8 Mistakes That Companies Make When Building a Web App

By Joshua Gross, 04 February, 2023

Web apps can provide an ideal solution for companies that are looking to create a digital product that doesn't have the same compatibility issues, space limitations, and hefty price tag as mobile apps. As companies have been shifting from traditional models to cloud-based models, web applications have become increasingly popular to streamline operations, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

Though there are many benefits to creating web apps, that doesn't mean there can't be frustrating and costly obstacles that you run into during development.

One of the best ways that you can avoid the problems that commonly plague web app development projects is to familiarize yourself with typical issues and create plans to avoid them right from the get-go.

We've noticed that many web app development mistakes happen because of a lack of planning and a false sense that skipping steps will save money during the process. In order to stay on budget and on time with your project, it's essential to have a clear vision of the final product, a set plan, a realistic budget, and open lines of communication between all parties involved.

Additionally, it's worth taking the time to go through all of the steps, including creating prototypes, building MVPs, and performing thorough testing rather than rushing to launch. Though it might seem more expensive at the time, it ultimately saves you money in the long run.

1. Forgetting About the Target Audience

The core set of users you expect will use your app are the single most important aspect of any digital product. Even if you carefully defined your target audience before the project began and conceived the idea behind your web app to solve a common problem, it's possible to lose sight of your audience as the process chugs along.

It's essential to keep your end customers in mind at every step when you're building a web app. You'll want to be thinking of them when determining which features and functions to include, user flow, aesthetic design, marketing, and more.

2. Not Creating a Prototype

When you're creating a web app, it's easy to get ahead of yourself and want to rush to the moment when you can interact with the finished product. This eagerness, mixed with a misconception that they are taking a path that cuts costs, leads many companies to skip building a prototype.

Creating a prototype is an important step in the process for a number of reasons. For one, it helps create a clearer sense of what the final product can look like while also presenting potential flaws that were difficult to see in the ideation phase.

This is also essential if you need to present your idea to investors or stakeholders, who often need to be able to view and interact with the app before pouring money into the budget.

When you create a prototype as a part of the web app building process, it also helps avoid unwelcome surprises. The last thing you want is for investors, stakeholders, or users to be unpleasantly surprised by what the actual app looks and feels like.

There is a lot of room for miscommunication when describing the intended final outcome of a web app. A prototype helps create a shared vision and reduces the chance that stakeholders will be displeased or that developers will misunderstand what is expected of the intended final product.

Though many companies try to skip the prototype stage to save money, creating a prototype can be a cost-saving effort. When there is a clear picture that is shared by everyone involved, you won't have to spend nearly as much time or money going back and fixing issues once the final product has been built.

Are you ready to build a wireframe and prototype for your web app? Make sure to check out this list of ten of the best tools to help you in your efforts.

3. Not Building an MVP

An MVP (short for a minimum viable product) is a development technique that involves introducing a digital product to the market with only its most basic features. A common mistake is that companies will be encouraged by the initial positive feedback they received from both investors and trial users, leading them to want to jump ahead to full web app development.

While MVPs are often built to release to customers as an early, basic version of the app, they can also be built to show investors or a small selection of the intended user base.

Creating and testing an MVP has a long list of benefits, including:

  • Helping to save time and resources by ensuring that the project has a high likelihood of success.
  • Determining which features are appealing to users and informing decisions about the final version of the product.
  • Finding out how appealing the product is to its intended user base.
  • Attracting investors.
  • Reducing the cost and time investment of developing the final product.
  • Finding early adopters and acquiring a potential user base.

Building an MVP offers you a priceless opportunity to gather insight and data about how your users interact with the product and how intuitive they find the interface. It almost always makes sense to build an MVP before moving forward with the final development, as it's a lot cheaper and easier to go back to the drawing board at this stage if necessary.

4. Getting Carried Away With Features and Functionality

It is incredibly easy to get carried away when you start building an app– the deeper you get into the project, the more possibilities you start to see. Features and functions you never intended to be a part of the web app and that don't help fulfill the core purpose suddenly find themselves on the table.

Too many features in a web app can complicate the user flow and lead to an interface that isn't nearly as intuitive as you need it to be. This can also delay product launch, unnecessarily increase page load speeds, and make development take longer than you originally planned.

