Insights is a collection of resources created and curated by BinarySwan.


Insight 2 | May 12, 2018

The 10 Most Common Mobile App Development Questions Answered

by Adishri

Mobile strategy, specifically mobile app development, is the first priority for many businesses. Bringing an app to market requires substantial research and strategic planning. When you begin the process, there are a number of questions you need to consider. Understanding the following ten questions will help guide your decision-making process and determine the appropriate mobile strategy to achieve your goals.

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1

Is a mobile website good enough?

When it comes to deciding whether to build a mobile app or a mobile website, the right choice simply depends on your business objectives. If your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to a wide range of people, then a mobile website might be the way to go. Mobile websites can be a cost-effective way to put your content into the hands of your audience; however, users have high expectations for quality and functionality that mobile websites sometimes can’t deliver. Users can become easily frustrated when faced with performance and usability issues. Factors like load times, small images, lack of information, and network availability all pose the same problem: users have to work too hard to interact with your brand.

Mobile apps are an excellent resource for engaging, interacting and communicating with your customers. An app can be a personalized communication tool, leveraging user interests, location usage behavior, and more. Over time, your brand can drive amplified customer loyalty with personalized, in-app content.

 

In many cases, you may decide you need both a mobile app and a mobile website. If done correctly, it can be a strategic and valuable choice. In short, when it comes to your brand’s mobile strategy, it’s not a question of a mobile website or mobile app, but perhaps applying a two-pronged approach.


2

How can I validate my app idea?

Proof of Concept (POC), Prototype, or a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) are the three main ways to validate an app idea. These three approaches are quick and cost-effective ways of validating a product. Aside from validation, they also offer added benefits including eliciting new ideas and areas for improvement, client and stakeholder involvement and making sure the entire team is collaborating towards the overall goal throughout the project lifecycle. If you want to enhance your product launch and increase the likelihood of product success, using one or all of these techniques will help you avoid common mistakes, from faulty features to an app that has no space in the market to begin with. Each method is individually advantageous when used properly, whether you’re looking to test key business concepts, win over stakeholders, or validate marketability.

 

 

Exploration and experimentation using these techniques will produce better end results, and above all, help you to create a product that is valuable to the user. With a better understanding of POCs, Prototypes, and MVPs, you’ll be able to avoid app development mistakes by testing for feature validity or market viability to ensure product success.


3

How will my app make money?

Choosing the right mobile app monetization model is imperative to the success of any mobile app, and consequently, can negatively impact the overall user experience if you choose the wrong strategy. How do you generate a decent stream of revenue without compromising the overall quality and user experience of your app?

 

Selecting the model that is right for your app will depend on a variety of factors, but you need to establish your monetization strategy before you launch your product. Business objectives will dictate the approach your product employs. At the basest level, you need to consider what your app does. What problem does it solve? How does it solve this problem? What is the service/purpose? Some monetization models will lend themselves to particular types of apps. For example, the subscription model works best for services like music, and video streaming, news and entertainment, and other apps focused heavily on content. In-app purchases, on the other hand, are lucrative for free-to-play games and apps centered around products, like shopping and retail apps.

 

Careful consideration of how you will monetize based on your product type, your user base, and market intelligence won’t guarantee profitability, but it increases your chances of success. The most common app monetization strategies are:

 

  • Advertising based
  • Pay Per Download
  • In-App Purchases
  • Freemium
  • Subscription

 

Regardless of the app monetization model you choose for your application, remember that it is not an afterthought. It should be worked into your business plan well before the launch of your app. The last thing you want is to invest in a product that has no practical model in place for generating revenue.


4

Should I choose Web, Native, or Hybrid development?

Native Apps are built for specific platforms making them fast and responsive. They are considered to have the best performance and have the best overall user experience.

Advantages of Native Apps

  • They are distributed in the app store
  • They are more interactive, intuitive, and run much smoother regarding user input and output
  • Native allows developers to access the full feature set of a given platform with whatever performance optimizations the native system has
  • An internet connection is not required, although it depends on functionality
  • Overall better user experience. To the user, the flow is more natural as apps have specific UI standards for each platform

Disadvantages of Native Apps

  • Difficult languages to learn which means you need experienced developers
  • More expensive than alternatives
  • Not the best option for simple apps

 

Web Apps are easier to build but are often much slower. Web apps are not recommended for a company that is looking to build an interactive and intuitive experience.

Advantages of Web Apps

  • Easy to build
  • Easy to maintain
  • Inexpensive option
  • Build one app for all platforms – iOS, Android, etc., as long as it can run in a browser

Disadvantages of Web Apps

  • Requires a browser to run. Entering the URL is another step for the user which can disrupt the user experience
  • Much slower than native apps
  • Web apps are less interactive and intuitive than native apps
  • Unable to leverage device utilities

 

With Hybrid Apps, you have to contend with issues that stem from both native systems and web systems, which makes fixing bugs more difficult. Performance is also a disadvantage because hybrid apps load in webview. Additionally, the more customization you want within your hybrid app, the more expensive it will be, and therefore a native solution may be more cost-effective.

Advantages of Hybrid Apps

  • Built using web technology like HTML/CSS/Javascript, so it’s easier to build
  • No browser needed as opposed to web apps
  • Access to internal device APIs can access storage, camera, and other inbuilt features
  • Faster to develop than native apps

Disadvantages of Hybrid Apps

  • Slower than native apps
  • Less interactive than native apps
  • More expensive than standard web apps. You will need to work with a wrapper which means you’re essentially dependent on a third-party

 

Although the initial cost may be higher with a native app, you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money in the long run. By offering a great user experience, better performance, and leveraging the device features, you’re able to provide your users a more personalized experience.


5

What is agile development?

The app development process is not linear, and an agile methodology allows for flexibility and adaptability. Agile is an iterative process in which features and requirements are built, tweaked, and approved before the project reaches completion. Each iteration, or sprint, will end with a small part of the final product. This style of development will allow you review progress before the project is finished. You should familiarize yourself with this method of development as many organizations practice agile to some degree.

 


6

How much does it cost to develop an app?

The cost to develop an app depends on a vast variety of factors ranging from project size to technical complexity to your choice of development partner.

 

Small apps will typically range from $75,000 to 150,000. Medium Sized apps will run from $150,00 to 250,000, and large-scale apps will cost upwards of $250,000, which typically involve two platforms, with over five features and user flows.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

In 2018, it’s impossible to overlook mobile, and before you start an app development project, you need to give thoughtful consideration to what type of product you’re building, how you will maintain that product, and how you will drive revenue.

Adishri

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