Many companies view app development as a process that lasts for a certain period of time until the process is completed with the release of the finalized application. In actuality, app development is a long-term process that includes the creation and distribution of regular updates. These updates can remove bugs and add new features to the app itself.
If you're new to app development, you may not understand the importance of mobile app maintenance. Along with fixing bugs and making sure that the app users are satisfied, routine app maintenance can bolster security, help with rebranding, and keep up with the latest technological advancements. While there are some costs associated with performing application maintenance, the benefits are many. This guide takes a look at why you should update your app and the rate at which these updates should be submitted.
While the initial development for an app is the most important aspect of building any kind of application, the app must still be maintained and supported even after it has been released to customers. While every app should be updated regularly, the rate at which you update your app depends somewhat on the popularity of the app as well as the type of app that you've created. If the app has proven to be extremely popular, weekly updates may be necessary to ensure that customers remain satisfied and engaged with the app in question. You could also choose to update your app on a monthly basis as long as the updates are substantial.
Even though the majority of applications will update anywhere from 1-4 times every month, it's important to understand that the frequency of your updates depends on user feedback and the overall size of your team. If you have a small team, you may be unable to release weekly updates. If you attempt to put out updates at a pace that your team is unable to handle, the updates themselves could be of lesser quality, which only serves to worsen the user experience as well as the app's reputation. In the event that you have a small team but a highly popular app, it's recommended that you hire more team members to handle the larger workload that comes with making frequent updates.
Keep in mind that every feature of the update should be scoped out well ahead of time, which ensures that the features that are placed into the update aren't half-baked. If you think of a new feature only days before the update is set to go out, make sure that you wait to implement this feature until the next update. You could also delay the update until the feature has been properly implemented.
Along with the major updates that are applied to your application, you should also think about sending out separate bug-fixing updates that are released at a more rapid rate. Doing so will allow you to maintain the user experience while you work on providing your customers with new features and content that they will enjoy. No matter the type of app that you've developed, it's essential to understand that updating an app can be a time-consuming process if you want to introduce major features to the application. In certain situations, it's possible that one feature for your update won't pan out the way you had originally intended, which can cause delays to the app-maintenance process.
To account for any issues that occur when maintaining your app, consider planning around 2-5 updates in advance, which should help your team remain efficient with their work. While you should plan some of your updates in advance, it's also important that you remain attuned to the demands of the market. Your plans for future updates shouldn't be too strict. If the community is requesting a certain feature, the maintenance process should be flexible enough to allow the update timeline to be altered.
There are many reasons why you should update your app on a regular basis. The primary reason is to make sure that the app is secure. When customers use your app, their data will be kept on your servers and within the app itself. It's up to you to keep this data safe.
When applications aren't routinely updated, the old security protocols that were implemented will begin to deteriorate in quality. Standard security functions don't last for a lengthy period of time, which means that hackers will eventually find some kind of loophole within your security system that they will be able to exploit. If you want to stay ahead of hackers, security updates should be made regularly.
Another common reason for updating an app on a regular basis is to fix any bugs or glitches within the application. Even if you conduct constant testing on the app in question, bugs will almost always persist, which can lead to a poor user experience for some app users. To ensure that their experience remains consistent, you'll want to fix the most problematic bugs as quickly as you can.
Keep in mind that implementing a new feature within the app will likely introduced several new bugs that must be dealt with. If you react quickly enough, your users shouldn't notice that anything is wrong.
Performing regular app maintenance is also a great way to show that you listen to customer feedback. When you introduce oft-requested features to the application, your customers will be satisfied that their feedback was heard. Updating your app to accommodate the customer feedback that you've received is a great way to bolster engagement and increase the number of loyal customers that you have.
The updates that you put out can also help you keep up with advancements in hardware and software. For instance, you could introduce a popular payment system to your app. Since mobile customers want the latest in technology, your updates could be a way of providing them with these advancements.
If ever you want to rebrand your business, you can integrate your rebranding strategy with a new update for your app that changes the entire appearance and features of the app itself. Keep in mind that mobile app maintenance is a great way to market your app, which means that putting out new updates can help your company remain relevant.
The update process for your mobile application should be efficient and streamlined if you want to release updates on a regular and consistent basis. To ensure that the process is relatively straightforward, it's important that you approach app updates in a measured manner.
For instance, you should create a release schedule for your updates. If you update the app twice in two weeks but don't release another update for several months, your customers won't be satisfied. Whether you release weekly updates or seasonal ones, having a schedule can help with consistency.
It's also important that app users are notified about new updates, which can be done through emails, app alerts, or text messages. These notifications should include details about the update. Your app should also include numerous features that can help you identify what kinds of updates are needed. Bug diagnostics, error logs, and crash reporting should all be included in your app.
Make sure that you monitor user feedback so that you can be aware of what they think about any new update you release. If a major bug occurs when the update is sent out, monitoring user feedback may allow you to fix the problem before it gets out of hand. Some additional steps you can take when performing mobile app maintenance include:
Introduce new features without immediately activating them within the app, which allows you to gain feedback before the features are hard-coded into the app
Complete extensive testing before releasing an update
Identify essential features that should be added first
App maintenance is an oft-overlooked yet highly important component of app development. If you don't update your app routinely, you'll soon find that app security is weak, that customers aren't satisfied with the user experience, and that the app itself is lagging behind when it comes to using modern hardware and software features. Updating regularly can also help you keep users engaged, which invariably heightens customer loyalty. Now that you understand the importance of mobile maintenance and how often this maintenance should occur, you should be ready to develop a strong update process with your team.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
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