February 7, 2022
App Development
Reading Time
3 min

5 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Web App

Outdated web apps provide an inferior customer experience, especially on mobile. Here are the biggest indicators that it might be time to update a web app.
Two computers on a table facing backwards to represent signs that you need to update your web app.
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Web apps are a powerful tool for modern enterprise. They’re less expensive than native apps, run on a wide range of devices, and bypass the “download barrier” of native apps by running in the browser. Web apps have been building in popularity since responsive design hit the web. Some apps have been around since then, and that’s a problem. Outdated web apps provide an inferior customer experience, especially on mobile. Here are the biggest indicators that it might be time to update a web app.

Bugs are Affecting the App’s Performance

Web apps have fewer moving parts (just the browser, mainly), so maintaining them tends to be easier than native or hybrid apps. Still, issues do arise that impact performance. As performance drops, usage rates suffer. Malfunctioning apps are potential security risks, too.Web apps rely on the supporting website; if there are problems with the site there will be problems with the app. Make sure components are kept up to date and plan regular maintenance updates to address any ongoing issues.These routine updates have the added benefit of reassuring users that the app is safe. The average app should receive small bug fixes or feature tweaks 2-3 times a month.

Customers Have Been Requesting a New Feature

Customer feedback is a valuable tool. It offers direct insight into the app’s performance and helps detect issues while they’re still small. App owners can’t answer every feature request, but when many users have same request it highlights an opportunity to fulfill an unmet need.Most apps add minor or major features around once a month.When adding new features, be sure they fit within the app’s scope. Web apps are highly useful but have a narrow focus. If a feature lies outside a web app’s capabilities it may be better to release it in another way, such as a hybrid app.

New Tools Become Available

Web app technology is always advancing. What isn’t possible today might become possible tomorrow. For example, the web apps of today have much better offline functionality and access to device hardware than their predecessors. Those are two areas where they used to fall well short of downloadable apps. While they still can’t match the power of a native app, they still provide a great user experience for a lot of enterprise purposes.Look at the business value of new tools. If something can significantly improve user experience, consider adding the feature.Data science tools fall under this category; new chances to draw insight are invaluable to both the company and users.

Retention Rates Begin Falling

App updates are more than a technical necessity. They’re also a marketing tool. When bounce rates rise and time on site falls, updates can rekindle excitement about the platform. Consider this: web apps are competing with every other web and native app a customer uses. Releasing new features or touching up the interface gives users something new to check out. Major updates can also serve as a “relaunch” to win back users after a setback.

The Design Looks Outdated

Visual appeal is disproportionately important to users. 75% of consumers judge a company on its digital presence, including apps. That first impression sets the stage for how the company as a whole is seen, so it’s critical to present a current, vibrant appearance. What exactly makes a web app look “outdated”?

  • The design no longer matches company branding
  • The app uses old or out of style design choices
  • Overused stock photos and visual assets are featured

There’s no solid guidance on how often to give a web app a “face lift”. Design is highly subjective, relying on factors like the leadership’s personal preferences, changing trends in public taste, corporate rebrandings, and similar companies changing their branding. When in doubt, recruit outside, unbiased opinions about the design.

Final Thoughts

The key factor in determining whether a web app needs to be updated is whether it’s still delivering satisfactory results. Apps are investments; they should be providing a healthy return on that investment. Don’t make excuses for a failing app, either. Updating web apps is fairly painless and doing so regularly prevents issues from ballooning out of control down the road.

Does your web app need an update?

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