Mobile apps offer exciting opportunities for increased customer engagement. Regardless of the industry your business operates in, you should certainly be looking at how you can capitalise on this technology to learn more about what your customers want and need.
Many businesses are put off at the thought of developing a mobile app as they see the process as being too difficult, time consuming, or expensive. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. If you take the time to find the right professional team that provides mobile app development in Melbourne, you will end up with a finished product that is well worth your initial investment.
There are many decisions you will have to make throughout the app development process. Arguably the most important consideration is what operating system you are going to build your app for.
What does this mean? Well, an operating system is the primary software in a device, responsible for everything from the interface to memory and storage. The two main operating systems that dominate the tech industry are iOS and Android.
In the early days of app development, you had to make a decision which market you were going to target, iPhone users or those who prefer Android devices. Alternatively, you had the option to build two separate apps to operate on the two systems — an expensive undertaking.
Fast forward to today and the development of a software known as ‘React Native’ has completely revolutionised the app development industry. Developers now have the ability to build one piece of software that works across multiple operating systems.
While this may seem like the obvious choice (more systems equals a bigger potential target audience), many developers still prefer to code apps using a ‘native’ language. Let’s take a closer look as to why that might be the case.
A quick overview of app development
To help you decide what platform you want your app to operate on, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the actual process of app development.
Developing an app can be broken up into the following stages:
The success of your app largely lies in this first stage. The more time you spend planning your app, the more likely that it will meet the needs of your customers.
If you are working with a professional team, they will likely have a long list of questions for you. They will want to know what you are hoping that your app will achieve. They will ask about your target audience and may construct user personas to help guide the development process.
Finally, you need to select an operating system, be it Android, iOS, or cross-platform (React Native). If you have conducted appropriate research, this decision will largely be based on what platform your target audience prefers to use. Your development team may also take into consideration the features and capabilities of the proposed app.
Designing an app takes an artistic eye combined with tech skills. A great designer has the ability to create an interface that is both innovative and user-friendly, while also being reflective of the client’s brand.
The design stage involves considering every visual element of the app, from font size to menu orientation. A lot of research goes into this and there is likely to be a considerable amount of back and forth between the design team and the client before the look and feel of the app is consolidated.
By now, you have well and truly locked in what platform your app will operate on — it’s time to start building.
If you are creating an iOS application, your development team will most likely be using either Swift or Objective-C as the main coding language. For Android, the most popular options are Java or Kotlin. And as mentioned, React Native is a language that allows developers to build apps that work across multiple platforms.
It is not only the coding language that differs. Your developer will also have to make decisions regarding the choice of backend, frameworks, libraries, and APIs, and your choice of platform will dictate what their options are. This is quite a technical step in the overall process.
Once your development team is confident that they have ironed out any bugs, the software can be deployed to the Google Play Store and/or App Store. As is the case with every step in this process, you’ll be glad that you have a professional team by your side to handle the technical requirements dictated by Apple and Google.
Finally, support. Your app will require ongoing maintenance and upgrades so that your clients can continue to benefit from the software you’ve developed. Most teams that provide mobile app development also offer maintenance packages.
iOS, Android, or Native React?
Now that you understand a little more about the app development process, you hopefully have a better handle on what type of app you want to build.
Some developers will swear by native apps — those that are built for a specific platform (be it iOS or Android). The advantages to this approach include the fact that native apps tend to perform faster, are more user-friendly, and can take advantage of the full device functionality (meaning they can harness existing applications, including a device’s camera and microphone).
Cross-platform apps, on the other hand, tend to be more affordable and have the added advantage of providing you with the opportunity to target a wider audience.
The decision to go with a native or cross-platform app is not an easy one. The best advice we can give is to make sure that you do plenty of research in the initial planning stages and speak to as many professional developers as possible so that you can make an informed decision.