“Mobile Apps makes our life tick along, magically”
My daughter is continuing her education through online classes with the help of several mobile apps. We connect with her school administration through a mobile app. Many families affected by COVID survive ordering food and groceries through a mobile app. The Arogya Setu App is a possible lifeline for the government and country in the COVID pandemic. Thanks to Mobile Apps and Mobile app development technology, life still goes on. Can it magically change our lives?
One this is sure that we are positively into the world of smartphones, mobile apps, and the Internet. Mobile app development is the new path for making a good career for children.
We seem stuck in a new brave world. A world dictated by smartphones and mobile apps. The life of the people with the smartphone is a rude awakening. The only silver lining to the gloom and doom of the COVID pandemic.
Smartphones – Are they smart or are we stupid?
Before being hamstrung by the COVID pandemic. I was completely in dark about the critical place mobile apps and mobile app development technology hold in our lives. Modest research into the mobile and mobile app industry opened my eyes, wide. I now look at it with much respect and wonder at the mobile phone in my hand and the mobile apps. That makes this piece of technology, nothing less than a revolution.
I set the mundane Uber ride-booking on an Uber App to find whether the smartphone is smart or we are stupids. Interestingly on my phone, I was watching a British TV Series titled “Stupid Man Smartphone”. The TV series tested the simple idea – Can a man survive in remote locations without any knowledge of native language and culture by using a smartphone, embedded with different mobile apps of course?
However, I was convinced the mobile phones are made by smartphones using apps. Further investigation led me to believe, a mobile phone is the extension of one’s personality. The title of the series, Stupid Man, Smartphone, is a clever one and for me it so aptly summaries the essence of the time in which we are living, today – a life virtually taken over by algorithms, mobile phones, and the smart mobile apps. Google Map is a street-smart App.
The series triggered a chain of thoughts about Mobile Apps, Mobile App Technologies. But most importantly chain of thought ran rapidly in the direction of promises and potential business opportunities exist in abundantly for Mobile App development companies. The interesting position that we find ourselves in the course of evolution is paved by mobile phone and mobile apps and vast promise the mobile development technology promises into a future dictated by smartphones.
What is a Mobile App?
A software application that runs on a mobile phone is a mobile app. The calculator on your mobile phone is a mobile app. The camera on your phone, the GPS, Spotify etc. are all mobile apps. As I said earlier, a mobile phone with apps is conventionally labelled as a smartphone. Look closely at these apps, and you note that they are of different kinds, I mean these mobile apps. They are are no created equal.
Different kinds of Mobile Apps
We find two basic kinds of mobile apps available, native apps and hybrid apps. Let me introduce you to the two.
What is a Native App?
Meet the mobile camera, the calculator, the clock; all of these are Native apps. A Native App can be conveniently defined as the application designed and developed specifically for the operating system installed on the phone. It comes either as pre-installed or you can download it from either the AppStore if you are using iPhone or download it from Google Play Store if you own an Android phone.
An android phone will have app that run well on Andriod OS and an iPhone will have apps that run well on iOs. Native apps are so designed that they use the mobile devices system capabilities to perform optimally. When the update for Android and iOs comes in the apps adopt and adjust without any change to their functionality.
One is not required to update the apps, individually in the event of the release of a new update for the Android and iOs respectively.
So, there are app that work well on Android OS and apps that work best on iOs environment. The prime example of the Native Apps is WhatsApp for Android and Facetime and iTunes for iOS.
Now, when my research led me to all the above, many questions raised their ugly heads again. What if an iPhone owner wishes to install and operate WhatsApp or an Android phone owner wishes to access music just like iTunes provide for? The answer to this is that Android developers came up with two versions of a mobile app; one that runs on iOS and the other on Android. This posed a headache for the mobile app developers since they had to design two versions of the app. They had to write to sets of codes and programs for the two different operating systems. For businesses or mobile app developing companies, it meant spending extra manhours and as we know extra cost to the business for one app.
Technology like life finds a way. The technology community created technologies that allowed the development of mobile apps that worked optimally on both operating systems – Android as well as iOS. Hybrid apps work well in both Android and IOs operating systems. Understandably the next question I asked myself was – What is a Hybrid App?
What is a Hybrid Mobile App?
