There is no denying that mobile software development is hot right now. Businesses are clamoring for developers who can build custom mobile apps for them. Mobile software is an exciting and lucrative business, but there are five key points developers need to keep in mind.
Take it Easy on Bandwidth
While it is tempting to put all the features you can into an app, remember that many users have limited data plans. If you design an app that pushes usage limits, people will not use it for very long. Additionally, some carriers may block apps that use what they consider an excessive amount of bandwidth. Functionality is important, but stay within reasonable bandwidth usage limits. Some app stores will test the network usage of an app before they decide to carry it.
You should not limit your app to one particular platform. Sure iPhones have the lion’s share of the market right now, but there are also many Androids and Windows smartphones out there as well. Design your apps so that you can easily port them to other platforms, even if it means you lose some features that are unique to certain devices. However, on the other hand, you will dramatically increase the pool of potential users.
Tablets are Hot
More and more people are loading up their tablets with the same mobile apps they enjoy on their smartphones. This presents a particular problem for developers, because tablet owners expect apps that take advantage of their tablets’ bigger screen and faster processor. In most cases, mobile apps can run on tablets with little or no modifications, but it may be worth considering creating a separate tablet version of an app if you or the client thinks wants to take advantage of tablet features.
Take the time to register with developer networks and major app stores. Having access to an operating system’ software development kit (SDK) in invaluable. Additionally, if you design an app that you want to sell, you need to be registered as a publisher in order to be paid. If you are already registered, it will also make things easier if you have to have your app certified by the app store. Vetting an app can take a while, so registering beforehand will help speed up the process.
There are numerous devices out there with different screen sizes, operating systems, and features. Keep the look and “feel” of your app consistent across as many platforms as possible. Someone who uses your app on their iPhone for work should have no problem using it on their personal Android phone. The same logic is true for developing apps that run on tablets as well. Keep commands and features as consistent as possible so that users do not face a learning curve when they switch devices.
Mobile software development is constantly evolving and most developers learn something new with each app they develop. However, the guidelines presented here are good business practices that will help keep your users and clients happy. Cutting-edge programming is a wonderful thing, but if you get carried away, it can cut you right out of the market.
About the Author: Sadye Hillesheim is a software developer who partners with larger companies. She often recommends testing automation from Alliance Global Services to companies developing any type of software, mobile or not, to ensure ultimate success.