The importance of having a mobile app servicing your business can’t be overestimated today. You already have an app in your smartphone for pretty much everything, like your health, sports, leisure, education, time-management, travelling, music, hobbies … you name it.
It’s getting very common to have a mobile app for minor and more complex assignments. A recent trend shows a rather minimalistic approach to what an app should comprise of. Many startups develop an app, providing one simple function, for example some sort of rating, or exchange service, or matchmaking, whatever. Others prefer more features.
Assuming that you already have an understanding of which problem your app will solve, take time to answer these questions before getting to the development stage of your startup.
1️⃣ How my mobile app should behave and look?
At the initial stage of mobile app development, think about the key concepts of your app. In other words, you need to create a flow of your app, taking you from the login to the features that your app offers. You will need to discuss various cases of your app behavior. Wireframes can be of great help, as they show the possible outlines of the app screens.
After you approve the flow for the first iteration of the app development, you can merge the wireframes with graphic design to get the feeling whether it’s appealing to your audience, intuitive and simple to use.
Having mockups together with documents describing user stories would help you make sure you don’t miss anything and do first things first.
2️⃣ What technology should I use to build a mobile app?
Depending on your business goals, your target audience, and possibly some other factors, there are several options available.
In most cases, your users have either iOS or Android devices. One of the options is to build an app, using native technology of iOS (Objective-C/Swift), or Android (Java). In that case you will have separate codebases for iOS and Android app. Two codebases mean that you will need two teams of developers to build the apps, and you will have to maintain two apps. The supporters of native technology usually claim better performance; however, this reasoning is no longer valid, as the hybrid technologies have greatly evolved.
Alternatively, you can build one app for both iOS and Android devices using hybrid technology, like Apache Cordova, React Native, or Xamarin, etc. If you choose a hybrid technology, it will facilitate the management process of your app development and maintenance.
There have been lots of debates as to which is better, native or hybrid. In our opinion, it’s more efficient to opt for hybrid, as you will save time and budget.
3️⃣ What bulk of code is behind the mobile app?
If you want to build a mobile app, you should know what exactly your software developers will be working on.
The mobile app itself represents your product. It can be referred to as a frontend part of the functionality that you provide. And, of course, it is necessary to focus on the features you want your app to have. However, in most cases your app will have some dynamic content that needs to be managed. The easiest way to do this is to create a web portal. Here you will be able to add, change and remove the content, when needed. The portal can also provide the features like, moderation of user content, approval of new users, collecting and analyzing some statistics, etc.
The older and less effective way to manage your app content would be to have a software developer make ongoing changes in the codebase. The web portal helps you manage your app without intervening in the code, and without a degree in Computer Science.
The backend part of your application is used to perform different logics, store data, integrate various services, etc. The backend infrastructure is very important, as the mobile app users might create quite a load. You need to make sure right away that the API is flexible to be used both for a mobile app and web portal.
Hence, we have three blocks of development: mobile app (frontend), web portal, and backend part. Having this in mind will give you a better understanding of what team is necessary to do your project.
4️⃣ How do I ensure that my mobile app is well suited for the needs of the target audience?
Along with software developers, a great deal of work is done by QA engineers. They resemble your future users and will give you first feedback. QA engineers will test your mobile app against the mockups and user stories, prepared prior to the development stage.
However, you should also be ready to test your app yourself and with your focus group.
Another good way to have some early feedback from the audience is to integrate analytics services. In order to see, who is using your app, what content is more appealing to your users, and some other statistics, you can use certain external services, like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, etc. The data, provided by these services, will help you make informed decisions as to further iterations of your product.
Bonus tip. Make sure you have a marketing strategy up your sleeve. In real life, even some minimalistic apps can attract a huge number of users. You need to know your audience, their location, preferences, needs and wants, their struggles and issues, and then, you should choose good timing and place to offer them a remedy for their pain.
This is not an exhaustive to-do list, when you’re thinking about launching your startup. We do hope, though, that it will make your life easier and turn the whole thing into a new and exciting adventure.
Please, contact us at Bitcom Systems, for advice on mobile apps development.