In the late 2000s, every company under the sun seemed to think they needed an app for their business. Everything from major brands to local services was pumping out random apps for iOS and sometimes also Android. This was like a good/bad marketing gold rush that people felt like they had to be a part of. But if you dig up an old phone of your yours and look at all the apps on it, you’ll find many no longer work or won’t update.
That’s because many businesses created apps that no one wanted, needed or used. Many were simply apps that were effectively just their own website within a frame. Completely pointless except for giving you something to advertise or to give yourself the ability to say “I have an app”.
Apps that work best are ones that give you special discounts, exclusive offers or an experience you can’t have on your regular website. In fact, many apps I recall were actually by companies that are literally just websites, such as news sites or entertainment sites. The only possible good reason for doing this back then, as if your main website was not mobile-responsive. If this was the case though, you should have been investing into upgrading your website instead.
When you look back at all the old and abandoned apps out there, you’ll discover many stopped being updated as app development is expensive and requires ongoing maintenance. There are always new iOS updates on the iPhone and iPad that you need to adapt for. New sizes and features on each new generation of smartphone. If you’re developing for Android there are now hundreds of different resolutions and screen sizes on the market that you need to test for. It’s crazy.
Many people and brands who had originally created apps never really thought about the ongoing cost of app development and when you make an unnecessary app and realise no one is using it, the funding to continue with it will dry up pretty fast.
Today most people using apps just want to take photos, communicate with friends on social media, access documents or files, watch movies, online shopping, listen to music and other forms of entertainment. Many people just want to play online games such as the amazingly fun game Among Us that’s taking the world by storm right now. If you’re starting a new business or your brand hasn’t yet jumped onto the app bandwagon. Maybe just stop and think carefully whether an app is really necessary for your audience.
If you do want an app designed, you can find companies both locally and internationally, but remember that app development is a longterm partnership and you’re going to be working with these people for a long time, so ensure they are going to work well with you and charge sensibly for their work.