According to a research report by Allied Market Research, ‘Enterprise Application Market is expected to reach $213.43 Billion, globally, by 2020’. Today enterprises are building applications for employees to facilitate various routine workflow functions. These applications are required to integrate seamlessly with the various functions and build a seamlessly operating ecosystem. Building a mobile application is not a mystery, but building an application that functions as per the desired goals is a task.
There has been a phenomenal rise in the application market in the last few years, where millions of applications have been created and downloaded from prominent app stores. In a competitive market such as this, there is a serious need to pre-plan application development and maintenance activities.
The application has to stand out in the marketplace and grab maximum downloads and usage. In order to achieve these business objectives you have to build it right the first time.
For instance, there is no chance that a gaming application fails in the first go. It would be hysterically hazardous for a gaming company that has invested dollars and efforts in building it and promoting the gaming app.
An application is built systematically in a step-by-step manner and involves various phases of gradual build-up.
This procedure is referred to as Mobile App Development Lifecycle. It can be similar to Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), however, the entire focus is on building it for the mobile device.
Let’s understand the overall Application Development process before narrowing down on the UX (User Experience) aspect. User Experience is an integral aspect in the mobile application development process and it is an independent point to consider in this discussion.
So what are the key aspects/phases in a Mobile Development Lifecycle?
• Identify various aspects: There are various components in the overall lifecycle, namely, customers, employees, departments, assets, and processes. It is important to assess these component to gauge the business requirements for the application.
• Define the features of the application: Next important step is to understand and define the application’s features, style, design, interface, and various aspects by keeping the user in perspective.
• Determine the development targets: It is now critical to determine the target development scenario and factors such as integration of back-end data, and various quality controls for testing.
• Identify the audience: The audience/target group is the key factor for any application development activity. So, it is important to identify access points for the target groups.
• Select the medium for distribution: The application can be either for an internal audience at an enterprise level or for an external group. So, it is important to identify the initial access points from where the application will get downloaded and build it accordingly.
• Tracking the application: An application has to facilitate constant tracking and comply with the required policies and enforcements.
• Terminate the application: In order to reduce costs and create a lucrative cycle, it is important to maintain and identify applications that are not in use and terminate them from the organization’s ecosystem.
In the current Digital Transformation era where customer satisfaction is key, it becomes imperative to address the UX aspect in an application. Customers can access your application via various modes in the digital landscape. It could be an online ad, Apple App store, or Google Play Store. It is critical to build a robust and user-friendly interface for the application that triggers more downloads and sustenance of user-base.
The best way is to leave a window for feedback. However, issues arise when the user doesn’t offer a feedback before uninstalling the application and leaves your base. It is important to take the User Experience (UX) into perspective right from the beginning, or be ready for failure. It is the most critical aspect in the Mobile Application Development process.
UX has a much broader scope and takes into consideration various factors. For instance, it can imply better interface for the user, relevance of the features for the user, general usability of the application, and holistic performance. When the underlying idea is to please and retain the users, UX can comprise anything and everything.
Another dimension to the UX factor is to be assured that the application is compatible, responsive, and user-friendly in the best possible way. This means that the User Interface (UI) should be clutter-free and clean. It should highlight the intrinsic business objectives and give a clear direction to the user for using the application. Introducing too many features and factors can kill the application.
The best approach is to keep the engineering of the application at a required level. This is to avoid the application from getting complex during performance. The reason being, if users keep fetching the application to unravel the features, they would not be able to use the application for its core features that are associated closely with its business objectives.
For instance, a GPS application is supposed to primarily give directions. If it shows you restaurants and nearby zones, it can be an add-on, but not the core feature of the application.
The application must go by the industry standards and focus on primary activities, and at the same time introduce a feature that takes the user experience to the next level. In order to achieve this, it is important to receive constant feedback and monitor ratings for the application.
For instance, a mobile wallet application cannot be built and left to the mercy of the market. Considering it is from the financial sector and has a close interface with the consumer, it has to be upgraded for higher security standards and enhanced user experience.
Most importantly, it is imperative that the UX framework for mobile application should consider the basic actions first and root the fact that it is built for the mobile and not for the desktop. This perspective can differ across diverse domains.
The current digital landscape is jammed with competing apps, so determining the user requirements could be tricky. This has further emphasized the significance of building a systematic Mobile Application Development Lifecycle and approaching it by keeping the UX factor in perspective.
It is definitely an era of ‘platform unification’, where development teams are expected to work across diverse technology platforms, ensure enhanced User Experience.