How Do Mobile Apps Work?
The demand for mobile apps is higher than ever. Organizations are developing mobile apps to help their business and stay relevant to their customers.
Yet, with so many moving parts, developing successful mobile applications can be a daunting prospect. Happily, you can enlist the help of third parties. For example, mobile application testing services can test applications for potential vulnerabilities.
In this post, we’ll outline how mobile app development works.
What is mobile application development?
In a nutshell, the mobile app development process involves creating software for smartphones. The most common platforms are IOS and Android.
Some app development teams build on Android first because most mobile devices run it, and it has fewer restrictions than iOS. You might then optimize the app to iOS after launch, but many companies develop mobile applications on the platform their customers use most.
Four mobile application development approaches
Overall, mobile software can be preinstalled on the device, downloaded from an app store, or accessed via a mobile browser.
Native mobile apps use the programming language and database provided by the platform owner and run directly on the operating system of the device. They have the best runtime performance but cost more to build and maintain.
Cross-platform native mobile applications are written in many programming languages and bundled into an app running directly on the device. They are easy to build, using a single code base for each platform, but rely on bridges and libraries for native device features.
Going hybrid is popular when you need to develop apps quickly because of the difficulty of finding native app developers with the necessary skill set.
Progressive web applications use a mobile web browser, delivering an ‘app-like’ user experience. The same app runs on both web and mobile.
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What makes a successful mobile app?
Mobile apps should deliver frictionless user experiences with a polished and professional look.
The limited processing power of your target mobile devices compared to desktop computers will constrain the goals of your app design.
Some businesses go for a straightforward UX design that focuses on vital functions for a great user experience with fewer resources.
Certainly, a cool-looking UI design can encourage users to adopt your app. But a seamless, intuitive, and user-friendly UX is a must to keep them engaged.
Before developing an app, you should have identified your app users, established app goals, and decided on a mobile platform.
Let’s evolve your idea.
The front-end is the native mobile app, the visual and interactive user experience that obtains data from an API, and the back-end or sometimes local data storage. The front end typically gets downloaded from the app store and resides on the device. It could take a single developer to a whole team of designers to design and build.
They map out your app information architecture. Workflow diagrams capture user interactions with the finished app and the user journeys within the app. What data will your app display and collect?
Wireframes allow designers to conceptualize their structure. Style guides ensure it has a consistent look and feel. And prototypes simulate the user experience and test the expected design and functionality.
No team member should need to ask, ‘what is a ci philosophy?’, because continuous integration practices foster better collaboration and boost app quality.
Design your interface for touch for the fast, convenient, and simple navigation mobile users expect.
A key element of front-end development is building the app logic that initiates the service calls to back-end services, retrieving data, and updating the back-end with the information produced from the app.
Application programming interfaces integrate mobile apps with back-end services. Developers can use specialized APIs to interact with, say, a database used in the app. That reduces the number of parameters needed to extract the required data.
Reliable back-end services are critical for supporting the mobile app functionality that engages users. Developers must decide whether to build services or leverage third-party ones. For example, hosted shopping cart software might be more than sufficient for most eCommerce businesses.
Similarly, businesses can run and manage their back-end or offload their app processing to the cloud.
Most enterprise apps benefit from native development, especially services specific to the domain of the application that incorporates intellectual property. Meanwhile, APIs let you connect mobile apps that suck up considerable processing to cloud-based services without slowing down your device.
Cloud services also enhance mobile apps with features such as push notifications and AI analytics–great for increasing return on investment of SEO strategies.
When building mobile apps, pick a tech stack best suited to your needs. Ideally, your development environment should make it easy to integrate and use the essential capabilities that speed up the development process. You can still take advantage of individual services.
Mobile app tests
Performing comprehensive quality assurance testing during development is the only way to ensure a stable, usable, and secure app.
Does your app correspond to the original design? If not, you won’t be making the intended impression.
Test for bugs users might run into when using your application’s features. Delivering accurate app functionality is as crucial to its success as end-user behavior is hard to predict. Test enough users to cover as many usage scenarios as possible.
Evaluate that your app meets the minimum quantitative criteria. How long it takes for screens to load; how efficiently it leverages network bandwidth. Then test with a maximum number of simultaneous users to simulate how well your app handles usage spikes.
Security testing is a chief concern, but you can follow some best practices to safeguard your data. If users log in to your app, track sessions on the device and back-end. Then you can end them when a user has been too idle. Test data entry forms to catch any data leakage.
Device and platform
The dizzying advance of mobile technologies and platforms calls for an agile development approach. And if you want your app to work for all users, thorough mobile testing is indispensable.
That’s it, our sketch of the mobile app development process. You’re ready for launch. Prepare your metadata and release your mobile app.
Follow this guideline to build an app that serves information and services the way users like.