What Are Mobile Apps?

The Ins and Outs of Mobile Apps

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Chances are that you already know the answer to this question or are familiar with how mobile apps work.  But for those who don't, mobile apps are software programs written specifically for small, portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Mobile apps are usually designed to perform specific tasks or functions. For example, mobile apps can help you manage your finances, keep track of your fitness goals, or even play games. The possibilities are endless.

Most mobile apps are available for free, although some do come with a price tag. And, like all software programs, they must be regularly updated or maintained to continue working properly.

What To Consider When Developing a Mobile App?

If you're thinking about developing a mobile app, there are three main categories that you have to plan and account for throughout the process of making an app from scratch. The first is your mobile app strategy. Then you need to think of how you can best design your app to fit your mobile app strategy. Lastly, you need to build your app.

This page will walk you through each step of the process in detail so that you can develop a mobile app with confidence.

Mobile App Strategy

The first step in developing a mobile app is to come up with a clear and concise strategy. What is the purpose of your app? What problem does it solve? Who is your target audience?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can begin to develop a plan for your app.

The first and most important question when developing your mobile app strategy is  "What is the purpose of your app?"

Your app should serve a specific purpose or solve a specific problem. It's not enough to simply create an app because you think it would be cool or because you think it would make money. There needs to be a clear and defined purpose for your app.

Then you need to make goals that are attainable and specific. The goals should be in line with the purpose of your app. On top of both of those, they should also be realistic and measurable. This will help you track your progress and ensure that you are on the right track.

Some examples of good goals for a mobile app strategy might be:

  • To increase brand awareness for my business
  • To sell more products or services
  • To improve customer service
  • To better engage with my target audience

The answer to this question will be the first step in making a successful app. If you start designing before you have this question answered, you are gambling the success of your app on luck. You need to be focused on a specific purpose with attainable as you walk through the rest of this process.

With the answer to what goals you are trying to achieve, the next step in your mobile app strategy is to figure out who you are designing for. You must have the correct target audience before you go any further because understanding who your audience is and where they will be is a critical component of marketing your app successfully.

You need to know those three pieces of information before you start designing your app because you need to develop a customer journey map for your buying personas. As a quick reminder, you need to be laser-focused on your app's purpose, goals, and target audience before moving into any step of the design.

Customer Journey Mapping

Now that you know the three most important elements of mobile strategy design, you can begin laying out the customer journey map for all your buying personas.  The customer journey map will help you understand how users interact with your app and what their needs are.

To successfully create a customer journey map you must step into the shoes of the buying persona in your target audience and ask yourself these questions:

  • How did I find this app, or how did this app find me?
  • What happens next?
  • Does everything happen the way that I want it to?
  • Was I satisfied?

Those are the general questions you ask before following through the process. Remember that your buyers won't have as much patience as you, so you need to make sure that every step in the process is seamless to avoid people from clicking out. 

The customer journey map will give you a basic understanding of how users interact with your app. Once you have a solid understanding of that, you can start to think about how you can improve the user experience.

Mobile App Design

After you have answered all of the questions from the previous section, you can begin to think about the design of your app. But before you start, there are some general things you should keep in mind.

When it comes to mobile app design, less is more. You want your app to be simple and easy to use. If it's too complicated, people will get frustrated and delete it. So, when you're designing your app, think about how you can streamline the experience.

Make sure your app is visually appealing. People are visual creatures and we are more likely to engage with something pleasing to look at. So, take the time to make your app aesthetically pleasing.

And finally, think about how you can use push notifications and other features to keep people engaged with your app. You want to make sure people keep coming back to your app, so it's important to find ways to keep them engaged.

Now that you have general guidelines for mobile app design, you can start thinking about the specific features and functionality you want to include in your app.

Some things you might want to consider are: 

- A registration or login system

- A way to track user data

- GPS or location services

- Push notifications

- Social media integration

- In-app purchases

- Advertising space 

- A way to collect user feedback

These are just a few examples, but there are endless possibilities when it comes to designing your app. The important thing is to make sure you include features that will be beneficial for your users and that are in line with your app's purpose.

Mobile App Development

After you have designed your app, it's time to start thinking about development. This is the process of actually building your app and making it available to users.

There are a few things you need to consider when it comes to development, such as:

- What platforms do you want to develop for? (iOS, Android)

- Do you want to develop a native app or a web app?

- Do you want to develop the app yourself or outsource it to a development company?

These are just a few things to consider, but they are important when it comes to starting the development process.

What is the difference between Native and Web Apps?

The main difference between native and web apps is that native apps are installed on the user's device, while web apps are accessed through a web browser.

Native apps are written in the specific programming language for the platform they are being developed for (Objective C or Swift for iOS, Java for Android). This gives them the ability to take advantage of all the features of the device, such as the camera, GPS, and push notifications. They can also be designed to work offline.

Web apps can be accessed through a web browser or installed on the user's device right to the home screen. They are usually developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. While they can't take advantage of all the features of a device like native apps can, they are usually much easier and cheaper to develop.

Now that you know the difference between native and web apps, you can start thinking about which one is right for your app.

If you want your app to be able to take advantage of all the features of a device, then you will need to develop a native app. However, if you're on a budget or if you want your app to be available on multiple platforms, then a web app might be a better option.

What Are Some Examples of Web Apps?

If you have a smartphone you are already familiar with native mobile apps, any app you've downloaded has been programmed as a native app. Chances are you are less familiar with web apps since they are not as common in app stores. Some examples of web apps include:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Trello
  • Evernote
  • Dropbox

You may have interacted with these programs without even knowing that they are web apps. It lends credence to the power of web apps and how much you can achieve with them. The best part is, since they are accessed through a web browser, they can be used on any device.

What Are the Benefits of Developing a Web App?

