Robust strategies for mobile app development

mobile app str

The life-cycle of User Experience (UX) began with informational websites that simply imparted data about services and products, and later on, moved into interactional sites where the users could engage with products through different social media. Now, it is the time for transformational sites, where an enterprise can breed the info-interactional model with cloud services like chat, checking-in, and photo-storage to introduce products as part of the user’s life itself than just a supplementary aid.

The need for a mobile app development strategy occurs when you are moving from interactional to the transformational stage. The catch in the shift is that you are not simply focusing on giving info about your products alone, you are closely interacting with the users to understand and deliver what they want to possess and experience. This requires you to move out of the ancient web-development models and adopt more evolved strategies of association. You will not simply be confined to the smartphones and tablets, but will reign over all technologies that are integrated into the users’ lives: Smart TVs, wearables, smartphones, and tablets.

PART 1: Setting the Playground – Foundation to Your Mobile App Development Strategy

Aligning the app with your enterprise’s vision
Himanshu Sareen, a Digital Entrepreneur, while talking about the mistakes that could make a mobile app disastrous , points out that the enterprise must never assume the mobile experience to be a micro-version of the web experience. The architecture of mobile apps and the needs fulfilled by these apps are completely different from the desktop and web ones: mobile apps are made for versatility, intuitive interaction, personalized atmosphere, and slick device hardware. Mobile apps shift the attention of users from the mere purpose of data-dissemination. For this reason, it becomes inevitably significant to sync the vision of your enterprise with the experience of the user such that the app arises as a mediator.

While forming your strategy, penetrate your attention to different user groups and gauge how you can make your application functional to all of them. Take into account the resources available at hand, especially the technical force, weigh the budgetary aspect: cost of development and administration with the ideal ROI. While mails, calendars, and contact-books continue to be the primary mobile services provided due to their easy deployment and availability, it is important to understand that mobile users are looking for something beyond emails. At the level of enterprise, create apps which will be fueled by social software and forums, email coordination as well as directories. Form a table in the following format and add the stages as you proceed:

Company: Mediheal
eVision: To prepare a mobile app to provide Patient-Practice Juncture (PPJ) through Electronic Health Records which would allow appointment coordination, eBilling and online consultations.

User Experience (UX) is the Seed of Mobile Apps
Once you have outlined the vision of your business and taken into account the administrative aspects, the task of designing and building your mobile app begins.

The classic rule of first impression applies to the mobile apps as well: “neat and pretty”. However, this is only the starting point and any app that simply ends up being pleasing to the eyes, but boggling to the mind will eventually be a failure. Rand Fishkin , the Founder of Moz, puts it succinctly, “When creating content, be empathetic above all else. Try to live the lives of your audience”. Couple this with Denise Gershbein’s (Creative Director at Frog) saying: “Design for spread and scale”, and you have realized the three golden words for user experience: Be the user. Apart from making an aesthetically appealing app, focus on all the sources of complications they might face and work on getting rid of them. Most importantly, keep a platform-neutral viewpoint: your users should not have to shift to a particular hardware just to get in touch with your app.

Company: MediHeal
User Experience: (Mentions only the features that are critical to be included in the app)
• Find a Doctor
• Emergency Ward Contact and Chat
• Online Consultation
• No-Show Notices
• Cancellations and Delays
• Department-wise data
• Health Record Log-In and Report Notifications
• Immediate info-message in case of reports that require urgent medical attention
Possible sources of disturbance:
• Log-In Registration Process
• Queries about security
• Need for cloud-storage for transferring reports to other institutions
• No-Show Alternative Schedules and so on

Resurrect your workflows and processes
Once your mobile app design and architecture are planned carefully, you need to perform a revamping of the workflow and other processes which will act as a pathway for actualizing the UX blueprint. The enterprise must bring together communication, training, and back-up tools which might involve social media networking and crowd-resourcing to partner up with staff and clients. The company will need to form a core team lead by a CTO which will associate with intra-company departments, pitch in ideas and experience-data from clients and also bounce ideas from upcoming app developers of the industry.

The three components to building the foundation of your mobile app development strategy are:
• Blueprint of User Experience (How should the app look and feel?);
• Administrative resources involved (including budgetary parallels); and
• The human-power for actualizing the blueprint.
Once you have created the playground for the game, it is time to set up the rules and decide the guidelines.

PART 2: The Rule Book of Mobile App- The Code Journey

Non-Technical App Development
Due to delays in selecting mobile app developers, many companies face backlogs. Any company entering into the domain of mobile app development needs to start with low-coding platforms which can be used by non-coders as well. The Gartner Research spells that by the year 2018, over half of our mobile apps will be developed by business analysts without the use of codes. This would allow companies to exercise freedom from external applications. Make sure you choose an app-programming interface that will allow the developers to engage with the software conveniently. By shifting to a cloud-based back end, you can invest the attention of your developers on the design of user interface and experience on the front end.

Dual-Mode Method- The Micro Moments and Macro Events
The Bimodal IT strategy is a dual-mode app development model:
Mode 1: Macro Events
Traditional Enterprise Development method where developers spend long duration building muscular-apps.
Mode 2: Micro Moments
Development and Experimentation method where high-performance platforms are used without codes.
Using these two modes at the same time will allow you to have the flexibility of introducing the muscular-app later while your mode-2 app can bring in space for creative evolution. The main challenge while following the Dual-Mode Method is that users belonging to various departments of the company could utilize their own tools and form apps without interacting with the IT team. This could lead to security issues. Also, there could be uneven exercise of assets and human resources in the business as a whole. Thus, the core team must ensure that there is a center-pronged approach which can back up development in the enterprise with synced tools and IT attention.

The soil to your harvest: Choosing the right platform
There are different anatomies you can use to build mobile apps .
• Native: This framework uses the native tools which are provided for the development of app on individual platforms. While it gives greater reach to the native features, it will need each platform to be developed in its entirety separately from the others.
• Hybrid or HTML5: This anatomy uses the same tools we use for web apps- HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Additional extensions could be present to reach device properties like GPS and camera. The skeleton of Hybrid platforms is packed in the skin of native apps, making them identical to the latter. The best part of using hybrid framework is that you can develop all-at-one and execute it on many devices. Since the skill-set is the same as that for web apps, you save up on human resource charges as well. However, you could face certain restrains of performance and efficiency, especially while using native features.
• Cross-Platform Anatomy: There are many vendors who supply inter-platform tools and frameworks while delivering native features as well. The need to write separately for each platform disappears, but this method needs the developers to be adept to the framework. Vendor lock-in could incur substantial costs in events of switching. Keeping in mind the confines of human resources and time, you might need to stick to the common-link across platforms than exercising all the rich features in each.
• Composite: Here, the mobile app is built only to cater to the commonly utilized functions which are then anchored to other capacities available on the mobile website (which are less used). Even though you tend to maintain a balance between the mobile app and mobile web capacities, there can be severe limitations to UX owing to the need to shift from app to browsers.

Making buying a reflex action: Monetization
Provided you can cosmetically structure your mobile app, the opportunity to create buyers out of visitors is huge. You can initiate freemium apps which could later walk into the purchase-for lane. The key is to distribute the app capacities in such a way that the user inclines towards ‘If-I-Could-Use-That-Feature-As-Well’. This would call for the features to be interconnected so that the customers will feel in possession of the hands of your app without the legs, thus urging them to buy the entire package eventually. Explore in-app advertising as an alternative to the traditional monetization models of subscription approach and freemium apps.

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Author : Sahana Rajan Date : 16 Oct 2015