Before you start AI app development, you need to be sure that's the right choice. Here, we'll discuss some pros and cons of AI app development.
7 mistakes to avoid in AI app development
AI app development is quickly becoming the go-to way to take a software product to the next level.
But, just randomly adding AI to your product won’t cut it.
If you want it to be successful, you need to do it right.
Here, we’ll discuss 7 common mistakes you should avoid when integrating AI into your software product.
Table of Contents
Ignoring data quality
Data is the lifeblood of AI.
Without good-quality data, even the most sophisticated AI app development will fail.
The “garbage in, garbage out” principle is particularly true for AI.
Bad data quality can cost you a lot of money, too.
source: Capella Solutions
As you can see in the above picture, the average annual cost of bad data quality for companies is estimated to be $14.2 million.
And that’s without going into the cost of training and deploying an AI model.
That’s why you can’t ignore data quality when developing an AI app.
A good way to think about it is like mathematician Clive Humby said: “Data is the new oil. Like oil, data is valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.”
If data is oil, then AI is a refinery.
It can extract information from raw data and turn it into usable knowledge.
But if the data is bad, the outcomes will be bad, too.
That’s why you need to make sure the data you use is cleaned and formatted correctly before you use it to train your AI model.
Also, you need to use relevant data.
Focus on collecting data that aligns with the goals of your AI app.
In other words, filter out noise and irrelevant information.
This’ll help you avoid skewed outcomes.
But, what are some practical tips you can use to ensure data quality?
First, you need to develop a data management strategy.
It should cover how you:
- Collect data
- Process data
- Analyze data
This way, you’ll set quality standards before you even begin integrating AI into your app.
If you don’t already employ them, it’s also a good idea to hire data scientists.
They’ll know how to clean and prepare the right data for your AI model.
You can hire external experts or freelancers if you’re not ready to hire them permanently.
Another good practice is to make sure you’re using reliable data sources.
You need to verify that the datasets you’ll be using come from verified sources to avoid misinformation and poor-quality data.
Also, make sure you continuously monitor the quality of the data that goes into your AI model.
This way, you’ll prevent the degradation of your model’s outputs.
In short, ignoring data quality is a potentially very costly mistake.
But, if you’re meticulous about data quality, you’ll increase your AI app’s chances of success.
And that’s why it’s worth it.
Underestimating resource usage
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in AI app development is underestimating its resource usage.
According to a survey by Deloitte, 47% of companies faced higher-than-expected costs when implementing AI.
Underestimating how many resources you’ll need can cripple your progress.
But, it’s not just about the money you need to invest.
AI models can take up a lot of computational resources like CPUs and GPUs.
According to Bloomberg, training a single AI model can use more electricity than 100 US homes use in a year.
Of course, those models are at the higher end of the range.
Still, you shouldn’t underestimate how many resources you might end up using.
You’ll need to do a detailed resource analysis early on in your AI app development project.
This way, you’ll prevent shortages down the line.
But, what are some other practical tips to accurately estimate your resource needs?
To start, it’s a good idea to consult with AI specialists.
They’ll be able to accurately estimate the resources and money necessary for integrating AI into your app.
If you’re using an AI platform, such as Azure ML, to train your models their experts will be able to help you with that estimate.
source: Microsoft Tech Community
Take their estimate as the minimum amount of resources and money necessary for a successful AI integration.
It’s also a good idea to create a pilot program for your AI integration.
That way, you’ll get a realistic estimate of the resources needed before you fully launch your app.
You should also adopt flexible budgeting.
That way, you’ll account for unexpected spikes in resource usage and costs that might crop up during the integration process.
Also, you should continuously monitor your model’s resource usage, just like you should monitor its data quality.
In short, underestimating the resources required can be a major obstacle to your AI app’s development.
You need to make sure you’ve got all the necessary resources before you start integrating AI into your app.
If you don’t, your AI integration could be dead on arrival.
Failing to adequately test your AI model
If you fail to thoroughly test your AI model before integration, you’re drastically increasing the chances that it’ll fail.
Thorough testing is an absolute must.
You should have a methodical approach to quality assurance (QA) as standard if you want your the AI app you’re developing to be successful.
