11 Best Practices For Mobile App Development
App Builder Appy Pie, January 27, 2018: The number of mobile users has increased exponentially and is only expected to grow faster and further. For someone who is looking to make money from an app, this is quite a promising trend. As the number of mobile users increases the demand for mobile apps is only going to increase. However, in the rush to develop more and more apps, it is critical not to lose out on quality. How do you do that? How do you maintain quality of these apps that are going to hit the market in competition with the existing market leaders?
This blog post is intended to highlight 11 best practices that will help you in developing quality mobile applications for the end users.
1. Study The Target User Group
Developing an app can end up being a total waste of time if you have not taken the efforts to analyse the suitable target audience, their patterns of usage, and the problem areas that the app would be providing solution to. Before setting out to plan for the development of an app, a developer needs to understand in totality the needs that the app is required to address. There may be a number of perspectives to this, for example, who is it that constitutes the intended user group, the underlying reason for the app to be developed etc. additionally some questions too need to be addressed like would the organisation be using the app for marketing or would it be using the app for generation of revenue and treat the mobile app as a separate sales channel, would a particular feature prove to be more beneficial for the intended purpose. While developing the app, the developer needs to keep these points in serious consideration.
2. Pay Attention To App Comprehensibility
The app needs to be such that it is easily understood by the intended user group. It is a good idea therefore to include a set of instructions wherever you can or feel the need to. To develop these instructions, you can complement the text with interesting and attractive graphics as well. There are times when developers have believed the visuals to be self-explanatory and the users have had a tough time understanding the way the app works or what it does. If you have made the mistake of overloading your app with a huge number of visuals there is a good chance that the user would be lost in the visual imagery and not be able to make head or tail of the app. This might lead to them losing interest and abandoning or even uninstalling the app altogether. Use a good balance of both visual and text content and create a visual experience that is satisfying and worth coming back to.
3. Determine The Apt Design Process
It is in the plan that the key to the success of your app lies. Hence when you have managed to devise a suitable design methodology you are definitely on your way to building a successful mobile app. In a recent mobile best practices report published by Accenture, it has been established with great clarity that having a decisive design strategy is of absolute importance when it comes to a ‘cross-platform environment where multiple efforts may be underway simultaneously.’ In doing so one of the techniques that never fails to work is creating a storyboard. At this stage what you need to do is list down complete functionality and the future components of your app on a piece of paper so that you have defined clarity in understanding what is needed to accomplish it. Doing this exercise will also help you in eliminating or handling any problems that may arise at this stage of the process. The feedback at his stage will help you work on the design and enhance it in a way that would ensure that the app is accepted well at the end of it by the consumer.
4. The Core Must Be Robust
This is what is going to be your money maker or the source of revenue for your clients who you are making the app for. Hence make sure that you develop the core application right at the start. Create a list of the most important features of your app and focus on these strongest features in order to develop the core of your app. All the other additional features and functionalities that you want to add to your app can be added at later stages in the form of plug ins. These plugins can be bought by the users later as and when they feel the need for it. Doing this would make the app lightweight and easy to use and maintain a high speed of use.
5. Security Must Be Of Supreme Concern
Information, especially private data and information is privileged and is of great importance for every individual. It is common for the app developers, on Android platforms more than any other, might require the users to furnish a number of details about themselves to be able to use the app. This information, more often than not is not intended to enhance the user experience in any way. It is only natural, therefore that a number of users are a little hesitant in providing their personal details to the app they are only just installing and quite rightly so. It is therefore important that the company can assure the prospective or existing users that they would be providing discretion, security, and privacy of any information or data that they provide to them. The ability of an app developer or the company to be able to incite an innate trust in the users is one of the biggest factors that play a part in the future success of the app. Mobile devices and the internet in general has proven vulnerable to threat and hacks in the past. Hence, as an app developer you don’t just need to incorporate the platform’s inherent security capabilities but also make use of various tools like encryption in order to keep sensitive data safe. It is critical to have the ability to wipe all the data from a device that was lost. Apart from that offering an automatic backup mechanism to the users is a great idea as it helps them rest assured that they do not need to maintain a backup of the data.
