Decisions about web and mobile apps tend to be fueled by business considerations. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, app development is a business, and should be treated as such.
But some business people start to imagine that there is a difference between making money and pleasing customers. They find themselves choosing between what will make them more money, and what will make their customers happy, as if those were two different things.
Steve Jobs is credited for saying, “Manage your top line, and your bottom line will take care of itself.” This is one of the more challenging things for businesses to do. That is because they tend to focus on the immediacy of cash in hand, rather than the longer term benefits of satisfied end users.
When web designers make this mistake, they often live to regret it. Here is a look at a few of the most common mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them:
Not Getting Help
There are many reasons why a person may choose not to ask for help when it is abundantly clear they need it. In small business, the main reason tends to be money. The DYI bug has bitten many a cash-strapped entrepreneur. A very persuasive argument can be made for doing the painting yourself when it can save you $600 that you don’t really have.
The problem with doing it yourself without the proper expertise is that you will inevitably build a product that is not consumer friendly. It may be that your app is buggy, frustrating to use, and a poor citizen in the customer’s mobile ecosystem of choice.
You lack the resources and human power to do thorough testing. And the App Stores get yet another app the people try once, then quickly forget. By doing it yourself, the money you save now can become lost revenue later.
Ruined with Ads
If you sell an app to an end user for $2.99, that app is expected to be full-featured and unlocked to the user. But if they open the app only to be greeted with ads every time they go to use it, they feel cheated. You have charged them money, and are also selling them out to advertisers. That is double-dipping.
The other common mistake is going so overboard with ads, you forget who your customer is. Users didn’t start using ad blockers on web pages until one ad became two, became twenty, became so prominent, the content was obscured. Want to read another paragraph? Watch another ad.
Also, ads transformed into trackers that followed your every move on the web. It wasn’t enough to show an ad, advertisers wanted user data, history, and the ability to follow their every click on the web. Content providers forgot who they were supposed to be serving. Pretty soon, there was no one left in the room but advertisers and no customers. You have lost your way when you are only developing for ad service.
The most eloquent copy in the world is useless if written in a font that no one can read. Sometimes the typeface is too artsy to be practical. But more frequently, it is just too small. Developers tend to forget that the largest demographic by age are those between 45 and 54. Eyesight is a factor. Software developers fear age 30.
People with disabilities also want to consume your content and spend money on your products. Leaving them out by way of your web design choices is ultimately self-destructive. The most artful choice will always be the one that everyone can enjoy.
Get help when you need it, even if it costs a little up front. Don’t get side-tracked by the allure of easy ad revenue. And always err on the side of universal access.