If you don’t, bugs that mess with your product’s functionality and user experience (UX) are much more likely to happen.
And it can cost you a lot of money, too.
According to CISQ, poor software quality cost the US economy at least $2.41 trillion in 2022 alone.
And lack of testing is one of the main causes of poor software quality.
But, it’s not just about the money.
A lack of thorough testing of your AI model can cause brand damage, too.
The perfect example of that is Microsoft’s AI chatbot, Tay.
Launched in 2016 on Twitter, it was supposed to learn from its interactions with other Twitter users.
But, Tay began sending inappropriate tweets soon after launch.
It was promptly shut down after that happened, less than 24 hours after launch.
So, what can you do to make sure you thoroughly test your AI app?
To start, it’s a good idea to start testing early in the development process and make it an ongoing process.
This way, you’ll catch bugs and errors quickly and minimize their impact on your AI app’s development.
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It’s also a good idea to use automated testing if you don’t already.
This’ll improve the efficiency of your whole testing process.
Another good idea is to do user acceptance testing (UAT) before you launch your AI app.
With UAT, you’ll see how your users actually interact with your app and the AI functionalities you’ve integrated.
You’ll also be able to spot and fix any issues before launch.
You should also set up a feedback loop with your users, which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
In any case, developing an AI app without adequate testing is a gamble.
It’ll potentially cost you a lot of money and can do serious damage to your brand’s reputation.
And it’s not worth the risk.
Scalability is key to a successful software product.
It’s also important for the success of your AI app development.
If you neglect scalability, you’ll bottleneck your app’s growth and cripple a promising AI project.
Scaling your AI solutions will increase your revenue, too.
According to a joint study by IBM and Forrester, organizations that have scaled AI are 7 times more likely to be the fastest-growing organizations in their industry.
But planning for scalability isn’t easy.
It’s one of the major hurdles you’ll face when developing an AI app.
According to Statista, scaling up tops the list of challenges organizations face when integrating AI and machine learning models.
IBM’s Global AI Adoption Index also lists scalability as one of the top 5 hurdles for AI adoption.
If you neglect scalability, your product is more likely to have issues as your userbase grows.
Take Snapchat, for example.
Originally built on the Google App Engine (GAE), Snapchat faced scalability issues as its userbase grew.
That was until they prioritized scalability and started switching to cloud-based microservices in 2017.
And it worked.
Snapchat’s number of daily active users rose from 187 million at the end of 2017 to 397 million in 2023 without major problems with stability and quality.
These figures show how impactful prioritizing scalability can be.
So, how can you make sure your AI app development prioritizes it, too?
A good place to start is designing your AI model to be modular.
With a modular design, you can easily add new features and functionalities without affecting the rest of your system.
And that makes scaling in the future easier.
Next, it’s a good idea to use cloud-based platforms to integrate your AI model.
Using them also means that scaling your infrastructure is a much easier task.
Another good idea is doing regular load testing.
This way, you’ll see how your AI model performs under increased load and you can adjust it accordingly.
If you do, your engineers will be able to proactively solve any scaling issues.
In short, neglecting your AI app’s scalability can stall its growth and performance.
That’s why it’s so important to adopt a scalability-first approach from the start.
Not preparing for AI model drift
One of the biggest problems you’ll likely face with your AI app development is AI model drift.
Model drift is when AI models lose their accuracy over time.
You need to account for model drift when developing an AI app and be prepared to solve it.
Otherwise, it can have serious consequences for your model’s performance and usability.
Let’s imagine you have a stock trading app and you’ve integrated a stock market prediction model.
If you don’t account for model drift, it can lead to significant financial losses.
But, why does model drift happen in the first place?
One of the main reasons is the difference between real-world data and the data it’s trained in.
That’s why regularly retraining your model is so important.
source: Evidently AI
Another reason why AI models might drift is because of unexpected changes to your users behavior.
Take Instacart, for example.
Before March 2020, their AI model for predicting whether an item was available in a given store had an accuracy rate of 93%.
But, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and their customers’ shopping habits changed, the model’s accuracy rate plunged to 61%.
And how did Instacart solve that problem?
