Your Guide to Mobile App Development in 2022 and beyond: From the experts at Toobler

December 28, 2021
Your Guide to Mobile App Development in 2022 and beyond: From the experts at Toobler

Introduction

The world has seen a dramatic shift from floppy disks to an era of NFC and Bluetooth, with the consumer base for the digital world increasing by the day. Of all the digitally interactive elements, mobile applications form one of the trends that has swept the world into an easier way of living. Every requirement from ordering food to signing a contract is available, a fingerprint or swipe away.

From walking into a grocery store to exclaiming "oh there's an app for that", mobile applications have penetrated the market like no other. This has made businesses adopt a model of mobile app development to acquire and retain the customer base of this generation. The mobile application industry is thriving, and the stats are here to support the same.

In 2020, business apps took a rise and the global download of business apps increased by approximately 90%. However, within the first ninety days of app download, about 71% of the users churn. So, how do you ensure your app is not facing the same? How do you ensure customer acquisition and retention? It takes a thorough understanding of your customers, their requirements, the features that other apps are lacking at and how you can target personalized needs, to compete and claim a spot in a potential customer's smartphone.

To compete in this expansive and growing industry of mobile app development, we've curated a guide that helps with mobile app development for 2022 and beyond.

What is mobile app development?

Mobile app development is the set of processes, planning, developing prototypes, testing, and deploying software that functions on mobile devices. Given this generation, there is a need for these applications to extend beyond working on a smartphone to working over a wide range of devices such as tablets, smartwatches, and other portable devices.

From the business's end, mobile apps help raise brand recognition, influence customer interaction, and retention, reduce marketing costs, gain feedback, and allow retargeting in a personalized manner. While these provide great opportunities for mobile app development, app developers are forced to release new features, update and go beyond customer expectations at the same time.

So, how does a business stand a chance in this competitive market? Do they follow the 'one glove fits all approach? How do they decide which mobile application works best to target their customer base?

Types of mobile applications

Looking at designing a mobile application from the developer's side, mobile application development is done using various frameworks which include,

Native mobile apps

Native mobile apps are created only for one platform, that is, it is native to a specific operating system as well as the device. For instance, one can choose an iOS or Android platform and have access to every feature offered by the operating system. In this type of mobile application, as they are bound to the features of a single platform, they are more reliable, faster, and provide a smoother app experience.

Cross-platform mobile apps

Using an intermediate language that isn’t native to any specific platform, cross-platform mobile applications are built to run across multiple platforms such as iOS and Android. These applications use plugins to access certain native features of platforms.

HTML5 hybrid mobile apps

These are cross-platform compatible but use the concept of development of web applications such as HTML, CSS, and JS to implement the core parts of the application. This can be shared between various versions of an app across devices.

Features of Native vs cross-platform vs Hybrid

Native Cross platform Hybrid
Seamless integration of platform components into the applicationSupports sharing code between different mobile app versionsEasier technology to handle, works on the "write once, run anywhere" methodology
Faster and more responsive, unmatched user experience Helps make the best of each platform as plugins are used to use features Shorter testing cycles, quicker bug fixes and faster platform rollout
Needs a highly skilled development teamNot all code can be shared on different platforms and some parts have to be rewrittenInteraction can only be through embedded web browser controls
Harder to develop amidst a tight budget or deadlines Sacrifices capabilities that native apps may haveAll parts of the code cannot be shared and some codes have to be written afresh

Mobile application trends, stats, and figures

Based on global statistics, the number of apps are rising on a daily basis. This is attributed to the increasing number of smartphone users. Whether you plan on building a new app from scratch or need to modify an existing one, reaching out to your customers’ exact requirements can help you climb up the competitive ladder.

Not only does the target audience matter, so does the geographical aspect. Analysing app usage and trends based on location can help expand the number of opportunities. Let's dive deeper into usage statistics. More than 218 billion apps have been downloaded by users worldwide in 2020 compared to 204 billion in 2019. The rates of app download do not seem to be slowing down. So, how can your business keep up?

