We live in a mobile economy today. When it comes to booking a taxi, hotel room or buying things, mobile app is now the preferred medium for the users. Users are addicted to their smart phones & apps are a great way to tap into these users. Enterprises are now battling to woo their customers with customised apps. The customised apps are not only geared to simplify process flow for customers, but also act as marketing & branding tools for companies. The following points are an indicative checklist or pointers to help companies plan their mobile app development:
1. Use Case : Companies must figure out a compelling use case for the app. What is the purpose of the app? What needs to be accomplished with the app? Is the app going to be used for fun, sharing information, gathering feedback or achieving a specific functionality? Who are the end users of the app? How are they going to register on the app? Answering these questions will clarify the objectives and goals of the mobile app.
2. Data : While the app is being conceptualised, the data usage patterns also need careful attention. Where will the app get the data from? Does it need to be integrated with an existing Database through APIs, services or external source of data? How will the app data be stored on the server? Understanding these things is critical to design the right architecture for the app.
3. Screenshots : The deliverables for the app must be specific. It is helpful to have the screenshots or mock-ups of the app at an early stage. The screenshots can be evaluated by the key stakeholders and based on their inputs, the app screenshots & workflow can be finalised. One needs to answer the following questions regarding the app: How many screens will be involved? How many users will use the app? What screen resolutions will the app target? Are the main flows & processes in the application covered with the screenshots? The best apps tend to focus on core functionality & eliminate unnecessary features & functionality.
4. Offline Content : Some apps require content to be accessed in offline mode. This means that the app should work even when there is no internet connectivity. This requires storing Data base locally on the mobile. While architecting the solution, it is critical to evaluate whether the app requires data in the offline mode?
5. Platform Support : Developing a native app on all platforms can be a bit tricky for companies. To launch native apps, companies can prioritise the platforms according to the usage patterns of their users. Does the app need to be supported on iOS, Android, Windows or other platforms? Which platform should be prioritised for development? How will the native platform apps be maintained? These are some of the crucial things that need to be addressed before deciding on the platform support for the app.
6. Notifications, Updates & Features : The functional requirements for the app must be covered with the features. The mode of communication with the end users with notifications, interactivity support and updations must be planned. Companies want to keep engagement levels of their users high with frequent & relevant updates to the app. What type of notifications should be sent to the users? How frequently the app will be updated? What are the context specific actions that the app should take? How will the app be deployed? These are some questions that need to be answered when the app is created.
7. Security : Organisations are wary of storing their sensitive data remotely. The use case for the app will vary from organisation to organisation. What level of security is required for the app needs to be ascertained? How will sensitive data be stored & protected? Will there be any third party integrations required etc? Evaluation of security parameters around important data should be planned to avoid any breaches or loopholes.
8. Special features for Ecommerce/In-app purchase : When the app requires in-app purchase or commercial transactions, comprehensive efforts need to track everything in minute details. For e.g. all product bookings using the app must be traceable from the super-admin panel of the organisation. All bookings, cancellations, user details etc must be mapped with precise details. The app can also be used to collect user information, geo-location details, etc. This may be used by the companies for sending push notifications. It is important to establish, does the app require payment gateway? Is the app designed to support ecommerce transactions? How will the super-admin panel be managed to run the app or the platform etc?
9. Device Compatibility, Data flow & Integrations : Designing an app to meet core functionalities requires that app connects to data from many existing back-end systems. The app should be able to leverage the existing ERP, CRM systems for data access. The app should be designed so that it synchronises data between multiple devices, platforms and systems effortlessly for the end user. The following are some questions that need to be evaluated before an app solution is finalised: What kind of existing systems are used by the organisation? How can the app securely connect to legacy systems? How will the data synchronisation be achieved across devices? Will there be any data migration required for the app?
10. Reports, Analytics & Dashboard : The app can be used to collect user information, usage statistics, and other relevant details. The total number of app users and statistics related to them can be published to the super admin interface. The reports, data analytics & other information can be used for making informed decisions for the company. One needs to evaluate things like, which metrics will be used to measure user engagement? Which key result areas need to be captured for the reports? What is the volume of users for the app? What is the user feedback etc?