Congratulations on the launch of your mobile app! You’ve undoubtedly invested significant amounts of time, money, and energy in researching, ideating, prototyping, and testing your app to reach this incredible milestone. That said, your journey into the software industry has only just begun. Unlike physical products, mobile apps require ongoing maintenance to address the rapid changes experienced in the software industry.
Take a moment to picture your app as a vehicle. For your vehicle to run smoothly, it requires regular service and maintenance, like oil changes, tire rotations, and steering alignments. Similarly, mobile apps require ongoing servicing in the form of software updates, bug fixes, performance monitoring and optimization, security patches, and user feedback to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
In this article, we’ll explore five essential areas of mobile app maintenance for you to consider including regular updates, user feedback, performance optimization, data security, and platform compatibility to help keep your app in tip-top shape.
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.
1) Regular Updates
Regularly updating your app is an essential part of being a top software provider. Through consistent software updates, you ensure users’ needs are continuously fulfilled and limit potential errors and crashes from occurring. Bug fixes and security patches are two main components of this process. Bug fixes address issues discovered in the software that fails to work as intended while security patches, on the other hand, help protect against cybersecurity attacks and the leaking of user data.
The great thing about software updates is that they also provide the opportunity to introduce new and exciting features and functionalities to your mobile app. This is particularly valuable when launching a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as it allows you to gain quick market access and develop app updates based on user feedback. By continuously fixing and improving your mobile app, you help to improve your app store ranking and increase your chances of new customer acquisition.
But, before you begin implementing regular software updates, be sure to first establish a clear structure for version control. Version control will help you keep track of software changes and ensure consistency in the user experience. This helps give your development team better visibility and reduces interruptions in your maintenance schedule if a version rollback is required.
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2) User Feedback
User feedback is one of the most powerful and impactful ways of improving your mobile app. The information you gather from your users gives you valuable insight into their needs, wants, and fears, and allows you to make data-driven decisions. By regularly incorporating user feedback into your development process, you can effectively improve user satisfaction and reduce development costs associated with updates that fail to address user needs.
There are various ways of collecting user feedback, including surveys, in-app feedback forms, and social media channels. Always invest time in experimenting with different alternatives to find a method that offers convenience for your users and high-quality information for your development team. Analytics tools can also be useful for tracking patterns, identifying areas for improvement, and recognizing features that may need to be removed, especially when users are unreachable or hard to consult.
Photo Credit: Ivy Exec
3) Performance Optimization
Performance optimization is another critical part of software maintenance as it works to improve a user’s experience by increasing the speed, stability, and efficiency of your mobile app. By monitoring and assessing key performance metrics like startup time, memory usage, battery consumption, network usage, and UI performance, developers can identify performance bottlenecks and take actionable steps to address them.
One way of doing this is through code optimization. Code optimization works to improve application performance by removing “app clutter” like unnecessary code and the number of background processes, while also compressing images and other media. Code profiling tools such as Xdebug for PHP or Visual Studio Profiler for C# and C++ are great tools for performance monitoring that aid in identifying issue points in your software.
Also, consider talking with your development team about the use of crash reporting tools for identifying and solving software issues that may be causing your app to crash. Many integrated development environments (IDEs) like Xcode and Android Studio have built-in crash reporting tools that provide detailed information on the cause of a crash and the code involved to reduce the time spent identifying and fixing problems.
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4) Data Security
The growth of smart devices and mobile apps over the last decade coupled with the increased storage of sensitive information, make electronic devices top targets for cybercriminals. As such, organizations have an obligation and duty to protect their user’s data through robust security measures. As more and more user traffic builds on your software application it’s important to track and monitor app security to ensure sensitive information is protected. Security measures such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and access controls cannot be understated and should be implemented throughout your software. Staying up to date on the latest security threats and trends will also help you identify early risks and apply security patches before a breach occurs.
In addition to monitoring performance and implementing security measures, we recommend companies develop an incident response plan for cases where a security breach occurs despite best practices. This plan will help provide clear guidance on problem identification, threat containment, threat eradication, software recovery, and communications with users and key stakeholders to manage the situation in a timely and professional manner. For more information on cybersecurity check out our interview with industry expert and F12.Net CTO Calvin Engen here.
Photo Credit: MobileSyrup
5) Platform Compatibility
The final area to consider in mobile app maintenance is platform compatibility. Unless your users have the same devices with the same operating system (OS), you will need to consider how your app is displayed across new and old devices. By testing the performance and functionality of your app across different screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware specifications, you can ensure that your app delivers a consistent and flawless user experience. Additionally, it’s important to stay up to date on new devices and OS releases to understand the impact they may have on your UI/UX and adapt your app accordingly.
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Vertical Motion Inc. is a trusted Canadian software development and entrepreneur assistance company that has supported the global efforts of startups, non-profits, B2B, and B2C businesses since 2006. With headquarters in Calgary and Kelowna, and team members coast to coast, Vertical Motion Inc. is recognized as an award-winning leader in the technology industry. Our team of executive advisors, project managers, software developers, business analysts, marketing specialists, and graphic designers have extensive experience in several industries including — Energy, Finance, Blockchain, Real Estate, Health Care, Clean Technology, Clothing & Apparel, Sports & Recreation, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR/VR).
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