Basically, as we track these metrics we understand that the strategy for effective mobile application development lies in keeping the customer base a reason to come back for better, effective features. There might always be glitches, design issues, network issues, but constant troubleshooting and ensuring a smoother experience is also key. To ensure that your apps are not just being downloaded and unused, there's an added responsibility of coming up with updates and newer versions of the application to capture newer users and engage existing ones.

Why build a mobile application for your business?

Viewing the pros and the statistics of mobile application performance, one may be inclined to jump onto the wagon of mobile application development. However, it is necessary to make a thorough evaluation before taking on the decision of building an application. It is imperative to ask questions such as,

Can this be a new channel of marketing for the business?

Does your current strategy provide a seamless customer experience?

Does the user experience live up to the demand of this generation?

Can a mobile app presence benefit your organization?

It is true that most businesses have jumped on the bandwagon of creating a mobile application solely based on its benefits. Building a mobile application provides a personalized experience, seamless customer interaction, experience and support, push notifications, loyalty benefits, exposure to a diverse market, brand awareness, recognition, and so on. An app that is well planned can boost your business’s visibility and do wonders in terms of success among customers.

Four reasons why mobile apps fail: major prevention strategies

Most entrepreneurs and businesses set out to develop a mobile application given the booming usage statistics, but when it is not well planned and executed, the application may be a letdown. Hence, it is important to assess common challenging criteria from other applications and the one being developed, to prevent a drop in usage and customer retention.

1. Lack of proper targeting

It's as simple as this- if your app does not reach your target audience, it does not stand a chance of being downloaded. This is one of the reasons why mobile apps fail. To rectify this, tactics such as placing a health and wellness app in the gaming section to gain downloads won't help either. What can be done, however, is better preparation. It is crucial to question and implement strategies rather than rush into mobile app development.

First thing is to understand the market, the trends, and the usage statistics of your target audience. Second, is to find out what your competitors may be doing better or what they're lacking at. This helps increase the download and retention rate of your application and interaction with the target audience.

2. Robust strategy and marketing

There needs to be an effective balance of creativity and technical aspects for the mobile application to become a successful product. The end goal should be to effectively and quickly help the customer get the required task done.

The best practices for mobile app development come into play during production, but the marketing tactics post-deployment matter as well. Marketing factors such as ASO, SEO, SEM, PR can help your potential customers know about the application and function as effective techniques for post-deployment marketing.

3. Design, at the heart of user experience

The design forms the first impression of your application among users and a bad design can eventually lead to a customer rejecting the application. The user experience must encompass design, functionality, and ease of usage. It's essential to have the app tested for usability at every stage of change in the mobile application development process to ensure the proper functioning of elements. Good design leads to a spike in customer usage and retention.

4. Lack of monetization strategy

In the mobile application development process, there will be costs incurred right from outsourcing a team to production and post-deployment. To make up for these and generate profit in the long run, it is necessary to have monetization models. There are plenty of ways to monetize an application which include paid ads, promotions, in-app purchases, app download purchases, and so on. Regardless of the type of monetization strategy, ensure that it is profitable in the long run.

Best practices: How to build a successful mobile application?

To get started with mobile app development, the first step is to start analyzing a plan based on your industry's domain and app requirements. Here's a simple breakdown of the process to help you get started,

1. Research and explore

With an idea for your application, this is the first step towards forming a concrete concept, a foundation. This part of the mobile application development process involved market research, analysis of demographics, behavior patterns, and customer requirements. Some key points to create a strategy include,

Deciding the primary goal of the app

The decision of target audience and features that help your app stand out from the rest

Forming a blueprint of all the functionalities it has to offer

An overall discussion of the benefits of the application and projected performance in the app market

2. Sketching a business model

In this stage, the business is to go beyond the vision and mission of the app and consider the practical aspects such as the revenue of the application, business model, budget and time constraints, and requirements. Performing a SWOT analysis, outlining the goals of the application, primary app use cases, and categorizing users based on metrics such as behavior, location, and so on is to be taken into consideration.

