01JULY

2014

Article by Bang Doan
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5 Things to Remember When Developing a Mobile App

If you are new to mobile app development, it can be hard to keep track of mobile-specific requirements when you are in the process of developing your app. Until your app is ready for testing, it can be difficult to know how your app will look on the screen of an actual mobile device. There is nothing worse than spending all of that time programming your app only to realize that the menus don’t fit on the screen or that your app uses too much of the device’s memory to function.

If you keep a few things in mind when developing, you may be able to cut down on the amount of revisions you need to do after your first round of testing. Below are 5 key things to remember as you are developing:

1. What Device You Are Developing For

While there are similarities, developing an app for a tablet and developing an app for a smartphone is quite different. Consider how users use each mobile device. Users on smartphones use apps when they have breaks during the day like when they are waiting in line or when they are eating lunch at work. They are much more distracted and their time is more limited than tablet users. Tablet users are usually interacting with apps as a form of entertainment before they go to bed or when they have a day off. Their app sessions are long and their attention is focused on the app they are using.

So, if you are developing a mobile gaming app with long, involved levels, it is probably better suited for tablets. Once this is established, you can begin to focus on how to optimize the extra space that tablet screens allow.

2. Drawbacks of Touch Controls

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Although every mobile device utilizes touch controls today, those touch controls are far from perfect.

Its important to keep in mind that fingers are not the same as mouse cursors. Finger taps are much more inaccurate and this problem can be escalated if developers put buttons too close together or concentrate too many controls in one corner of the screen. To avoid this, allow enough space in between buttons and controls, and make the buttons large enough so they can be clicked easily.

3. Design Recommendations

Both Apple and Google provide developers with design recommendations. These recommendations are important because they help streamline the user’s experience on their device and make everything much more intuitive. While you do have some flexibility when it comes to designing your app, following the design recommendations will help your app seem like a native, natural part of the user’s phone.

4. Main Features of the App

When developing, it can be easy to get carried away with adding new features. To avoid doing this, keep your focus on your app’s main tasks. Make sure they can be performed as smoothly as possible and that the user can access them using a minimal amount of steps. Once your app is released and your users are comfortable with using these main tasks, you can then decide if you want to add in some new, additional features.

5. Keep it Simple

As we said above, don’t add too many features to your app. But, it is also important to keep your user interface simple as well. Too many menus, buttons, graphics, or screens will make your app look crowded, complicated, and confusing. So, consolidate screens and buttons as much as possible. Make sure your graphics are sharp, well-designed, and fit into the design scheme of your app. If you are unsure if you have too many elements, turn your focus back to your main features and remove any screens or buttons that do not interact directly with those features. Every element on the screen should have a clear, specific purpose!

Check out our “Developer Tips” category for even more app development tips and tricks!