Catching the attention of customers is a tough nut to crack in the ever-increasing competition of the tech world. The market is highly competitive and therefore big companies and start-ups are always looking for different means to keep their services and products engaging. Both web applications and mobile applications have their own perks and have a set target audience depending on their purpose. Odds are you would not be able to find a secret recipe to determine the success of your web application or mobile application in the market because there are none. It is crucial to understand the entire process of developing an application. In this article we will discuss some of the important tips and techniques many companies and experienced developers use to move in the right direction.
Building Web applications, the right way
Why would you want to build a web application in the first place?
Compared to mobile applications, users prefer going over to a website to fetch information they are looking for. The internet traffic is slightly more inclined towards web sites rather than mobile applications. And web visitors use their phones more often to browse the web. The world is moving to the Internet very quickly and we have seen businesses move pretty quickly in the past few years. As businesses are moving to the web, those who can innovate quickly, and cost-effectively will definitely have a competitive advantage over others.
The issue here is simple; web application development is a complex process. It requires knowledge in a wide range of fields such as UI design, Backend Tools, Front End Frameworks, Responsiveness, Security, Deployment, Scalability, Tests, and so on. In order to efficiently get started, here are a few tips:
Have Clear Specifications
Whether you are an individual developer or a team, you need to have clear specifications on what you are building. This applies to every software development process and not just web applications. Some businesses directly get into the development phase with a rough idea rather than creating a requirement specification that can be used by a developer to be clear with his/her goal. Not having to do so is a clear waste of time and money.
Select the right set of tools
After getting a clear idea of the project your team will be working on, they should also be aware of the tools they will be using to build and maintain the web application project. If the web application is to be built from scratch, there will be a lot of things to consider such as:
- Choosing a backend programming language
- Selecting the right framework
- Selecting the right code editor/ IDE
- Finding some cool design tools
- Selecting the best Automated Testing Software
- Keeping browser compatibility in mind i.e. to target only popular browsers or to keep everyone in the loop
- And do not forget Analytics
Keeping the broader audience in mind, Mobile Responsive Design is a must
The increase in the number of smartphones has also increased the number of people who access the internet. And thus, the web application you are creating will also be accessed via mobile devices and you simply cannot ignore the population. Depending on the requirements, target population, budget, and flexibility it is up to the company to decide whether they want a mobile responsive layout for their web application, or they want a native mobile app.
Building Mobile applications, the right way
Why would you want to build a mobile application?
People do prefer going to a website for fetching information as search engines like Google return set of URLs for websites but that does not mean mobile applications are not popular. In fact, most people spend more time on their phones than PCs. Mobile applications provide better-personalized user experience as they make use of the already existing features such as the camera, microphone, GPS, accelerometer, compass. People install social media, booking services, and gaming applications more on their personal devices. If your product falls in one of these categories, you should consider having a mobile application as well along with a website.
As with web applications or any other software product, building mobile applications too needs a well laid out plan that involves, creating clear specifications, picking the right set of tools, considering the budget and target audiences. Along with that here are some other tips to keep in mind while starting to build mobile applications:
Choose the right platform
These days hybrid apps are on the rise. Frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, Ionic can be used to create mobile applications that can target both Android and IOS platforms. This saves a lot of time and money compared to native apps built using Swift and Java. Although frameworks like React Native can do a lot of stuff and help in creating a good mobile application, you cannot leverage many features that are platform-specific for mobiles and also if an app requires complex UI or sophisticated animations then choosing Java for Android or Swift for IOS is better.
Start with essential features
Unless you have a huge budget, do not try to create a fully-featured mega application at once for the first version. Instead determining the essential feature that can lead to revenue generation is a better choice. The subsequent version can be rolled out with other features in the future by analysing how users use the app and the features they are aspiring for the app to have.
Keep the flow simple
Generally, the best apps do one thing and they do it well. Users do not want to keep on tapping on the phone to get a task done. Applications such as Instagram provide a very simple interface and it is very easy to post images and videos on its platform. The application you and your team are working on should follow the “Keep it Simple” principle to optimize the user experience.
Last But not the least, Follow an SDLC methodology
Almost all software development methodologies include planning, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation, and support phase. All these phases are included in the common development methodologies namely, Waterfall, RAD, and Agile. Agile methodology is quite popular when building large applications. The project is broken down into several phases of development called sprints. This ensures the creation of properly planned out feature development phases. Every company uses a way for the teams to accomplish a task efficiently. If the current methodologies do not satisfy your workflow, you can create your own!
When building applications, trade-offs are always there, and one has to choose one over the other. For example, if you are thinking of creating a web application, you would also want to target the population that uses mobile phones. Now, you may choose to create a web application that is mobile-friendly or decide to have a separate mobile application. The constraints here can be budget and time. You will also need a separate workforce for mobile development if you choose to create a mobile application as well. Choosing to develop a mobile application can lead to more trade-offs in terms of choosing a hybrid version, native version, or maybe a Progressive Web App (PWAs). PWAs are web apps that give users an app-like experience. So, trade-offs are everywhere and it is up to you to decide what suits best for you and your team.