The stage of creating mobile software and mobile apps is mobile development and mobile app development. The first conversation to have in the building stage should be about user engagement and workflow. Discussions on colors, logos, buttons, etc. should be saved for later stages of development. Consider these questions, first:
- What do you want the user to do in the app?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What is the end goal?
- How do you make the process simple and straightforward for the end user?
To be successful, a mobile app must be easy to use from the start. The user should not have to spend any time being oriented on how to use it. An app’s chances of success are slim if it is not straightforward and easy to use. It is for this reason that simplicity and workflow are critical to work out before programming begins.
Once the workflow has been established, it is time for core decisions, such as deciding what base technology to use. You will want to weigh the options of three different options of apps: native apps, mobile web apps, and hybrid apps.
A native app is an application that is coded for a specific operating system, such as Apple iOS or Google Android. Native apps must be written separately for each operating system, and tend to be more expensive, but faster. Although they must be written separately for each system, they can take advantage of certain core properties of each, such as the camera.
A mobile web app is typically written in HTML 5. The advantage of a web application is that you only have to write it once and it will work across all mobile operating systems. A disadvantage of a mobile web app is that it cannot access as many features nor is it as fast or smooth as a native app. In order to function, it must be connected to the Internet at all times.
In a hybrid app, some of the code is written to work with multiple platforms and some is written in native. It is not as elegant as a native app, but this option is less expensive and offers a good deal of the advantages of a native app.
Carefully consider what you want your app to achieve and express that to your developer. Even after the first version of the mobile site/app is done, development does not stop. The process of development should be viewed as a continuous process.
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