Best practices for mobile app development
We had in one of our previous blogs discussed how there is a comprehensive set of steps to follow to make your idea into a reality. That blog, however, was more on the theoretical note listing out the Do’s and Don’ts of what turns an idea into a fully functional successful mobile application. We received a lot of queries once we had taken that blog live and it was while answering them that we felt that it would be great if we could mention the best practices for mobile app development as well.
It goes without saying that having the right idea, an idea which works on providing the solution for a need or a want or in other words fills a gap is critical to having a good app. It would not be an exaggeration to say that fifty per cent of the mobile app development work is done well if the idea itself is good enough.
However, once the idea has been finalised, the main work begins- the work of execution or mobile app development. From where the progress graph becomes asymptotic. While one tries to achieve perfection in whatever execution steps are taken, yet there is always something which either needs to be completely avoided or kept on the back burner for a while to achieve the best results. The law of marginal utility comes into play and with whatever resources are at hand, one tries to and has to make the most of it.
It is for this reason that in this blog, we will talk about the best practices for mobile app development. So read on.
Follow the mobile app development guidelines
The very first and super crucial. This step comes with the consideration that you have already finalised the platform on which you would be launching the app. Considering the development for both iOS apps and Android apps is significantly different, we are assuming that at least the very basics of the mobile app development would be clear.
However, it is not about just that. Please make sure that you have gone through the mobile app development guidelines thoroughly. It is important because first, it would help you ease out the development process and second, at the time when you will finally want to take your app live, it will help you sail through the approval process without any unnecessary hiccups and procedural delays.
Concept and Beta Testing
We had mentioned about this in our earlier blog as well and we will mention it here again. One needs to understand that an app is not like a product on either of Amazon or Flipkart where one may still take chances with the seller or ask for a return or replacement if things do not go well for the first time. An app, if installed once and if found not working well is uninstalled forever. Hence, it is very important to make sure that when a mobile app gets launched, it is its best version. Any glitches or bugs means tonnes of negative reviews from random users. While it would be only a few agitated ones, those negative feedbacks will ensure that not many install it later, thus killing your app’s future well before it started. For startups, this step is actually the must to do given that in the early stages, they are bootstrapped and hence cannot update and upgrade on any trust lost with one bad review.
Also, it is important to manage expectations and hence when you write the app’s description or put an intro video, make sure that you clearly spell out what all can the app help with. Any mismatch of expectations there and the app would be on the path towards negative reviews again.
When we talk of usability, we mean the layout of information on the mobile app that it intends to give, the overall design and other elements which have been placed to make the overall app of use for the ultimate user. Always make sure that you include an initial demo when the user uses the app for the first time so that they know what to expect when and from where. Also, lay down any features or options which you think the user might miss but are of the essence to the entire functionality. If possible, tell them how they can prioritise things for a more personalised experience.
For instance, let us take an example of MakeMyTrip travel website and mobile app. How would you feel if all of the hotel information is provided all at once. It wouldn’t really solve a purpose but it will clutter your screen. Instead, what MMT chooses to do is that it first provides the hotel name and price for easy filter, then it provides you detailed options for your chosen hotel and finally gives you options to opt in for a combo. Not just this makes the overall experience better but with each step, MMT increases the probability of a higher value product being sold. Finally, make sure that the icons are the right size or else working on through them would be difficult.
Reduce Search Effort: ease of Navigation
The obvious extension of usability comes in the form of ease of navigation. A mobile app which is hard to browse around to get the work done is never preferred. It may sound surprising but in the world of websites competing with mobile apps for the services at the offer, a mobile app with a lesser functionality but better navigation would be preferred over the others with poorer functionalities.
Take the example of Just Dial mobile app, it was just because of its tough navigation that people do not really install the mobile app and either utilise its website or other websites like Sulekha or individual service providers. Providing with search options and filters could be one option which you can always put to make sure that your user is happy with the kind of navigation at the offer.
Another very common instance of easy navigation is how we are so accustomed to clicking on the top left to check for more options and prefer sort and filter options at the centre top. Any app which goes for an alternate way i.e. either they have a toggle to show the options or go for a different positioning take time for the user to familiarise themselves. And while the most high on utility apps would still stick, if your value proposition isn’t as good, the app might as well get deleted soon.
Don’t clutter your mobile application
While we have talked about how the right things have to be at the right place, the things of priority have to be at the home page etc, yet it does not mean that you end up cluttering your app’s interface. A cluttered app means a confused user and a confused user means that the app doesn’t get used or is eventually deleted. Thus, make sure that the app’s interface remains clean always. Remember that the screen is only so much and so your content has to be in accordance with that too.
