Nothing lasts forever, and web applications are no exception. Sure, apps built a decade ago may still function, but even they require ongoing maintenance and constant updates. In reality, a vast majority of websites and web apps sooner or later go out of date and need an overhaul. Relying on obsolete software creates substantial security risks, disrupts business processes, and leads to mounting operational costs. In this post, we’re revealing signs that your web app needs an update in order continue to perform.

1. Frequent Crashes, Snags, and Errors

Navigating the culture of instant gratification raises the bar for web app performance. Crashes, excruciating loading times, and performance hiccups are simply not an option if you want to hit the mark with your audience. As research points out, nearly half of online users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, while 40% abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Today’s impatient users won’t think twice before leaving your web app if it keeps crashing and freezing. So to measure up to their expectations, your performance must remain flawless. A variety of factors may trigger lags and random shutdowns, including network and hosting issues. However, if the source of the problem subsists in messy code or unsupported libraries and extensions, your app will require modernization.

2. No Mobile Support

Another sign your web app needs an update is its mobile support. Researchers predict that by 2025, nearly three-quarters of internet users will access the web on smartphones only. Hence, even if your application is designed for desktop use, it should offer mobile device support. If you haven’t implemented a mobile app strategy yet, it’s high time to do so, otherwise, you are doomed to be ousted by mobile-savvy competitors. Depending on your app’s code and architecture, providing mobile support may require either a partial extension to the software or entail a complete application overhaul.

3. Deprecated Technology

The lifecycle of web development frameworks, libraries, and plug-ins can be quite brief. For instance, a few years ago, jQuery was all the rage in JavaScript development, while now it’s giving way to modern Angular and React frameworks. The same goes for Flash. The once-universal multimedia plug-in was discontinued in 2020, forced out of the market by HTML5 (if you haven’t made the switch yet, it’s the final call!).

Using outdated or less efficient tools leads to inferior performance, security risks, and degraded functionality. All these factors affect UX, SEO, and reliability of your app, making it slow, clunky, and irrelevant for users. That’s why regardless of your web app’s age, if it runs on deprecated technologies, it will need to be modernized. The sooner you do it, the less reengineering work the process will involve.

4. Dreadful User Experience

Modern users have no mercy when it comes to a disappointing digital experience. If they find the web app content and layout unattractive, they will either switch devices or stop engaging with your app altogether. Legacy apps, particularly corporate portals, tend to be overly complex and cluttered, and their use often requires specific technical skills or necessitates extensive training. The layout and design frequently feel drab and generic, discouraging any interaction and obfuscating the users’ path to achieving their goals.  

A crisp and clean look and feel is just a part of a satisfying user experience. Interactivity and personalization play equally important roles. To spot UX inefficiencies, it’s a good idea to dive deep into web app analytics. For example, if your bounce rate goes through the roof and conversion rates plummet, that’s a clear indication of an inferior user experience. Ergo, your web app needs an update!

5. Compromised Security

One of the major risks of outdated apps is their exposure to cyberattacks and other security threats. Research confirms this, as 43% of data breaches are tied to web app vulnerabilities. Without regular security updates and patches, obsolete applications lack critical protection against ransomware, leaving gaps for hackers to come through.

Keeping your systems up-to-date is the best way to eliminate or at least reduce security risks. To ensure the highest level of protection against new-found cyberthreats, you may want to consider bolstering your app with an integrated AI-powered defense, which provides automated dynamic protection to applications and APIs. 

6. Costly Maintenance and Support

As a web application gets older, it takes longer to test, troubleshoot, and maintain. This explains why, on average, software maintenance investment stands at 15-20% of the original development price. However, for cumbersome legacy applications, the labor and material overhead related to the ongoing maintenance work can reach up to 80% of the software development cost.

If you are buckling under the accumulating maintenance burden, it’s high time to review your technology. An ever-growing siloed tech stack adds to the cost and complexity of maintenance and support. By reengineering your app, you may simplify the underlying architecture in order to ease maintenance and facilitate troubleshooting.

7. A Lack of Adaptability and Scale

Many legacy apps and systems still use a monolithic architecture, which lacks the flexibility to easily add new features. As a result, every slightest change involves months of strategic planning and incurs considerable costs. To get rid of these headaches, businesses are increasingly shifting to nimble and lightweight microservices-based architectures. By allowing individual components to be deployed and redeployed independently, they provide for easier scalability and shorter deployment cycles.

Wrapping Up

For a web app to support your evolving business goals, it needs to be easily maintainable, scalable, and modern. An old-fashioned, cumbersome interface fails to satisfy the sophisticated demands of today’s users, while an aging backend results in losing business agility as well as in stifled productivity. In such cases, recognizing that your web app needs an update is essential to align your application with your company’s long-term growth outlook.