The preferences of the general consumer industry for gadgets and technology has changed drastically resulting in smartphones, tablets and other portable devices becoming an integral part of our lives. One simply cannot imagine life without smartphones in this day and age. Then comes the question of the app ecosystem; something which can make or break the mobile platform. Indeed, mobile apps are essential to make the user experience on the smartphone/tablet better in many aspects.
The smartphone is becoming a ubiquitous presence in our lives. According to a research study by In-Stat in 2011, over 65%, or over 200 million people will have a smartphone or tablet device by 2015. Of course due to this proliferation of mobile devices, I’m often meeting aspiring mobile developers with an idea for the next big app to penetrate the saturated mobile marketplace.
However, developing for the mobile world does require some special considerations. With the ever increasing demand for applications, the market cannot keep up with the number of application downloads. By developing both a standard, as well as unique application to be used on smart phones, you will be able to provide a well-developed and appealing product to customers. This article serves exactly that purpose: of giving budding developers a pointer guide to refer to before they begin coding and dive into the mobile development space.
1. Choosing the target market and device
There are many mobile device platforms on the market, from the popular iPhone to the security-oriented BlackBerry. Whether its Android, Windows Mobile, or iPad, each device has its own audience that has expectations about what apps they want to see on that device. Before you begin developing, you need to choose a platform or devices, that have the same audience as the target audience of your application.
Additionally, you also need to keep your target audience and the general market in mind. Different aspects will appeal to different markets. A professionally developed app which is elegant and simple will appeal to adults, while entertaining and empowering applications will be more appealing to teenagers.
Mobile app development is dependent on the platform it will be used on and different platforms use different programming. An important aspect to keep in mind is what device you are developing the applications for, as different smart phones required different programming. You should always aim to have you application as universal as possible to be able to appeal to a larger market, but focusing on a specific smart phone app will also create a more specific target market. It is important to understand that most mobile device has limited screen space and you must plan accordingly. In order to perform the best on a certain platform, the design needs to correspond with the mobile device being used. When developing applications, you would always keep specific platform aspect in mind to make sure that they function properly on the device you are targeting.
All app development companies know the importance of offering applications at a competitive price. This is to not only make sure that they make a profit from the development and sale of the applications, but also that the price they are offering is competitive and will attract customers to their store and get them to buy the applications that they are offering. Many stores will offer some of their small or less popular applications for free, but this is to attract customer in order for them to buy other more professional and popular apps. If you are new at app development, then offering yours at a low price is a good idea, but it still needs to be a fair amount to make sure that you make a good profit, and also to make sure that customer will see the application as well-developed and professions. Often good applications that are offered at a low price are avoided. It is good to do some market research before settling on a price.
In mobile app development, the design is the aspect that truly sells the applications. The development of the design will be depended on the target market that you are focusing on, the platform you want to develop the application for, as well as the amount of money you want to charge for its download. Even an application that is available for free must be well-designed. It is important to always create a design that will work well on the mobile device, while keeping it as simply as possible. Simple, appealing designs will make sure that the application not only works well on the platform it is used on, but also makes it user-friendly. Easy navigation in the form of lists and icons must always be included, as well as simple font and no excessive writing. It should not contain many images, and must not exceed an average of about 100 kilobytes.
The only way people will know about your application and want to download it, is if you market it. App development companies take advantage of social networking sites to create customer interest. Twitter, Facebook and other sites have become a key aspect in advertising the applications you have available, and will create an easy to use platform to market you app to a worldwide audience. Marketing is just as important to keep in mind when you develop a mobile application.
6. It’s a mobile, silly!
Always bear one thing in mind before you start building your mobile app. Working on mobile devices is completely different from working on the desktop. Moreover, the settings of both these devices also differ. Your app needs to be built extremely carefully because mobile devices have slower processors and less screen space. That is one reason the app should have a clean interface for it to function properly.
Here are some resources than you can use to get started with App Development:
1. TheAppBuilder: This is a service that offers application templates that help small businesses create native applications for iOS, Android and (in the future) Windows Phone 7). You can get as simple or as custom as you want. The service automatically submits your application to the iTunes App Store, Google Play market or Windows Phone Marketplace. Standard tabs include integration code for YouTube and RSS feeds. You can build for free and after you publish, this nifty little service will cost you.
2. Mippin App Factory: This tool will let you build a mobile app in less than five minutes. It supports iPhone HTML5 apps and Android, among other platforms. The service starts at $99 per year.
3. Keynotopia: With this tool, a mobile developer can create and test mobile app prototypes in minutes, using presentation tools, without the need of a designer.
4. Binpress: With this tool, you can find instant tried-and-tested solutions for your mobile app, at a much lower price.
5. Pttrns: This tool can give you tons of beautiful-yet-simplistic user interface ideas and themes for your app, regardless of the platform you’re building for. Plus, the site hosts more than 1,200 patterns for budding developers.
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