Mobile App Development 101: A Guide

The days when you had to fire up your laptop and wait for your laptop to start up so you could look up the number of a nearby restaurant are long gone. Most of us don’t even carry them with us anymore. But then how do you get things done when you’re on the go? The answer lies in your pocket!

Mobile applications have enabled internet users to carry out most everyday tasks from the comfort of their bedroom. They’re easy to download, compatible with most devices, and easy to navigate. The number of people who use the internet has drastically surged over the past few years, and this provided a lucrative opportunity to businesses that want to reach out to their target audiences in more effective ways—this includes mobile apps. We live in a time where you can look up therapists, monitor your water intake, and even track your monthly cycle—all through mobile apps.

In this post, we’ll be focusing on the various benefits of personalized mobile apps for businesses, along with an important guideline for app development.

Mobile app development through the years

Although mobile apps have only been deeply ingrained in our everyday lives for the last decade or so, they’ve been around for a while.

Applications have been around since the dawn of the computer. But as programming mechanisms, computing power, and artificial intelligence progressed, it became easier for app developers to produce more meaningful apps. Mobile applications that existed before 2008 only served basic functions like calculating small numbers and providing you with a functional calendar. What changed? Well, the emergence of the iPhone happened. The iPhone had a number of pre-installed apps like Maps and Weather that transcended the functionality of previous mobile apps by leaps and bounds.

In July 2008, the world was introduced to the Apple Store. The very day this feature was launched, it comprised over 500 apps that experienced 10 million downloads in three weeks! In 2010, the word app was recognized as ‘Word of the Year’. Just two years later, Google jumped on the bandwagon and launched Google Play. And with the emergence of two major app marketplaces, app developers around the world got the push they needed.

In the year 2019, apps have traveled far beyond the App Store. Look at the example of Angry Birds, for instance. The game started off as a simple app and soon made its way toward merchandise, TV shows, and movies. This potential gives app developers a lot of room to bring their best to the table and capitalize on opportunities across multiple mediums.

native mobile app

Why does your business need a personalized app?

Doing business—successfully—means reaching out to the right target audience at the right time. Businesses also need to make sure that they cater to the right market by incurring minimal costs. A mobile application is a great way to do both. Here’s how:

Higher consumer engagement

Currently consumers want their feedback heard and incorporated. They search the internet before making a purchase, and make sure they ask the right questions before investing their money. A mobile app enables consumers to chat with company representatives in real-time. This is great, because the millennial customer doesn’t like waiting around for emails or responses.

If your food is late, you can instantly contact the restaurant via the app and get an update on your order status. If you’re not sure whether a dress will fit, you can send a message and request a size chart. Similarly, customers can get orders customized by conveying their requirements via an app.  Customization is neither quick nor even feasible when it comes to doing the same over the phone.

A good seller-buyer relationship goes far beyond the sale. Through an app, the business owners can facilitate after-sale services and can reach out to customers even after a sale has been closed.

Timely Feedback

Surveys are a great way to get consumer feedback and improve offerings. Instead of bothering customers through the phone and asking them endless questions, it’s a much better option to send them a short survey. Most companies offer incentives such as discounts and free products in return for the surveys that consumers fill out.

This feature is most useful for the service industry. Cab hailing services usually ask consumers to rate the quality of their rides. This helps the business identify problematic areas and see how they can be improved.

Greater accessibility

Having a business application widens how many people you can reach. If your app is categorized and marketed right, it can catapult your consumer base. When the right people stumble across it on Google Play and the App Store, they’ll download it and learn more about your services. This also gives your brand’s visibility a massive boost.

Mobile apps are also easy to integrate with social media, which means you can advertise it online across all the platforms that your business uses. If all your digital marketing efforts are channeled right, you can generate greater sales.

Get business analytics

For efficient decision-making, it’s vital that you have accurate analytics. If your business engages with consumers via phone calls, tracking down the demographic data of those who call in is quite difficult.

On the other hand, mobile apps help you generate an in-depth analysis of business analytics. Business analytics help you track the total number of app downloads, user engagement, and the key geographical locations where  most sales took place. By using this kind of information, you can design more well-informed advertising campaigns and channel your resources where they bear fruit.

hybrid app development

What mobile app developers need to know

As a mobile app developer, you need to take into account a number of considerations before designing an app. This includes design elements, using the right marketing tools, and technical aspects of web development.

Let’s look at some key points:

Focus on user experience

If you’re developing an app for the online banking services of a certain bank, it’s important to note that users don’t just want to make transactions. They want an application that is easy to navigate, surfaces important details, and is fast. If the application is slow and clunky, the consumer might not opt for the bank’s services altogether.

As an app developer, you need to make sure that the interface of the app is easy to understand and use. One way of doing this is to sync the user’s information with the app. This way, the user won’t have to hunt for specific details each time.

For example, if you’re developing a communication app, allow it to import the contact list from the user’s phone so they don’t have to perform the arduous task of adding each person again. Similarly, for a photo gallery app, allow the user to import all their pictures to it in one tap.

Let’s look at another example. If the app allows the consumer to engage with representatives of a business, you can allow them to add a shortcut to the home page of their phone. Shortcuts are a great way to avoid hassle if the user doesn’t like shuffling through apps.

