MOBILE DEVELOPMENT:

Build Better Apps for Android and iOS – Best Practices

Inspire Visual By Inspire Visual
Updated October 2022
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App downloads are at an all-time global high, with 230 billion downloads across the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Since 2018 the number of app downloads has increased steadily at a 15 percent growth rate.

The potential for revenue across most app segments is forecast to grow to 613 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, almost double what it was in 2020.

When Apple first introduced mobile apps in 2007 with the release of the iPhone, there were less than 100,000 apps available in Apple’s App Store for download – quite a contrast to the 4,8 million available today.

The Google Play Store, originally named “Android Market”, came a year later in 2008 with an original offering of 50 free apps, according to Erick Tseng at Google. After paying a $25 registration fee, app developers could upload their apps without further testing or approval (hello virus, backdoor, and phishing apps).

Fortunately, a lot has changed for the better in both app stores regarding security and selection. However, concurrently the market demands a lot more than it did initially for app developers. It gets progressively more challenging to offer a quality app to compete with the big players.

Developing an app today is hard work for you or your app development agency. It requires a good understanding of the competitor landscape for any app category and how to take advantage of best practices, to remain relevant and exciting to the picky app users of today.

Best practices for building better apps

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are top priorities

When people first meet they quickly decide if the relationship will pay off in the future or if it is not worth their time. It’s the exact same for apps.

Good first impressions are vital for creating interest. Ask yourself, what are people’s first impressions of an app?

If you answered “the UI” you are correct.

Your app must be well-polished and follow the latest design guidelines from Google and Apple. If your app looks like it was developed in a previous app generation cycle, it’s likely to be perceived as outdated and mediocre.

Be sure to spend enough time and budget working with an app agency with top designers staffed to get a UI that will impress.

After the first, hopefully, positive impression of the app UI follows the app UX. The UX dictates how the user interacts with your app, how easy it is to use and how it solves tasks in as few but intuitive steps as possible.

It’s crucial to make every app interaction you can think of as fluent as possible. To create user scenarios for how to solve tasks in your app, have a focus group solve the challenges and note any confusion or stopping points they encounter.

App UI and UX illustration

An excellent example of a company not doing successful user testing was Juicero. Juicero, founded in 2014, received 120 million U.S. dollars in venture capital before it shut its doors for good just three years later.

Juicero’s product was a minimalistic juicer with no physical buttons. Instead, it required an app to function!

Now, using apps to control IoT devices is nothing new, but making a 100% app dependable device was not a smart move.

What if you want a fresh-pressed juice and your phone is out of battery?

Or what if the WIFI is down? It’s not uncommon for routers to experience hiccups and kick off devices once in a while. Then you’d have to wait for a fresh-pressed juice until the WIFI was working again.

Suppose the app developers had spent more time user testing. In that case, they could probably have foreseen these showstoppers and at least built-in Bluetooth connectivity as a backup for WIFI as a minimum.

The moral of the story is to build a solid UI and UX for your app and do thorough user testing before being released to the app stores.

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR APP

Do you want an app and have questions? We can help!

Get in touch with us today for a talk.

CONTACT A FRIENDLY TEAM MEMBER

Don’t overcomplicate your app with too many features

When you get a good idea you are really excited about, it can be difficult to limit those ideas from making it into the app in the first version. After all, you want everyone to enjoy your app to its fullest potential.

3 reasons you should keep your app simple in the first version

  • Initial investment cost – the more features you want your app to support, the more it will cost you. GPS functionality, e-commerce payment gateways, user profile capturing on back-end servers, and sharing capabilities can get pricey real quick if you want to include them all in your app.
  • Time to market – It’s not uncommon for an app to take at least three months to develop, commonly averaging a six-month development cycle or more, depending on complexity. Every day your app is not in the app store means lost revenue. It’s better to shorten the development time, so you can start earning income while more features are built into the app.
  • Focus and time spent on key features – If you have three key features, you are likely to spend more time improving them than if your attention is shared between 8 features. You benefit directly by offering a few better thought-out app features with the reward of user satisfaction and app retention.

It’s wise not to include too many features in your app since you risk it being overly complicated to use and maintain. Too many features also mean increased development and maintenance costs.

These tips are also valid even though you already have an app. Current app owners should do a user analysis on what features are being used most and bring those to the front and center of the app.

If some app features are not much used, consider getting rid of them for an optimized and streamlined user experience.