It's always possible to add new features later. When you're releasing the first iteration of a product, though, you want to focus on the features that support the core mission of the app and simplify the experience users have to engage with the interface.

More isn't always better when it comes to web app development. An overly complicated app released into the marketplace can get lost in the shuffle when users don't quite know how to interact with it. At first, you want to focus on the essential purpose– the problem that the app is solving.

5. Creating an Unrealistic Budget

There's really no getting around it– developing a web app is a hefty financial investment. Countless professionals, including designers, developers, and marketing experts, are required to turn an idea into a reality. Of course, you can choose to go the no-code route or hire only a skeleton crew to build your app, but there are other costs to going this route rather than hiring a professional web app development company or building your own in-house team.

When you're excited about an idea and dedicated to making it happen but also on a shoestring budget, it can be tempting to create a budget that is unrealistic when compared to the scope of the project.

Of course, there are a lot of different factors that can impact how much it costs to develop a web app. Not only do you have to factor in the type of web app, the team working on it, the technology you're using, the scope of the work, and the location of the dev team, but you also have to think about regulations in the industry and the complexity of the technical solution. The list goes on and on.

Beyond that, there can be additional costs if the scope of the work changes midway through the project or if you have to go back and fix bugs and issues after the final development is complete.

Because there are so many different moving parts that go into a successful web app, one of the best ways you can create a budget that you can stick to is to work with an experienced web app development company.

Having been through the process many times before, they will be able to give you a sense of the general timeline and the cost of each stage along the way. A reliable agency will also give you a clear sense of how much it costs to make changes and be very upfront about how the pricing structure works.

6. Not Offering Adequate Technical Requirements and Specifications

When a company hires a developing partner to create a web app, sometimes, they aren't fully aware of the potential iterations of any given idea. When you have a clear idea about the final product you are looking for, it is important to create a communication system that allows you to give the developers all of the goals and requirements you have for the web app.

If you pass off a vague idea for a digital product to a developer you hire, there's a good chance you'll get something back that is significantly different than you'd been picturing. This incredibly costly mistake can be avoided by simply being direct and communicative right out of the gate.

The more detailed your description of your web app, including technical requirements and specifications, the more accurate your developer will be able to be in terms of the cost as well.

7. Skipping Testing and Rushing to Launch

When you have gone through a good chunk of the software development lifecycle, it's easy to start getting antsy and simply march forward toward launch. Testing your web app can also be pretty nerve-wracking, as you've already poured a lot of time and energy into it, and the last thing you want to find out is that there are bugs and issues that are going to take additional time to work out.

No web app is ever fully complete, though, without thorough testing. It is much better to take the time to go through the app with a fine-toothed comb before users are able to access it on the market. Otherwise, you're going to start off on the wrong foot– with negative reviews and feedback along with unhappy users.

8. Poor UI/UX

Finally, another mistake that is commonly made during web app development is not giving adequate attention to the user interface and user experience. It's easy for developers and clients alike to get fully immersed in developing the backend logic of the web app, leaving the UI and UX to be afterthoughts.

This is an important mistake to avoid because a bad user interface is one of the primary reasons that web apps fail to gain traction. It doesn't matter how incredible your app is– you will fail to appeal to your end users if it isn't intuitive and easy for them to use.

Bonus Mistake: Not Taking the Time to Find the Right Development Partners

The development team you choose to work with can significantly impact the quality of your final product. It can be tempting to string together a rag-tag team of freelancers to make your web app on a dime, and maybe the outcome will be exquisite. You are, though, running the risk that you will be left with a partially developed project and developers that aren't returning your emails, putting you back at square one.

We have a number of resources on how to hire the right developer, including if you're searching for a SaaS developer or an IoT developer. Beyond that, our insights blog offers information about how to keep your app development project from stalling, how to plan out your next development project, and the benefits of improving the user experience of your app. Our insights blog offers a useful library of articles that can help you navigate the entire development process, no matter what your budget is or the size of your team.

When you're investing time and money into building a web app, it's worth going the extra mile and interviewing a number of developers and teams to find the right fit for you. At Planetary, we love working with companies of all sizes to turn app ideas into a reality. If that sounds good to you, drop us a line and tell us a bit about your project today.