Every type of app will benefit from extensive planning and research. Even if your app is already built, there are important factors that you might not have considered. It’s never too late to go back, conduct extra research, and make important changes. That being said, it is always easiest to research and plan first than it is to backtrack your steps. Here are six key steps to plan and research your apps and games properly.
Conduct competitive analysis
What other apps are out there? Research similar ideas on the various app stores, test competitors’ mobile apps and note the benefits and drawbacks of each. Understanding what works (and doesn’t work) with your competitors’ apps gives you a significant advantage in your initial development efforts. Pair this with your own users’ feedback and analytics, and your time will be well spent.
Invest in user experience
Your greatest app idea won’t catch on with customers if the app is difficult to use. Aim for a mobile app that’s intuitive and user-friendly by investing resources in the UX of each platform. Usability drives adoption and acceptance rates, determining whether your app succeeds.
Know that performance matters
No one likes a slow app. It’s important to constantly monitor the app and its components (network, services, etc.) and ensure performance is within acceptable ranges. Use alerts to find out about issues before they become problems—that then become angry phone calls to support.
Design with performance in mind. Make sure that performance stays within design parameters. But don’t lose sight of the fact that performance serves your core features. Your decisions for performance tweaks shouldn’t interfere with the core functionality of your solution.
Consider network connectivity
If you’re developing a mobile app, network connectivity is almost guaranteed to be a requirement. Planning for network connectivity will depend heavily on exactly what the app is supposed to do. Will the app store enough data locally to allow it to function for a short time away from the network? Or is it possible that the app can go into store-and-forward mode until connectivity is restored? Network performance and security can get complicated, as users expect smooth transitions from using cellular data to Wi-Fi. It’s important to take the time to consider how your app is affected by high traffic and slow or weak connections.
Understand mobile application security
Mobile apps are vulnerable—and so, by extension, are their users. Security and privacy are important considerations regardless of whether your mobile app is in a heavily regulated industry like finance or healthcare. You must take measures to protect your users and their data and, if applicable, to comply with industry regulations. Chances are your app involves sensitive information or information that’s private to the user. You need to keep that information secure.
Test, test, and test
There are lots of arguments about testing. Who should do it? When should it be done? What’s the best methodology for doing it? There is, however, no argument about whether testing is necessary. Testing extensively is an absolute must.
Testing is not just another step in the overall process; rather it’s a part of each step in the development process. The most effective testing is performed constantly and consistently in every aspect of your app. Test the design, functionality, performance, and interactions with other apps. Test on every platform and multiple browsers and carriers.
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