Today, effective mobile apps get serious work done –enabling salesforces to manage their pipelines, helping engineers inspect building plans, giving doctors the ability to review patient data, and more.
At Icreon, we develop serious (yet beautiful) apps on iPhone, iPad, Android & Windows. We're known for blending awarding winning design with serious, scalable, engineering-focused performance.
Understanding which devices you need to support at the outset.
Building out a user experience that is touch and hardware optimized.
Creating integration points that connect your data to your apps.
Capturing usability heuristics to understand how the apps are being used.
Reiterating on your mobile offerings to add new features and functionalities.
The debate between Hybrid vs Native app development has been hotly debated. While some app developers are vehemently opposed to developing in HTML5, others will say that the decision to go Hybrid or Native should only take five minutes—five minutes, really?
Every business will have opinions - without strong opinions your business strategy will lack the necessary momentum for effective mobile initiatives. That being said some opinions are more relevant than others, and the debate over Hybrid vs. Native development is dead.
Choosing between Hybrid and Native development should be more about sound business strategy and less about which method is the most advanced from a technical perspective. This is what many passionate app developers don’t understand, is that a mobile app should make a business more agile and more profitable.
In that regard both Hybrid and Native apps offer unique solutions that your business can be taking advantage of. But whether your business should go the Native route developing for iOS and Android, or choose to develop in HTML5 should rely totally on goals that are pertinent to your growth.
Will spending additional time and investment on flawless UX design and pouring app development money into one or both of the two main OS systems (Android and iOS) really help your business generate revenue? The short answer to this is simple: it depends on what your business is, and what you expect from a mobile app.
By using an SDK (software development kit), app developers can utilize web code to be deployed across both iOS and Android operating systems. Essentially this option is a cheaper, faster solution if you need to get your app developed, and if you require the app to be on Android, iOS and even Windows at the same time.
Native app development is platform-specific meaning that you have to choose whether you want to develop in iOS or Android (or pay two teams to do both at the same time). The end result is typically an app with a better user experience at the price of taking longer to develop with more overhead costs.
The debate is dead because many app development companies don’t take a holistic approach to choosing between native or hybrid development.
When you work with talented app development companies who are great at what they do you’ll inevitably hear a lot of strong opinions about which method of development is superior. And just as with any other development debate, you should base your decision on what presents itself as the best solution for your business as a whole—and that means making smart decisions regardless of whether your development team thinks Native or Hybrid solutions are superior to the other.
Is Best in Class UX design Mission Critical to Your App’s Business Aspirations?
Here’s where you have to create an internal audit to determine what functions are really critical to making your app successful. Do you need access to applications that are specific to either iOS or Android?
For example, both iOS and Android operating systems come with a different GPS built directly into the hardware. If location targeting were a crucial function to providing a worthy user experience for your customers, you’d probably be better off considering the native development route.
Likewise, if your app requires integration with specific API’s, native would be the way to go as well. While Hybrid can be a great solution for deploying code across iPhone and Android operating systems quickly and easily, the user experience is almost always more organic with native development.
One of the best things about developing a Hybrid app is that all updates are done directly through the web—meaning you won’t have to annoy your users by notifying them with updates all the time.
The bottom line here is this: if giving users access to your content is a big priority—and that content doesn’t change dramatically whether you’re developing for Android or iOS—then Hybrid can become a much more actionable solution for your business due it’s inherent agility.
What’s your budget/timeline?
There’s no getting around the fact that Hybrid development costs are usually reasonable and that Native development costs are more often than not, greatly expensive. To answer which solution suits you better you must take a top down view to determine whether building a top notch user experience trumps taking a minimum viable approach. First and foremost you should calculate how much ground you’re losing by not getting your app in front of users right away.
While rushing delivery on your app is almost never preferable to building a quality product that can scale over time, the amount of time it takes to get your app to market can hold serious consequences for your business.
Take Facebook for example, who developed in Hybrid from the start. While Hybrid didn’t work for them in the long run, the social giant did add value to their company by being quick to the draw in testing the capabilities of Hybrid app development and getting their mobile app in front of users in a hurry.
