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Three Business Decisions for Mobile Application Development

There are several critical decisions you need to make

Welcome to a series on three concepts decision makers must understand for their own mobile application development.  Many companies are creating mobile applications for internal and external use.  Some of these mobile apps are systems that exist in some other form, such as a traditional web application. Or, perhaps a company wants to speed up an old Microsoft Access database entry form and increase its accessibility.  Some are pioneering new ways to utilize the mobile connectivity with applications that change the way we interact with our world around us.

No matter what kind of mobile application development you are considering, there are several critical decisions you need to make based on your unique product and opportunity in order to create a successful mobile app and spur adoption and entanglement.

Audience and Platform Support
The first step is to identify the audience for your mobile application.  Is this going to be used by employees or customers, bleeding edge technology junkies or someone just learning how to use an iPhone?  What kinds of devices do these users work on?  Android and iOS development dominate the software side of mobile devices, but mobile application development has to also consider the device itself.  Is this software going to target smart phones, tablets, hybrids, or all of the above?  Your users will interact with your software differently depending on how they are used to interacting with an Android, iPhone or Windows Mobile device.

Form and Interaction
People use different devices for different situations.  For example, my wife prefers her iPad over her laptop when sitting at home. When she's on the go, she pulls out her Android and prefers to use 3g most of the time as her 4g is turned off to preserve battery life.  All of the above devices use a touch interface, which means if she was using your mobile application, you need to make sure you're not counting on a hover effect or using small, hard-to-touch buttons.  If you are using a responsive design approach, this can affect more users than intended if you don't plan properly.

Speed to Market

Now that you know the audience and platforms for developing your mobile application, you need to decide how fast you need to move.  How fast you need to release your application can depend on many factors, including:

  • Pressure by competition or existing user expectations/needs
  • Budgets
  • Other product or project dependencies
  • Feature scope (you may want to consider breaking down your release into phases)

How soon you need to release your product and the budget associated with your mobile application development and rollout can dictate some important technology considerations.  For example, using HTML5 might get you to platform support faster, but a native application might give you a better user experience on specific devices.  A mobile application wrapper like PhoneGap might give you a nice compromise.

Over the next few posts, we'll dive into each of these topics in greater depth, but you can begin to see how important it is to give each of these factors considerable thought before jumping into the mobile application development for your iOS or Android application.

Interested in learning more about mobile application development? Click here to learn how to mobile enable your applications.

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More Stories By Sean Reiche

Sean is a Project Manager for RDA Corporation. His experience includes managing an e-commerce system where he led the product architecture and SDLC process (agile) for a web and mobile product intended for 300-700 stores and over one million B2C users in a SOA. The product developed used .NET 4.0, entity framework, HTML5 and Javascript for the front-end, and it integrates with the POS via WCF. He is also experienced with .NET 3.5 and SQL Server.

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