The amount of time American mobile users spend in apps is increasing, and in 2017 it was five hours a day with 5% of that time dedicated to shopping and lifestyle activities. More businesses are implementing mobile apps and often outsourcing the system development. However, owners still need to know about the different types of mobile apps and the system development lifecycle (SDLC) in order to implement a solid, agile plan to discuss with developers.
Types of Mobile Apps
Understanding the different types of mobile apps helps with planning, and looking at the pros and cons associated with each can help owners decide what type works for their business. There are three types of apps: native, web, and hybrid, with each operating differently. Native apps only work for one operating system platform and cannot be used with others. Web apps use a browser to redirect you to a URL with an install option for users. Hybrid apps use multiple platforms and are basically web apps disguised as native apps. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of app and owners must decide which will meet their needs.
- High performance
- No limit on app usage
- Tendency to reach target customers
- Higher cost
- Higher maintenance
- Only works on one platform
- Lowest cost
- Access from any device
- Fast and easy updates
- Easy maintenance
- Performance linked to an internet connection
- Requires device memory
- Data loaded from a server
- Fast and easy to develop
- Low-cost maintenance
- Smooth updates
- Lack of performance and speed
- Issues with overall optimization
- Design issues
The higher cost of native apps comes from needing duplicate apps for other operating systems and should not be used if multiple operating systems need apps. Web apps need a working browser and internet (or data) connection, which can result in poor user experience. Hybrid apps lack in performance, speed, and optimization compared with native apps due to their inability to look the same on multiple mobile operating systems.
Mobile App SDLC
Another important aspect to understand before contacting an app developer is the lifecycle of system development. Since business owners need a solid plan, including milestones, it is valuable to understand each stage of the lifecycle. From an idea to development to making the app available for download, owners should know what to expect during each stage.
A mobile application SDLC
- Inception – idea is refined into a solid basis for an app
- Design – general layout, how it works, and user interface
- Development – actual building of the mobile app
- Stabilization – testing app to fix issues
- Deployment – app is made available in store for download
- Maintenance – regular system checks and updates
Developing a Plan
A major hurdle in mobile apps is getting the app to stand out using all the advertising power available. Outsourcing can be tricky if the owner and developer are not on the same page, so before reaching out, develop a solid plan for the mobile app. Treat it as any other freelance project by putting together a brief, establishing a timeline, and checking in regularly to monitor the process.
Things to consider for mobile apps:
- Goals to achieve
- Offers either services or e-commerce platform
- Social media integration
- Important milestones in development
- Competitive advantage
- Infrastructure integration
- Value and mobile form
Develop a plan based on these aspects and discuss this with the developer. Determine if similar apps exist in order to figure out how the app is different. Think about infrastructure and which platforms the app will integrate with or expand on. Decide if value can be added by using mobile technologies such as location awareness. Remember to align important milestones with SDLC and check in with the process by developing a communication strategy.
Benefits of Mobile Apps for Businesses
Part of the planning process should include taking advantage of benefits which improve customer relations. The way it improves this is through visibility, value, engagement, and loyalty. Provide value by digitizing any existing loyalty programs or using push notifications to remind users about specials and promotions. It creates a direct marketing channel where you can provide general information. Include contact information, a website link, and a link to mapping services as part of the development plan.
Contact KitelyTech today to discuss the details of how we can add value to you and your online business.