Five tips for any business looking to launch an app

My entire business is my app, which aims to provide schools with a direct and efficient means of communication with parents.

For the business to succeed, the app needs to be effective, which means we’ve put a lot of time over the years into developing and fine-tuning what it can do.

If your business is also looking at launching an app, or if you have an idea for an app, these are the five most important things we’ve identified in the success of ours.

Listen to your users

When we first developed our app, we were working with a single school – but every school is different. Though we had no choice to make assumptions in the early days, nothing was of more benefit in the long run than listening to a diverse group of schools and parents and receiving their feedback. The user experience is paramount and you must consistently seek feedback.

Don’t “develop and run”

We’ve seen a lot of mobile apps developed, uploaded to online stores and left to fend for themselves. Constant tweaks and adjustments – from the glaring mistakes to the minor improvements – add up to a great user experience. No app is perfect out of the gate.

Access the power of the cloud and microservices

One of the things we pride ourselves on at School Stream is our ability to make changes without the need for downtime. We’re able to do this by separating parts of the complex system that makes up the app into simple components, which can be replaced and upgraded at any time.

Designing your app so that each service can function independently of the others is an important element of keeping it consistent and functional.

Optimise, optimise, optimise

We’re constantly working on things under the hood – the kind of things we might otherwise not notice until it was too late. During normal operation, we are always making sure our systems work at lightning speed. That really matters when a period of unprecedented usage occurs (such as the coronavirus) and your app is equipped to handle it and doesn’t collapse under the weight of interest.

Avoid cross-platform libraries

In the initial stages of development, we considered using a cross-platform library, but decided against it and went with the more time-consuming method of building it natively. That decision has paid off handsomely, as it’s helped us avoid app store issues, the shuttering of cross-platform libraries over time and allowed us to provide a great UI experience for the entire user journey.

The most important thing to remember whenever you’re looking at launching an app is to think like a potential user. What do they want from it? What will they get out of it? By always putting the user experience at the forefront, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Melissa Bridson, Founder and CEO, School Stream

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