Mobile application development has traveled a long way ever since its inception and from the day since I chose it to be my profession, endless numbers of factors have redefined the way these small screen masterpieces are being developed.
The challenges which I’ve faced in the course of my career have given me a perception of mobile app development methods and through this blog I’d like to pen down some of those as a part of my knowledge sharing initiative.
There are many factors which have influenced app development process but in my opinion, the advancements in open-source development platforms, hardware capability of mobile phones and the expectations of new age mobile phone users are those which have contributed for remarkable changes.
Considering the present scenario, app developers (a majority of us) still seem to be tangled with the app development basics taught by the web platform. In order to match the standards of the modern demands, developers will have to realize the fact that Mobile apps (except a few common aspects) are in no way similar to web applications.
The challenges a mobile app developer faces are the diversity in mobile devices, constraints of development platforms, standards of connectivity and storage. Well, with such a huge differences partitioning web and mobile app development there is no point in adopting traditional web app development practices for the mobile arena as well.
Information technology research and advisory giants like Gartner Inc are insisting the need for planned strategic approach for developing mobile applications in order to make them universally usable and acceptable.
“Enterprise application development teams use traditional practices to define and develop desktop applications; however, most don’t work with mobile app development, due to device diversity, network connectivity and other mobile-specific considerations,” said Gartner analyst Van Baker during a presentation to IT leaders in China.
With that said, what will be the rule of thumb for creating a perfect mobile app development strategy that will help the outcome (apps) to meet the modern standards right from the word ‘go’ till finish. As a matter of fact there is no single solution for this question rather it has to be worked out for each and every app depending on its nature, target audience, platform and various other factors.
Plan your platform development based on the device your target audiences use
Gone are the days where only one or a couple of development platforms existed. The growth of high-end mobile devices has resulted in the popularization of many development platforms. So it is crucial to plan the development strategy based on the devices which you believe would market your apps to the target audience.
For instance, a satellite channel’s app works best for tablets in Android and iOS rather than a smartphone. Utility apps which aim catching up a huge user base should focus on developing application on smartphones. Apps that are meant for enterprises and B2B audiences can concentrate on blackberry devices as they are widely preferred by the business people. So, pointing out the devices which are going to transport your app in to the market would help you construct a clean app development strategy. Other challenges include the diversity of devices using common operating systems, screen sizes, difference in hardware and software support capabilities, SDKs and API.
Methods of interaction
Apps that interact with users or help them interact are those which win their hearts easily. Mobile applications, irrespective of their kind, can have an appropriate interactive feature developed for it to better its business opportunity.
In-app purchases, social media integration and advertising are a few ideas that help apps engage customers and invite them to do more than they intend to. Incorporating such features into mobile applications will help in the collaboration of cloud services and ecommerce business models into mobile.
UI and UX design
Coming up with a sensible mobile app UI design is of primary importance as user expectations are ever evolving and demanding. The number of apps being ditched by users for its poor user interface and experience design is constantly on the rise and this fact clearly explains the significance of a versatile UI and UX design that adapts recent trends.
The first phase in determining a perfect UX and UI design flow is to analyze user behavior based on the features and functions which the application offers. Based on this analysis begin to streamline your design flow. Avoid skeuomorphic design concept and strictly stick to a flat design. Make sure the design is light in order to make it responsive.
Use of resources
Developing cross-platform applications are always quite challenging due to platform specific demands and restrictions. In such cases most of the companies work on engaging separate teams for each platform. This approach lets app development companies lose out on creating feature specific applications. Instead the focus is completely diverted in turning the app compatible to the platforms. Mobile app development companies with dedicated teams for developing separate features of an application will result in a refined outcome that leads to the success of an app. Developing apps using this feature-centric approach helps developers to incorporate the core idea into different platforms easily by fine-tuning them to meet the platform standards and demands.