Mobile applications exist across any country that has a network that can support them. Business Insider noted that in 2017, as much as 66% of the world’s population was using mobile devices. Today, it’s likely that number is even more significant. With emerging markets like China and the Middle East now having a deep penetration of mobile devices, the time is perfect for mobile apps to look into expanding into these markets.
For a company to do testing in international markets, they must be aware of the differences between the local network and legislation and that of their home country. To deal with the differences in systems, a company can efficiently utilize a VPN. Thus, if testing for the United Arab Emirates, for example, a company can leverage a VPN for UAE to experience how a mobile application would interact from that geographic location. While VPN’s are useful, there are several areas that apps need to address before entering international markets.
Speaking the Same Language
Pocket Gamer notes that apps are likely to see an increase in downloads of up to 128% within the first week of the new language offering. While Google Translate now works inside applications and can automatically translate languages to whatever the user wants, custom localization is still of utmost importance. Google translate may be good at explaining words and phrases, but it tends to lack nuance when it comes to application menus and data.
Adapting a mobile application to a local audience is an excellent way to drive market penetration. Once the application is readable in the local language or dialect, the app has the potential to reach a lot more customers, which translates into more revenue for the company. Translation doesn’t just extend to the application and its menus, however. The application description within the app store also falls under this category.
Using Emulation to Simulate User Interaction
Emulators provide a useful tool for app developers since it allows them to experience the application from a standard user’s perspective. Testing using an emulator can generate helpful feedback, especially involving elements such as fonts and UI element interaction. An emulator can provide a stand-in test bed for a region where devices specific to the network or area are challenging to obtain. Multi-network testing is similarly easy to invoke through an emulator, allowing developers to see whether network differences may negatively impact their user experience.
Continuous User Feedback
The pilot rollout of the application usually uses a test pool of a handful of users. Many applications have region-specific bugs and flaws that the company needs to address, and because those issues are region specific, it takes a user from the area to give feedback to allow the app developers to figure out where the error lies. Testing feedback tools distributed to beta testers can significantly speed up the correction of these issues before the app enters its official distribution cycle.
Even then, after the app makes its way on the market, constant user feedback with each new iteration is essential to the long-term success of the application. Some companies rely on A/B testing where different models of the app are rolled out to test groups to see how they respond to changes. Feedback of this type offers valuable information regarding the direction that the app and its design should go for a particular region.
Data Privacy and Other Legislation
Different areas around the world have laws regarding how user data can be collected and used. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the best-known bits of legislation regarding user data rights. According to The European Union, the GDPR was drafted as a means to protect user data and secure its privacy, and may even apply to companies not based within the borders of the EU. If a company intends to roll out their app within the EU, they need to conform to the GDPR or face stiff penalties that can go all the way up to €10 million or 2% of the annual worldwide turnover for the company.
International Markets Mean Increased Revenue
Any business that’s aiming to earn more should consider making inroads into an international market. Depending on where the company decides to expand, the demands on the business might be minimal, or they may be substantial. Entering markets with different legislation to navigate and language barriers to overcome might seem daunting, but for some companies, it’s worth the time and money put into bringing those markets into their coverage area. Like all business, it’s the art of balancing risk and reward. Depending on the amount of income the region offers, investing in expansion might be well worth the effort.