February 25, 2022
Smartphones have truly become extensions of both our personal and professional lives. Without them, we would be lost. But much more than for texting and sending emails, we are highly dependent upon mobile apps. While they are certainly advantageous to use, the process of creating and developing a mobile app from scratch can be time consuming.
There are many mistakes that can be made along the road to developing an app. This article focuses upon some of the top ones.
The first serious thought and consideration when creating an app should be, “Is there really a business need for it?”. Sure, we all get hung up by all of the big buzzwords that are out there, and from that, the motivation for creating something new to stay ahead of the competition will often spark new ideas. But, in this regard, it is very important that you think in the long term. As mentioned, creating a mobile app can take not only a lot of time, but it can be expensive also. So it would perhaps be the best choice to conduct a benefit versus cost analysis. It does not have to be super complicated, you just need to figure out what your expenses could be, and the projected revenue. From there, then pick a time frame in which you want to start reaping a Return On Investment (ROI). You have to be objective so that you can create some real, hard numbers. When you have done this, run it by a few people for their input to make that the numbers are realistic. But even before you do this, first test market your idea with some of your close friends and/or clients and get their feedback. This is just another way of doing some simple market research.
If you are developing a mobile app for a client, there must be crystal clear expectations as to what is required from both sides. In this regard, you should probably have a series of meetings to clearly communicate and confirm what the needs of your client are, and the timeline of when you plan to complete it and hand it over to them. After this has been accomplished, then create a detailed project proposal, which states the timeframe for completion, what the expectations of the client are, and of course the projected budget. Once all parties agree to this document, then it is important for everybody to sign off on it to make sure all are on the same page. It is important to keep in mind that mobile app development is not just a technical process, but a creative one as well. So, if possible, create mock-ups so that your client can also have a visual grasp of what they will be receiving. Of course, clients can always change their minds about things whenever they want to, so it is equally important to keep them informed of the mobile app development process throughout its entire lifecycle. In other words, keep an open line of communications with the client. You don’t ever want to create something, and have the whole thing rejected right at the very end.
Either in yours or your client’s excitement to get something going, there can be a tendency to put in too many bells and whistles. While it is great that you want to go for that extra mile for your client, keep in mind that too much of a good thing can also be bad as well. For example, if the mobile app has too much, it can become bloated or slow, and worse yet, it risks damaging the user experience. Remember, mobile apps that are “lightweight” work best in the end. Most importantly, it will be easy and very quick for your client to deploy and use, which they will appreciate very much in the end.
As you develop your app, you need to make sure that it will be compatible across all technological platforms, most notably for that of both Android and the iOS. But apart from this, you also need to make sure that it is easily accessible from other types of wireless devices as well. Thus, you need to ask your client in your requirement gathering sessions about this. This is also where the concepts of both the User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) come into critical play. Whatever you create, you have to make sure that the overall design of the app makes sense for your client, and that it is easy to navigate throughout. Most importantly, it should have the same look and feel across all of the technological platforms in which it will be deployed. In fact, poor UI/UX design is a chief reason why people discard their mobile apps.
It is absolutely crucial that you test your mobile app (and also its source code) from the standpoint of Cybersecurity, in order to make sure that all backdoors, weaknesses and vulnerabilities are unearthed before you send it off to your client. One of the best ways to do this is to conduct a Penetration Testing exercise. Do this security testing at each phase of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), as each module is completed. If you make use of open source API libraries, make sure that you test these in a sandboxed environment as well. Remember, if you deliver an app to a client that has not been tested and gets hacked into, you and your company could be financially liable for any or all damages!