The app revolution is growing rapidly with no signs of slowing down. Across the globe, businesses have realized the value of mobile application development in order to serve customers and gain a competitive edge. Only a good mobile application interacts efficiently with end-users and helps in achieving business goals. But what are those important elements of good mobile application which make it better the rest? In developing a successful mobile application for your business you need to understand several key elements:
- Strategy – All the reasons why the application is being developed and how it will benefit the users.
- Design – How the application will look, feel and play with its users? Will it be easy to manage?
- Development – The steps involved in making the application a reality. This should be laid out with project timelines, milestones and timeframes.
- Marketing – Planning those networks and channels to be pursued by developers will ensure the application can be sold as a product.
- Maintenance – Your idea is precious, but never let it grow tired or dull. It is always necessary to upgrade even the most extraordinary applications, there is always room for improvement.
B- Must-Haves of a Successful Mobile Application
1- UI and UX
Have you ever been using an application with the information you needed at that moment but had to wait what seemed like forever before all the details and multimedia were loaded? Have you ever been filling out a form and been forced to re-start from scratch just because you entered an invalid phone number? These experiences are all too common and very annoying. However, it is not always the application itself that is bad, it is often the result of a neglected User Experience (UX) design.
A well designed UX is critical, it defines the user’s attitudes and behaviors. Effective UX design development is imperative in engaging end users and triggering emotional or transactional response. The main motive of a mobile application is to fulfill key objectives for brand-building, reputation, revenue generation and traffic. For achieving commercial goals, user experience design requires detailed qualitative feedback for stimulating emotional response.
If you are in a start-up business and competitors are circling like sharks in the water, UX can be the difference maker and allow you to stand out in the crowd. Let’s assume you are offering an email service or a chat messenger. With thousands of competitors offering similar features, your application can win the hearts of consumers with better, simple and comfortable design.
In this sea of sharks, you need protection, a team of dolphins proficient in handling your business and keeping your boat afloat. Metaphors aside, a team of dedicated UI/UX designers will help you to ensure the best user experience, a big competitive advantage. Also, remember the user experience is not something which should be forgotten about once done.
2- Mobile app architecture
Proper mobile app architecture is important to facilitate rapid development of mobile apps which provide suitable levels of integration with existing systems of record. It also incorporates services which enhance the functionality of the applications. The end users can expect fast downloads, rapid responses, installations, simplified interactions, fast screen transitions and much more. These issues are properly addressed with a well-structured mobile architecture. Enterprise mobile applications are always deployed on cloud services or web servers depending on the connectivity, network latency for quick accessibility and bandwidth. Good mobile architecture ensures all this in advance.
Selection of the right platforms, tools, and technologies ensures the reusability of code for rapid development. This shortens the development cycle of the mobile application architecture in order to design components and interfaces.
A great mobile app architecture helps in reducing the effort for developers so they can implement the changes in an environment, policies of a business, market etc. A good mobile app architecture will ensure the portability of applications, databases, services, APIs, and components. This should be decided well in advance so that the basics of the application remain intact with the changed technical environment and with the change and advent of technologies.
Also, a mobile application comprises several components and modules for various functionalities and therefore needs a thorough testing in order to ensure a better, more consistent performance. A scalable and robust application architecture fixes all the testing issues in advance and therefore enhances the testability in the development process.
3- Business Process
So, now that you have decided to build a mobile solution, step back and consider these points:
- If a majority of your business will be coming from a website, consider developing a mobile website that can run on all kinds of handheld devices instead of a mobile application.
- If your application idea will not require an internet connection, developing a mobile application makes more sense.
- If your application requires a GPS, client integration or mail, building a native application is a better option.
Taking into consideration the business objective should be the primary goal of technology consultants. Take considerable time and effort to gauge the real objective behind creating a mobile application before you actually start developing it. Though we all know that mobile application will surely boost your business, it is imperative to first understand if it is needed at all. Just because other businesses are joining this race, it does not necessarily mean that you have to as well.
4- Agile Approach
Choosing an agile methodology is important for technology consultants especially if your clients are start-ups. Start-ups are typically new in the mobile app development market and therefore require consultation at every step. Interacting with peers and discussing on-going projects is a daily requirement for start-ups. Tracking project work and team schedule gives a sense of belonging with the clear sense of responsibility.
Breaking down functional requirements into user stories which in turn becomes the foundation of the application development schedule in an essential part of the development process using agile methodology. Agile methodology helps in breaking down a large project into smaller, more manageable chunks. In agile development there is constant communication, eliminating bottlenecks in cross-functional teams.
5- Costing And Budgeting
Budgeting is an element of the mobile app development that cannot be ignored. It is a key part of every aspect of the process, from product development to monetization of the application.
Proficient application developers attempt to break down the business plan into the most crucial steps while creating the budget for your mobile application. Some questions are difficult for companies new to this domain like, ‘How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?’ ‘What are the basic cost drivers? Of course, there are many factors that determine your total mobile app development cost but hiring experienced mobile app developers can help you in getting through this ordeal.
Michael Riley, Co-founder of Boxter says that building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a key to success for them. He adds that developing the bare minimum to validate an app idea is a fraction of the typical cost and gives you authentic and valuable feedback sooner. Such lean startup methodology can be used in any size project or company. This eliminates the prospect of a massive failure and huge financial losses.
6- App Review Guidelines
When you’re done with the process of designing, development, and testing, it is time to launch your mobile application to the market. Whether it is iTunes, Google’s Play Store or any other marketing/publishing store, there are a stringent set of guidelines which every application developer must follow. Getting your mobile app published on Appstore is often a daunting task which is both complex and frustrating but it cannot be ignored. Continuously testing your application and keeping it updated on the platform can help you in avoiding annoying pitfalls which may lead to an application’s rejection. In some cases application review guidelines can be laid out to simplify the entire process:
- 1. Understand Your Customer And Competitors: Understanding your customers and competitors is highly important, therefore a well-framed ASO strategy is very important in understanding how your customers are using your application.
- 2. Naming Convention: Coming up with a unique and apt name for your application is also an important part of the branding process. For best results include relevant keywords within your title so you show up in app store search results.
- 3. Compelling Description: With strategically placed keywords, the application description should be targeted towards customer base rather than just search engine index. Describe precisely and in simple language what your application does. List out the unique benefits it offers and also compels readers to download the application. With the exception of a few of the aforementioned strategically placed keywords, your app’s description should be targeted toward your customer base, rather than a search engine index. Application description should include a call-to-action for consumers. Describe what it does in simple and concise language, list the unique benefits it offers, and compel the reader to download it.
- 4. Unique Icon: First impression is the last impression. Your potential customers browse a seemingly endless list of apps, thus your visual icon should create a strong first impression, make it count. The app icon guidelines differ from every store. They have preset standards.
When approaching your icon design, it’s important to note that the App Store and Google Play vary in their approach to, and rendering of, app icons. Both iTunes and Google Play Stores have preset standards with parameters like ideal size, color scheme of app icons and geometry.
Therefore, a successful ASO strategy is not only required but an essential element which requires a keen eye, regular check-ins and strong inclination for analytics. Manage wisely how much to invest in this.
C- Brainstorming Session
Now that we have dissected the essential elements of a successful mobile application, we’d like to know your thoughts. What are some other important elements that you think have contributed to the success of mobile applications? Has your idea of mobile app development been benefitted with the above mentioned important factors and how?
References: panaceatek, rapidops, gartner, texodesign, sourcebits, mrc-productivity, moontechnolabs, erminesoft, openxcell, contractiq, kaysharbor, addonsolutions, appvirality, mindorks, codewithchris, moz, apps-builder