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How To Decide Which Platform To Build Your App For

Bobby Gill | May 3, 2014

With so many people using apps on their smartphones and tablets for everything from finding a sparkling local restaurant to keeping track of their schedule, it’s clear that most businesses could benefit from publishing an app for their organization. Of course, you can’t just build any app—it has to be one your customers will find useful. Another aspect you need to consider is what platform to build the app for.

Will you go with Android or iOS? Or do you want to try to create an app for all the platforms? If your budget is a consideration, the latter might not be the best option. Because of this, here are a few things to consider if you have to choose a single platform to build for.

Get to Know Your Customers

The first thing you need to do is get to know your customers really well. First of all, location is important. If most of your customers are in Europe, for example, there’s a fantastic chance that Android will be more prevalent than iOS. In other words, location is usually a fantastic metric to use to estimate the prevalence of a certain platform or other.

You also need to understand their usage habits. In other words, how they interact with their phones. This won’t necessarily help you determine what platform to use, but it will help you design an app that’s useful to your customers.

If you aren’t sure how to find out this information, you could always run a survey online among your customers and you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.

Revenue or Visibility?

You have to decide what your goal is for your app. Do you want to increase brand awareness or are you looking to make money from your app? These are important considerations because, for example, studies have found that iOS users are more likely to spend money, which means that if you build an iOS app, you are more likely to make money. On the other hand, Android is available on a wider range of devices meaning that you might not make as much money directly from the app but you will have a greater degree of visibility.

The key is to decide whether revenue or visibility is more important based on the type of business you run. For example, if your business is building and selling apps, then you probably want to start with iOS. However, if your goal is to get people all over the world to see your business, then Android might be a better option.

Know the Platform You are Building For

When you are building your app, you have to take into account fragmentation. If you build an app for the latest iOS, for example, you might use features that aren’t available in earlier versions of the operating system, meaning that you are limiting the number of people who can use it. While it can be an effective tool to somewhat narrow down your target market, it can also backfire because a large portion of your customers might not be able to use the app.

This is where understanding your customers usage habits comes in again because based on this data you can determine whether they are the type of people who regularly update their software and devices.

The key to choosing the right platform is to first decide what you want your app to achieve, which you can do by learning as much as possible about your target market. Of course, eventually you will want to make sure your app is available for all platforms, but until then you need to ensure you’ve chosen the right platform to start with.

Bobby Gill
Co-Founder & Chief Architect at BlueLabel | + posts

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