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5 rules for developing a mobile application: what to require from performers

If you are going to order the development of a mobile application for clients or employees, then you should learn about important nuances in advance. We have compiled a memo for you: it will highlight the points that you need to pay attention to.

Rule 1

Do not neglect analytics – this is an investment in the competitiveness of the future product. Often, IT companies provide analysis services before starting to develop a mobile application. It includes clarification of the goals and wishes of the customer, analysis of the market and target audience, search and study of direct competitors. Based on the collected data, together with the team and the client, the analyst draws up a clear statement of work. It will help to avoid discrepancies with developers. This way you will get an application that will not only meet your requirements, but is also more likely to appeal to the target audience. The analysis will provide an opportunity to stand out from competitors, to make a new product for the market.

If a company runs a full development cycle, from analytics to launch and support, you might come up with a single mobile app idea. Employees will analyze it, help identify key areas of development and formulate technical specifications, and create a working product based on this. An experienced team staffed by various specialists can also get involved in the work at any stage – make an application according to your terms of reference, separately create a design or carry out development.

Rule 2

Ask the designer what comes first – beauty or convenience. Of course, it is important to find a balance between these characteristics, but when developing a mobile application, it is necessary to focus primarily on usability. An application may look breathtakingly beautiful, but if the user has to make an effort to understand how to work with it, this is a failure. A UX/UI designer develops an intuitive and comfortable interface based on user behavior research. Even one ill-conceived “little thing” can cost the owner of the loyalty app part of the target audience. A bright, attractive button won’t work if it’s in an awkward position.

The purpose of the application is to quickly solve the user’s problem. Ideally, a person should spend a few seconds searching for a solution. To create such an intuitive interface for a mobile application, guidelines are used:

• Apple Human Interface Guidelines for the iOS platform;
• Google Material Design System for the Android platform.

These are collections of recommendations from platform creators. With their help, the appearance of applications developed for Android or iOS is brought to a single pattern. The user does not need to understand each individual service: if he has already interacted with the platform, your application will also be understandable to him. If you order cross-platform development, then designers must take into account the requirements of the guidelines for both Android and iOS. They act as a UI kit that can be customized to the needs of a particular project.

Rule 3

Pay attention to the stack – it’s better not to start development using rare technologies that are difficult to maintain. For native applications on Android, Java and Kotlin are used, on iOS – Swift and Objective-C. There are more options for cross-platform development. For example, React Native, Flutter, Cordova technologies are popular and in demand. The code written using the current stack will not become obsolete for a long time and will remain understandable for developers.

So, React Native allows you to get an application that looks almost indistinguishable from a native one. This technology has a lot in common with the React web technology, so the same code can be used both in a mobile application and when creating a web service. A team with such a stack can develop projects that require omnichannel: complex creation of a backend, a web service frontend, and a mobile application. Also, native code snippets are added to an application created with React Native if necessary.

Rule 4

Don’t forget about communication between the application and servers. The service will receive data from remote or your own servers using the API. It is important that developers know how to set up this interaction, so that the exchange occurs without delay. Experienced professionals can start developing an application even before the API is ready. For this, the Mock API tool is used, which simulates requests to the server. The application receives data in the same format as for real requests, but they are static – developers set them themselves.

When the backend of the application is ready, and it becomes possible to contact the server, migrating from the data of the Mock API to the dynamic data of the real API does not take the time of developers. This technology allows you to synchronously develop the backend and frontend of the service. Due to this, the time from project start to release is reduced.

Rule 5

Choose experienced developers who guarantee code cleanliness. The mobile application will need support and development in the future, and this may require the inclusion of new developers in the team. There may also be reasons to change contractors. In any of these cases, high-quality, typed code reduces the time it takes for a new developer to dive into a project.

One of the guarantors of such an easy entry can be TypeScript technology. When using it, the developer must manually describe the code, these descriptions are checked by the compiler. A new specialist will be able to read the documentation and understand how the application works. Improvements that are made to the code will also be typed and understandable for other developers. This approach will ensure that the project has no difficulties with support and adding new features.

Creating a custom mobile application has some peculiarities compared to developing a web service. If you choose a provider that offers analytics services, uses reliable technologies, and cares about the cleanliness of the code, you will get a competitive and salable product. When looking for an IT company, pay attention to the subtleties described in the memo so as not to doubt the result.

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