 500 companies and technology companies that have the most thoughtful and researched projects. To avoid these problems, you need to know these types of problems in advance, build a solid foundation with this knowledge, and then improve your capabilities and marketing plan. The right questions and comments during the recognition process can help you avoid future pitfalls and give you the best chance of success.
If you follow the steps in this two-part article, your digital product — a native application, web application, cloud backend, digital transformation initiative or similar — will have the best foundation and the best chance of future success. In this resource you will learn how to:
- Identify potential problems with the product;
- Provide your users with a solid foundation;
- Work with different opinions of key stakeholders from different specializations (package C, directors/managers, design, development, content, etc.);
- Specify your necessary functions;
- Use the right tools and exercises throughout the recognition process.
Developing a Digital Product: Potential Problems
At the initial discovery and idea of a product, it is important to consider and identify potential obstacles or problems with stopping the program before it materializes. Although there are countless obstacles after the premiere that can kill your product (no market differentiation, no oral responses, bad reviews, etc.), there are many problems that can cause the product to run never arrived or is dead on arrival (DOA).
We regularly hear from the largest companies in the world that products never hit the market (because we are asked to save or restart them). Here are some potential issues to consider to avoid the same mistakes.
Custom App Development: The Market Window Lose
There are over 2 million applications in Google Play and App Store. Of course, this does not include web applications available outside of app stores. Of course, growth and a highly competitive market have made time one of the most important parts of product development. Failure to meet a reasonable start date can cause someone else to reduce your market gap before you even start. You may miss the window for other reasons, including fading interest or new technologies that make yours become obsolete.
Web Development From Scratch: Get It Right
One of the biggest problems with discovering a product is the desire to become too big too quickly. If you put too many features in the initial release, you'll have your own problems, such as: developmental delays, increasing your budget, or influencing the differentiation factor and your original intentions. On the other hand, creating a minimally viable product (MVP) may fail if there is not enough to meet the most important value propositions.
App Development Mistakes: Misidentified Requirements
As with home plans, an incorrect definition of essential requirements leads to a number of problems, such as: insufficient estimation of development expenditure, significant budget overruns, deadlines, review, lack of function and more. Misidentified requirements also result in ambiguity in the division of labor and may result in putting the product on a drawing board or shelf.
Web Development Mistakes: No Support
Lack of support in key areas such as creating the right APIs or backend can lead to disaster. This may be a total lack of support (insufficient programming resources) or incorrect allocation of team members due to lack of experience. This problem is often a direct result of poorly defined requirements, as mentioned above. Lack of support can also result in inadequate finances, as start-ups often have difficulty raising enough funds to fully support the idea. Finally, a lack of support can also come from key stakeholders and is one of the main reasons for product failures and fires.
Digital Product Development: Stakeholders
Different views between stakeholders can quickly lead to problems at an early stage of the product's life cycle. While different opinions and specializations are key to developing a strong product, they must all be on one side in terms of function and basic product basis. This is especially a problem when a stakeholder with more influence than others has the option of completely postponing the project. We have seen individual stakeholders with greater impact and seniority in projects without the full consent of the main stakeholder team, resulting in fewer resources and less commitment to the project.
Build a Solid Digital Product
Basics of App Development: Analysis
Mentioned above, but never mentioning to put the product on a solid foundation. This is absolutely important. Everyone must start here, from the smallest startups to Fortune 500 companies. What is the use case or requirement? In most cases, companies specifically ask for applications to stay up-to-date without proper review and market research. It is important to first determine what problem you want to solve and how your application will help you solve it.
- How is that much better than your competitors? These are not the only key questions you should ask.
- Who are your users? How will you handle them?
- Is your competition different from your range of features? How do you want to implement a specific function better than your competition?
We usually start projects with the questionnaire — a comprehensive resource that aims to answer these and other questions to make sure that the most important elements are in the foreground.
Sample questions for the start of the digital project:
- What makes users different from your application?
- What is most important to you in the context of your main idea?
- What should be done properly to make it worth it?
- What do you think the most important actions users need to take to change them into a full user?
When approaching an idea, we try to help potential clients in a similar way of thinking whether they have a real idea. It is important to fully evaluate the idea before working with the client. We are not afraid to stop companies from investing a lot of time, energy and money in a product that may or may not be used.
App Development Basics: Know Your User
One of the biggest mistakes we see most often is that companies look through the lens at what they think users want and what their users really want. People closest to the project often suffer from a "curse of knowledge", which means that they know the product, business rule or specialization so well that they hinder or disrupt the reality of their users. How do you determine what your users really want?
Demographics provide important insight into users' needs. This can be achieved first by people who are key to establishing the baseline. For example, when working with No Kid Hungry, we use research and discovery to make design and product decisions. In-depth discussions, research, data analysis and discussions with stakeholders, as well as user personalities, have revealed that our key demographic group needs a rich but simple Android interface that focuses on the organizational aspects of food planning.
Creating a Successful App: Find The Medium
An important part of meeting your user base requirements is determining which medium to use. Businesses often think they need applications, but they don't think about what that really means. The lucrative nature of the App Store and Google Play Store has created a strong persuasion for native applications. However, web applications are more suitable than ever, especially for some types of experiences, such as longer usage (long session times), bulk editing (tabular data), business experiences and more. As mentioned above in No Kid Hungry, personal data and studies have shown that the focus should be on the Android platform, since devices are available compared to an ecosystem such as iOS.
Web Application Development: Set The Goals
It is important to set goals based on many factors. Closely following this information will help you succeed.
- Time: Are there competitors who decide about time on the market? Common goals on the timeline should be evaluated both before and after the functions of the "tent" — functions that cannot be started without — in order to set realistic dates based on a set of functions. Don't be afraid to aim at these Tent functions and then expand their capabilities if time permits. If you are flexible in your first version 1.0, you can also fine-tune the timeline if initially, not everything goes as planned.
- Budget: Budget is often the least flexible target. Everyone wants to stick to a certain budget, but it's often very difficult to get a clear overview of the costs before consolidating their capabilities and estimating the scale of their efforts. When it comes to evaluating functions in relation to time and budget, we consider these tentpole functions relative to add-ons. Some people consider these add-ons to be "must-haves" or "nice-to-haves." This usually makes it much easier to reset add-ons or useful functions for future iterations. That is, setting budget goals and allocations on your roadmap is as important as the original budget. Budget goals must be set to support your product even after the launch.
- Download or active user metrics: The most common mistake in tracking important metrics, such as the number of downloads or active users, is setting targets too low or too high. Through research and the pursuit of realistic goals, milestones can be reached and over-achievements avoided. It also allows a better measure of success.
- Turnover: For apps with a trading or distribution component, this goal is most important to most stakeholders. It does not always have to be the original focus or goal of version 1.0, but it's important to track your revenue goals in relation to actual performance. In particular, Lifetime Value (LTV) is probably the most important number to pursue this path and may offer a better perspective on the realistic cost of customer/user acquisition (CAC).
- General Metrics: As with any product, setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on their capabilities is a key factor for future success. These metrics vary by app type and overall goals, but may include things like usage, time in the app, signups, started tests, number of subscribers, retention, and so on. These can be measured with standard tools such as Firebase Analytics, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Heap and so on.
Read the second part of our digital development manual here.