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Avoid These Costly Mistakes During Web Application Development

January 16, 2020
11 min

According to the Startup Genome Report, over 90% of startups fail after launch. There can be different reasons like skipping the market research, hiring wrong specialists, too early scaling, and so on.

However, one of the most important elements of startup success is the product you provide. Neglecting estimates, avoiding the MVP stage, designing unnecessary functionality, and saving time on testing may become fatal errors that can result in a complete failure.

In this article, we will tell you about the most costly mistakes you should avoid during web app development to succeed after product launch.

1. Not validating your idea

At the very beginning, you may think that your idea is pretty cool and the product will be very popular after the launch. However, you may face a painful surprise in the form of failure. For example, users may find your product’s idea unnecessary or the same application may already exist.

In this case, you need to validate your idea preliminary. Conduct deep analysis of potential users’ demands by performing customers’ interviews. This will help you understand whether your idea is worth investing in and developing further.

The more an idea is developed, the more concise becomes its expression; the more a tree is pruned, the better is the fruit.
- Alfred Bougeard, French artist and writer

Also, the most efficient and popular approaches to validate your business idea is to build a prototype and MVP. These techniques allow verifying your product’s concept, saving time and funds, and getting valuable feedback from stakeholders and users. We will provide more detailed information about each definition a bit later.

Thus, you need to clearly visualize your final product, its competitive advantages, the problems it will solve. It is highly recommended to conduct a thorough analysis before starting software development.

2. Not keeping the target audience in mind

Another possible mistake you can make is to develop a web application without solving the target audience’s problems.

You should build a product with end-customers in mind. It is not enough to create a fully-functional solution as it may not cover the needs of your target audience. Thus, in the end, you will need to spend extra time and funds to rebuild your app.

What should you do to succeed? Do market research and define the problems of your potential customers in advance to build an application that will be valuable for them.

3. Not creating a prototype

Once you have validated your idea and defined the interests of your target audience, there comes a moment when you need to show a working app version to your investors. One of the biggest mistakes here is to spend too much time and funds to develop a fully-fledged product.

A more effective solution is to start with a web application prototype. It perfectly shows how the app will work and what the user flow will look like.

What is a prototype and how does it work? Quite often it is just a clickable mock-up that allows to see the product’s design and user flow. It is not a working application yet, no programmers’ time is spent to create it. Besides, it takes a bit of time and funds to create one, and it vividly demonstrates what features are really necessary or what should be added, and this can greatly reduce web app development price and time in the future.

Below you can see the mobile prototypes of the multi-vendor vehicle marketplace that we have built for one of our customers.

Mobile prototypes of the multi-vendor vehicle marketplace

Summing up, the main benefits of building web applications’ prototypes are time- and cost-efficient feedback from investors and potential customers. As a result, you understand what features should be added/removed/modified.

4. Skipping MVP development

When you get initial positive feedback from users and investors, you may want to go to full application development. However, it may be a mistake as this feedback only gives you the first understanding of their needs.

In order to be sure you are doing everything right, you need to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It is already a working web application that includes only the minimum features required to validate its idea and gain feedback from real users in the market.

Comparison of a prototype, MVP, and product

There are two different ways of building an MVP that differ by its core purpose.

Presentation to investors and early users

You can develop an MVP version for showing it to investors or early users if they want to test a real app. In this case, you do not need to create a web app with a high scalability potential as the concept may be changed after getting feedback.

Post-feedback development

Another situation is to build an MVP after receiving approval from investors and potential customers. In this case, it is highly recommended to embed the scalability potential so that when your app scales, you do not need to change the codebase and spend extra time and effort.

5. Saving on a software provider

When you start building your web app, the best way to proceed is to hire a software development partner. But what criteria will help you choose a good one?

Many customers rest upon the company’s pricing policy only when choosing a tech partner. This way, a business owner may opt for a cheaper option, but the quality of such a solution tends to be low. If your tech team is not experienced, you can get an unintuitive interface, slow, unstable operation, and product’s unscalability. All this may result in a complete failure in the market competition and loss of time and money.

