Lifecycle of mobile app development

Lifecycle of mobile app development

by Anand Suresh

Companies can increase the acceptance of mobile apps among their employees if they rely on effective personalization. This article describes how to do it.

Mobile application personalization uses machine-learning algorithms to increase user engagement – but only if companies leverage personalization effectively.

A poorly implemented personalization of mobile apps can lead to many pop-up alerts or irrelevant content ads. The result could be detrimental in the sense that users and employees can turn away from the app because it provides no added value. Companies must therefore carefully plan and develop personalization based on the best data available.

1. Create a plan

First, companies need to understand what the employees have to say about the mobile app. The planning involves analyzing and understanding the user’s typical behavior. If you are using an earlier mobile version of the app, IT should review how to navigate through the app’s interface and how to use its features. All collected demographic data or other available data sources such as social media platforms must be taken into account.

1.1 What is best for business?

Before embarking on the development of a mobile app, developers and IT teams must first decide to want what kind of application you develop and deploy. The IT department must also choose whether the app on smartphones and tablets running Apple iOS, Google Android devices or run on both mobile operating systems. It can also support devices running Microsoft Windows or even BlackBerry.

Many IT teams using mobile apps now use Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) for their infrastructural needs. MBaaS decouples the front-end development from the backend systems. Effective Mobile Backend as a Service provides the services necessary to support applications throughout their lifecycle, integrating with other systems, and managing security and synchronization. However, as with other services, IT must ensure that it can incorporate MBaaS with their existing systems and that MBaaS supports business operations without affecting the management of desktops and applications.

1.2 Native, web or hybrid applications?

Another consideration that companies need to consider is to create native, web or hybrid applications? Native apps built from scratch for each mobile operating system are generally more potent than other applications and can take full advantage of the built-in features of the mobile device. However, native programming applications are more difficult and costly because developers need to build a version of the application for each supported platform, often learning new languages and systems.

Mobile web applications are much more straightforward, cheaper, and faster to develop than native applications. They are based on open standard technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. These languages allow the mobile apps to run on any device with an HTML5-enabled browser.

The hybrid app is a hybrid of these two types of applications. It uses standard open technologies, such as web applications, but can take better advantage of the native capabilities of a device. The hybrid application uses the same core code for all platforms, but for each platform, the code is packaged into a platform-specific shell. Hybrid app development makes it possible to access many of the device’s native functions.

In mobile app development personalization, an IT team should consider the users and the purpose of the app. For example, companies should invest more in customer-centric applications than those that are only used internally. If a web or hybrid application provides the necessary functionality for a given workflow, it is not essential to invest in a native app.

1.3 Mobile tools

Finally, IT teams and developers can also consider tools such as MADP (Mobile Application Development Platform) or RMAD (Rapid Mobile Application Development) services to accelerate the development of mobile applications. MADPs and RMAD tools provide end-to-end application creation, deployment, and management software. However, for a company to use these tools effectively, these tools must be able to integrate the applications into existing systems easily.

The next step is followed by the development of a robust plan based on this data and the long-term strategy of mobile app personalization. IT determines with which strategies and how the app enables and implements customization.

2. Find the right platform

The personalization of mobile apps necessitates a platform that supports the app. Companies can either develop them from scratch or acquire them from an external provider. The platform manages the backend infrastructure, which collects and analyzes the information and then makes personalization recommendations based on the collected data. The mobile platform should also help to manage and automate mobile components as required for the personalization process. The process includes providing services such as automated referrals, user segmentation, behavioral targeting, and most important A/B testing.

2.1 A/B testing

Many companies lack an A/B testing strategy to implement mobile app changes, so they often do not improve performance.

Large e-commerce players have teams dedicated to testing changes. Even small, medium or family-run organizations can do sophisticated testing by connecting to simple application programming interface (APIs) offered by content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Drupal.

It’s an approach for computing subjective views about what works in mobile page layout and its functionality and features. But just because everyone can do A/B tests does not mean it’s done right. A lot is going on in a successful mobile app test – from effective and robust planning to precise analysis – and it’s easy to get lost.

Here are five of the tips to get the most out of A/B test tools.

  • Do not test without a plan: Companies who want to perform A/B tests just run them as part of the process. But they have no specific goal or clear app features that they need to tweak. This process eliminates the true potential of A/B testing. What occurs when you do a proper test with planning is that you get noticeable results that only show best practices for the user experience.
  • Do the whole thing data-driven: The mobile app tests cannot be done in random. The changes that you are performing should be based on the challenges identified in your data. Companies might want to test various options for the shopping cart button on the mobile app with an intention that it would lead to more potential sales. But after looking at the factual data, companies might be wrong that visitors to the site often put products in their shopping cart that they did not buy. Changing the shopping cart button would not have resolved this problem. Instead, the recommendation is to test various checkout options.
  • Follow the recommendations of the test: Often people perform useful A/B tests and then keep the result idle. If you do not listen to what the results of the test tell you and implement useful changes, it makes no sense to test. To make changes, make sure the person responsible for mobile app changes is proactive and ready to implement new innovative methods.
  • Patience is a virtue: As in many areas of the analysis, people want to achieve rapid success with A/B test tools so they can show a good return on investment (ROI) to their managers. But A/B tests get better results if they are part of a long-term strategy that is unlikely to yield fast results. Pushing for quick profits can reduce the statistical reliability of tests.
  • Do not try bad designs: This approach should be distinct, but companies often require to do the testing design changes after encountering poor best practices for usability. It is recommended to get the design to approve by all the stakeholders before they are introduced to A/B testing, so you always test good designs for mobile app personalization.

When companies build the mobile platform from scratch, they need to invest and develop the machine learning (ML) algorithm that evaluates the data and predict the results. Special skills of data scientists and other ML experts are required here. Because these data professionals are hard to find and very expensive, some companies use personalization platforms like Evergage, Dynamic Yield, Yusp or Qubit. It is essential to note that the selected personalization platform should be integrated into the own development environment for mobile apps.

For other activities, additional tools from external manufacturers are available, such as Appsee’s mobile app analytics platform, Google’s mobile platform Firebase, Amplitude, AppsFlyer, Localytics Profiles for capturing customer data and others.

3. Testing and Optimizing

In the next step, companies create or upgrade the mobile app and integrate the personalization platform. During this process, there would be some requirement to write code and integrate the updated app into existing systems.

After testing the app, companies can optimize personalization features, preferably with tools such as A/B testing platforms or prototyping. With A/B testing, you can test different variations of the mobile app to see how personalization works most effectively.

After the app has been approved, the IT department checks the behavior of the users and analyzes the collected information and data. It should also take into account user feedback in order to continuously improve and optimize both the app and the personalization platform. If the app has undergone quality assurance, it will be updated and released.

4. Conclusion         

If mobile is not a central part of a brand, then it is understandable that investing in mobile apps is not considered particularly important. However, that would mean missing out on a major channel of distribution and an increasingly important financial perspective.

Personalize apps are packed with features and technologies that help consumers get better user experience. Today’s customers expect a secure and efficient brand experience. The same applies to all brands.

The more information a brand collects from its customers, the better it can tailor content and the user experience to the interests of the individual customer. From push notifications based on location, to wish lists, to ad-hoc updates, apps provide a dynamic customer retention portal.

Anand Suresh is a Senior Technical Project Manager at Practical Logix. He specializes in bridging the gap between the technical and non-technical teams while maintaining budget, timeline and quality of projects.

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