The 15 Dos and Don’ts of App Development
You might already have a mobile or web application or you might be starting from scratch. Either way, once in the mobile and web application game you are constantly in a battle for improvement.
Your business, no matter the industry or if it’s B2C or B2B, will benefit from a functionality-rich performance application. It might be gained revenue, increased productivity or improved brand loyalty.
Whether you are part of the development team or responsible for the end-user experience, these 15 do’s and don’ts will help you when developing or improving your mobile application.
1. Do support real-time experiences.
We live in the moment and we want our apps to as well. Modern apps require access to real-time events from backend services, such as an alert for a factory monitoring application, or flight information for airport ground staff, aircraft crew and passengers.
Take advantage of the volume of data generated and respond to end users in near real-time by providing an integrated streaming data distribution server. Incorporate data distribution technologies within your app development cycle that intelligently assess data to only send the most up-to-date information instantly
2. Do ensure your app is highly responsive.
When your end-user does something with your app, you want to respond, immediately and certainly not longer than four seconds (we lose attention in that space of time!). Delivering an exceptional user experience is all about interactivity and responsiveness of the app, the timeliness and relevance of the data it presents and the cost of the running the app. Provide a development platform that enables you to build apps that can cope with speed, engagement and relevance of data.
3. Do keep scale in mind. What happens if your app goes viral?
Developing with data distribution at massive scale in mind, your existing infrastructure must have the ability to support millions of concurrent users and do so quickly without crashing.
You need to ensure the app you’ve developed can cope with the vast amount of data that will be sent to it and the app infrastructure can also support all the connected devices – there could be millions of concurrent users/devices accessing your servers – to support the IoT or for when the marketing team launches a new successful viral campaign.
4. Don’t develop for one device and platform at a time.
Use a development environment that allows developers to write an app once and deploy anywhere, whether for the browser, a hybrid mobile application or native applications for iOS, Android or Windows.
Ensure that your development environment supports all push notification methods. This should include Apple iOS (APNS – Apple Push Notification Service), Android (GCM – Google Cloud Messaging), Windows notifications and even SMS.
5. Don’t waste time getting to market.
Give your developers the tools to develop apps that can reach the market quickly. This should include tools that cover the entire lifecycle - development, testing, deploying, running, analysing - your app as well as the capability to ensure high performance and scale.
You also don’t want to waste time developing new ways to handle speed, scale and data efficiency, when the technology already exists.
6. Don’t develop an app that cannot make use of device features.
Ensure you are developing with all of the latest client device SDKs, so you can build apps that make use of device features such as GPS to enable functionality based on location to push out specific notifications. Without this functionality, you might as well just create a mobile website.
7. Don’t assume network pressures and constraints will be blamed on the mobile operator
It doesn’t matter if it is a network issue, if an end-user is trying to use your app, but if the connectivity is intermittent, you are to blame.
8. Do ensure your application integrates to the corporate and back-end systems and cloud
You want your app to talk to all the existing data services you have in place otherwise you’ll be wasting money introducing new data silos. Make sure you use plugin adapters to provide access to services apps require such as SOAP or REST, SQL databases and JMS message buses.
9. Don’t ignore the insights you can gain from mobile customers.
Make use of comprehensive analytics to allow you to see how an application is used, what type of device it’s running on, where it is being run and what the common usage flows are through the application.
All of this information should be fed back to the developers to further streamline the application for usability lending itself to better retention of users and improving revenue-generating opportunities.
10. Do incorporate security measures for apps.
For enterprise apps, with end-users accessing sensitive corporate information via a company-issued device or their own (BYOD), ensure that you are only allowing a single point at which apps can access business-critical backend services.
11. Don’t use templates that dictate your look and feel.
You want to create a continuous brand experience whether in person, online or via your app. Use a development environment built on top of open, standards-based technology such as Eclipse and Apache Cordova. Also, make sure it is flexible enough to allow the development team freedom to design for a high quality experience.
12. Do test your app across platforms and devices without wasting time
In the race to get to market, companies will sometimes reduce the amount of time available to properly test their app. This ultimately leads to lack of testing, poorly performing software and inevitable customer frustration and lack of confidence.
13. Don’t deploy your corporate app on a public app store.
Why spend the money and time validating your app in Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore when your end users are within your own organization? Set up your own Application Centre so you can deploy your app to your end users on your own terms
14. Do develop for clustering and failover support
Make use of a development platform that can provide all the clustering and failover support to provide a highly available and reliable connection point for applications.
15. Don’t make the development environment too complex.
You want your development team focused on competitive advantages so make sure you select a development platform that is easy to use. This can include capabilities such as a drag and drop development interface based on the industry standard Eclipse IDE, coupled with a large built-in library of common UI elements. This allows stunning UIs to be built easily.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”