Mobile apps have become the cornerstone of online presence. Nowadays more than half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices and up to 70% of all digital media is consumed through apps. The mobile market is huge and growing each year, but not everyone know how to start developing mobile apps.
Even though mobile apps are so common, they are not simple to create. These applications may deceive through their unassuming demeanor, but they are actually portals of highly collaborative nature that connect the end user with an intricate network of designated servers.
In this article, we share some insider secrets on what you need to prepare for before you begin working on your mobile application with a development team.
Why should I prepare before starting work with a development team?
There’s a big chance that if you decide to go to a mobile apps team, you might get some information that would make you reconsider your idea’s feasibility and therefore would force you to go back to the drawing board and spend additional hours on planning. Instead, if you first prepare for the conversation, find out what you should think of and the probable barriers to your ideas, the dialogue might go in a totally different direction. You will end up only needing to think about some specific advice instead of reinventing the whole idea, which finally brings us to the advantages that come from these preparations.
Advantages of preparations before beginning of developing mobile apps process
- Costs might be lower (discovery workshops etc. may not be free; less backtracking) – some companies ask you to pay for preparatory workshops, as they need to sacrifice their time and workforce to explain to you how everything works, so if you prepare by yourself, you don’t pay extra for someone to teach you that.
- There’s lower risk of technological debt – if you make a research first, what technologies are in use, you will know if you should invest in the technology that the team offers or not
- You will get a basis for solid requirements and development plan – when you are oriented more or less how the process should be going it is easier to properly plan it and know what is necessary for you to complete and maintain the final product
- Better position during negotiations/scoping – you know what you want, and the developers’ team can give you a more exact quote – when you know how the things should be working or how long does some tasks take, your potential partner can’t tell you too high price, otherwise you would resign from the cooperation. Without this knowledge it looks totally different.
- It is easier to receive a scalable, easy to support app – when you are familiar with the technology, you know what kind of restrictions and and barriers it has, therefore you can choose better technology for your needs and later maintenance and upgrades.
- The risk of refactoring down the line is lower – as you know from the beginning how everything should look, you can think in advance, how you should code and simplify your idea before coding it. Then you don’t have to simplify your code after it is written and you save a lot of time
Is developing mobile apps complex?
The crucial part is the design and the alignment of the app’s major elements – user experience, user information, backend database and the programming language of the mobile app. How to determine the best course of action when venturing into mobile application design and development?
It is the pre-planning phase that dictates how the app should be built and how complex the process will be. As each app has different functionalities and looks, it all depends on how you plan for it to look at the end and how big your budget is.
The elements of good mobile app design
User experience is an important part of any mobile application. The mobile user experience (UX) dictates the depth of data interchange and the speed of this interchange between the server and the mobile device. In other words UX plays a huge role in determining how fast the app loads and interacts with users, how accessible the informations are, how high is the app’s usability and therefore plays a huge role in user satisfaction.
User information is the breadth of data available for consumption within the application. Depending on the app, it may include general information like gender, age, height, or weight, and in some cases more specific information like your diet, sport activity, etc.
Different user information is necessary for some mobile app functionalities. The more specific the information, the more an app can tailor user experience, but remember that you don’t need all of the information about the user. You have to carefully decide which information you need. The more you ask the user, the less likely they are to share them with you and the more data space you need.
For example, Netflix doesn’t need information about your weight, but it might use your age to tailor the featured sitcoms. On the other hand Facebook might use both your weight and age to select the right ads to show you.
Remember also about GDPR rules. The more data you gather, the more strictly you have to protect it.
Screen real estate
Screen real estate is the space where you put your menu items and multimedia. Good design has to adapt to the screen real estate that you have. You should do it in the most resourceful manner on a mobile device, even more than on a desktop. Organizing it properly is crucial for users to be satisfied with the app, for any screen resolution, no matter what mobile device they use.
The importance of these elements shouldn’t be undermined. As a person responsible for an app, you should always remember about those elements and how important they are for perceiving the app as you imagined.
