Beginner's Guide to Mobile App Development
Mobile devices have become a major focal point in the tech world today. Smartphones have transformed from small pocketable minicomputers to larger, almost two handed, devices capable of keeping up with some laptops. Today’s computers tend to lean towards smaller and more portable traits, while phones are becoming larger and more powerful.
With today's technology revolving around mobile devices, the demand for mobile device application software is steadily increasing. As of 2019, mobile app downloads have risen to over 200 billion downloads. What does this mean for app development? It puts a heavy emphasis on creating software that integrates with mobile devices. These apps are designed to create a better user experience and allow for a more engaging and easier user experience.
WHAT IS MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT?
Simply put, mobile application development is the coding of software to best optimize an application on any given mobile device. When coding the app, a couple of major things to keep in mind are; what type of OS the device is running (ex: Android, IOS, or Windows) and considering the hardware/form factor of the device (ex: smartphone, tablet, or wearable).
WHY MOVE TO MOBILE APP INTEGRATION?
One of the biggest advantages of your business/product creating a mobile app is the ability to create a more immersive experience for your customer/user. An app provides a quick window to a product and is reachable from nearly anywhere by mobile network. If created properly, a mobile app can have smoother functionality and a more polished look compared to a mobile website.
From a marketing standpoint, mobile applications intertwined with businesses and products can increase profit and customer engagement. By the end of 2020, mobile apps are projected to pull in over $189 billion in revenue. These apps encourage greater customer engagement and allows for easier interactions between businesses and consumers.
1. WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?
Before you come up with an app idea, you need to investigate the problem. What problem are you looking to solve and how will this app accomplish it? When beginning your thought process, keep in mind the key features of the app that you want to show, including your desired target audience and how you plan to reach them. After you've answered these questions, you can begin creating your idea.
As previously stated, know your audience. Find out who the app appeals to and why they will use it. When researching your audience, look into your competition as well. Check out other apps on the market and determine if they are similar/different to yours. If there are similarities, find ways to differentiate your app from the herd by highlighting certain features.
There are almost 3 million apps available for download in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, meaning you will have to market your app in a way that makes it stand out. App development can also become quite pricey (ranging from $20,000 to over $200,000), so budget your app’s development accurately. Ensuring your product is marketed properly for launch, gives you the security that it will reach its audience and not fall under the radar.
4. DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN
When developing the app, a question that arises would be whether the app will be native to a device, web-based, or a hybrid of the two. Making an app run natively to a specific device/OS intends to take advantage of all the features that OS has, creating a code specific to that device. This route does deliver the best possible product but can become quite costly and take a bit more time than a web-based app. Native apps require different coding for each OS, forcing developers to create multiple codes for one app. Web-based (HTML5) apps aren’t as costly and require less time to develop, but can lack the seamlessness and comfort of a native app. A hybrid app, when done correctly, can be extremely user friendly and take advantage of unique device features and designs.
5. TEST, TEST, TEST. THEN TEST AGAIN
The job isn’t done once the app is developed. Developers often run into plenty of bugs and glitches before the app is ready to launch. Test the app as much as possible through designated app testing programs. It can take up to nine months to build an app, so treat it like a baby and make sure every precaution is taken before its birth.
6. STAY CONNECTED
You may have run through all your previous glitches within your app, but you never know when a new problem will arise. Stay connected with your customers and update your app regularly. Be sure your app is fully functional and easy to use, because nothing turns a customer off to a product more than tricky/difficult to use software. This not only strengthens your product but your brand name as well.