Like every other software, mobile apps require constant updates, continuous editing, and ongoing maintenance. Many mobile app developers suffer from a lifetime of regret for not paying more attention to these. If you want to save yourself from the fate of these developers, here is everything that you need to know about mobile app support and maintenance.
If you have zero ideas about mobile app support and maintenance, here is a fundamental definition of these terms. Simply put, mobile app support and maintenance refers to the entire set of changes and all the work that developers do to ensure the application runs smoothly without any issues. The developers continuously make changes after the mobile app is released so that none of the users face any problems and keep using the application.
Imagine if you spent a big chunk of your savings and bought an apartment. You spend even more on decorating and furnishing it. But the job is still not done. You will have to keep your apartment tidy and clean. The broken chair in the kitchen will need a replacement, while the security system will require an upgrade. You might get tired of your bedroom’s decoration and decide to make adjustments. Similarly, you cannot run a mobile app without support and maintenance.
The total number of downloads does not measure the success of a mobile app. Instead, the primary factor determining whether an application is successful or not is its number of active users and the retention rate. According to statistics, almost half of the mobile apps, 52 percent to be precise, lose most of their active users after a timeframe of 3 months. You have to keep adding new features and remove any bugs so that your active users do not run off to your competitors, who might be doing a better job at mobile maintenance and support.
Take an example of the globally famous game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds or, as most of us call it, PUBG Mobile. When the game was first released, it had several undetected bugs that the users brought to light. These bugs had to be, and were, fixed at the earliest. Tencent launched the game in 2018 on Android 8 or Oreo and iOS 11. But soon, Android 9 or Pie and iOS 12 were released, and the game had to be updated to make it compatible with these operating systems. And for that, the developers had to update the game after making some tweaks and modifications. Then, later that year, they added a new map, “Sanhok,” along with some new guns and features to increase the number of active users and retain the old ones. The continuous set of procedures that the developers of PUBG Mobile did to make the game run seamlessly, make improvements, and bring innovations to the existing features comes under the label of mobile app maintenance and support.
The cost of app maintenance and support vary from app to app, depending upon the complexity, size of the database, and the number of active daily users. We just discussed the example of PUBG Mobile. A mobile app of that complexity and number of daily active users will require constant and regular maintenance and support compared to an easier-to-handle app performing simple functions with a small database.
Knowing the types of maintenance and support will significantly help you make the required updates and changes. Here are the five types of mobile app support and maintenance that you should know about:
As the name suggests, you can deploy this type of maintenance to deal with bugs and residual errors in the code, design, or logic. If you do not address these bugs or fix the errors timely, your app will start to crash. Many people assume that if their mobile app has no glitch or hitch when released and passes the quality assurance test, it will continue to work seamlessly. There is always some incorrect implementation or faulty logic that becomes the source of several residual errors. Corrective software maintenance ensures that you repair these errors.
Your mobile app users post their reviews and give feedback on the internet, Play Store, or App Store. You are bound to find something productive in the reviews regarding the performance or a feature. Perfective maintenance means making changes in the app to enhance the performance and introduce new features that the users discussed in the feedback. These changes can be changes in the functionality, adjustments in the interface, or adding or deleting the app’s attributes according to the user experience to give the active app users what they want.
This type of mobile app maintenance and support is pretty self-explanatory. After the app is live, you or the developers make changes to prevent any future mishaps. You might anticipate some bumps in the future, and instead of delaying the work, you make sure your active users do not suffer from it. Preventive maintenance can go from alterations to accommodate heavy future traffic to simple tweaks for better future performances to make your app more durable and sustainable.
When an external factor changes the user experience, you have to twiddle with the app to adapt to the external factor. This type of maintenance is called adaptive maintenance. When we discussed the example of PUBG Mobile, we talked about how the developers had to update the app when a new Android and iOS version was released. That is a perfect example of this type of maintenance where changes in the external factor, or the operating system, affected and even hampered the user experience.
The last type of maintenance deals with critical situations in an emergency, and sudden intervention is required. The developers might find themselves facing an issue that is too big to be left for perfective maintenance, and as a last resort, they rely on emergency maintenance to deal with the problem. A sudden breach in the app security can be an example of emergency maintenance.
Some people have a knack for mobile app development, and they also love to do all the maintenance themselves. But that is not always the case. Sometimes, people hire developers for maintenance and support. Usually, there are three ways for hiring and engaging developers:
Fixed-price: Some developers make themselves available as freelancers willing to do any work at a fixed price. You debrief them about their task and the technical work you require from them and pay them the decided amount. This method is best for small changes and little maintenance.
Ongoing: Another way of engaging developers is by paying them by the hour. You hire them for a specific time, ask them to keep removing bugs, adding new features, making changes, and pay them for their ongoing work according to their working hours. This type is best suited for an intermediate amount of workload.
Dedicated team: Another way of engaging developers is by making them a permanent part of your organization or company; a dedicated team solely works for your mobile app’s maintenance and support. If you have a complex mobile app that requires regular and frequent maintenance, you will need a dedicated team working round the clock to make sure your application runs smoothly and seamlessly.
If the analogy of the apartment did not convince you, here are several reasons to make you understand why mobile app maintenance and support are necessary:
a.) Compatibility with new OS:
Without maintenance and support, your mobile app will not be compatible with the newly released operating system. For instance, if your app is compatible with iOS 11, it will not run on any iPhone running on the successive iOS versions. You or your developers will have to make changes in the code so that no one faces a compatibility issue. You can only make these changes after the new iOS is released, which makes maintenance and support necessary.
b.) Financial benefits in the long run:
Timely maintenance and support can significantly impact your financial budget, especially in the long run. A well-maintained app can increase your return on investments and decrease costs. Delaying and avoiding the changes you make during maintenance result in bad reviews and poor user experience and pile up your misery by putting you under financial stress. Fixing the problems at the earliest possible can and will save you from spending more in the future. The idiom “a stitch in time saves nine” fits this scenario perfectly.
c.) Performance improvement and bug fixing:
The most fundamental benefit of mobile app maintenance is improved performance and no bugs. Suppose active users continuously experience poor performance, suffer from bugs, and deal with frequent crashes. In that case, they will not think twice before switching to your competitors. For this reason, it is crucial to maintain your app and regularly update it after it goes live so that your active users can enjoy a seamless performance without any bugs to bug them.
You will be investing a lot of money in the maintenance of your mobile app. The list of expenses will increase even more if you hire an agency, which is why you need to make sure you choose the best agency that is not too expensive but also does not perform poorly.
But before you set out on your search for a third-party contractor, you need to make sure whether you require one or not. If you have a team of capable developers who know the technicalities of app maintenance, there is no need to use another agency’s services. Your old team will know everything about the structure and architecture, and a third-party contractor will require extra time, and money, to explore and become familiar with that.
Other than that, here are some factors to consider while choosing an agency that proves its value for money:
i.) Technical expertise and certifications
ii.) Previous projects and the number of happy clients
iii.) Average response time
iv.) Price discounts and early payments
v.) Provisions for additional compensations
vi.) Incident-based or time-based
viii.) In-house team or use of sub-contractor
We can define mobile app maintenance as the collective efforts and changes you or your developers make in the code, design, or logic after release. There are several types of maintenance, and each type is equally essential for the success of your application. You can ask your developing team to keep the app up-to-date and well maintained, or you can hire the services of a third-party contractor. Either way, we hope that your mobile app becomes a hit and you enjoy great success.