I occasionally dabble in creating smartphone apps. Even though, I don’t do this for a living, I can point out a lot of things that are often overlooked by people who love to create applications, but eventually fail because of the lack of one thing or another.

A couple of days ago, I was sifting through the Netflix smartphone application. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was using one of the least famous “professional” smartphone apps. The Netflix for iPhone application is still relatively new (even though it has been a long time since its release. A lot of people haven’t heard of it).

Time to tap and run the Netflix application on my smartphone

User about to click the Netflix app icon on his iPhone

That’s why; it has a bit of an off key vibe. It is a prime example of what NOT to do when developing a smartphone application…

  • The famous wheel reinvention:

Speaking of the iOS platform, it has a SDK Library that consists of User Interface elements. In many cases, these elements are used to layout buttons, sliders, clickable objects – and appearance related customizations.

I mentioned the UI factor because Netflix Home tab is populated by a table of Favorite titles which have been under discussion from time to time in the developer community. Netflix guys should have used the UI-TableView or UI-NavigationController for their table. I don’t know why they went for one of their own bizarre layouts when Apple already had one for them.

  • Don’t use low res graphics:

If it’s for the iPhone 4, don’t stick to the low resolution graphics. There is no reason to drop the graphics related standards if the iPhone 4/5 is powerful enough to support the upcoming Epic Games’ title. No kidding about that, so why don’t you take one look at the Netflix iPhone app and try to figure out why it is so sucky?

  • Over or under animating:

Animation is good, but when it’s too much, our smartphone resources get used quickly. Some animations are necessary to give visual cues to the users. Speaking of which, Netflix app developers messed up on the button animations as well. Some of them already appear “Selected” when they’re not.

Finally there is supposed to be a 4 month grace period. This rule applies to both Android, iPhone and any other marketplace where you are considering marketing your app. The age old motto about app creation was, “If you created an app, they will come and get it.” Well, things have changed and they have become EXTREMELY competitive.

If you are not giving 60% of your input on marketing your recently created application, it will go down in oblivion. Set a 4 – 6 month period, with very realistic expectations. You can self fund all your projects because creating basic level kids’ applications is easy. If you have a team, divide your finances and encourage others to chip in; this will help a lot in shedding off budgetary constraints.

In the end, if you don’t have a target date, you can keep tabs on app competitions. You don’t have to enter or get yourself registered; just use their time frame to create and test an application. Eventually you will be able to assess your marketing, development and project potential related skills.

Remember one thing; your first app does not have to be a huge success. Keep trying until you can make it big.