Some have thought that the trend for mobile app proliferation was just a fad. But, as with many fads, in a world that's increasingly social and open, mobile apps are becoming more vital than just a game or a passing fancy. The phrase “There’s an app for that” is becoming more real every day. In the mobile space, you often hear terms like 'Native App', 'Web App', and ‘Hybrid App'.
Today’s modern Smartphone’s come with powerful web browsers allowing pretty much anything you can do similar to a browser on the desktop computer. In today's world when people talk about apps, it is almost implicit that they are referring to programs that run on mobile devices, such as Smartphone’s or Tablet Computers. Nowadays there seems to be an app for everything, whether it’s checking up on breaking news, chatting with friends via social networking or even booking last minute holiday trips; there’s an app out there to address every need. Most applications work alone, and some integrate with tools in other media. For example, a website may be integrating with a variety of apps on mobile devices, allowing smooth communication between the devices and the website itself, allowing the user to sync data using the Internet and cloud computing technologies.
Although similar, mobile app development is slightly different than mobile web optimization. How your website and information displays on a mobile device is mobile web optimization. An app is a separate construct that will draw users to your site and your business. There are many different reasons to ponder an app development for your organization. It might be an idea that is consumer based -something that will be widely utilized by a broad group. Perhaps it’s an idea to create, update or optimize a business process. It may be for a specific niche or cross-section. Whatever your reason for considering a mobile development project, there are several questions that are key to answer by keeping the end user in mind before such undertaking. Successful and useful apps require detailed planning and strategy. It doesn’t have to be a painful process, but it does have to be an inclusive one.
First answer this question before all others – Why? You want to stay on top of technology and know that mobile is the way to go, but don’t really know why. Wanting it without really understanding its uses or purpose is just wanting the latest cool technology. It’s important to consider why you want to incorporate mobile into your business strategy or to develop this app. Is it to increase productivity, just an idea for a fun game, to stay in touch with customers and clients on a different level, to increase sales, or is it to assist with research? The reason will help all other parts of the planning process fall in to place.
Next Question - What do you want it to do? The complexity of this answer will lead to other questions, but knowing the specifics of what it is you want this app to accomplish will allow other pieces to fall more easily in to place. The details – you want them to buy your game, shop at your store, be able to scan inventory or do price checking – will determine the functionality you need. The functionality of the app will determine how it will be developed. Will it be a Native App, for a specific mobile operating system like iOS or Android? Or will it be a Mobile Web App that runs on the mobile devices browser? Answering these questions will help determine time frame, capabilities, and the cost of not only development but maintenance. No one likes utilizing an outdated or buggy app. And if they don’t like it – it will reflect on your business.
Who will be using it? Is this something for the general public, your employees, shoppers at your store, people who like games, researchers – who? Do you see it more on Smartphone’s or tablets? Knowing your ideal end user with whom you can pilot the app will help refine the scope of your project. It will give you an early insight in to the user experience and usefulness of the app so that you don’t wander off on useless and costly tangents.
Sketch it out. As you think about the plan, sketch out ideas of how you think the app should look, thefunctionality it should have.
The last is not a question, but something that is important to remember. Involve IT from the start. Whether it’s your own IT department , a consultation with an IT service provider, or hiring a Mobile Application Development Services provider, the guidance of a professional can provide insight, current trends, research and advice that can save you time and money.
Smartphone’s, tablets, laptops are a part of our lives. And that means being mobile is a part of our lives as well. So, it’s time to put your business 'in motion' through integrated mobile solutions. Making sure you have a well laid out mobile strategy to assure that you have a lasting connection to your audience, and not just a Pet Rock.