The success of any digital marketing strategy begins and ends with your functional and user-friendly mobile application design. Nowadays, when social media have such a big influence on global communities, mobile apps can make or break a business.
The first step to building and successfully developing mobile apps
Before you engage a programming team in your project, consider conducting a brief investigation. The following touch points will prove to be extremely valuable in your pre-planning stage. Remember, doing this part carefully will not only save you money but will also help you achieve business goals, such as increasing your market share, by observing trends on the app market, as well as addressing the right people and the right topics.
Know your users
Start with defining your business objectives. What are your services? What are your products and how will they impact your customers? Then delve into your target consumer analysis. What is their age, their level of digital literacy, their lifestyle, education, etc. Gathering this knowledge will allow you to make the right strategic, marketing and design choices.
Knowing your target market will also help determine the best mobile platform for your mobile application. Do your target consumers prefer specific devices like iPhone or Android phones? Developing mobile apps for a particular platform ensures that you are taking care of the needs of the human on the receiving end of your mobile application. Get this information before you assemble your development team – the skills they will need depend heavily on your platform of choice.
Decide if you need to go native
You can go native, make a web app, or a hybrid app. They bring different opportunities and disadvantages. What capabilities do you need? Some features are better implemented on a native app than a web app. Think of your target consumer. How do you envision them when interacting with your application? What should they learn more about? The proper app type decision will definitely impact your budget, too, though that should be a secondary concern.
If you need some help in deciding which type suits you the best, a good development partner will be happy to help you.
Decide if you can produce in-house
Now this is something you may have not considered. Sometimes developing in-house may yield a better understanding between the development team and the strategy team. Sometimes, in-house development also points to available team extension services. Even though they remain a part of an external organisation, these additional developers feel like members of your own company. You manage their time according to your business needs. You can contact them regularly for updates on progress or any clarifications. Timely information sharing leads to quicker change management and turnover.
What about outsourcing? On one hand an external team can spot many problems and challenges that you haven’t realised while planning the app. They have a fresh view on your idea, and they may bring in know-how that could benefit your business. On the other hand, full outsourcing can lead to communication gaps if the process is lacking on either side. When companies outsourced mobile apps to us, we took substantial measures to minimize such pitfalls and are proud to exceed our customer satisfaction ratings. We have set up regular meetings with the client to sum up recent tasks and plan further ones. We gave our phone numbers and e-mail addresses so the client could contact us if anything changes. What’s more, we were eager to meet more often than regularly to discuss changes to the project scope and adjust our approach.
Decide the kind of support you need
Mobile application users look forward to updates. They suggest changes and expect them to be implemented in the upcoming versions. This is also a great way to keep your customers engaged and loyal to your business. Understanding the cost and the nature of these updates is crucial to your budget planning activities. Some applications require a monthly subscription that covers many fees associated with updates. Other apps just need periodic updates that may be covered in the cost of development.
Remember, update approval times vary at the Google Play Store and the App Store. For the first one, it’s usually three days, and the latter requires two weeks for approval.
Decide the kind of backend configuration you need
Information interchange on a mobile application is not simple. Some applications require a special database configuration to properly organize data on the server. Do you need to integrate external services in your app? Do you need an API to bridge between the internal and external systems? Understanding at least the basics of what you need in the app will help the conversation with your development team flow much better. Experienced coders will help you create smoother operating apps by configuring the backend according to your needs.
Conclusion on developing mobile apps
As you can see, preparing for mobile app development takes quite a bit of work, but if you do it properly you can gain a lot. Your communication with your development team will be much smoother and more worthwhile. You’ll have a good idea of who you’ll need to market your app to, so you’ll be able to get started on that while the app itself is in the works. You won’t be surprised by any additional costs you haven’t thought of.
When you start your conversation with coders, remember to ask questions about relevant projects and listen to the agency explain the work they did. Ask them about your market and the type of app you want to create. If they have commercial experience, they’ll be able to offer valuable insights. Take notes on any features you want to adopt. Revise your requests based on these observations to make the best app possible.
If you are not sure if your business need a mobile app, this article will help you to clear up any doubts.