What Are The Main Challenges And Trends In App Development?

Mobile app development is big business. It’s also essential for many companies to have a mobile app that their customers or staff can use to carry out all manner of activities, whether that’s buying a product or booking a meeting.

Of course, our smartphones are constantly evolving and that means there’s always a need for new apps. With technology improving and people’s needs also changing, it’s important that businesses stay on top of their app development.

App Developer Magazine recently highlighted a report released by OutSystems, which identified some of the main challenges faced by app developers.

To compile the State of Application Development, 2019: Is IT Ready for Disruption? report, the firm spoke to 3,300 IT professionals working around the world. One of the main things identified by the research is the volume of apps being developed.

The report found that there was a 60 per cent increase in the number of apps being developed in 2019 compared to last year, with 38 per cent of the professionals surveyed stating that they are expecting to deliver 25 or more apps this year.

However, the survey also revealed that there’s a backlog when it comes to app development, with just 39 per cent of respondents stating that their backlog has improved in the past year, compared to the 64 per cent who said that they have an app development backlog.

Almost half of those questioned revealed that the average time to deliver a web or mobile app is five months or more. If you’re delivering apps for clients outside the tech sector, it’s important to make sure you set realistic expectations.

One of the key trends in app development identified by the survey is a focus on customer centricity. Techniques such as customer journey mapping, design thinking and lean user experience (UX) are some of the things that companies have invested in over the past year. More than 60 per cent of businesses revealed that this was an area of focus for them.

Apps that will be used by customers or business partners were also cited as being the most important among those set to be developed during 2019.

A recent article for Information Age talked about how the DevOps approach to mobile app development has helped to make this technology some of the most used around the world. As a result, the business app user has become more important across a range of industries.

That means firms increasingly need to design and build apps for this group. Among the advantages are that businesses are making app development more of a priority. This applies in terms of the amount they spend on it, as well as the security and maintainability of the apps being developed.

DevOps is a particularly good way of approaching the challenges of app development, the news provider explains, because of some of the tactics used in this approach. Top of the list is agile planning, which means that everyone from every step of your development process comes together to form the plan and identify the scope of the app.

Other steps integral to the DevOps process that are useful when it comes to app development include constant integration, proper testing and accurate monitoring.

If you’re looking for assistance with creating bespoke software in Leeds, the concept of DevOps may not mean too much to you. But it’s a way of working that has become integral to the success of many tech companies.

Apps are not just the preserve of big businesses. They’re important to businesses of all sizes and for those classed as small to medium-sized, one of the key considerations will be the cost. Writing for Gamasutra, Aleksandra Bessalitskykh noted that apps are a sensible way for SMEs to engage with their audience.

Given that the majority of people own smartphones and use them for many aspects of their lives, it is logical to launch an app that they can use on this device. However, one of the stumbling blocks for SMEs can be the expense of app development.

She noted that, in the US, the average app development cost is around $171,450, which comes in at an hourly rate of $150. That means the average app takes 1,143 hours to develop, which is a considerable amount of time.

That said, Ms Bessalitskykh notes that the average minimum app development project is priced between $5,000 and $10,000, although in reality, most apps will cost more than this to get right.

The factors affecting the cost of developing any given app range from the complexity and number of features required within the app to the number of platforms the app needs to be developed for.

For a business, it can be useful to think about some elements of their app and its design before they search for a development company to work with. This can help them to understand the basic app development cost based on what they need or want.

One of the first things to decide is whether you want a native or a hybrid app. A hybrid app can be used across multiple operating systems, whereas a native app will need to be constructed for each operating system individually.

As a result, a hybrid app will usually save money because you’re only developing one application, rather than the two or more required if you take the native approach. Of course, there’s a downside to hybrid apps. It’s the classic problem of being a Jack of all trades and master of none. Hybrid apps tend not to perform as well as their native counterparts.

Therefore, many development companies advise spending the extra money to build native apps for each platform you require rather than going down the hybrid route.

75 per cent of businesses invest in an iOS native app, while 61 per cent invest in an Android native app. Just ten per cent choose a hybrid app. Ms Bessalitskykh explained that there shouldn’t be a difference in the cost of developing an app for iOS over Android.

She also noted that because the development timeline for both platforms is very similar, you should be able to build both simultaneously allowing your business to launch them both at the same time too.

In her article, she also picked out some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when looking at app development. One is trying to do something that another company has already had great success with. She cited Uber as an example of an app that many businesses try unsuccessfully to mimic.

“It’s important to bring something new to the market. Nowadays you need to build habit-forming app products,” Ms Bessalitskykh asserted.

The second mistake is not carrying out thorough market research. Doing comprehensive research is essential if you’re going to identify the pain point that your app can help solve for your customers or business users, she explained.

With so many options out there, users are also able to be more selective about which apps they use, especially in the consumer market. This means you need to be spot on with your aims and also the interface and ease of use your app has.

If using it is in any way difficult or challenging, consumers will simply find another option and turn their back on your app.

TechGenix recently highlighted some of the issues that will see your app fail to gain traction. At the top of the list is not investing in security, while another thing to avoid is not paying attention to your app’s battery consumption.

The news provider notes that regardless of how good an app is, if it drains the battery of a smartphone too quickly users will look for a more efficient alternative.