However, we will want to clarify that this option will not apply to every mobile app type. For instance, be it a consulting app or the mobile app for a content platform like Quora, there is only so much sleekness you can offer because the audience is there to devour the content. However, there is a difference between putting up content and cluttering. If the user experience is seamless and the interface looks pleasing to the eyes- no matter how much content or options you have put it, it is a job done well!
While we did talk about having a search bar or filters on the app for easier navigation, yet a personalised touch of a help centre is always good to have. Depending upon the kind of resources you have, there are multiple options at the offer. You can have a direct call to action for a phone call to be made or for an email to be sent or simply a list of FAQs. There are basic chatbots also now which can be integrated with your app and help solve basic customer queries. Those are worth a shot too just to make sure that they work well.
Oh yes, if you are thinking of installing a bot on your app- either go for a simple FAQ bot which gives options directly or have a person working on the chat window. Anything is between (usually sold in the name of Artificial Intelligence) usually ends up affecting your user experience poorly.
Limit User Input
Always remember that the user wants to type only when they are chatting. Any other kind of typing on the phone is nothing but a pure inconvenience. Hence, make sure that when they use your app too, there aren’t too many which they have to type out. Be it credit card details, billing information or anything else, try to minimize the input. Prediction assistance, capturing data saved on the phone (after due permission of course), spell check, text prediction etc are some of the ways to ensure that.
Assure Security and Trustworthiness
It is not unusual for us to download an app only to be overwhelmed by a barrage of permissions to give. Now, we as users know how uncomfortable this gets and yet a lot of us tend to make the same mistake while creating an app. The word is- please do not. Rather, a better way to go about it would be to ask for permission only when required. For instance, you can ask for credit card information while the user is making a purchase or if they are taking a photo or trying to access one, you could ask for access to the gallery. Make sure that the permission policies are transparent and the users have full control over the information they want to share. You may also choose to include direct links to your privacy regulation page.
Integrate Behavioral Gestures
More of a value add, however, gestures can be of great assistance in improving the overall customer experience. You can include gestures such as pinching, swiping, scrolling etc in your mobile app for multiple actions that have to be performed. For instance, a left swipe can be used to delete while right swipe can be used to save a piece, similarly, they can be used for sharing or deleting too.
Efficient Onboarding: GTM Strategy
This has to be on point or else all the work done would go down the drain. We live in a world of social media and hence in no way possible can we afford to overlook the power of digital marketing. Make sure that your mobile app development consultancy has a thorough foolproof plan for this stage. Set quantitative and realistic targets for your app download campaigns. Make sure all the parameters are adequately covered.
It is important to note here that the overall user experience will also have a major role to play. The UX needs to be aligned with the user’s need and preferences. Personalisation is actually the key to provide users with a meaningful experience. Also, try to reduce the number of steps for sign up. Showing a video tutorial of how the app works or how a new upgrade will solve the purpose can be of key assistance to the user. Such things form the part of what one calls progressive onboarding.
This part is especially more critical for small and medium scale businesses or early-stage startups who, more often than not have limited budgets on hand. At Vibeosys software, having successfully launched multiple such mobile apps for startups and SMBs, we know how to make the most of whatever is at hand!
Plan out your updates
This sort of forms an extension of the Go to market strategy because updates and upgrades form a critical part of making your app stick on the user’s phone. Plus, if your mobile app is doing decently well, an update can be an incentive for the user to hold on it even longer. The update/upgrade can be a bug fix, additional features, some freebies or any other thing.
Even if not that, regular updates make sure that your mobile application keeps working fine and reduces the overall cost of maintenance by reducing the risk of sudden contingencies.
Develop for disruption
It is a bit too much to expect that a user would provide their undivided attention to the mobile application and leave all other things to first complete their action on it. This means that multiple times, an app would be closed right in the middle of an operation. Make sure that your mobile app is able to help the user return to the exact page where they left when they access the app again. Making them start over completely would definitely not be a good experience to leave a user with.
With all these best practices for mobile app development being mentioned here, we feel that you are all set on a path to develop a good app. At Vibeosys software, we pride ourselves in being one of the best mobile app development companies. It is our endeavour that our knowledge base is able to help out all the users on the internet and help them with their pursuit. If however, you still have any questions, remember that we are just a phone call away.