Mobile applications have become an eternal part of our lives.
Do you remember the last time you spent a day without opening a single app?
From communicating to shopping, a mobile app helps users perform many tasks in their day-to-day life. That is why mobile app downloads worldwide went to 204 billion in 2019. Source: Statista. And, this is the same reason why many entrepreneurs and business owners are investing in mobile apps. Last year (2019), worldwide mobile app revenue calculated was 462 billion US dollars. Source: Statista.
But, how to get started with mobile app development? What are the best practices that you should follow to ensure success?
Before we look into the mobile app development best practices, let’s understand why mobile apps are critical for businesses.
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How can Mobile Apps Help Businesses?
Mobile apps work as an effective communication tool for businesses. Here’s how businesses from different sectors can benefit from mobile apps:
Source of Information
Consumers can get information about your brand and products on mobile apps. Businesses can notify consumers through mobile apps and make sure every new update about the company is successfully delivered to the customers.
Mobile app development can help you improve the branding and reputation of your business with minimal effort. Companies can increase brand value in the market by offering excellent user experience and great features in their mobile apps.
Improved Customer Engagement
A mobile app is a great way to engage your customers and catch their attention. With regular notifications, businesses can make sure consumers do not forget about the brand.
Enhanced Customer Service
Providing excellent customer service is critical to every business out there. Companies can easily offer customer support services via mobile apps. You can offer real-time chat features in the mobile app so customers can directly chat with your support team and get the issues resolved quickly.
Every mobile application has customer data stored in it. This data can be beneficial for companies. Organizations can analyze customer behavior and collect valuable insights. The insights can be a great help in strategizing.
So, now that we know mobile apps can benefit businesses in many ways. Let’s take a look at the best practices to get started with mobile app development.
Best Mobile App Development Practices in 2020
Every industry giant nowadays has a corporate mobile application to serve employees and consumers. Developing a mobile app is always a good idea from various perspectives. But at the same time, it is essential to understand the minute details of every app development phase.
The mobile app development guide for business owners includes some of the top-rated practices. Let’s get started:
An In-depth Market Research
Conducting in-depth market research tops the list of mobile app development best practices. Businesses spend a handsome amount of time and other resources on designing and developing mobile apps. We don’t want you to invest in apps that offer no better solution to the end-users and prove to be a failure.
In-depth research includes two primary types; market research and consumer research.
What is the pain point of the consumer that your mobile app is going to solve?
What features should be added to the mobile app?
How many apps are present in stores that provide similar functions?
What are the current trends?
Every organization that has its mobile app offers excellent service through it. Businesses search for consumer’s pain points and try to deliver the solution in the form of apps. It can be access to information, online purchase options, online payment options, etc.
It is essential to understand the requirements, desires, and problems of end-users to offer the best solution. Once you identify the problems, businesses can offer a solution in the form of features of the app. The best practice is to list down issues and particular features.
No app idea is unique. Conduct research and find out all similar apps and study them. Learn what exclusive they are offering and examine every minute detail.
Understand current app development trends and make sure you follow those trends to stand firm in this fierce competition.
Chalk out the ideal buyer’s persona. Every marketer is aware of the term ‘buyer’s persona.’
What will be the age group of end-users?
What will be their qualifications?
What will be their designations?
What demography are we targeting?
What are their behavior patterns?
Are they tech-savvy?
Answers to these questions are going to get you a crystal clear idea about your audience, and you can use the data while developing the app.
Competitor analysis contributes to strategizing application development. Fetch out the number of potential competitors you have and download their applications. Make sure you study their app features, user experience, design, functions, and much more. Figure out their branding and marketing strategies.
By competitor analysis, we not only advise you to figure out their features but also note down their weak points. As a user, you will find one or many areas that need improvement. You can consider such points while developing your application.
The next in the mobile development checklist is selecting the right technology. You can develop Native apps for a single operating system at a time. If you have done your research correctly, you must have a clear idea of what most of your target audience operates; Android or iPhone?
The best part of native app development is that they are more intuitive and interactive. Since we develop Native apps for a specific platform, it makes them super fast and highly responsive. If you select native app development, you can surely enjoy the full benefits of the features of operating systems and software.
Hybrid apps resemble the functioning of web apps with the qualities of native apps. Hybrid apps are economically feasible and easy to develop. Similar to native apps, hybrid apps are super fast even when there is an ample amount of users. The most crucial benefit of hybrid apps is that they offer offline support. Also, hybrid apps are easy to integrate with other apps.
If your target audience uses all; iOS, Android, and Windows, then Cross-platform app development should be the right choice. These apps can run across many platforms.
Design plays an essential role in the success of any mobile app. 78% of e-commerce customers prefer using mobile applications rather than E-Commerce websites. The reason is- excellent designs and a great user interface. Source.
For the best application development practices, make sure your app design resembles your brand and reflects your brand identity.
For instance, Starbucks has a green and black colored logo. The mobile app developed by Starbucks uses these two colors primarily. The same applies to Domino’s Pizza. The moment you open the Domino’s Pizza application, you get a feel of Domino’s store. That happens because of a detailed design.
