“There’s an app for that,” was coined by Apple back in 2009. That same year, there were a mere 100,000 apps available on the Apple Store and 2,300 apps on the Google Play Store. Fast forward to 2021, and those numbers have climbed to 2.2 million and 3.5 million, respectively. It’s safe to say that mobile apps have become an integral part of consumers’ everyday lives.
The evolution of apps has been astonishingly fast, with apps being used for everything from gaming and dating to investing in stock and catching a ride-share to the airport. Therefore, with so many use-cases for applications, it’s no surprise that one of the most popular Quantilus services is creating mobile applications for our clients. If your company is considering building an app, there are countless items to consider. To help point you in the right direction, we compiled a list of seven questions to answer before developing a mobile app.
As techies ourselves, we understand the desire to build a mobile app. But hear us out. Sometimes a mobile-friendly website can satisfy a company’s needs and can therefore forgo developing an app.
Some notable perks of a mobile-friendly website include being frequently less expensive, requiring less build-time, being compatible on all devices, and the URL to the site is easy to share. On the other hand, mobile apps offer in-depth customization, the ability to send notifications to users, the option to work offline, and are convenient for consumers. If you want additional help deciding which route to take, check out this informative article from Business News Daily.
Two operating systems dominate smartphones. They are iOS (Apple) and Android. For perspective, there’s an estimated 900 million active iOS mobile phone globally and 3 billion Android phones. Opting to only build for one of the operating systems will result in missing out on a massive global audience. However, if your target audience predominantly uses iOS or mainly uses Android, it may make sense only to pursue developing an app for that particular operating system.
There are two popular methods to choose from if building an app for both Apple and Android. First, there’s the option of building for each operating system natively. This means developing a platform-specific app for iOS and then a different one for Android. Alternatively, there’s the option of cross-platform app development, which is comprised of developing one app that can run across various operating systems. This works by having cross-platform software such as Xamarin or Flutter to translate the initial code to comply with multiple operating systems.
There are pros and cons to each option. Pros for native development include superior speed, improved performance, greater customization, and a better user experience. Conversely, the cons for native development are that it is commonly more expensive and requires more time to build. As for cross-platform app development, this method is less expensive, and the app can be deployed quicker but results in less customization and slower performance.
Although tablets are often thought of as larger smartphones, there are different reasons why consumers use each device. First off, older consumers tend to prefer tablets over smartphones due to the larger screen size making the app easier to see. Therefore, if the target audience skews older, then a tablet version may be a good idea. Furthermore, smartphone apps tend to be for quick interactions, such as checking social media, playing games, and finding a nearby spot to eat. On the other hand, tablet apps are normally created when a company believes the audience will spend extended lengths of time on the app. Examples of good ideas for tablet apps include video streaming services, e-books, and professional image editing.
When strictly considering the user experience, a tablet version is imperative for optimal results. This is mainly due to the dimensions of the tablet screen being larger and possessing different aspect ratios. Without building a separate tablet version of the app, it may appear pixelated or blurry since it was built for a smaller screen. Furthermore, it may not fully utilize the increased screen real estate that tablets offer.
Now for everyone’s favorite subject, money. Will the app have a revenue model? Popular options for revenue models for mobile apps include:
Countless apps do not have monetization features. However, such features can provide an additional revenue stream for your business. Furthermore, a revenue model does not need to be implemented for an app’s initial launch. It can always be added and/or modified later on.
When the app is launched, who will have access to it? Apps can be made public, so anyone can download and use the app, or the app can be made private, which only allows individuals with the correct credentials to access the application. One of the main reasons apps are made private is because companies may only want the app to be used internally by employees. This is because the app may contain sensitive or confidential information. Additionally, it may be used to communicate between members of an organization.
The last question on this list revolves around maintenance and updates. Apps require regular maintenance to ensure compatibility with operating systems. If an app is not regularly updated, it will eventually not be able to run with the operating system, since operating systems are periodically updated. Companies can either choose to outsource app maintenance or can hire an employee in-house to complete the task. Either way, there needs to be funding for updates, design refreshes, feature additions, cybersecurity, and more. An app is a living product requiring consistent resources to ensure optimal performance.
Building an app can be a great move for a company if there is a clear benefit for users. If you are interested in developing a mobile app for iOS, Android, or both operating systems, Quantilus can help. Contact us today at email@example.com, and we can set up a time to discuss your vision and goals for the project.