The dawn of the fourth industrial revolution has shifted various business workflows to mobile platforms. The increasing number of smartphone owners and the advent of BYOD work culture has made mobile app development a necessity for every business. Such apps extend multiple business operations to mobile platforms. Businesses can also implement features that are exclusive to mobile platforms. For instance, an AR-enabled enterprise app that can translate foreign languages for employees who go abroad for meetings.
Having a mobile app has several benefits for any organization, but mobile app development is a complex procedure. Multiple technicalities such as planning, budget allocation, development, testing, and reviews are involved in mobile app development. Poor mobile app development can result in the creation of ineffective applications and negatively impact user experience. Hence, business leaders must evaluate their mobile development projects using the following guidelines.
Before beginning the mobile app development process, business leaders must create an effective strategy. In the strategy, business leaders can plan for requirements such as resources, budget, front-end and back-end development time, and the number of programmers needed for various stages. Having an effective strategy prepares business leaders for various technicalities that are involved in mobile app development. With a strategy, business leaders can make informed-decisions at different stages of app development.
After deciding which app business owners want to create, developers and app designers must develop wireframes for their app. Wireframes are built upon the basic idea or spec of the app. Wireframes are the primary design aspect of any app. While developing wireframes, UX designers create a low fidelity mockup of the layout, navigation, different app sections, and the overall flow of the app. Designers can draw these wireframes and create digital copies through tools such as Photoshop or use premium online tools.
Wireframes help expose inconsistencies in navigation, counterintuitive app flows, and missing app sections from the app spec. Also, wireframes help developers and business leaders understand back-end requirements of the app. Based on app features, developers can plan for push notification services, various APIs, different databases, analytics tools, and user engagement tools. Developers can also understand whether the app can be built on a generic mobile backend or it needs to be built from scratch.
Once the wireframe for the app is developed, the next step would be creating a prototype. The prototype is the first look of the app. The prototype helps business leaders and stakeholders evaluate whether the app meets all the requirements. Developers can get approval for different design concepts, identify dead links, recognize flaws in the navigation and usability, and gather feedback about the app. Based on the collected feedback, developers and app designers can make necessary changes to app design and code.
For creating prototypes, developers can use free and premium online tools that convert wireframes to interactive apps or program a native prototype in their preferred coding language. Developers can decide the most suitable approach based on their app specifications and the size of their development teams. For apps that have more freedom in development aspects and a large team of developers, using an online tool can be beneficial as different iterations of the app can be quickly executed and easily shared. For apps with strict development constraints and smaller teams, directly coding the prototype is more feasible as it offers quicker turnaround and builds the final product from scratch.
After the prototype is approved, the app goes through multiple stages of development such as alpha phase, beta phase, and final release for different mobile platforms. In the alpha phase, the app can only perform core tasks and is extremely buggy. During the beta phase, majority of the proposed functionality is integrated into the app. Also, the app is tested at a basic level and bugs are fixed. The app can also be released to a select group of users for closed beta testing. After the bugs in beta stage are addressed, the final app is released to the users.
Mobile apps can be prone to several cyber threats. For example, a new android bug can allow hackers to attack phones with a malicious PNG image file. Such vulnerabilities are discovered every other week. Attackers can exploit these loopholes to remotely access any smartphone. Hence, businesses must implement effective security protocols for the safety of user data.
Organizations must secure all data that is exchanged among various devices and servers using encryption. Such end-to-end encryption will protect data from attackers who gain access to an organization’s or public network. Additionally, businesses can implement multi-factor authentication for restricting access to sensitive data.
Quality assurance procedures and tools are a necessity for successful mobile app development. Business leaders need to understand that quality assurance is a continuous process that is integral to the entire life cycle of mobile app development. For quality assurance, business leaders can hire a dedicated quality control team. A dedicated team can ensure that developers follow the planned process and the app is free from bugs or is launched with an approved list of known issues.
Quality assurance handles several aspects of mobile app development like security testing, performance testing, defect management, user acceptance testing, and accessibility testing. Quality control teams ensure that different testing procedures are carried out regularly and the bugs get squashed out as soon as possible. Quality assurance is essential for ensuring the stability of the mobile app and reducing maintenance costs.
After successfully developing any mobile app, developers have to ensure maintenance and provide support for mobile apps. Users may encounter several bugs and glitches that may slip through testing procedures. Also, testing apps for multiple OEMs and screen dimensions of various smartphones can be almost impossible. Hence, users may find various bugs in mobile apps on different OEMs. Developers must collect bug reports, review them, and provide support for bugs.
Operating systems such as iOS and Android release major software updates every year. These updates include several under-the-hood and design changes. Hence, developers have to integrate these updates to their apps to adapt to newer versions of every OS. Also, developers have to release frequent updates to fix security loopholes.
Looking at multiple intricacies that are involved, business leaders hire an in-house team or allocate mobile app development to their IT teams. However, an in-house team is an additional expense for most SMBs and IT teams can be unable to manage mobile app development along with their core tasks. Hence, outsourcing mobile app development is the most feasible solution. Businesses can reach out to Digital Fractal in Edmonton for mobile app development.