To answer my question and explain it further, let me indulge you by name dropping – Instagram, Uber, Evernote, Facebook – are a few of the many well-known apps, a general mobile user has on their mobile phone. The interesting and most important technological fact is, these apps work optimally on Android as well as iOS, platforms. Therefore, Instagram, Facebook, Evernote, Twitter and Gmail who are known to function optimally on the two platforms – iOS and Android, they are best examples of a Hybrid App.
As the name suggest, they designed and developed to function in two different mobile operating platforms. Do check out the list of Hybrid Apps in use
While researching for my article, I spoke to couple of technology people experienced in the industry. They all had different points to make, but most of them agreed that choosing the right technology stack was instrumental for an app’s success.
Most of the people I spoke with also pointed out to React Native as the preferred app framework.
React Native the preferred choice for Hybrid Mobile Apps
Below are the definite plus-points for React Native
- Saves a developer time and money
- Automatic error detection
- One code for iOS and Android both
- Hot Reloading- Hot Reloading was described as
The other frameworks available for Hybrid Mobile App development are
- Mobile Angular UI
- JQuery Mobile
- Intel XDK
So far, we have had an interesting journey in which we learned a standard mobile phone becomes a smartphone due to the smart mobile apps. These apps as you would agree with me solve very specific problems in our lives. Calculators do the math, GPS finds routes, Facebook connects us, Uber let us commute without owning a car, Evernote helps us do business, in fact, there is no end to the list. There can be an app for everything that we do. This is exactly why the mobile app development industry appears to be a mammoth market. I will present a clear picture with facts and figures.
How big is the Mobile App Development Market?
Every market reflects the state of mind of its consumers. The market size can be understood by the number of mobile phone users and what they do with it. According to the report compiled and published by S’Odea at Statista -The number of smartphone users today is well over 3 Billion. Another study interestingly reported mobile commerce sales to hit $2.92 Trillion in $2020. It means every Ecommerce store owners must have a mobile-optimized online store. In simpler words, every ecommerce store owner must have a mobile app for its store by which it should sell their goods and services, just like Amazon Now imagine the size of the business opportunity it is for mobile app development companies.
According to the report
Mobile Application Market Statistics – 2026
The above mentioned figures even to me who is not much of an entrepreneur sounds like a whale of a business opportunity. A virtual goldmine. To any businessman this is practically impossible to ignore.
Below are a few points that I am presenting to strengthen my argument that mobile app is a must for every business
Mobile a must for every business
Irrespective of business, a mobile application is new business channel. It is due to the fact that we live in the world of information and instant gratification. A consumer today googles for information regarding their purchase on the Internet. They compare prices, learn about product/service specifications before making a purchase. A mobile app is one of the best ways to connect, communicate and retain your customers. Failing to connect online with your customer surely means mean losing your forvever.
Customer is King. Customer is using Mobile Apps.
Mobile Apps in particular has revolutionized the way we socialize. Consider this interesting piece if information that in China, more than 800 million people using Internet and 98 percent users access Internet via a mobile phone. Similarly, in India, around 80 percent of the 500 million internet users access Internet via mobile phone.
An average mobile user is reported to be spending 200 minutes a day on their mobile phones.
Most importantly, 90 percent of the time spent in using a mobile device is taken up in using mobile apps.
Looking at the above statistics, I am sure the mobile app development companies would be rubbing their hands in delight. Many new and seasoned entrepreneurs, I can sense, are now eager to jump into the mobile app development business. Luckily for you, I have done the homework for you. I will delve deeper into the following topics to make things easier for you.
Mobile app development process
For our understanding, we split the process into a few clearly defined phases.
My father always used to say, “well begun is half done”. This rings true today, even for an app development venture. A strategy even for developing an App is mission-critical. If you already own a business, am sure you understand with this process. But for those who are in it the first time, let me share that this phase is about knowing your customers, your competitors and the market before you hit the drawing boards. You can move on to the next phase, when you are done with the collecting information about the market, customers and competitors. It gives you the idea to your why you should build an app. The next step is Analysis and Planning
Analysis and Planning
This phase is about you and your resources. You need to identify the requirements for developing the app. The next thing is how to arrange for the requirements leading to building the app. It means preparing a road map for the and defining a minimum viable product. Milestones should be attached for the purpose they serve.
