Developing an app? You need to consider maintenance

June 17, 2019

Developing an app, in so many ways, is like building a house. The work goes on way past the initial build. If a window gets broken you have to fix it, otherwise, the house will get targeted by burglars. In the same way, your app may develop bugs as a result of incompatibility with system updates and then become vulnerable to cyber threats. The solution to these issues is simple: maintenance.

I’ll talk you through why maintenance is crucial and offer some tips on how much it costs to keep your app up-to-date and how to keep that cost down.

What could go wrong?

Bugs

Mistakes in your app’s code may result in it not working as intended, these issues are called bugs. An example of a low priority bug would be an app’s tendency to freeze for a second on a certain page or on a certain device. It needs fixing, but it doesn’t impact the core functions of the product. Then there are critical bugs that can render the app useless, for example, if the log-in page fails to load.

Here’s the thing; bugs can develop even after you launch your product. If your code is not compatible with the latest platform update, new bugs can materialise from the inconsistencies between the code of your app and the new code of the phone’s operating system. Regular maintenance ensures your app is not put out of action by every update.

Cyber threats

For apps that store personal information such as banking details, a cyber attack means a breach of significant, private data. Although apps are a lot more secure than the web, they are still vulnerable to attacks, according to the White Hat App Security Report for 2018, cyber attacks against apps are increasing both in number and in complexity. So you can launch a secure app one year but by the next, it will be vulnerable to more sophisticated, more recently-developed attacks. So the only way to protect against an ever-evolving threat is to evolve alongside it by updating your app’s security regularly.

You may get removed from the AppStore

Apple curates the AppStore carefully and regularly removes apps that don’t match the AppStore guidelines. These guidelines are updated fairly frequently so your app may need to be updated alongside them to stay available for download. In the past, Apple has decided to purge all apps made with DIY App makers which left small and large businesses alike without any presence in the AppStore. The guidelines are not just to be followed before you launch the app, they’re an ever-changing set of rules which must be adapted to.

How much does maintenance cost and how to do it cost-effectively?

Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

When you’re producing an app, the potential seems limitless and it’s easy to get lost in an endless list of features to enhance your idea. However, the best thing to do is to pare the idea all the way back to its most fundamental functions, the result is called a ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP). After the launch, when reviews come in, you’ll find out what users want and you may be surprised by their priorities. Some of the requests made will have been covered in the features you initially thought of but they’ll never ask for all of your original ideas. Once you’ve got an idea of what they want, add only the features that speak to your users’ comments, nearly everything else is superfluous.

Holding features back has two advantages. Firstly, it’s cheaper to spend less money on developing unnecessary features. Secondly, it ensures that the users are happy since the end-product is inspired by them. What’s more, the addition of new, valuable features that are influenced by customer demand keeps users engaged and returning.

Cost

Like any product, the cost will depend on your app’s complexity. As a ball-park figure, you could spend roughly £1000 a year on repairing bugs and keeping your app running. If you update new features regularly you may spend up to 15% of the original development cost every year on top of the above fee. However, this depends on how the app is received and how high a priority new features are to your business model.

At Red C, we’re in it for the long haul

At Red C, you’ll be assigned a trusted, experienced Project Manager who works with you to discern which features are essential to your core idea. As a trusted digital partner, we’re in it for the long haul, partnering with you to ensure your app is a success long after its launch. This means If we agree that a feature isn't needed for the minimum viable product, we’ll still be with you after the launch to add it later if necessary.

Thanks to our comprehensive Quality Assurance procedures, your app will be as reliable and stable as possible at the time of launch. We offer maintenance too, with competitive SLAs which mean if any issues do emerge, whether they’re low-priority bugs or critical bugs, we are committed to resolving them in a prearranged number of hours.

Email for enquiry: georgia.papaspyrou@red-c.co.uk

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