Creating Winning Mobile Apps

According to reports and surveys, there will be approximately 6.1 billion mobile users by 2020. It is estimated that currently, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Surveys and trends are consistently proving that user engagement on smartphones is exceeding all other conventional mediums. Over 50% of smartphone users grab their phones immediately after waking up. This presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses to market their products and services using innovative mobile initiative and apps.

With such a high engagement, it is imperative that mobile apps are extremely intuitive and provide a great user experience. The cost of a bad mobile site or app is too high since a large percentage of users would typically never return or use an app if that had a bad first-time experience. A winning app can be developed by following best practices and tools for technology, methodology, design, security, performance & reporting.

Some of the best practices to be followed and considered while developing mobile apps are described below:

1. Know Your Audience
Before you start planning or developing an app, understand the users. How will they utilize the app? Is there any specific feature that makes the app more appealing than a similar app? It is necessary to do in-depth research before building a successful mobile app to be aligned with needs and expectation of users.

2. Take App Security Seriously
According to app market statistics, 5422 new apps are released on Google Play Store and 1893 fresh apps are released on iOS App Store. There are statistics that indicate that 75% or more mobile apps would fail basic security tests and the number of malware and threats on mobile devices are increasing exponentially. Hence, transit encryption, secure generation of credentials and an iterated cryptographic hash function for passwords mobile devices are some necessary ways to protect sensitive information processed in the app.

3. Performance Matters
No one likes a slow app. A survey has identified that on an average users download 8 apps per month. Considering the numerous apps running on mobile, the focus should be on the consumption of resources like memory, battery as it can influence performance of not only the app that is being built but other apps running on the device.

4. Testing is Crucial
Testing of an app is just not another step; it is an integral and critical part of each process. It should be ensured that constant and consistent testing of the app covering the design, functionality, performance, and interaction with other apps is conducted on required stages. Platform-dependent testing, multi-device testing, multi-OS version testing, compatibility testing are all very important aspects of mobile app testing. If possible, a beta testing with live users is ideal since it provides real time feedback that can be incorporated before rolling it out.

5. Invest In User Experience
According to Google, users abandon 26% of the apps after the first use. Although great functions are important for a successful app, user friendliness & intuitiveness are absolutely imperative for a successful app. The acceptance of mobile app depends upon its usability with respect to various factors like time it takes to load, seamless transition of animation & effect etc. Excellent rating on app stores is an important influence to a winning app.

6. Concentrate on Core Functionality
Experts recommend focusing on the important features first. Additional features can be incorporated later. This will not only help to keep the apps lightweight, but allow to striking the market early using an agile methodology. Agile development can be very effective for mobile app development. It helps in continuous delivery and deployment to offer latest mobile apps with several improved features. At the same time, it enhances the quality and performance of business organizations.

7. Integrate App Analytics
Mobile devices may not connect with the internet always. Hence, it is difficult to analyze the user interaction with the app. Incorporation of app analytics makes it easy to monitor the user’s navigation and which functionality users utilize the most. Moreover, logs are more helpful when something goes wrong and app crashes.

8. Offer Feedback Mechanism
This is an important mechanism for users to share their feedback on the app. It can be an email, social media, online support, or any other mechanism, which enables users to share their likes/dislikes, crashes, bugs, or feature enhancements. This will not only minimize the technical issues, but will give an indication of future road maps and support in recognizing the users need.

The above best practices if followed properly will help build robust mobile apps. It involves strategic planning and utilization of tools and platforms at different phases of the development lifecycle.

1. UI Design Tools
The quality of user interface is very important for the success of the apps. Poor design of an interface put the customers away. Use high-quality UI design tools available to create a smooth, intuitive, and stylish design and encourage customers to use them repeatedly.

2. Cross-Platform App Development Tools
Appcelerator, Xamarin, Cordova, Sencha are some of the great multi-platform development tools available in the market. Each platform has its own specialties. Hence, the tool should be selected the depending upon the business objectives.

3. Mobile Testing Tools
Agile methodology facilitates continues development and deployment. Using automated testing tools like Appium, Calabash, Selendroid assists developers in automated testing effectively for both Android and iOS platforms.

Developing a winning app can be achieved by implementing right processes, recognizing the business perspective of the app and knowing the target audience. The right blend of approaches, best practices, methodologies, and tools help in the development of a good mobile app.