So, you’re ready to start developing your app. Now you need to think about how best to divvy up your precious resources. And with early-stage funding what it is, you’re probably wondering where you can save to get the most app for your money.

But while a lot of people assume app development should take about 90% of the budget, really it’s more like half. There’s way more to making an app than coders sitting at computers. Cutting corners on any part of the process isn’t an option if you want to avoid costly mistakes.

1. UX Design

You might think pure functionality is the most important thing to focus on when building an app. And you’re not wrong — but don’t underestimate the importance of design and user experience, too. As you try to set up your stall in a crowded marketplace, great UX is what makes the difference between standing out and losing out.

Take Deliveroo’s rider tracking, for example. It’s not essential in getting food to people’s doors. But it does mean customers are less likely to get impatient if they can see exactly which road their katsu curry is travelling along, and that does as much for building satisfaction as the service itself.

Your app needs core functions that work, but it also needs to be simple and intuitive. It needs elements like animations or transitions that make it a joy to use. A bare “buy now” button might give users what they need, but thoughtful UX gives them what they want as well.

Read "5 practical animations that improve UX" here.

2. Quality assurance

For your app to be successful, it needs to be reliable. But testing isn’t as simple as it sounds. Proper quality assurance is more than just clicking through the user journey and checking buttons work. It’s a rigorous process, and it needs a professional eye.

Whether you outsource your QA or use an automated test like our Appium service, it always pays not to try saving money here. So don’t attempt to do the testing yourself, and don’t leave it to the developers who wrote your app’s code. It’s like marking your own homework — and even the most self-critical developer can’t shake off their bias completely.

If you don’t take your QA seriously, it’ll come back to bite you in the form of bugs and bad reviews, and that’s the kind of rep that makes potential investors run a mile.

Read: "Expo SDK Updates: Why keeping your project's Expo SDK updated is crucial and where to find the update".

3. Development strategy

An app isn’t a one-and-done project. It’s a constant journey from iteration to iteration. And when it comes to making decisions about your product’s future, it’s better to have a savvy developer with you than to try and go it alone.

You’ll want to partner with your developers, listening to their advice on a strategic level. From knowing how to realise your ideas to fielding technical questions from potential investors, your developer will often have the expert insight you need.

It’s like if you’re building a house. You’d want to get your contractor’s input on what’s feasible, or whether there are any alternatives you hadn’t considered. The plans are still your own, they’re just informed by the people who’ve been there before and know what they’re doing.

4. User strategy

Just like with your development strategy, you’ll want to get expert advice upfront when working out how best to reach your users. Do you want to build a web app first — like, say, how Facebook or Duolingo started out — or should you go straight to mobile?

Generally, it’s best to go mobile-first. After all, most people now will turn to their smartphone or tablet before booting up a computer. But that’s not always the case. A holiday booking platform aimed at seniors, for instance, will go down a lot better online than on a phone.

A little expert insight will make sure nothing’s overlooked and that you’re targeting the right people with the right kind of app.

Read "5 ways to build viral marketing into your app design".

5. Analytics

The trouble with analytics is it’s way more complicated than it looks. Working out where users come from on the web isn’t that hard, but for mobile apps it’s a whole different ball game. There are attribution and click-tracking platforms like AppsFlyer and Branch, but setting them up takes expertise.

Taking the time to do attribution analytics properly is more than worth it. Knowing which store users are downloading your app from and what links or ads have directed them there will help you better focus your marketing budget. These metrics are also hard to beat when it comes to impressing investors.

That’s one type of analytics, anyway. The second, user flow tracking, can be even more valuable. Software like MixPanel or Amplitude enables you to create dashboards that display exactly how your users are behaving while they use your app, highlighting pain points in their user journey. This data can be a gamechanger later down the line. Especially when you’re thinking about new feature development, or you’re looking to optimise your conversion rate.

Analytics will only get more important in the future, so investing in a proper attribution setup is in your best interest.

When it comes to app development, you can’t afford to cut corners on what really matters. To see how Morrow can build and support your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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