Web apps have a few benefits over native apps. They are usually much cheaper and easier to develop since they only need to be written once in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This also means they can be made available on multiple platforms very quickly. They are also less likely to encounter errors since there is only one codebase. With Progressive web apps (PWAs) you can even download the app straight to user home screens without needing app store approval. You may also be worried that because it is a web app they wouldn't be able to access the app without an internet connection. This is not the case with PWAs, the app's data is cached in the device so you can access it even without the strongest internet connection.

What should I use to Develop My App?

There are many different avenues for how you can develop your mobile app. If you have developing knowledge, you can take the time to make it yourself. If you have access to an IT team you could put it in the queue and wait for them to develop a solution. If you have access to funds, you could hire an outside developer. Lastly, you could partner with a digital experience platform to make an app without having to write a single line of code.

Doing It Yourself

This is potentially the cheapest option if you have the time to commit to it. You will need to learn how to code or find someone on your team who can code. If you have never coded before, it will take some time to get up to speed and may lengthen the development process.

IT Team

If you have an IT team available, this is a great option to develop your app. They will already be familiar with the environment and will likely have the tools needed to develop your app. However, depending on the size of your company and how busy your IT team is, it could take them some time to get around to developing your app.

Hiring an Outside Developer

This option can be expensive but you will be able to have someone else handle all the development while you focus on other aspects of your business. It is important that you do your research when hiring a developer as you want to make sure they are reputable and have experience in developing the type of app you need.

Digital Experience Platforms (DXP)

This is the easiest and fastest option as you will not need to write any code or hire any developers. A good DXP allows anyone to create the app of their dreams using no code at all. This means that you could start developing an app today and be done by the end of the week.

What are some examples of Digital Experience Platforms

As mentioned, DXPs can be impressive tools for developing apps, but what are some examples, and how can you use them?

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)

AEM is a DXP that specializes in enterprise experience management. This means that you can have one central hub of content and deploy it to any number of different channels right from the dashboard. This is a great tool for the companies that can afford it, but for smaller operations, the commitment to AEM becomes pricey quickly. This is because it is a complex platform and can still take months (and years of coding experience) to launch a new digital experience like an app.

Bloomreach

Bloomreach is a headless DXP, which means it focuses on the back-end infrastructure and managing content. This is a great tool for developers as they can use their own front-end tools to build out the digital experience. However, if you are not a developer, this may not be the right solution for you as it can be difficult to use without coding knowledge.

Lumavate

Lumavate is the only digital experience platform that helps anyone create amazing digital experiences, including apps, without a single line of code. Lumavate is great for businesses of all sizes as it is very user-friendly and can be up and running in days or weeks instead of months or years. The best part is that you can get started for free today!

These are just three of the big players in the DXP space right now. As with any piece of your tech stack, it is important to do some research on which piece of technology is right for your company.

What are some other benefits of using a DXP?

There are many benefits to using a DXP, but some of the most notable include:

Increased Efficiency - You can quickly make changes and deploy them across all channels without waiting for IT or developers.

Decreased Costs - You will not need to hire expensive developers or commit to long-term contracts.

Increased  Innovation - You can experiment and try new things without having to go through a lengthy development process.

Improved Time to Market - You can get your app or digital experience live in days or weeks instead of months or years.

Once you have answers to the questions about how you want to develop your app, you can start the development process. If you're outsourcing, you will need to find a reputable development company that specializes in mobile app development.

And if you're developing the app yourself, you will need to learn how to code and build mobile apps. There are many resources available online that can help you with this.

Mobile App Testing and Launch

After your app is developed, it's time to test it to make sure everything is working properly. There are many ways to test mobile apps, such as:

- Alpha testing: This is done by a small group of people within your organization, such as employees or family members.

- Beta testing: This is done by a larger group of people, such as customers or users.

- User acceptance testing: This is done by a group of users who are representative of your target audience.

After you've tested your app and made sure everything is working properly, you're ready to launch it!

There are a few things you need to do before launching your app, such as:

- Choose the right platform: You need to make sure you're launching your app on the right platform. If you're unsure, it's best to launch on multiple platforms.

- Promote your app: Be sure to promote your app before and after launch. You can do this through social media, advertising, and press releases.

- Monitor your app: After you've launched your app, it's important to monitor it and make sure everything is working properly. You should also collect feedback from users and use it to improve your app.

As with any project, it is important to keep listening to your audience so you can develop an app that is what they need. The further you get into the development process, the more you will learn about your audience and their needs.

If you keep these things in mind, you'll be well on your way to developing a successful mobile app!

Mobile App Maintenance

Once you've launched your app, it's not time to sit back and relax. It's important to continuously monitor your app and make sure everything is working properly. You should also regularly update your app with new content and features.

It's also important to collect feedback from users and use it to improve your app. You can do this through in-app ratings and reviews, social media, or a feedback form on your website.

If you want to ensure your app is successful, it's important to put in the time and effort to maintain it. By doing so, you can keep users engaged and ensure your app remains popular.

What should you do now?

Now that we've covered everything there is to know as a beginner app developer what is your next step? Well, go out there and decide what type of app you want to build and what you are going to use to build it. If you want to start with a platform that is easy to use and doesn't require any coding then we recommend you go with one of the app builders from our list. These platforms will allow you to create an app without any prior experience and launch it on multiple app stores.

If you want to build a more complex app or game, you will need to hire a developer. There are many resources available online that can help you with this. Once you've learned how to code, you can use a platform like Unity or Unreal Engine to create your app or game.

No matter what path you decide to take, the most important thing is that you get started and don't give up! App development is a rewarding process that can lead to success if you put in the hard work.

Related Articles

Digital Experiences Made Easy

What digital experiences do you want to create?