The process of creating mobile applications {the bases to be covered}

July 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

Everyone is thinking mobile, just as everyone was thinking web a decade ago. Every brand, church, politician, government agency, you name it wants to have a piece of the pie. “I have a very simple idea for a mobile application, it should not take to much of your time or cost much”, sums up an increasing  way of understanding that the market has developed toward development of services on mobile.

Whether delivered via sms, mobile web or mobile application best practice requires that certain steps are followed, call it the application development lifecycle to ensure that the end product meets all requirements from functionality to aesthetics.

The first rather obvious step is that of coming up with an idea and refining it. Seldom are new ideas great at the time of generation and they need to be take through a number of iterations before providing best fit for your need.

Next would be the technology rationale, which might be driven by a number of factors such as available technology on mobile network operators, handset capability of target market and type of service you plan to offer.

User experience design is a factor that may be easily overlooked but it critical in ensuring continual use of your service. A marketing blitz may deliver initial numbers, but if your user experience is lacking, service usage will drop off as fast as it was realized. An example of how technology rationale and user experience design can lead to a differentiated product is  – NikoHapa, whose mobile loyalty and social platform needed to be location-aware yet accessible from feature phones. The UX and tech channel are perfectly blended to create a service that is accessible to 100 percent of their target market.

Creation of a prototype would follow next. In the case of a mobile app or mobile web experience this would be wireframes that provide visual representations of the structure and functional elements of your application.  Here is where it all comes together as you can now see the idea.

The wireframes then go into visual design and production. Here the sketches or paper prototypes are translated to the final graphical elements that will go into your application. Visual appeal should be your number one application adoption strategy. This will be your fist point of interaction with a potential user and a good app may get passed over from poor graphical representation.

Finally the backend of your application can be plugged in. The code done by a developer within a well documented development lifecycle is cleaner and less likely to be buggy. That said, after the backend is complete, you must conduct tests to ensure that your application delivers the desired experience. One thing to remember when testing, is to use dump scenarios and see how your app behaves when subjected to actions and input that it was not built for.

Now you know to trust your developer or agency when they say, “It’s not that simple”

Mbugua Njihia

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An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.