They started refreshing their model with new data every 10 days.
This allowed them to be more responsive to changes in their customers’ behavior.
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But, what can you do to minimize model drift in your AI models?
For starters, you should choose an AI model with a flexible architecture.
That way, updating your model and adapting to changing data patterns is much easier.
It’s also important to monitor the quality of the data that goes into your model, which we’ve discussed in greater detail earlier.
The continuous monitoring tools we’ve discussed earlier can alert your team if your model starts drifting.
This means that they can start solving the problem as soon as it happens.
In short, if you don’t prepare for model drift, your AI model’s performance will degrade over time.
But, if you proactively prepare for it, you’ll ensure that your app’s models stay accurate and reliable.
Not setting up a feedback loop
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
This quote by business consultant, Ken Blanchard, is a great mindset to adopt when it comes to your users’ feedback.
User feedback is key to improving the AI app you’re developing and it’ll help you deliver more value to your users.
Setting up a feedback loop is the best way to make the most of it.
source: UX Collective
And that’s not just idle talk.
Take Amazon’s AI-powered recommendation engine, for example.
Amazon has implemented a feedback loop to improve it based on user feedback.
- Product ratings
- Product reviews
- Purchase history
Then, they use that feedback to refine future recommendations and adapt to their users’ preferences.
And it works, too.
According to McKinsey, 35% of customer purchases on Amazon come from their product recommendations.
That number would be much lower if they didn’t continuously improve them with user feedback.
But, what steps should you take to create an effective feedback loop like Amazon’s?
To start, make sure you plan for a feedback system before you begin developing your AI app.
Your users should be able to give you feedback on the AI model you’ve integrated right from the start.
Make sure you collect feedback from various sources, such as:
- User surveys
- Feedback forms
- Problem reporting
- User reviews
That way, you’ll collect representative feedback and get better insights from your users.
With these tools, you’ll be able to quickly find and prioritize negative feedback.
This way, you can quickly solve any problems your users have with the AI in your app.
But, the most important thing is adopting an iterative approach to your app’s development.
Your engineers should use the feedback you’ve gathered in each development cycle.
If you do that, you’ll stay on top of your users’ changing needs and continuously improve your product.
Remember, setting up a feedback loop isn’t just a one-off task.
It should be a key part of a continuous product improvement process.
And it’s a great way to ensure the AI app you’ve developed stays relevant to your users.
Neglecting user experience
A good user experience (UX) is key to every app’s success.
If you neglect UX when developing your AI app, the risk of failure rises significantly.
That’s because your users care a lot about their experience when using your product.
The statistics back that up.
Research shows that 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience.
And according to Emplifi, 86% of customers will leave a brand they trusted after only 2 bad experiences.
And your users talk more about negative experiences, too.
On average, they tell 9 people about a positive experience with a brand, but they tell 16 people about a negative experience.
That goes to show how much damage a single bad experience can do to your brand.
A great way to think about UX is this quote by Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder:
“User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s still undervalued and underinvested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it. Obsess over it. Live and breathe it. Get your whole company on board.”
If you adopt this way of thinking when developing your AI app, you’ll increase its chances of success.
But, what are some practical tips to make sure you enhance your app’s UX?
First, make sure your AI functionalities’ design is user-centered.
You should take into consideration:
- Ease of use
Like Martin LeBlanc, CEO of Iconfinder, said: “A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”
Also, you should use the feedback loop that you’ve set up to find ways to improve your AI app’s UX.
Using your users’ feedback proactively is key to making sure it keeps up with their needs.
Another good idea is encouraging cross-functional collaboration between your teams.
Your engineers developing your AI app should intensely collaborate with your UX designers.
This way, you’ll end up with an app that’s both user-friendly and technologically sound.
And that’s what AI app development is all about.
AI app development mistakes: conclusion
AI app development is a great way to improve your product.
But, you need to do it right.
And that means avoiding the most common mistakes organizations make when developing AI apps.
To recap, they are:
- Ignoring data quality
- Underestimating resource usage
- Failing to adequately test your AI model
- Neglecting scalability
- Not preparing for AI model drift
- Not setting up a feedback loop
- Neglecting user experience