Software Dev Tips: 7 Points to Consider Before Creating a Mobile App
You have a great idea to create the most awesome app in the world. You are excited and ready to start creating it. Well, before you go any further, there’s a few things you must consider and it doesn’t matter if you are a big company or just an adventurer of mobile development.
From the idea to reality
Here are seven of the most important points to take into consideration for the creation of a mobile app.
1. Define your target market: First of all “everyone” is not an answer, you must really identify who’s the final user of your app. You can classified them by age, range, social status, hobbies, etc. (point no. 2 could help you to define it) Of course you still can aim to a bigger audience if you want but there's also bigger risks.
2. Choose your platform: This is the most important decision you will ever make, there are plenty of options and again “all” is not the answer, at the moment Android and iOS are very popular, but that doesn’t mean you must go for them.
Consider that all the features you want in the app may not be available in every platform and not all platforms are use by your final users. This decision will save you time, effort and money.
~ Phones are not the same as Tablets: They have different resolution, performance and UX.
~ Screen sizes matters: Most common ones are 640 x 480, 480 x 800, 1280 x 768, so this means you will need a designer to create the UI for each one.
3. Prepare the environment: An app could need something extra to work to it’s full potential. You must take into consideration if you are making a standalone app or a mobile frontend for a service you want to provide.
That means you may end up needing a server that should support the traffic of your target market and someone to develop the web services, which may take a considerable amount of time.
If you’re going to work pulling data from the WS, use JSON file format in your responses, it’s more friendly for mobile devices.
4. Limit your scope: Have you ever heard about Updates? You can use them to enhance the app, fix bugs, add features or even just to change the app icon.
This means you can publish an app with only the most “basic” functionality and select the features you want for version 1, 2, 3 and so. Don’t rush and try to put everything the app can do in the first delivery.
That will not only help you to have time to improvise new features at long term but also the user get the feeling that they are receiving a new product without extra cost, with each new version release.
In the other hand, constant reviews and updates could help you to keep the users happy and satisfied preventing them from deleting your app due to undetected bugs. An app that crashes means the end.
5. Go for one technology: Native languages (Java, Objective C, C#) are the most obvious answer, but there are also others options that you can use. There are cross platforms like Appcelerator Titanium and IBM WorkLight which can create apps for more than one platform with the same code, giving you the opportunity to reach more users in less time (and less money)
6. Think about UI/UX: Nowadays users lookup for the most easy to use and friendly apps that looks awesome in their new expensive smartphones. So, you should have a great design for your app.
Tech Recommendation: For more useful information about UI/UX design follow the steps for good mobile ui design, how to design good mobile ui
But remember, do NOT use the UI/UX from one platform to another, users hate when they have an iOS device and the app look and feel like an Android one (some developers as well)
7. Testing: Remember when we talked about target market & platforms? Well, it all comes to testing. Your app may work perfectly in your phone, but you must invest in testing it on many devices as possible. Some devices or OS versions can make your app not to function as you were expected and guess who is paying the consequences? That's right... The users.
The user could and will review/rate your app and there's no better or worse publicity than the given by the users or what is called mouth to mouth. You definitely don’t want to have a bad reputation with the users. So keep testing you app to prevent crashes.
As you can see it’s not as simple to go from the “napkin” sketch to the final product and ending up with the final app if you hadn't considered any of the above points. Creating a mobile app is like any other TI project, it needs planning, resources and time. So be patience and the result would be extraordinary.
About the Author
Victor Medina is a Software engineer with three years of experience in his own Starup company and more than two years of experience in mobile development and tech advisor.