People are going to debate over whether Native is superior to Hybrid and vice versa but what matters for your business more than the opinions of purist app developers, however, is the option that will make your business grow at a more scalable rate. Picking one method of app development or the other is a personal choice that should reflect a company’s pain points and projected goals.
On average, users look at smartphones 100 times a day. Combine that with the expectation that by 2017 there will be 2.5 billion smartphone users and over 10 million apps in the app store, you’ll understand why brands and businesses have shifted focus toward mobile initiatives.
Mobile apps create new ways to connect with customers and better equip your workforce. Whether it’s for customers or employees, there are mobile solutions that can fill unique gaps in customer journeys and employee workflows that didn’t exist years ago.
If you’re having trouble identifying how mobile fits into your overall technology ecosystem, this list covers the different moments mobile users run into most often and how you can catch their attention in that moment through mobile technologies.
As consumers continue to turn to their phones to guide them in their buying decisions, companies need to ensure all relevant information is available to a user whenever, and wherever they need it. A customer in Best Buy looking to see reviews and product details on streaming media players is able to quickly do so on their smartphone. Airlines make flights immediately available for users looking to book flights on the go. Being available in the immediate context of a customer is imperative.
Mobile apps can create a more knowledgeable workforce by providing complete customer information whenever, wherever they need.
Here at Icreon, an app development company, we developed a mobile solution for a customer service company in order for their employees to better assist customers with in-app video chat. The employees can see what the customer is viewing as well as their entire purchase history, both in real time. This allows them to identify areas where the customer needs more information which ultimately makes for an easier sell, and even better, upsell.
A few more examples - China Eastern Airlines uses mobile apps to assign maintenance staff based on demand for services at the gate. The City of Westminster enables workers to control streetlights for safety and maintenance, all from a tablet app. ITAD, a technology recycling company, supplies their field service agents with a mobile device to scan items on the spot for quicker information input and stock updates, allowing for more efficient inventory control.
You can utilize apps to continue to market to users that are already engaged with your brand. Airlines use mobile to allow users to request an upgrade on their flight. Spotify sends push notifications to smartphones to alert users of new songs or albums from their favorite artists. Walgreen's alerts customers on their smartphones when their prescriptions are ready for pick up.
Companies can gain a competitive edge by providing an extension to a product or service that ultimately enhances the user experience. For example Nest, the innovative self-learning thermostat, uses their app to allow users to change the temperature in their house from any location. If a user knows they’ll be arriving home earlier than expected, they can use the mobile app to warm their house during their commute home.
Going forward, we’ll see companies begin to identify unique areas in customer journeys and employee workflows where a mobile solution will enhance the overall experience.
It's the first question asked when it comes to the development a mobile app:
While there are many factors that go into the cost of the development an app, the true cost lies in the time and resources of the talent required to develop the app.
In order to build a well-designed and fully functional mobile application, you need different specialists to play a part of the overall development. While general factors like the design and framework of a mobile app obviously figure into the cost, what you're really paying for is the hours, resources, and skill set of the specialists. To gain a better idea of the major players involved in developing an app, we've put together this guide:
Responsible for creating the application interface and the overall look and feel of the app, the UX designer lays the foundation of how users will interact with the app. First, the designer will gather data to understand how users will interact with the functionality of the application. Then they'll create mock-up app designs that fit to the specific the needs of the end user. Ultimately, the UX designer will develop the ins and outs of navigation and on-screen elements that deliver a seamless experience for users.
The developers are responsible for turning the app from an idea into a reality. They'll take what the designer has created and turn it into working software. They're responsible for coordinating the implementation of supporting architecture/infrastructure, and ensure all code is written within the project standards.
Depending on the platforms and devices your app needs to function on, you may need developers who are well versed in multiple programming languages including but not limited to objective c, swift, and java. This is where the development process can become resource intensive, especially if you need to build multiple native applications on iOS and Android, and integrate them with external data sources.
