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16 Crucial Things Companies Often Forget When Building Mobile Apps

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More and more consumers are using their phones to surf the Web and shop for goods and services. As a result, an increasing number of businesses are developing mobile apps to support their sales and outreach.

If you’re looking to establish a mobile app for your business, it’s important to remember that building an app isn’t as simple as downsizing your website for a smaller screen. Below, the members of Forbes Technology Council share 16 important considerations companies often forget when it comes to building a mobile app to support their business.

1. Security And Privacy

One crucial consideration is security and privacy. There needs to be a data flow diagram showing the lifecycle of sensitive and personal data on the mobile app through data collection, storage, usage, sharing or transfer, and disposal, including the specific controls that are in place for ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of that data. – Bob Fabien ZingaDirectly, Inc./U.S. Navy Reserve

2. The Benefits Of Building From Scratch

The mobile version of a website can be created out of the website on a bigger screen. However, if you are creating a mobile version of your application, always start from scratch. Building your mobile app on a blank page will be faster and delivers a better result rather than tweaking your Web app to make it mobile. – Arman Eshraghi, Qrvey

3. Customization

With a mobile app, brands can reach their customers in a deeper way that isn’t possible on other platforms. A mobile device is personal and has contextual awareness, which gives brands the ability to adapt an experience to meet the customer’s needs no matter where they are. The customized mobile app will soon be indispensable for your customer! – Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket

4. Operational Headroom

Customers are dealing with a smaller form factor device with limited input/output options, so enabling them to get to the information they need with minimal user interaction while ensuring security is paramount. Also, mobile devices have fewer resources like CPU power or memory, so optimizing the code to ensure that the software can operate with minimal headroom is critical to a positive user experience. – Biju Nair, HYLA Mobile

5. Mobile Application Frameworks

Do not reinvent the wheel. Leverage a modern mobile application framework such as React Native. Your engineering team gains the ability to use battle-hardened components, tools and processes actively used by some of the largest technology firms in the world. – John Bellone, SS&C Health

6. Network Tolerance

A great user interface and device-native experiences are usually top of mind, but the network factor is ignored. Rethinking the user experience—particularly in shared/low-speed internet scenarios or when users switch between network providers or to WiFi or telecom—is a science. Building a network-tolerant app and elegantly handling failures on devices will help build an adaptable and context-aware mobile experience. – Meeta Dash,

7. Accessibility

Accessibility is one important consideration that is often overlooked in mobile apps. Today, you cannot afford for accessibility to be a digital afterthought. With both Apple and Google investing heavily in accessibility, there are no excuses. Plan for accessible mobile apps early to save considerable rework later and deliver superior customer experiences everywhere for everyone. – Cleve Gibbon, Wunderman Thompson

8. Device Optimization

It’s important to consider device optimization when developing a mobile application for your business. Not every device is created equal. Androids, tablets, iPhones and other devices are going to have differences in design and functionality that ultimately affect user experience. Remember who you’re building the application for. Optimize for the customers you serve. – Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management

9. Support After The First Release

Supporting apps after the first release is a major scope that companies tend to underestimate. Whether you are building a Web or mobile app, browsers and operating systems that are continuously evolving make regular updates of your app essential. Such updates avoid a malfunctioning app or a deteriorating user experience and accordingly need to be well-resourced. – Ahmad (Al) Fares, Celitech Inc.

10. Consistent User Experiences

The multitude of devices and operating systems in use at any point make it extremely difficult to deliver consistent mobile app experiences. Telemetry that provides context about user experience in relation to device and OS version can help to inform development investments and debugging priorities. Otherwise, you risk overspending or overusing resources in areas that do not serve your core user base. – Milin Desai,

11. Simplicity

The keys to building a successful mobile app are its simplicity and ease of use. Companies need to fight the tendency to overcomplicate a business app, which can frustrate the end-user. The goal should be to look at things from their perspective and serve the customer with a great experience in the fewest steps possible. – Ernie Bray, AutoClaims Direct Inc. (ACD)

12. Value Proposition

According to Zipwhip, 61% of consumers are not willing to install a new app to communicate with a business. Therefore, the value proposition for installing an app has to be much higher than browsing a website. Before you start on this initiative, be sure that you’ve identified and outlined the tangible value you’re providing. – Allan Wintersieck, Devetry

13. Push Notifications And Alerts

One of the biggest advantages of a mobile app compared to a desktop app is the ability to send alerts and promotions via push notifications. Obviously, users need to be able to set their preferences as to how to receive notifications, but the option to communicate with users in real time and have them respond to changes in real time is priceless. – Ariel Rosenfeld, 3d Signals

14. The Problem To Be Solved

Think about the problem you’re solving, not about how many features you can cram into the software. In mobile app development, it’s better to do one thing right and build up from there. Otherwise, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin and make things more difficult overall. You want your app to make life easier and more convenient for your users, so be smart about your goals and your capabilities. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev

15. Variety Of Operating Systems

Here’s a killer for any startup: the never-ending support of different operating systems and their numerous versions, along with a never-ending stream of new devices. See if you can start with a responsive Web design. And even before you start building, get some feedback from people to see if they will actually use it. – Vaclav Vincalek, Future Infinitive

16. How (And Where) Users Will Interact With It

Users will expect new functionality. What you do on a laptop with a browser is not the same as a smartphone that is always with you and always on. How impactful would Twitter be if the mobile version only had the same functions as the desktop version? We ask our clients, “What do your users do with your site in the bathroom?” – David Moise, Decide Consulting


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