3. Project requirements

Post clearing the intent of the application, it is essential to get started on the technical aspects. Is your in-house team equipped with the skills needed for your application, or do you need to outsource? Do you plan on creating an application for a single platform or multiple? What would the subscription-based revenue model be?

Some of the best practices for mobile app development include sketching out a logbook of requirements related to revenue models, budget allotment, app development team, project milestones, resources, targeted audience, the cost for additional requirements and other features can help. This helps list down the requirements before starting out on the main idea.

4. Prototyping

The main intention of prototyping is to create a rough version of the application that will help gain user feedback and assess the feasibility of the application. Other methods of testing the idea include proof of concept and a minimum viable product.

Proof of concept checks whether the application can be built with the required functionalities, the prototype can be viewed as a draft or it shows how the application can be built, to visualize and gain feedback. On the other hand, the minimum viable product is a small version of the end product that has the most essential features. The latter helps assess user experience and shortens the time to market.

5. Design and structure

There are many approaches to mobile application development and the processes usually include Planning, designing, developing, testing, releasing, and collecting feedback. The most important components to consider In development and design including UI/UX, wireframing, maintaining brand consistency in style guides, prototypes and other simulations of the app design, and animation and motion design.

Mobile app development, user experience plays a crucial role in the success of the application. Hence the graphical representation, the look and feel of the application, user interaction, style guides in fonts, and animation form the important components that help in user acquisition and retention.

6. Mobile app development process

This is the most active face of the mobile application development cycle Which involves the three core components that include back-end services technology, application programming interfaces, and front-end development. The methodology used for the projects can vary according to the organization. It can be divided into silos where different groups work on different initiatives or work as a whole. The process includes,

Backend development- this works with a database, scripting, and architecture of the application. Based on your requirements the technology is used for back-end development including Ruby, PHP, Node js, JavaScript, python, and so on.

A PI development- this functions as a bridge between the main application and third-party plug-in applications. It enables communication between various software elements and simplifies the administration, design, and use of the app.

Front-end development – this can be viewed as a part of the user interacts with and is managed through local databases, APIs, and back-end technology.

7. Testing and deployment

Testing and fixing bugs in the early stages has a lesser cost in comparison with fixing bugs at later stages. Testing can be done in various stages of mobile application development. A solid app testing strategy should cover all aspects from performance, user experience, and industry best practices. Some of the manual or automated testing include,

Usability testing which comprises UI, comparability, ADA, and compliance testing

Performance testing tests for scalability, memory use, and overall evaluation

Compliance and security testing ensures that the application is updated to the latest HIPAA, ISO, and other industry regulations

Post testing, metrics such as statistics, import information, types of testing done and so on must be documented. The final deployment of the application in the mobile application development process is done post-testing and involves processes of maintenance, security, collecting user feedback, and incorporating new features through updates.

8. Ensuring security

While working on the process of mobile application development, what developers may not realize Is the security required for crucial steps of the process. A breach can be a costly affair and hence there is a need for initiatives to be taken such as Data encryption, authorized Apis, firewall setup, repeated testing, assessment of regulation compliance, writing accurate and secure codes, and so on.

Mobile app development: to jump on the bandwagon or not to?

2022 is a year where the mobile Industry is expected to take off, in terms of soaring usage due to the advent of 5G, IoT, wearables, smart devices and so on. While this seems like an encouraging opportunity for most, a successful mobile application doesn't transition from idea to deployment. A proper guide on the trends, statistics, making numbers work, tightening budgets and app design based on requirements are some of the topics that need brainstorming before the idea becomes a prototype and finally, an application.

This guide is from Toobler's experts who have curated custom mobile app development experiences, and dealt with tight deadlines, budget crunches, troubleshooting, to security and maintenance post deployment. If you are new to the mobile application development industry or need help navigating, use this guide as your reference to analyse the growing mobile application development industry.

Ready to develop an app in 2022 based on the usage and requirement for your business, or willing to modify one? Contact our experts at Toobler now.