Building software has always been a tradeoff between time to market and a quality user experience.
Developers who are looking for a quick buck far too often sacrifice the latter for the former and as a result produce applications that are of limited long term use.
The alternative is to produce software that serves users and their long-term purposes. Here are five ways to do just that.
One of the most vaunted development philosophies in the history of information technology is that which underlies the UNIX operating system. Its top priority is to simplify software by developing programs that do one thing well. Users can then chain those programs together to accomplish complex tasks. Mobile apps should be no different. An application should perform one task as efficiently and as completely as possible. Attempts to do otherwise are likely only to distract both developers and users from the purpose of the software and create sub-standard results.
Although mobile application platforms limit developer choice when it comes to language and operating system services, developers should endeavor to make their software as fast as possible. Although this may require a considerable investment in optimization, the results will be worth it, especially when compared to other applications. You could even have hosted services to help keep the app speedy and secure. By and large, mobile software is incredibly slow when the power of the hardware and the relative complexity of whatever task the software is trying to accomplish are taken into account. Fast applications will stand out above their peers and will simultaneously better serve users.
Even though storage space is no longer at the premium it once was, making your app smaller is always beneficial. Faster and smaller tend to go together in any digital technology. Smaller apps are easier to install and less likely to generate errors and warnings, and a smaller app is less likely to incorporate unnecessary add-ons and libraries.
It is tempting for developers to require users to authorize a long list of permissions in order to install or use an app. The truth is the vast majority of those permissions are entirely unnecessary for most business applications to do their job. In nearly every circumstance, users will provide apps and the businesses that offer them all the information they need without the app having to go on an expedition into every information cache on the device to find it on its own. There’s a lot of competition out there. If your app is the least threatening from a permissions standpoint, your app has an advantage.
This advice dovetails from simplicity. Applications should present their information in an uncluttered way. The operative phrase is “exaggerated obviousness.” Companies like Ottawa IT Support know big buttons, big text combined with many screens is always far preferable to swarms of tiny controls, huge blocks of tiny text and clumsy navigation.
When in doubt, consider a 1985 desk model touch-tone phone. Twelve buttons. AT&T built that phone into a $54 billion company. There is no reason for your app to be any more complex.
The mobile phone (and tablet) is popular today because of its relative simplicity. Your app will benefit from extending this philosophy to your business. In the long run, making your business more approachable will always help advance your objectives.