Update your app regularly

Existing and new apps must be updated regularly

Some app owners believe the only cost associated with developing a new app is only going to be the initial cost to get it on the app store. While that is, of course, the essential step to getting it developed, it’s necessary to keep maintaining the app for three reasons:

  1. Keep the app from crashing – as new iOS and Android OS versions are released throughout the year, so is the potential for features to become obsolete. Meaning if the programmer has code that Apple or Google no longer supports, the app will be buggy and, in the worst-case scenario, unusable because it either can’t load or will repeatedly crash during use. If the app is buggy, it may be removed from the app store. And there’s no faster way to jeopardize user retention.
  2. Include new features as they become available – Likewise, when Google and Apple introduce new functionality, usually once a year, you want to make sure your app supports them. Especially if the new functionality can help speed up efficiency or make your app more convenient for the app user.
  3. Keep an eye on app trends – app preferences are organic and influenced by factors such as technological innovations in software and hardware. For example, when smartwatches entered the market, the mobile trends for health and fitness apps shifted to a demand for smartwatch compatible apps. The smartwatch apps offered convenience to their user base by not having to carry the phone around the gym and gaining access to more detailed mHealth data only attainable from the sensors on smartwatches.

The app owner often does not consider the cost of maintaining these three factors. If apps are not supported, they will likely break or become irrelevant down the road, and that’s a complete waste of money. So, always factor in the cost to update and maintain your app, whether it’s brand new or already built.

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR APP

Do you want an app and have questions? We can help!

Get in touch with us today for a talk.

CONTACT A FRIENDLY TEAM MEMBER

Decide if your app is for Android or iOS

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store users are as different breeds as their mobile phone devices. The type of app will likely have more success on one platform over another.

It would be easy if we only looked at the leading global OS.

Android owns 70% of the global market share, and iOS is left with approximately 25%. From those figures, it looks Android would be a clear choice if you’re only looking at potential reach.

However, things are not that simple; you have to consider other factors. For example, if you target the U.S. market, the latest numbers show iPhones have the largest share with more than 50%.

Additionally, iOS users are spending more money per app than Android users, so the revenue potential for app owners is bigger. The more spend shows by looking at the app stores revenues. The Google Play Store generated 12.1 billion U.S. dollars in gross revenue worldwide. Apple’s App Store generated 21.5 billion U.S. dollars in the same period.

Android or iOS app

Monetization options like offering one-time paid premium apps, in-app purchases, subscriptions, or even making money on free apps are plentiful. We can include in-depth market analysis to pinpoint the best revenue-generating strategy for Android or iOS users when we do app development services for our clients.

If you do not have a specific platform in mind, choosing to develop a cross-platform app is another option. While apps are more expensive to build and maintain, the cost is not double for development, and you’ll get an almost 100% market reach.

Contact an app agency like ours to discuss your options and get an estimate so you know what you are getting into before moving forward.

Conclusion

Take these tips into consideration to help you build a better app.

Ensure the user interface and user experience are updated and offer a pleasant app user experience. Outdated and complicated apps will make users run for the hills and not look back.

Get your app faster to market by not adding too many features. Instead, spend time polishing the most essential features so they work without any glitches in a fluent user experience. The added benefit of getting your app in the app store faster is the ability to generate revenue and user adoption earlier.

Don’t forget that owning an app means continuous maintenance. You’ve most likely seen the apps you are using the most are updated on a regularly basis. It’s not only to add new features but also to squash any new bugs so the app will not seem abandoned or become bothersome to use.

Ask your app development company to do a market analysis if you are unsure what device to target. Get estimates to get a sense of cost, but don’t necessarily go with the cheapest option. It’s better to go with a reputable app agency so you don’t risk getting poor code, subpar design, or worthless market analysis.

Expect app development to take at least three months for a simple app. The more features, the longer it will take to develop. If you have a unique idea, consider patenting your app while your app is being built.

If you need assistance, reach out. We have experience developing apps for Android and iOS mobile, tablet, smartwatches, IoT, and more devices at Inspire Visual. We’re available to discuss your app on 407.434.9171 or send us an email.

We are an mobile app development agency and can help with your Android / iOS app.

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About Inspire Visual
At Inspire Visual, we believe that compelling design, functionality and content help drive effective results. That’s why we work hard to provide innovative, visually inspiring and functionally sound solutions to address your marketing challenges and extend your brand’s reach.

We offer decades of experience helping brands worldwide with websites, mobile app development, email marketing, direct mail campaigns, brand identity design, UI/UX, graphic design, print design, tradeshow design and more. We feel privileged to be allowed into our clients’ businesses, and we strive to provide personal service and close collaboration throughout your project.

Call 407.476.1950 or email [email protected] to contact us, so we can meet you, learn more about your business and answer any questions you have. We’d love to connect with you!

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