With the rising popularity of mobile devices increases the number of mobile apps. Regardless of the industry, businesses of all sizes have already set aside the budget for mobile application development, or already have one or more in their arsenal. Certainly, jumping on this train seems like the smartest investment you can make at this moment. As a result, the market has become overly competitive.
What this means for web developers is that they have their work cut out for them. Creating an app that would not only satisfy the needs of users, but would also stand out from the sea of other similar app is quite a challenge. For this reason, we have devoted some time to collect 6 best mobile application development practices that are bound to amaze the users.
1. Learn about your users
Prior to the development and design process itself, a business professional has to familiarize with the end-user who will make use of the app. Naturally, you have to understand their requirements and offer solutions to their problems. Of course, there will probably be apps that already answer their needs, and in that case your job would be to create something that would grab their attention. In order to do that, you need to understand their motivations at a very deep level so you can place triggers in their path accordingly.
2. Design for multiple platforms
Taking into consideration the fact that an average user balances between at least 3 different devices on a daily basis, it is evident that investing in an app that would cover many platforms is a win-win situation. To ensure they stick to your app, make sure it is available and functional across as many devices and platforms as possible, and that its design is responsive on different screen sizes.
When it comes to the interface, remember that beauty is relative to the platform, meaning that the look of one app will differ completely depending on whether the user is logged in on his Android tablet, iPad or Windows phone. We recommend taking a step back and learning about the platform(s) you are targeting and implement the branding around the specific parameters. Check out the Android and iOS guidelines that offer valuable information on how to build better user interface.
3. Offer offline experience, as well
Some of the hottest apps for both Android and Apple users are the ones that offer solutions when users are not connected to the internet. Evernote, for instance, is known to work seamlessly even when used offline, and this feature significantly affected its popularity. If the nature of the app does not allow it to be completely functional when not connected to Wi-Fi or any other signal, think whether there are at least some features that could be of use to users in an offline mode.
4. Do not go overboard with the number of app features
What happens more often than not is that developers try to fit too many features in just one small screen. Although their wish to solve as many users’ problems as possible might be generous, they achieve quite the opposite. By scattering your attention to multiple features, you don’t get to optimize all perfectly, thus affecting the overall quality of the app. Namely, you should determine one primary purpose of your app and focus on it solely. Do not present users with several options hoping that they will pick the right one, but guide them through one experience you have intended for them.
5. Design with the simplicity of use in mind
Although smartphones have taken over the world that does not mean the majority of people is tech-savvy. On the contrary. For this reason, the most common mobile app development advice you will get is “make it as simple as possible”. Still, since simplicity is a subjective notion, to test your app in this domain it is advisable to offer it to a non-technical family member or a friend and observe them while they work the app. Is the content easy-to-understand, or is the language too technical? Do they find it difficult to navigate? Is it intuitive? Pay close attention to the places they get stuck and take extensive notes and modify the app. Why go to such lengths? Because new users tend to give up quickly on things they are not able to figure out in a matter of minutes (even less).
6. Test often
With a multitude of operating systems and mobile networks, as well as an abundance of different mobile devices, designing an app that will run smoothly is more than a challenge. The end-users will not waste their time with apps that are full of bugs and pending fixes, but will move on to the next and yours will be soon forgotten about. Although testing in mobile apps is still considered a relatively new practice, it is necessary for it to undergo quality analysis from the earliest stages of its development in order to be able to detect possible issues quickly.
Out of all of the above-mentioned, testing could probably be singled out as the most important step. Users are the ones who will detect a bug better than developers themselves in most cases. A good example of how launching a poorly polished and tested product can ruin even the bigest developers is the latest Mass Effect: Andromeda fiasco. After months of criticism on the account of disastrous model animations the whole Mass Effect franchise has been put on ice and the team behind it scaled down and diverted to other projects.