Like any other product, a new app is bound to have its initial hiccups. In this regard running a number of tests at every stage is of great importance. Separate tests are devised at each step and stage of development and apt attention needs to be paid to this aspect of development. But the testing of the final product is of great importance too. This testing needs to be done with beta testers as they are the ones who would run your app in every way possible and report back to you about the bugs and crashes or any other hassles they might have encountered while using it. However, it is important that you run the beta tests with the help of a number of testers and not be limited to a single tester. At every stage that you find any issues, make adjustments and changes to improve the app and run it through tests again. Repeat the process till you get an app that functions smoothly.
7. Applications Analysis Is Integral
You have built an app and have launched it, but how do you know what kind of an impact it is going to make? What are the performance issues, where are the users facing trouble, which features are being appreciated, and which ones are being ignored? The mobile environment is unfortunately not always connected which makes it difficult to monitor the clicks and other crucial usage analytics. It is therefore quite important to incorporate analytics feature in your app to understand how the users are interacting with the app. The analytics will help you identify which features or aspects of the app are a hit with the users and which ones are a big miss, and also help you reaffirm that the users are interacting with the app in the way you had predicted them to. In the analytics make sure that you include a crash log so that you understand what it is that is going wrong with your app when it is used out of the test environment, in the real market.
8. Incorporate A Mechanism For Feedback
Apart from the analytics, the feedback from genuine users can prove to be a goldmine for you. Offer an opportunity and a channel to the users (email, social media or any other) so that you can report any crashes or bugs that they encounter. When you have this information from the users you would have some help in understanding what is it that the users like about your app and which part is proving frustrating or less than perfect for them. These feedbacks from the users will help you ease up on the technical support issues and will also give you a hint regarding the direction to pursue for future updates in your app. When you review this feedback from users, you get an insight in identifying the exact features that most of the users would want to see in the app.
9. Refrain From Interrupting The Users
For an app that is free or based on the freemium model, the push notifications and the popup ads are of great importance and value. However, it is important for the app developer and the company who is getting the app developed need to understand that the user would have a great number of apps installed on their devices. Too many push notifications or popups have the potential to become intrusive and interrupt the users while they are using their devices for any function including using your app. This can ruin the user experience and even annoy them, which might finally lead them to uninstall the app from their device. Push notifications, though extremely useful, have the potential to interrupt the seamless flow of the app. It is important to employ discretion while sending out the push notifications and ensuring that the notifications convey relevant information and valuable content to the user.
10. Follow The Guidelines To The “T”
The two major platforms Android & iOS each have their defined set of guidelines for the developers to refer and consult as they begin the process of developing a mobile app. These guidelines can play an instrumental role in helping the developers all through the process of building a mobile app. Depending on the platform you choose to develop an app for, the app developer would have at their disposal a detailed set of guidelines to follow. Failing to follow these guidelines might lead to the rejection of your app from getting published. For example, if you were to develop an app that would extract highly sensitive and detailed personal information, or if it were to have a name similar to Apple, the app would be rejected out rightly.
Change is permanent, an adage that hold true especially for the rapidly evolving digital world. The software, the app platforms, the devices, UI designs, and a whole lot more keeps changing from time to time as new developments make their way into the market. In order to keep the app experience stellar and the users engaged, it is absolutely important to provide regular updates in the design of the user experience and interface. You have to move in tandem with the evolving and developing devices, software, and hardware, otherwise you would be left behind and become irrelevant soon.
It might seem to an unobservant eye that developing a mobile app is a simple task that consists of a couple of colourful screens that consumer backend services. However, in order to have an app that would cross the average barrier to move into the realm of awesome an app developer needs to employ a simple but unique approach. It could be as simple as putting an exemplary user experience on high priority and making the design user friendly or ensuring that the speed of the app and the visual appeal of the app is just right!