In this day and age of technological advancement, having a mobile app for your small business has become more of a necessity than a luxury. Studies show that people spend more than half their time on mobile apps when consuming digital media.
Studies have also shown that smartphone users spend most of their time on their mobile apps, and on average a user has almost 30 apps installed on their smartphone, on which they spend more than 35 hours a month.
Also, consumers prefer a native mobile app for a business to a mobile website. This is why having a mobile app for your business has become the need of the hour.
Here is a quick breakdown of what mobile app development is, how it can help your business grow, and an easy guide to mobile app development.
What is Mobile App Development?
Mobile app development is creating software for a particular business that runs on smartphones and makes use of the smartphone’s unique features. Developers can create native apps, HTML5 apps, or hybrid apps.
With the advent and increasing popularity of smartphones, having a mobile app for any business, regardless of how small or big it is, has become extremely important. Mobile app development is quickly becoming a popular method of software development.
Increasingly, businesses and industries are jumping into this bandwagon and creating and investing in their own custom apps. Customers, too, are moving away from the desktop webpage to finding app usage more convenient.
The Purpose of Mobile apps
The success of a mobile app depends on having a clear idea of what services you intend to offer through your app and then targeting the designated audience who might benefit from your app.
An app with custom built-in features improves efficiency and ease for the customer. One app can perform many functions, thus doing away with the need for multiple platforms for your business.
By building a custom app for your business, you can take full control of your business ventures and avoid the risk of using a third-party app. In the case of a third-party app, the app developer controls every aspect of it, and you have little control over the safety and security of your customers.
When you have a custom app for your business, you can interact with your customers better, send them personalised notifications and updates regarding your services, and ask for their feedback. This will help build long-term and trustworthy relationships with your clients.
Having a custom app also allows you to sync all your work with your desktop and work hassle-free on the go. You don’t have to worry about carrying hefty documents or opening your website in potentially unsafe public locations when you can access everything on the app.
Types of mobile applications
Mobile languages, like desktop software, can be developed using a wide range of programming languages. Earlier, mobile apps had to be developed natively to ensure their optimal performance. This means that to be supported by a device, a new code had to be written specifically for that device. However, with technological advancement, this has been done away with.
Native Apps: These are apps that are developed for either Android or ios, with the languages and software supported by these platforms. Android supports Eclipse and Java, while ios support Xcode and Objective-C. These apps can fully utilize a device’s specific features. However, they are costly and time-consuming to develop, and not suitable for every type of business.
Hybrid Apps: These apps are developed in the native system, but can embed HTML5 technology within it. This makes them more convenient and allows them to use both technologies.
The process of Mobile App Development
The first thing to consider while developing a mobile app is the cost of building and then maintaining it. On average, it takes about $5000 and can go up to $15000 to initially develop the app. You will also incur some extra charges to maintain the app.
Regularly updating and fixing bugs in the app is very important, as not doing so can risk the safety and security of your customers and cause a cybersecurity issue. Also, your app can get delisted if you do not update it once Android or ios releases a new OS update.
Now that you have the costs and logistics figured out, you can start developing your custom app.
The app development process can be roughly broken down into six steps, and keeping these steps in mind will help you achieve your end goal more efficiently.
our target audience, and design your app accordingly. Ask these questions while brainstorming with your team: Who is the app trying to target and why? What are the non-negotiable features of your app, and which ones can be later introduced or added? What is your app trying to do? Will it be a problem-solving app, an app designed to entertain, or does it fall into any other category? Step 1: The idea behind the app: It is important to understand the choices and preferences of y
Also, consider the apps already available on the Appstore that can act as potential competitors. What are their features? Why do customers choose them over other apps and avail their services? What features can you incorporate into your app if you wish to compete with them and stand out in the market? These are some questions to ask while creating your app.
Step 2: Designing your app: The next step is to design the interface of your app. You must keep customer ease and satisfaction in mind when designing the interface of your app. It is key to your app’s success. To do this, you must understand the concept of user experience and user interface.
User experience entails everything from usability to app performance to accessibility. It is the emotional response of a customer when they first use your app, and whether they find it easy or difficult to navigate through it.
The user interface is how your app looks and feels to the customers. App developers use the latest templates and trendiest designs to make their app stand out in the market.
Developers will usually wireframe their design before actually designing it. This means they will digitally sketch out the design before actually developing it.
Step 3: Developing the app: This is the step to code for your app and then start the trial run. This usually includes three integral technologies-
- Mobile backend server technology
- Application Programming Interface
- Frontend development
The frontend part is what the user will see when they navigate your app. The backend part is used to securely store the user’s data. Storing the user id and password, messaging and other data happen in the backend. Apps like a calculator and a voice recorder do not need a backend. However, apps like Amazon and Netflix do require a backend.
The next step is mobile frontend development. This is what customers will see, and it usually has a mixed technology of backend and APIs.
Step 4: Testing your app: This step is crucial as it will help you pinpoint and eliminate the malfunctioning parts of your app. The stability, reliability and usability of the app depend on this step. Testing can be divided into two parts, manual testing, and automated testing. Some different testing methods include:
- Functional Testing: This is to test out whether the app is performing optimally. This step tests out the features of the app, fields and parameters, and any other interruptions in the app.
- Performance Testing: Your app should be able to perform its functions under varying degrees of load. This includes volume testing (to check if the app is performing under high load), load testing (to check if the app is performing under normal and heavy load) and stability testing (to test if the app is stable under varying conditions). The battery, too, needs to be tested, to check if there is a memory leak or battery draining problem.
- User Experience and Interface Testing: This is to test if customers are facing any difficulty navigating the app, and how the design and interface look and feels.
- Documentation Testing: This is to rule out any discrepancy between the design of the app on paper and its actual development. This also includes testing out the screen layouts.
- Configuration Testing: This is to ensure that your app is compatible with all devices. This step is to test out whether your app configures securely across device databases.
Once you have tested out all the features of your app and checked out whether your app is functioning optimally, you are ready to launch your app.
Step 5: Launching and marketing the app: Following the guidelines, you can now launch your app in marketplaces like Apple App Store and Google Play.
Mobile apps have become the most-demanding applications beating websites nowadays. This is why a step-by-step process is required to follow. iTechnolabs is a Mobile app development company specializing in Cross platform app development such as React native and Flutter for building android and iOS app development.