The Secret to Successful Mobile Application Development

The Secret to Successful Mobile Application Development

28 Jan 2023


Laxmi Hari Nepal

In 2021, over five million new apps were launched worldwide. That’s an awe-inspiring albeit daunting statistic for any budding entrepreneur with a mobile app idea and the drive to turn it into a reality.

Plus, that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Not all those 5 million new ideas will have flourished into a thriving, in-demand, profitable app.

So how do you follow in the footsteps of notable entrepreneurs when building your new app? Here is everything you need to know about the secrets to successful mobile application development.

Some History of Successful Mobile Apps

You probably have a favourite app. We all do. But have you ever thought about what makes some apps more successful than others? Here are some famous examples of apps that became industry leaders.


If you’ve ever wanted to brush up on a few new phrases before jetting off on vacation, chances are you’ve downloaded the language app Duolingo.

And there is one strategy this brand used that made it a huge success: gamification. Gamification is the use of game-style rewards. By adding this to their app, they encouraged people to return daily to keep up their winning “streak”.

Here, the CEO of Duolingo talks about how they developed gamification in the app.


2010 doesn’t seem that long ago. But surprisingly, that was the year Instagram launched. It became one of the top social media platforms in the world and still is today, with over a billion monthly users.

So what made Instagram so instantly famous?

One answer is that it was simple, user-friendly and easy to navigate. People loved the pretty interface allowing them to curate grids of images and photos and share them with their friends.


Some might say that adaptation in the tech world is one secret to success. If one idea doesn’t work, try something new. That concept undoubtedly worked for Entrepreneur David Smith, the inventor of Widgetsmith.

Widgetsmith was downloaded 50 million times in the first five months after it launched. So it’s a lesson to all of us that sometimes overnight success results from quiet, diligent work over many years.

Features of a Successful App

It’s tempting to assume that app success comes from one unique and original idea. But the truth is that there are several characteristics you can spot in most successful app developments.

If you want your next app to be a runaway winner, here are some features you’ll need to tick off the list.

Amazing User Experience

Good apps have a first-class user experience. They have a familiar and easy-to-understand interface and often come with a smooth and friendly onboarding welcome screen.

They feel seamless and intuitive when you log on and from every click and scroll thereon.

Consider, too, that the average user spends around 4-5 hours daily on mobile apps, so part of that user experience needs to tick another box. It’s got to be enjoyable and offer something of an addictive quality (or “stickiness.”)

Great Research

Before an enthusiastic tech entrepreneur writes a single line of code, there is one thing they must do with any new app: robust research.

All apps that make it to the top of the app store, with thousands of downloads and hundreds of reviews, have done their market research before they start building.

They look at industry trends and technological advances to see how they can carve a niche in any existing competitive field.

And once they’ve done their research, they plan. That plan might change, but they always have a clear plan of how they will build the app, what features it will have, and a date for the launch.

Strong Development Skills

There is more to building an app than some coding knowledge, though that helps. Teams that launch successful apps know about the following:

  • UX/UI app design principles
  • Object-orientated coding plus specific languages, including Swift, Python and Java
  • Database design and management
  • Cloud technology
  • Quality assurance and test processes
  • Security (including user data)
  • Data and analytics

Within that list, you’ll also need to know the development frameworks to help you build a robust, fast and user-friendly platform. And increasingly, you’ll also need to understand AI.

Your priority is to gather a well-balanced, highly-skilled team to support your innovation. You’ll need to hire someone to help you if you lack any of these roles.

Thorough Testing

Bug-riddled apps rarely do well.

Users have become more discerning recently. They realise the many choices available to them when downloading apps. And they won’t waste time on technology that proves problematic, with bugs, errors and user-interface problems.

They’ll move on. This means you must launch an app that has been through rigorous testing. That includes:

  • Usability and accessibility
  • Functionality
  • Unit tests
  • Performance
  • Security and network
  • Stress testing
  • User interface
  • End-user / beta test

If you are struggling to handle and fix problems with your app, it could be that your design is too complex. Aligned with robust testing, you must also adhere to simple design construction principles.

Aggressive Marketing

Do you remember the old phrase: “if you build it, they will come”? It comes from a famous 1989 film (Field of Dreams), but some optimistic entrepreneurs follow this principle when developing new technology.

However, the reality is someone different. If you want memorable mobile app developments, you can’t assume people will discover you. You must work hard to attract people to your idea and technology.

You’ll need a marketing plan that’s varied and versatile. That means focusing your marketing spend on more than one marketing area: maybe a combination of ads, PR and social media to help create a pre-launch buzz.

Tips for Your Next App Launch

Now that you understand the profile of successful mobile app development, you’re probably wondering how to apply this to your next creation. So here are some top tips on how to plan that winning strategy.

Try Agile Project Planning

You’ll need a solid plan to get your project moving, but an Agile approach like Scrum or XP will help you move that little bit faster.

Agile is about collaborative software development. It’s interactive, so designers, developers and testers will work in tandem through a feedback loop to keep the development moving.

Agile developments also emphasise the user experience, which will help you make that principle central to your development process.

Focus on User Experience Design Processes

User experience design starts with a set of use cases which reflect your users’ needs. From there, you plan out every route they’ll take through your app. You design based on the user interactions that happen for each of those routes.

For example, if you designed a weight loss app, you might begin with the assumption that the user wants to log in and add their starting weight. You’d then use this assumption to design every step of that process.

These designs are done on paper (or user design and prototyping tools like Axure). When you have this design, you can start coding.

Think Niche

When doing your market research, it’s tempting to want to compete with the most successful apps. But facing up to giants like Zoom or MyFitnessPal is tricky unless you have multi-million dollar backing.

Instead, think about how you can carve out a small niche from an existing industry with plenty of demand.

If you can focus on a small demographic with a burning need for an app slightly different from what’s already out there, you’ve got something with potential.

Think Simple

We mentioned earlier the importance of testing. But the other way to get a perfectly working app is to limit your features.

While adding on all the bells and whistles might feel tempting, releasing something stripped down but working without issue is far wiser. Don’t forget; you can always add features later.

But it’s easier to add extra features into an app than to take them away once they are established.

Design for Scalability

While you may start small, you want to build a foundation for your platform so that it’s easy to scale in future.

Keep the architecture of your app simple, as it will make it easier for future developers to go into the code and add to it, and use cloud-based technology as much as possible to give you the flexibility to scale.

Another way to make it easier to scale is to build automation to your deployment processes so that you can quickly release new versions of your software without complication.

Don’t Forget About the Security

One of the hottest topics of 2022 was user data and data security. If your customer data gets into the wrong hands, it can have a catastrophic impact on your business.

Always ensure you thoroughly test all aspects of security with your app, including authentication, network and device. You must protect your app from malware and keep data secure.

The Secret to Excelling in Mobile Application Development

Mobile application development is undeniably exciting. It’s a chance to be creative and turn an idea into a real, tangible app potentially adored by millions of customers.

However, you’ll need to follow the tips we’ve covered in this article to get that sort of winning streak.

Another wise move is to get the support of expert app builders who have done this before and already have a framework for developing a winning app. You can take that step by contacting our team for an initial chat about your needs.

Laxmihari Nepal

Laxmi Hari leads the Agile transformation in our organisation, creating a culture that embraces agile practices. He trains and coaches our employees to adopt agile methodologies, instill agile values, and develop an agile mindset, resulting in improved performance.

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