By Sanjay Pathak, Guest Blogger
Welcome to the app world.
While an online presence is still mandatory to be relevant in business, the landscape of how information is accessed – and how commerce is conducted online – has changed.
The desktop browser is no longer a leader; mobile devices are taking over. Most enterprises have at least one App that provides information or transaction capabilities to their customers. And some companies (e.g. Uber) are solely focused on mobile devices.
It is an App world.
As a marketer, understanding how to create a successful mobile app is important to its ROI. Whether you are building an App for your external customer or internal users, following these 10 App development best practices will not only provide productivity improvements but also provide greater user experience and adoptions – all resulting in greater success for your business.
- Identify Your Audience Characteristics
These include age, geography, current relationship to your business and control over your audience. These will affect the complexity of functionalities, need to include geo-diversity.
- Select Device/Platform
Identify which devices and platforms you will be supporting. If devices are supplied by the organization, focusing on limited device platforms will simplify the process. For external audiences, you should review your audience and consider limiting the type of devices platforms you support (e.g. iOS and Android).
- Select App Architecture
Identify your App architecture to balance between best user experience and fast time to market. A native app provides richer experience but takes extra effort. Whereas non-native Apps can be developed relatively quickly and provide to time to market advantage.
- Select App Form Factor
Consider what size of mobile device that your users will be bringing. App design will be simpler if you can control the device size. Otherwise your App will need to respond to varying degree of device sizes and that can take a little longer to develop.
- Select Mobile App Deployment Model
Most Apps require back-end business logic, data storage, and integration with other systems. This code and databases have to be deployed somewhere. Choices include:
Dedicated hosting – useful when security is paramount or utilization is expected to be high 24/7
Shared hosting – less expensive, adequate performance, and security for most
Cloud deployment – similar to shared hosting but more cost effective with enhanced performance. A virtual private cloud can provide improved security.
- Plan for Signal Strength
Mobile device network connectivity is more than on or off. Weak signal or high signal to noise ratio and unpredictable network disconnects must also be considered to ensure good user experience. For external audiences, use the 80/20 rule – plan for 80% coverage unless your App is mission critical.
- Leverage What Is Already Out There
Avoid duplicating the functionalities of existing social Apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.). When possible, consider integration instead.
- Leverage New Mobile Platform Capabilities
Device-embedded features (camera, location services, compass, etc.) provide data you can use to enhance your App productivity and user experience. Wearables, IoTs, iBeacon, and similar devices can provide additional data either directly or via cloud interfaces to enhance user experience with your App’s functions.
- Decide on Tools and Technology
This is the easy part. Leverage what you already have and choose the tools and technologies that you, your architect, and your developers are comfortable using. That’s right – there is no best set of tools.
- Define App Distribution Strategy
Your App needs to go to your customers’ hands. The major ways for App distribution are:
Web link on a managed web page – most well-suited for internal audiences. This does not allow for automatic updates, but gives you better control of your audience.
Public App store (Apple, Google Play, etc) – best for B2C customers. It provides a better downloading, installation and upgrading experience.
Enterprise App store (i.e. Apperian, Mass 360, Appaloosa) – recommended for B2B audiences. This provides good App upgrades and secure distribution.
As more organizations adopt the power of mobile computing to improve productivity, following mobile App development best practices will enhance user delight with the Apps and help businesses achieve greater success.