Vikram Takru is the CEO and co-founder of KloudGin, working to create transformative field service and asset management technology.
When it comes to mobile application development, there are many aspects that should be considered. First, let’s talk about the development process in general. It has become increasingly important to adopt a mobile development process that delivers an opportunity for continuous improvement and innovation.
There are many options available for software development methodology: waterfall, rapid application, agile, DevOps and others. Each has its pros and cons, but this article is not intended to define or suggest the best method. The point is that you must put a methodology in place to efficiently manage the development life cycle. Pick the one that will work best for the project at hand and commit to it.
Depending on the application, the industry and the audience served, the most important aspect may vary; however, here are five considerations that should always be top of mind.
1. User experience: Your mobile strategy has to live and breathe by how users are going to interact with and use your app. It has to be user-friendly, intuitive and engaging. In order for your app to be developed and optimized for “user and real-life experience,” collaborate with your end users and target audience to understand their needs and how the app will actually be used. Make sure your app is faster and easier to work with when users are outside of the traditional office setting.
2. Security: As the world pivots more and more into the “connectivity everywhere” era, mobile apps should not be excluded from your company’s cybersecurity strategy. Apps can contain sensitive data such as credit card numbers, information related to health, etc. Mobile apps are usually installed on smartphones or tablets, the protection of which can sometimes be overlooked. It has therefore become more critical to secure both the device as well as the data and apps installed on the device. As the development of your mobile app unfolds, make sure to consider a “security by design” approach, which simply means to integrate the security component at the time of the design, not after.
3. Ease of deployment and agility: In addition to making the experience of your mobile app superior for your users, its ease of deployment is equally important. Make sure the core supporting infrastructure is simplified so that your team can gain agility and flexibility in terms of support and improvements. The development team’s job will be easier, and they will have more time to focus on enhancements to the app, rather than fixes.
4. Know your audience: Spend some time before development starts to understand the end user of your app, what their normal day looks like and the language they use. Take the time before app development commences to run a user study and understand the nuances of your audience.
5. Use native operating system technology: Whenever possible, make use of the inherent mobile technology of the operating system. Native mobile technology today provides the best user experience, improved performance with faster load times, security and increased capabilities like full access to a device’s hardware and operating system (camera, GPS, Offline, etc.).
To summarize, first choose a development methodology and ensure that your teams are onboard and adhere to it. Engage your users early in the design phase and again during testing. Whenever possible, keep it simple — don’t complicate the user experience just for the sake of using more bells and whistles. Make security a priority, not an afterthought. Take advantage of built-in operating system features. And finally, make sure that your team is designing features that users want, not what developers think will be cool.