According to Statista, UK consumers spent 3.4 bn USD on apps in 2021 and 4 hours is the daily time spent on mobile apps and browsers. Mobile apps really enhance a business and the features can improve a customer journey from ‘ok’ to ‘excellent’.
The market for app development is continuing to grow rapidly examples of mobile app development include mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and smartwatches. The two dominant mobile platforms are iOS and Android. Examples of successful apps are Trainline, Netflix, LinkedIn and banking apps which have almost replaced the need to access the websites.
At Software Solved we are proud to have supported clients with requests to build offline-capable apps, such as our cross-platform healthcare mobile app designed to help clinicians treat children by accessing critical diagnoses through the click of a few buttons. More recently we have been enhancing the feature set of an existing mobile app which optimises the efficiency of service engineers, by integrating with services such as device NFC (Near Field Communication), QR code scanning, and offline/online data synchronisation. The most common reasons why mobile apps often fail would be due to a negative user experience, failure to solve the problem, lack of having a clearly defined unique value proposition and not having a clear strategy towards development and rollout.
Here are eight considerations when looking into mobile app development:
1: Why do you want an App?
If you are looking for direct client communication at the touch of a button, then it’s worth considering what an app could offer your business. Is it to help speed up a sales process? Or maybe to open up better relationships with customers? It is important to consider if your current system will collaborate with an app too, or perhaps replace it. We strongly recommend a systems health check as a good start to your app investment.
2: Plan and define a unique value proposition (UVP)
Firstly, you need to consider the features you will be looking to utilise and what devices you plan the app to work on. These requirements should include screen sizes, gestures, search features and whether it be built for both Android and iOS.
We recommend creating and collaborating a storyboard to capture an idea of the journey your customers are going to take. This will help to make sure your app really does meet the needs of your customers alongside solving their problems.
3: Consider your audience
What is your audience looking to achieve? Could an app contribute to filling a gap in your industry? And what are the benefits of developing a mobile app as opposed to a traditional web or desktop-based application? It’s vital to establish you unique selling point and identify these requirements early on to enable a more streamlined end product.
4: Set some SMART goals
SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) will allow you to track how well the app is performing and that the objectives are being accomplished to impact positively on the business.
On top of this, you should measure how well your retention rate is, load speed, app diagnostics and usage information.
5: Native, Cross-Platform, or Wrapper
Native apps are created using a specific language such as Swift for iOS, or Java for Android. This style of development allows for the highest level of tailored development for each platform and allows for the greatest level of control over the user interface and app performance.
Alternatively, native cross-platform apps can be created by using popular frameworks such as Xamarin, which is a well-established product developed by Microsoft. Xamarin allows for mobile applications to be developed in one unified language (C#) and then compiled down to device-native instructions. This establishes the benefit of access to native device functions for both Android and iOS, such as integration with Apple/Google Pay, Face ID, and geo-location services, without having to rewrite and re-test separate codebases.
The decision on what route to take is important as it considers cost, time and how the users will respond to the app’s design and feature availability.
6: Agile Management
At Software Solved we recommend Agile methodology to get projects delivered. This enables the team to manage a project by breaking it up into several stages. It is performed in a constant cyclical process of planning, executing and evaluating until the project is completed. A dedicated Project Manager will organise meetings to discuss milestones for the app and give you regular updates. It is important to be involved in the development stages every step of the way and look at cost-effective approaches. Ideally, you need to be able to communicate seamlessly with the whole development team and evaluate progress at regular intervals, such as two-weekly sprint cycles.
7: Data security
Mobile apps often handle a lot of data, such as sensitive customer information. Decide how you protect both user and company data before you proceed with your app development and consider adopting industry standard approaches towards key activities such as user authentication and authorisation and data synchronisation.
8: Prepare questions for a technical partner
It’s important to choose and match with the right mobile app development team to ensure they have the correct, proficient skills and methods that offer an excellent working technical partnership. We recommend checking the below:
- Asking about their experience in building similar applications, do they have any case studies within your sector?
- Find out their development process
- What practices do they apply when building?
- What sort of maintenance and support do they offer after launch?
- What testing methods do they use?
- How will they be communicating with you both during development and after launch?