November 12, 2017
Entrepreneurs that develop mobile apps are very familiar with the constant struggle between speed and quality. In mobile app development, the infamously longer development cycles compared to traditional web applications, are problematic for developers and entrepreneurs alike. Being the first-to-market can be the difference between a runaway success and a product that never makes it off the shelf.
Luckily, there are quite a few resources nowadays that can be utilized to speed up the app development process. So if you’re an entrepreneur looking to create a mobile app without a tediously long development cycle, here are a few big ideas for hacking the mobile app development timeline.
Use Low-Fidelity Wireframes As A Guiding Blueprint
Before jumping head first into the time-consuming process of building your mobile app, it’s wise to use low-fidelity wireframes to map out and plan the layout of your app from a design and architectural view.
As opposed to high-fidelity wireframes, low-fidelity wireframes save you time because they are rough blueprints. They're more abstract and include less detail. Wireframes will give your programmers a better idea for the functionalities you want built-in, and will give your UX designer more direction in how to design the user interface. Getting everyone on the same page and unified under the same vision will save you an incredible amount of time in the long run.
Adopt The Lean Method, Launch Your MVP, And Start Testing
Rather than entering the market with a fully formed, robust product, launch only a minimum viable product (MVP) to enter the market fast. Immediately begin collecting data using a build-measure-learn feedback loop.
Use the feedback collected to continually inform the development process. Plan to operate on very short iterative cycles or “sprints,” where new updates are released in short two to four week periods.
Consider Hybrid Mobile Development Solutions
Cross-platform hybrid solutions, like Adobe Phonegap and Xamarin, allow you to use a single codebase to target multiple platforms, rather than writing native code for each platform separately. You build once and get two apps, for both Android and iOS platforms.
However, hybrid apps come with drawbacks. Hybrid apps handle animations with less fluidity and take up a substantial amount of memory. A number of startups have used them to quickly penetrate the market, then replace them with native apps to provide a more robust solution.
Offload Non-Core Activities
Once you’ve built your core product, it’s time to think about how your mobile app is going to effectively engage your customers. Mobile engagement platforms are full of pre-made applets that you can add to your core product without any additional coding.
For example, my company WalkMe provides them for engagement, while Twilio provides them for communications and SendGrid for email. The types of applets offered usually include sharing tools, new features tours, special offer notifications, feedback tools and prompts to convert free to premium customers.
Outsource Non-Core App Development Features
If your mobile app does require some level of coding, consider outsourcing some of your app development efforts. Sometimes outsourcing for developers is more efficient than having your in-house team do it. This is especially true if you’re coding add-ons to your core product or coding versions of your product for different devices.
Say your in-house programmers have lots of experience developing iOS apps, but you want to launch for Android as well. Instead of having them struggle through Android development, hire a team with the proven experience and workflow chemistry that you are looking for. By outsourcing these components, you are also making sure that your development team is concentrating on main operations.
Set Up Automated Testing To Ensure App Security
The best way to accommodate fast development cycles while also providing a secure, quality product is by automating your mobile application testing. By automating testing, you can simultaneously run a suite of tests that would otherwise take hours to complete manually. By speeding up testing, you will be able to expand test coverage in the same amount of time, and you’ll be much more confident that your code is bug-free.
A popular automated testing software on the market is Appium. Appium is an open-source test automation framework for use with native, hybrid and mobile web apps for iOS and Android.
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