Mobile app development is an integral part of many businesses. People are using apps to deliver coupons, retain customers via loyalty programs, deliver directions, and schedule meetings or talk with a healthcare provider. With a flood of mobile app inventions comes a need to deliver on best practices.
Best practices in mobile app development keep things looking new and shiny. They help designers work within parameters that make sense to customers. They are also a way to keep apps running at optimal speed on the user end and on the back end.
Here are some of the top tips and best practices for mobile app development.
Android or iOS?
Decide this early, because the processes are drastically different for each. You don’t want to get halfway down the road of design only to have to turn back and start over. When estimating the cost of your app, you need to already decide whether you’d go native or cross-platform.
Make Navigation Easy
Perhaps the most important element of app design, easy navigation is easier said than done. Everyone is at a different level of internet fluency when it comes to modern buttons and diagrams. Making sure that your navigation is easy to understand requires quite a bit of user testing.
Research Before Design
With easy navigation as a goal, your app needs a lot of research upfront. Defining the target audience, the function or functions of the app, and some basic business analysis including your budget for the app are priorities. You must make sure that you have a function that aligns with your target audience. You must also make sure that your app doesn’t provide too close of service to another app.
Nail the Technology
There are several ways to build apps. They can be hybrid, native, cross-platform, or web-based. You need to address how the app will be used to decide how to build it. Your ultimate goal is a fast app that works well across the devices that will implement it.
Design for the Distracted Customer
People tend to use apps during their downtime. They might be on the subway, squeezing in a few appointment schedules before that big meeting, or on their way to dinner. They will use the app, stop to get on the bus, get distracted by a conversation, and pick the app back up 15 minutes later. They might have to stop shopping to help their child or cook dinner. The garage door could get stuck. Whatever the interruption is, your app should be waiting for them when they get back.
Put the Design at the Forefront
It’s easy to get lost on the technical details while you develop your app. Most people tend to have more developers than designers. Plus, there’s a ton of capability within apps that don’t necessarily have special designs to go with them.
But keeping in mind that we live in a visual culture, you should keep the design a priority. It’s one of the most important ways to deliver customer experience. It is also one of the largest differentiators for your app.
Never Give Up on Testing
Testing should be done rigorously and continually when it comes to apps. It’s tempting to skip it, especially when you’re really confident. But remember that you are targeting a large group of people as users for your app. They can come with varying skill levels and consumer tastes.
When you test, you get a little bit more insight into the mind of the consumer. You want to continually develop and design with them in mind.
Debug Like a Fiend
When we deploy, we usually feel like we have caught all the bugs. But don’t just trust your gut! Always debug, debug, and debug some more. A really efficient, fast app that integrates seamless design and UX takes a lot of debugging.
Keep UI Straightforward
Make sure that your user interface performs the way it seems like it should based on the images and shapes involved. Don’t confuse your audience. Now is not the time for subtlety or overly complex graphics.
Keep the Fist Thing First
You can really go down rabbit holes with fancy code. But bear in mind that your app has priorities. List these out at the start of development, and don’t sacrifice functionality on these core items for a cool trick later down the road. You ultimately want a very fast app with a powerful core.
App Store Guidelines Are Your Friend
People at the app store know what is selling. Use their guidelines to your advantage. Stick with the guidelines for whichever type of app you chose so that you can optimize for important things like convenience and accessibility.
Accessibility Is Key
For the able, accessibility can be an afterthought. But remember how many more customers you will get if you include accessibility features like voice search. Not only is it a sound business decision, but accessibility is also part of being ultra-modern.
When it’s all said and done, you want your app to be polished. Above all, you want it to flow well and be fast. Design for the user in mind. Keep testing both your code and its user interface. Don’t quit on the details until you’ve got it right.
These best practices are the steps to make sure that your app is “adoptable”. An adoptable app is one that feels like a regular part of the consumer’s day. It should be stress-free. Ultimately, your bug-free and well-designed app will provide a service to the consumer that they can’t or won’t want to do without. When you’ve got users, there are multiple ways to make money with your app.