There will be approx. 5.3 billion mobile users by 2018. If you are a mobile developer, this number should ring a bell. More cellphone users will mean an increased demand for mobile applications. So how do you build quality apps for such a large market?
This article highlights 8 best practices which will help you develop quality mobile applications for your end users.
Know Your Users
Before you build an app, it is important to know your target audience. Whom are you building the app for? How will they use this application? Is there a particular feature that might garner more appeal than the others? It is important, and beneficial, to answer these questions up-front.
Make the App Comprehensible
Your application should be easy to understand for the users. So make sure you include clear instructions wherever necessary. Include text to accompany graphics. Avoid making the common mistake of relying only on images to tell the tale. If your app has too many graphics, the users might not be able to figure out the real purpose of the app. So maintain a balance of text and images and provide concise instructions.
Determine the Right Design Methodology
Devising the right design methodology is the key to developing a successful mobile app. According to amobile best practices report published by Accenture, having a definitive design strategy is especially important in a ‘cross-platform environment where multiple efforts may be underway simultaneously.’ Creating a storyboard helps. You can list down complete functionality, and future components, of your app on a piece of paper and eliminate any problems that may arise at this stage. It is also a good idea to involve potential users in the design process. Their feedback will help you improve the design in a way that is well accepted by the end user.
Focus on Developing the Core
Develop the core application first. Focus on building the most important features which will form the core of your app. The additional functionality can be made available later in form of plug-ins, which users can purchase as and when necessary. This ensures that you application remains lightweight.
Security Should be Your Top Priority
Mobile devices are vulnerable to multiple threats as they upload and download data wirelessly in potentially insecure environment. So when developing an application you don’t only need to incorporate platform’s inherent security capabilities but also use tools like encryption to protect sensitive data. Wiping data remotely from a lost device is critical. Having an automatic backup mechanism also helps so that users don’t need to worry about data backup.
Testing is the Key
Testing your application before its release is crucial. Although testing the app at each stage of development is recommended, it is equally important to test the final product. And make sure you do this with not one but several different users. In case there are issues, fix them and test the application again.
Incorporate Application Analytics
The mobile environment is not always connected. Thus monitoring clicks and other usage analytics is achallenge. Incorporating analytics features in your app to understand how users are interacting with it is a good idea. This will help you in identifying which features worked or which didn’t and whether users are interacting with the app the way you expected. Including crash logs is also advised, so that you know what goes wrong with your app when it is used in the real world.
Have a Feedback Mechanism
Besides an automated analytics system it is also important to have a feedback mechanism for users. Give users a means – email, social media or others – to report crashes/bugs or offer insight into what they like/dislike in the app. This will not only reduce technical support issues but will also give you a cue for future app updates. Reviewing this feedback will help you in identifying features which most users want to see in the app.
Mobile application development involves strategic thinking. Keeping these best practices in mind will help you build a highly functional mobile app without much hassle.
Planning to build a mobile application? Want to know an estimate cost of mobile app development? Use VenturePact’s Cost Calculator to know how much does it cost to build a mobile app.