Why Do Applications Fail?

21 July 2020

You have had a new digital application built, all the features applied that you wanted, supporting a slick and responsive design which looks and responds exactly how you imagined. It gets deployed to the app store/online and the results are not what you expected but why?

According to https://www.startupgrind.com/ it takes around 1 in 10,000 applications to be successful from recent statistics in 2018, highlighting a significant failure rate. While competition in the app market is relatively high, failure is not always due to the fact that you are lost within the noise. There are several underlying reasons why your application can fail which will be outlined within this article.

Poor User Experience (UX)

User Experience is an important factor when considering building both web and mobile applications. Applications need to be intuitive, following regulated design principles so that users can perform particular actions at ease. One thing to remember when creating features for an application is to create features your target audience will want and not what you want, this is particularly important.

Successful applications all have one thing in common and that is that they benefit their users. If the application is used religiously by the user, it needs to add value into their life and provide some level of usefulness. UX can be broken down into many different channels, from the incorporation of colour, to the fonts used, cognitive memory and many more different concepts.

Poor Market Research

Market research falls into the above issue with UX, without understanding your target audience it is difficult to provide them with what they want. Before any development should be undergone, it’s essential to understand your products target audience in order to identify their needs and how to attract these users.

When you build an application, relying on what you want and not what the user wants, you always run the risk that you are defining your own audience and assuming what people want, opposed to what they really want. This in essence, can not only waste development time and drain you financially, it can also provide competitors with a head start.

Following iterative and user centred design principles for development will allow you to continuously meet the needs of the user and maintain engagement to provide a valuable end result.

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Software Development Failures

Development costs are relatively expensive, and they are difficult to estimate especially when working in an agile manner. If you have a limited budget, many will want to cut corners and deem the research unimportant and use a vast majority of the budget on development. This can be catastrophic to both the final product you receive due to many features being dropped, along with a poorly researched application being deployed to the market.

Applications take time to build, depending on the functionality it can be from weeks to months, the process is timely. It is important to understand that it is hard to predict the timescale when features are added. With this in mind, funds may eventually dwindle, and you may be forced to halt development prematurely.

Security of the application is essential, and standard cannot be dropped to cut corners. Developers who want to launch a product with confidence will spend numerous hours testing rigorously. This is so the product is bug free upon release and secured from various cyber threats.

Marketing Failures

Now the application has been successfully built, researched and deployed it falls in the hands of the marketing team to attract your users. Writing the description of the application is one of the most important elements of marketing your new application as it often provides the first impression to the users.

If you have researched into your users successfully, your application should provide its own level of growth however, every company requires an early adoption phase to attract the first wave of users. Many users will look for reviews and ratings, so it’s important to try and keep your ratings as high as possible by providing flawless experiences and good customer service. Your app users are the lifeline of your business, without caring for their needs you will essentially fail to keep them. For incorporating superior marketing strategies check out this book on how to build a successful marketing strategy for your business:


From rigorous market research and defining your target audience early, accompanied with a clear business plan you immediately have a basis for creating beautiful applications. With this data and analysis, it’s also important to consider key UX principles for your design and development process. Many failures are related to bad start up practices and not conducting thorough research or obtaining short-sighted contingency plans. It is important to take time and consideration during the early processes, being prepared for future obstacles and identifying these early on.