In order to choose a highly professional development team that will be able to deliver a quality product, you need to make the following factors a priority:

Domain expertise

Having a wide experience in developing complex web applications within 6 domains, we can surely state that the software provider you choose should have a solid background in building web solutions similar to yours. The development partner should know how to reach your business goals through an application.

Relevant references

Choosing the right company from hundreds of alternatives may become difficult. Such popular platforms as Clutch and GoodFirms will definitely help you. They provide lists of the most reliable software houses based on such factors as market presence, relevant experience, and client reviews.

We recommend you read the testimonials and references given by real customers. This way, you will understand the agency’s background, its specialization, and the scope of projects it has created.

You may find interesting: GoodFirms lists Codica as a Top Software Development Company.

Narrow technology stack

Make sure that the software provider specializes in only a few technologies rather than uses many programming tools. It means that the web app development company has a narrow focus and provides high expertise.

At Codica, we specialize in Ruby (Ruby on Rails) as we believe it’s a reliable, fast, and stable tool for web application development.


Most web and app development companies publish their portfolio works in case studies. So, you can easily see the overview of built projects and choose the software house that will surely deliver you a user-friendly and intuitive product.

Additionally, you can take a look at such popular platforms like Behance and Dribbble. There, software providers publish designed case studies that vividly demonstrate the projects built.

Codica Behance portfolio

Further product support

Another important factor you should keep in mind when choosing a web app developer is support. Make sure that a software provider provides further maintenance of your product. It will not save funds in the short run, but will definitely keep support costs down in the future.

So, pay attention to these factors when looking for a relevant software house. It will greatly boost your chances to find a partner that will deliver a high-quality product.

6. Neglecting estimates in web app development

Startup owners often request an immediate time estimate from a software provider and begin the development as soon as possible. Without proper project research and analysis, this may lead to missing the set deadlines that will surely disappoint you.

The development of a quality product always requires some time for preparation. In order to provide an accurate estimate, a software provider needs to conduct a deep analysis and study of the product, structure your demands and requirements, and provide you with the best estimate possible.

Sometimes, customers’ requirements may be unclear and unevident at the start of project development. It becomes impossible for a software company to provide an accurate estimate. For this reason, take care of creating a sufficient technical specification which will help a software agency understand what exactly you want. We will speak in more detail about this aspect a bit later.

At Codica, we make deadlines a priority and always discuss them with clients at the start of the project development. It helps us evaluate the scope of work and tell customers what exactly will be done in a particular period of time.

So, do not neglect to define correct time estimates with custom web application development company. It will help you control the web app development cost and get your web solution on time. Put it shortly, it will bring your expectations and reality into line.

Related reading: How to Get Your Team to Estimate Better in 3 Simple Steps.

7. Providing insufficient technical specification

Quite often, entrepreneurs ask their development partner to create a silver bullet without specifying any details about their application. When web app developers finish and present their solution, the startup owner boils over and begins criticizing all the web app sides. Thus, it leads to spending extra time, effort, and funds.

Do you know what product you need to build, and you want a technical partner to develop it in accordance with specified details? Provide a contractor with a deep technical specification. Our extensive experience (Codica was recently named one of top web development companies ) proves that the more detailed you get with the requirements, the more detailed and correct cost estimation you will get.

At least, you should explain your preferences by giving an example of a similar application. Ideally, you can specify everything possible and even provide designed app screens if any. Otherwise, if you think some specification is completely clear for web application developers without explaining the details, you will most likely get a product not satisfying your needs.

In case you want to build a product, but do not know how to compose a high-quality technical specification, some software houses can help you. For example, our Codica team of experts can provide clients with a consultation to clearly define their needs and requirements in terms of project development.

8. Creating needless functionality

The well-known proverb, “The bigger, the better” does not work here, actually. If you take the view of implementing as many features as possible - it’s better to dismiss this idea.

You should not implement all the features you want your app to have from the very beginning.

Why? Firstly, you create a complex user flow, which may result in the unintuitive interface. Secondly, it leads to an increase in development time, page loading speed, and it delays the real product launch. Finally, these features may be completely unnecessary and will turn out to be a waste of time and budget.

