Think You Know Your App Dev Needs? Think Again.

The pace of change in mobile app development has been mind-blowing. Here at Infostretch, we’ve been working on mobile apps since their inception. With every project we learn something new, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of user experience, audience engagement and the latest techniques.

In the early days mobile apps were directed towards customers and consumers first and foremost, but now that enterprises are quickly catching on to the enormous benefits of engaging non-consumer audiences, it means the range of projects out there is truly unlimited. There is no standing still in mobile app development! What seems a pipe dream today may well be the app you can’t live without tomorrow.

Life on this technological frontier is exciting, but it presents practical problems for in-house teams and app development partners alike. Planning can be a challenge. How exactly do you accurately state your app development needs when the scope of what’s possible is changing rapidly, the methodologies and tools are constantly updating and when there are few previous examples to borrow from?

When enterprises come to us with a project brief or RFP, typically they will sketch out the look, feel and scope, which is of course a great start. What other factors should also be considered so that we can get an accurate picture of the full app dev requirements for the project?

Think global (even when the app’s still local)

Thinking big is a good idea when it comes to mobile app planning, so even if you are unsure of when or if it will launch in other territories, factor globalization into the early planning stages. Why? Some attention paid to all potential markets early on can reap benefits in terms of ease of integration and faster roll-out down the line.

Digital impasse

Enterprises have invested heavily in transforming legacy systems to meet the needs of their customer experience initiatives. Results can be varied. When commissioning an app dev project, consider carefully the practicalities involved in use data that resides in the backend — where is it, how will it be exposed, how will it ‘talk’ to other parts of the business? Yes, your business may need a particular new app to improve customer engagement and user experience, but you will get better results if your legacy systems are primed to make better sense of the data.

The pressure of perseverance

Many firms fall into the trap of focusing exclusively on the planning, development and execution of an app, allowing maintenance to become an afterthought. Wrong! The birth of the app is just the start. Do you have the resources in-house to maintain, upgrade, test for quality and performance, and handle customer service once it’s in the wild? Forrester’s report Building High-Performance Mobile Experiences puts it succinctly, “The mobile moments an app serves are made up of three parts: the features or capabilities the user wants, the app’s user interface, and application performance. Features make the user want to use the app, but failures in the other two will cause the user to quickly abandon it. We’re seeing amazing innovations in user interfaces almost daily; developers on the other hand often ignore performance until it’s too late.” Furthermore, results from the same study indicate that performance and load testing are clearly not getting the priority treatment they deserve: 26% of those surveyed test for performance weekly, 15% daily, while more than 20% never carry out tests at all. Building up in-house skills is one way of reducing the support and maintenance outlay for the app, but this requires advance planning.

Dare to innovate

Industry experience will only get you so far in this fast-moving sector. Sometimes, the big ideas come from left field – the blueprint needs to be torn up, the received wisdom respectfully ignored. One of the most fulfilling aspects of working in app development is this ability, requirement, even, to be truly innovative and break the mold… again and again. If you’re struggling to put some parameters around your great idea, then talking to a trusted app dev partner can be illuminating. They should be honest and upfront about what elements are easily do-able and which elements will require further thought. To start that conversation with us, please do get in touch.

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