Anticipate user needs. Make sure the user finds what he is looking for. That too in a jiffy. The primary expectation of every user is the good pace of the app. Your heavy design should not limit the speed of the application.
Offer uniqueness. As the design is going to create the first impression on users, it should be beautiful, bold, and unique. Designing factors depend on your industry and end-users. For instance, if we are going to design a mobile app for a boutique, we should be using bright colors, stylish fonts, and vivid graphics.
Navigations should not be critical to grasp. Try to keep everything handy. The flow in every design plays a vital role. The design should motivate the user to navigate and explore the app.
Also, make sure the design is consistent throughout the app and does not vary from page to page.
While speaking of design, how can we forget to mention the importance of responsive designs? As the users can access the app from any possible device (smartphones or tablets) and any possible platform (iOS, Android, Windows), they must get smooth and equal user experience.
If you want to keep your users engaged for a long duration, you must provide them with the best user experience (UX). Make sure you design and customize your app as per the specifications of different devices, their resolutions, and their orientation.
Convenience is the primary factor that influences user experience. The app should offer ease to users while exploring and trying out every feature. It should not create any sort of ambiguities. As mentioned before, keep everything handy to deliver convenience.
Speed is another factor determining the quality of user experience. High pace performance contributes to user satisfaction. Hence, it is essential to eliminate the clutter to achieve high speed. Clutter is any unwanted feature that consumes space in the app. Focus more on decluttering if you are opting for cross-platform app development.
Add delightful features
There is a significant percentage of users who are familiar with the latest technology. 96% of generation Z already own a smartphone. Source.
Any app that offers technologies such as voice recognition, image recognition, augmented reality, virtual reality, etc. is already a hit. These technologies have created a great buzz in the market.
We recommend you integrate at least one of them into your application. An app that performs functions on voice commands can deliver an excellent user experience. 34% of marketers expect to have a voice application by the end of the year 2020. Source.
Let us assume that you are a car showroom company. You can use Augmented Reality that enables your users to have a close look inside the car before stepping into the showroom. You can use Virtual Reality to offer users a feel of drive in that particular car. Apps with such extraordinary features work great in brand building.
If you are going to sell your product via mobile apps, then Payment gateway integration is not delightful, but a must-have feature.
A chatbot is another excellent feature used to provide better customer support. Many apps perform as a medium to communicate with businesses. Users generally put their opinions, advice, and complaints using a chatbot. A single chatbot is capable of handling thousands of queries in a day. Artificial intelligence-driven chatbots are known for their human-like conversation skills. Such features can add considerable value to the app.
GPS is another essential feature. Location-based services are always on top of delightful features. This technology is used primarily by physical stores, restaurants, malls, etc.
McDonald’s, the burger giant, wanted to target late-night customers. To direct such customers to their stores that are open till late in the night, McDonald’s added a location-based technology into its restaurant finder app. The geo-targeting GPS feature notified customers about the open McDonald’s stores nearby in late nights. Source.
While offering a mobile app development guide for business owners, security is a must-involved practice. For every user, it is essential to know that the app they are using is secure enough. The secured app builds a sense of reliability.
Every business application will have user data stored in it. The data can be personal such as name, address, contact details, etc. Especially if you are going to enable payment options, the app will be storing the user’s bank details as well. Such data needs to be protected.
Fintech and healthcare applications require a special focus on security. Also, many apps ask for various permissions to access the gallery, contact list, messages, etc.
With every year passing, hackers are developing their skills to introduce new ransomware. Also, the black market of leaked data is a big issue. In such a scenario, pay great attention to security.
Encrypting data, using HTTPS, using GCM, using internal storage for sensitive data, etc. are some promising security measures to consider while developing an app.
If you have opted for agile methodology, then there is no need to worry about bugs and errors. The agile methods involve a continuous iteration of development and testing throughout the mobile app development cycle.
If not agile, then make sure you perform high-quality testing to identify every minute bug and error in the app.
By testing, we do not only restrict it to bug identification but also care for usability testing. Usability testing indicates the changes required to increase the usability rate.
Beta testing is another right way to make sure the app performs as per the requirement. In beta testing, organizations ask third parties to use the app and point out weak areas. It can be related to bugs, design, user interface, payment structure, etc. It is a good practice as it uncovers the issues overlooked by the in-house team.
Personalized services can be a great help in increasing brand loyalty. Businesses can offer coupons and discounts to app users to boost sales with a bonus of increased customer loyalty.
Starbucks, a cafe chain, developed an app that offers loyalty programs and exclusive deals to its customers through its mobile app. The app regularly delivers relevant messages and notifications to stay on top of the mind of its audience. The app also allows users to place an order online and pay for it. Source.
Such acts can become a great way of marketing, as well. Consumers tend to download apps that offer personalized services and coupons. Personalization increases the number of app downloads and ultimately improves the return on investment.
The final words
Every company executive should keep track of the best mobile app development practices for 2020. A mobile app with great features, eye-catchy design, smooth user experience, and timely updates can be a massive help in attracting prospects and retaining existing customers.