In order to build a quality mobile app, it's imperative to hire experienced and talented app developers that will deliver the product you want.
The Quality Assurance (QA) team, as their name suggests, is responsible for ensuring the quality of the product. They extensively test different scenarios to ensure all facets of the application run smoothly. They'll test integration with third party software, logins on difference mobile devices, swiping features at certain stages, handoff capabilities, and everything you can possibly imagine. The QA team is extremely detailed oriented and have experience in looking for the functionality and design issues that are not easily seen by the developers.
With so many moving parts - the design team, the development team, the product owner and the quality assurance team - things can get off track quickly. To ensure your project sticks to the agreed timeline and conditions, a project manager is absolutely necessary. Whether they're keeping on top of the development team's tasks, or informing the product owner of updated timelines, the PM plays a major part of delivering a quality mobile application.
It should be pretty clear that developing and maintaining an app is a much more complex process than many think. It's a major investment of time and resources of certain skill sets. If you're looking to build a quality mobile app you should expect to have a team of at least 4-6 and expect to pay tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to Venture Beat, Android’s worldwide growth continues to outpace its mobile competitors, and consumers continue to purchase more Android devices than ever before. With such trends in mind many brands are aiming to strengthen their market presence by distributing brand specific Android apps.
They can attend to two specific areas of operations for a brand. There are also many internal business processes that can operate more efficiently when augmented or replaced by enterprise mobile apps. Other processes that are vital for conducting transaction with customers or marketing an advertisement can be delivered with customized consumer apps.
Brands can improve their performance internally as well as drive brand engagement with customers via mobile. But investments in mobile application development must incorporate certain features and trends in order to offer a mobile experience that provides legitimate value.
Customer-facing Android apps are a marketing channel through which businesses can attract new customers. Some of the business functions that external users (such as customers, suppliers and partners) perform through a brand's customer-facing Android app include:
A designated Android app can help brand’s use mobile-specific features like the accelerometer, push notifications or contacts list to extract marketing data. Many of today’s customers are more likely to respond to mobile notifications than email or other traditional forms of communication. Brands can also more accurately measure the reach and effectiveness of such campaigns compare static coupons and TV spots.
By using mobile geo-location data as well as demographic information, personalized advertisements can be highly targeted to a specific location and customer type.
Brands can use apps to offer functionality that fosters a direct relationship with the customer. They can serve as advertisements for products while also providing a useful service, like the Charmin 'Sit-or-Squat' app that helps a user find restrooms via geo-location.
In today’s competitive landscape customer-facing Android apps can help brands attract and retain and attract customers.
Enterprise apps are designed for employees to help them perform their daily operations, and are never seen by the customer. Enterprises across the board are creating custom apps to support their internal business needs. Almost every aspect of work can be digitized via apps (i.e. filing expense reports, securely signing documents, and filing for leave with HR).
Customized enterprise apps can be broken down into two groups. Firstly, there are apps developed by vendors for a wide range of enterprises that are then customized for a particular brand. Secondly, there are the custom apps designed specifically for a particular enterprise. The main goal with these apps is to make complex desktop-oriented applications work seamlessly on mobile devices.
With the right apps on Android, enterprises can provide their mobile workforce with the tools to communicate effectively and instantly access the information they need.
Whether for the internal employee or the potential prospective customer, there is an app for everyone. They are also being developed and used by enterprises specifically for the processes within their organization as well as to market a brand to customers. Businesses should consider Android apps as a part of their customer facing and internal employee mobile strategies depending on the circumstance.
When it comes to consumer apps brands should assess what type of device the average customer uses. Does a significant amount of their website traffic stem from Android devices as opposed to iPhones? If so, an Android would be a logical approach.
If a business is considering an enterprise app, the team in charge should consider the most popular devices used by their workforce. If a company recently distributed Android tablets to their workforce, a selection of Android apps should follow.
For businesses considering Android as a part of their mobile strategy, achieving ROI comes down to knowing your audience and envisioning a mobile experience that aligns with your brand.