We here at Echo Interaction Group are often asked, “How often should you update your mobile app?” Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as “every month” or “once a year.” The type of app, the user base and the platform it was built on will all need to be taken into account when thinking about future upkeep. Everything from your business goals and budget to timing around software and operating system updates could impact how often your app will need an update. Some of this will be predictable and manageable and other things might be unknown and hard to foresee.
In a three-part series, we will take an in-depth look into some of the key reasons that typically affect the timing and frequency of your app modifications and updates.
Metrics and KPIs – Whether you have enterprise level business app or a stand alone mobile game, you should have a mobile strategy around what goals the mobile app should achieve. This could include extending usership or usability to mobile devices, increase “X” metric or “Y” goal or “Z” level of exposure. Having a strategy with goals and knowing what you’re measuring will help you determine if you need to make changes or modify the mobile app to achieve these goals.
Marketing Campaigns – Depending on how tightly your mobile app is woven into your overall marketing strategy will also dictate timing for app updates. If you have a huge campaign rollout, you may need to add “X” feature or “Y” bug taken care of. The Marketing department is often close to the user-base and will often have insights and feedback on enhancement or modifications for the mobile app.
Design trends change often with the different aesthetics that come to pass. A pretty clear example of this is the shift that Apple made from iOS 6 to iOS7 with the introduction of it’s “flat” design.
Also, screen sizes and shapes change and sometimes have a profound effect on user interface. Smartphone screens have gone from 3.5” to nearly 7” in only a couple years and the way people use those devices and interact has changed the way teams have had to design mobile apps. Apps are needing updates to support these wider range of layout and screen options. Some smartphones that once could only support a portrait mode, now allow a user to swap to landscape and apps need to be updated to provide the best user experience.
Part two of this series will address other reasons such as user opinions and feedback, as well as, software architecture changes to help you make key decisions on how often to update your app.