How to build a web app with the most valuable features? To succeed, create an MVP (as mentioned earlier) and perform pilot testing. These techniques allow your end-users to test the product and provide feedback before the deployment. It will help you to check if your web solution is ready for full-scale implementation.

Here you can see Airbnb’s MVP website which included the most required features only: Sign Up/Sign In, post function, search options, the listings nearby, and the map navigation feature.

MVP website of Airbnb

Further reading: How to Build a Website Like Airbnb: Step-by-Step Guide.

9. Not taking care of usability

Quite often, startup owners focus on developing app features but forget about usability. In case your app includes many functions, visitors may find it difficult to use it or perform particular tasks. In the end, you will have to spend extra time and funds to improve functionality.

If you want your web app to be popular and useful, you need to carefully get onto its user-friendliness from the very beginning. A visually appealing design and a large number of features are not enough to satisfy users. You need to make your web application intuitive so that any person who tries your product for the first time has no questions on how to use it.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc.

This way, you always need to keep customers in mind when developing any functionality. Firstly, define the key feature of your application and focus your users’ attention on it. Do not try to distract them by adding related features. Secondly, follow the key usability principles when developing an application to make your website user-friendly.

For example, below you can see a screen of an extensive travel management platform that we built for one of our customers. Following the usability principles, we have implemented an intuitive and simple-to-use navigation panel for end-users.

Navigation panel for iExpedition

10. Skipping the testing stage

Once a web application is ready, you may make the mistake of neglecting the importance of testing. The matter is that an application may seem to be working correctly and smoothly at first sight, but some functions and operations may lead to errors and bugs. Thus, it results in receiving negative feedback from users and some of them may give up on using your application. Then, you turn to test the app and fix bugs which takes time and effort there again.

Below you can see a vivid illustration that will help you understand the custom software development service, its life cycle and the place of testing in it.

Web application development life cycle

Quality assurance testing services are among the important parts of web app development stages. This way you fix existing bugs and improve your app continually that makes users satisfied and they feel supported.

11. Cutting corners on hosting

All in all, when your web product is ready (you have gone from idea validation to testing the application) you turn to choose the right hosting provider. Actually, there are several pitfalls at this stage:

  • Choose an option based only on pricing
  • Opt for a provider with no refund guarantee
  • Pick a hosting solution for its free-of-charge basis
  • Tilt toward a platform without knowing its terms and conditions.

As a result, choosing an incorrect hosting provider leads to several significant consequences: loss of revenue, scalability limitations, and security (malware) attacks.

In order to make the right choice, you need to follow the following principles:

Understand what web hosting type you need

You should know the benefits, drawbacks, and differentiating features of Shared Service, Virtual Private Server (VPS), and Cloud-Based Web Hosting.

Read the Terms and Conditions

It is crucial as you will know for sure all the limitations you may face.

Do not focus on pricing

Always keep in mind the following phrase: “You get what you pay for”. Even having a limited budget, it is not recommended to save on the solution price as you may get slow servers, frequent downtime, and crude customer service.

Choose the proper value of bandwidth

You should think of the application’s scalability and allocate extra memory for the project’s growth.

Stick to tried-and-true and popular providers

According to the CNet report in 2019, Bluehost, DreamHost, HostGator, A2 Hosting, Hostinger, GoDaddy, and Web Hosting Hub are among the world’s biggest and best web hosting service providers.

Top web hosting service providers' distribution


We have discovered the most common and costly mistakes you should avoid during web applications’ development. Let’s shortly cover the key takeaways:

  • Validate your idea before starting development
  • Bear in mind the demands of your target audience
  • Build prototypes and an MVP to get valuable feedback from * investors and potential users
  • Do not cut corners on a software development partner
  • Do not neglect estimates and try to provide sufficient specification
  • Implement only in-demand features and test them carefully
  • Try not to save on a hosting provider.

At Codica, we have been engaged in complex web app product development for many years. In case you are looking for a reliable development partner that can help you create an outstanding custom marketplace or SaaS platform, or turn your website into a Progressive Web App, contact us and get a free quote.

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Dmytro CEO | Codica
Dmytro is a software entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience focused on the Lean Startup approach. He loves helping startups build excellent custom products.
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