Be mindful of memory constraints

One of the most disappointing experiences for any user is when they’re unable to download a certain app because their phone doesn’t have available space. Unfortunately, the user can’t do much to sort this issue, other than upgrade their phone—which isn’t always feasible. You can’t expect the user to delete other important apps to make room for yours.

From a developer’s perspective, it’s your job to be aware of the memory footprint of the app you create. You need to make sure that you’re not saturating the user’s device with too many high-res assets or inefficient code. Moreover, if your app is image heavy, keep a tight grip on caching. If the user keeps on viewing images, they’ll run out of storage soon, prompting them to delete your app to make room.

As far as images and other media files are concerned, it’s better to save them on the cloud and not the device. This has the dual benefits of accessibility and saving space, as users can then access their data from multiple devices.

Location, location, location

The Global Positioning System (GPS) has revolutionized the way internet users navigate their daily routes. The best part is that this feature comes as a free benefit in almost all modern phones. How does geo-location help mobile app developers? Let’s see.

With the help of geo-location, a mobile developer can track down the exact location of the user. If I know that most of my consumers hail from Virginia, I can make sure that most of my marketing segments are channeled toward that particular locality. This enables small businesses to introduce region specific promotions and discounts.

Knowing the exact location of your target audience also enables your business to offer more customized products and services. If a major chunk of your sales come from Virginia, you can improve your market standing by offering free delivery in the area or special discounts for the residents of Virginia.

As an app developer, it’s your duty to incorporate geo-location metrics in the app; just remember to ask for the user’s permission before accessing their GPS. You can’t provide location-based services without having the user’s approval during the initial sign up phase.

Even expert users make mistakes

Always make sure your application is tolerant of errors made by users. If your business is new and the application is too, it will take some time for users to get accustomed to its interface. During this time, they tap the wrong area and navigate where they don’t need to.

If the user clicked on the sign up instead of the sign in option, for example, make sure that there’s a way to get back to the home screen without discarding the information they’ve already put in. Similarly, if the consumer clicks on the wrong item or mistakenly orders two of the same on a shopping app, make sure there’s an option to review and edit the cart before checking out. Other common mistakes made by app users include entering incorrect log in details and touching the wrong button.

The easier you make it for a user to correct their mistakes, the better their experience. On the other hand, if the user is unable to recover their lost data or if the app crashes, they might not order from your business again. Currently,  consumers have too many options to choose from, and even a minor glitch can make them move on from one service provider to another.

Content is the key!

As discussed earlier, there’s a lot more to an application than just its design and technical features. You also need to make sure that the graphics and the language used in the applications are in line with what your target audience.

Before you get down to business, make sure you’ve carried out your research to understand the end user well. Once you know what kind of demographics from the average end user comes from, it’ll be easier to design content accordingly. This will also help you understand the level of simplicity or complexity for the copy that must exhibit.

Make your copy creative, catchy, and in line with your brand’s image. If the business you’re designing for is a clinic that provides treatments for serious ailments, avoid using fancy language and bright colors. Similarly, if the app belongs to a business that sells designer wear and you use a dull theme, the user won’t be interested.

cross platform development

Nearshore mobile app development services—what are the benefits?

If you sell home décor, the chances that you have an experienced app developer on your team are close to none. This is why nearshore mobile app development services exist.

  • The biggest advantage that these companies provide is the fact that they are nearshore. This means that there will be less language and time zone barriers. In the case of an offshore company, you might not be able to convey your requirements the right way because of how much the language differs. Nearshore app developers are also aware of the culture that prevails within your proximity. This makes it easier for them to understand your target audience and their purchase patterns. The more knowledge they have, the easier it will be for them to customize an app that fits your requirements. Moreover, as far as time zone is concerned, you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to communicate with the team.
  • Since nearshore app developers have vast experience in carrying out these services for a wide array of clients, you can greatly minimize the risk of errors. They are not just aware of how applications for specific industries are supposed to be, but also of the recipe behind what makes an application a success story.
  • One of the most essential benefits of nearshore app development services is cost reduction. Creating an app in-house means paying the IT personnel responsible for it. Other than that, you’ll be inevitably incurring hefty infrastructure costs. App development requires a certain number of resources, including data servers, hardware devices, and the right software. Unfortunately, all this is expensive. Other than that, you also need to pay for system updates and troubleshooting. In the case of nearshore app development, all of these costs are borne by the service provider. You only have to pay once for the services.
  • Another important benefit of nearshore app development services is that there are a variety of different kinds of apps that you can opt for. Whether you want an app for iOS or Android devices, they’ll be up for the job. Moreover, you can also choose from native and hybrid apps as per what suits your requirements. Native apps are specifically built for a certain platform. On the other hand, a hybrid app is both for a specific platform and the web. Apps like Instagram and Facebook are hybrid apps since they can be accessed through the App Store and the web both.

If you’re in search of a nearshore app development service based out of Costa Rica, look no further than EX² Outcoding. We have some of the best app and web developers on board that can deliver the most customized  mobile app solutions for you. Other than mobile app, we also specialize in IT staff augmentation, software development, and web development services. Contact us now.

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