At the end of this phase you should be clear whether you are building a native or a hybrid app; the skills and the resource you need and the time and money estimations. If you are new to it, please do select the name and book the domain name as well, before you invest any further.
UI/UX Design >Architecture & Workflow>Wireframe>Styleguide>Mockups>Prototype
What is a UI and UX?
I am excited to discuss this one as it is my favourite. It is purely because, I personally believe that this is most critical element of a mobile app. UI means the User Interface. It is how the app moves, reacts and flows with every touch, slide and swipe. And when a user enjoys interacting with it doing what the app is meant to do, it scores very high on UX, that is User Experience. If your app does not score very well in these two, it likely that it is going be any success. A lot that goes in to making it score high on UI and UX.
Your developers need to make big calls with regard to the technical architecture. You need to build wireframes and mock-up leading up to a prototype.
What is an Information Architecture?
The information architecture is about how the information is laid out and how it will flow. In simpler terms, the user must be able to navigate within the information provided in the app. For example, if your app is an e-commerce app, a user must be able to find the shoe of the right size and color and let her pay with easy payment options in simple and easily navigable steps for a happy hassle-free shopping experience.
To visualize the easily navigable steps for a user to have a hassle-free shopping experience, I am told; Wireframing is required. Wireframes are the digital sketches. Wireframes lays out how the app will function step-by-step. It is usually followed by mock-ups and a prototype. You can build style guides to lay down rules on design elements, color codes etc. This helps in standardising.
Mobile App Development> Back End Server>API>Mobile App Front End>
The next phase is the actual mobile app development. Here, we need to go back in to the Analysis and Planning phase for a moment. Please note that it was during this phase, based on your research and strategy building, you would have chosen a Back-End Server Technology, API and the Front end for the intended mobile app.
When you are done with the development part of the mobile app with the technology chosen, you need to test the mobile app. There are various kinds of testing a mobile app is subjected to:
User Experience Testing
All kinds of testing is important but User Experience testing is critical as it throws out bugs that can decide if your app will be liked in the end of it, no matter how technically sophisticated it may be. The app as I mentioned before must score very high on User Experience.
Performance testing checks if the app performs as it is designed and developed. The App is subjected to Intensive testing drills. Bugs, if reported need to be fixed.
What is Security Test for a Mobile App?
Security Testing is a sensitive issue, as no one is happy to share one’s personal details if they are in the danger of falling in to wrong hands. The device must ensure that the data is secure and protected.
Device and Platform Testing
Device and Platform testing is mission-critical. It is due to the typical nature of the mobile market. This part of the development cycle can be very taxing as the firmware, hardware and mobile operating systems are updated quite frequently. Also, the app needs to be testing on a variety of mobile phones and simulators. Tread carefully my dear entrepreneurs.
Deployment and Support
Now that you have the app ready to hit the market. Put it out there. To do so, you need to make it available at the The App Store for iPhone user and Google Play store for Android users. I strongly recommend you keep a tab on the user reviews, crash reports and other key performing indicators through the mobile analytics.
Checkout the checklist for submitting your app to “The App Store”
Keep your eyes on the reviews, and other analytics. Act on the inputs to make it success. Do note that it is continuous process of improvement.
How much time is needed to develop an app?
Estimating the time required to design and develop an app depends on your situation. The timeline would differ for those who already have a website for which an app is being designed than the one who is building an app for a completely new service. For example, if you already have an eCommerce web store, the time and money required for developing the app would be different than for a baker who wishes to bring his brick-and-mortar patisserie online through an app.
When I asked Amod Sinha, head of the Mobile App Development team of NetzOptimize, a fast-growing mobile app development firm, he states that as per their experience the average app development time before the launch is about 4 months. They also pointed out that this timeframe is idea as lesser time would mean to rush things up. While time frame beyond 4 months could lead to fading of focus and creative energies impacting the outcomes negatively.
- Mobile phone is a necessity.
- Mobile Apps makes a Mobile a Smartphone
- Using Mobile Apps is the street-smart way to live.
- Mobile Apps Development Industry is poised for an explosive growth. Huge opportunity for freelancers, solopreneurs, small and even big businesses to grow exponentially.
- Mobile App Development is not expensive
- Mobile App Development is not rocket science and can be perfected with knowledge and planning.