Greetings, digital explorers!
As we delve into the vast software development universe, one question often arises: “Should I build this application natively or universally?”
As an experienced professional in this field, I would like to share my insights on this critical decision and guide you through creating a successful app.
When we talk about building an app natively, we refer to designing it to seamlessly integrate with the unique features, interface, and performance capabilities of a specific operating system (OS). This generally results in a highly optimized and efficient app.
However, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Your creative potential may be limited by the technical and directional constraints of the specific OS, and your app may be affected by constant updates to the OS.
On the other hand, a universal approach involves designing the app to function across multiple OSes, typically as a browser-based app. This is achieved by adapting the user interface and functionality through an orchestration layer, tailored to fulfil the build objectives.
The universal route offers advantages, particularly regarding development efficiency and cost savings. It allows you to create a single codebase deployable across different verticals and customer types, from carriers and distributors to partners (such as VARs and MSPs) and end customers. We call this approach C.O.D.E. – Configure Once, Distribute Everywhere.
Additionally, it allows you to follow the standards and methodologies you wish to deploy. I could spend a significant amount of time elaborating on this topic alone; however, let’s keep this high level, and if you want to know more, just ask.
With these fundamental considerations in mind, let’s embark on our app creation journey:
Define Your Goals and Purpose
It begins with an idea – a problem to solve or a need to fulfil. This step involves crystallizing your vision and setting tangible goals your app aspires to achieve. It is essential to frame these goals in a way that anyone can understand, avoiding technical jargon that may confuse your customers.
Conduct Market Research
Understand your target audience and their needs. A thorough examination of your competition will help you identify their strengths and weaknesses, providing valuable insights for your creation and how it will differentiate itself in the market and provide a return on investment. As you are going through this step, stay the course and make sure you are going back to your goal to make sure you are on track. You can quickly get lost in this step and lose the why in your goal and purpose, so be cognizant.
This is a very powerful step. It involves sketching the structure and user flow of your app. A crucial point to remember is that we are all end users, so their experience with your app is paramount to your success.
Visualizing this through wireframes is a powerful technique as it allows everyone to envision the possible result before writing any code, gaining instant support or raising questions for your build before you dive in.
Choose a Development Methodology
Selecting the appropriate development methodology is key to the next steps. Agile/Scrum methodology is more suited when developing software than traditional waterfall methodology. Agile not only allows you to see incremental success after every sprint, but it also limits risk as all sprints are shorter than a month.
Agile/Scrum methodology is based on achieving Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) in each sprint. It is driven by user stories, delivering incremental success and keeping all parties involved in the project engaged.
Develop the Application
Through the Agile/Scrum methodology, coupled with sprint planning at the beginning of each sprint and sprint review at the end, your customer can witness the project coming to life.
Users will be able to access the MVPs and experience the outcomes. It is essential to adhere to specific rules when developing in this manner. For example, once sprint planning is complete, new scope cannot be added during the sprint. Customers may be eager to make changes to an MVP you just delivered, but it is crucial to follow this proven process.
Approved changes can be added in the following sprint during sprint planning. Personally, I find this part of the process the most enjoyable as you see your creation, your vision, come to life.
Testing is a crucial activity at each development stage before moving into production. In modern development practices, testing is performed at various stages. Developers test the code with the user story in mind. A dedicated team performs more comprehensive testing, including testing the new code with the existing deployed code. The first of three steps of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is also conducted. Automation is then used to test the code for speed, durability, consistency, and compatibility.
The next stage involves moving the code to a UAT environment where the same tests are repeated but with the addition of more users actually using the app. This stage can take time depending on the number of test cases, types of bugs, and quantity of code. In some cases, code may need to be revised before it can be pushed to production. Once all these steps are complete, the app is ready for release into production. Yahoo – You have created something that was in your head. Amazing.
Launch and Gather Feedback
This is a fun stage. It’s time to set your creation free into the digital wild! Encourage users to provide feedback and use their input to refine and enhance your app. Remember, you’re creating a solution for the users, so it should cater to their needs and the objectives of the company they work for.
Feedback is invaluable, so the more you receive, the better and more insightful your improvements will be.
Maintain the App
After launching, it’s vital to update your app to ensure compatibility is evolving to the market, customer needs, and your original goals. Regular updates, enhancements, and the addition of new features will keep users engaged and your app relevant.
As you embark on this journey, remember to focus on the majority and not the minority.
Trying to fulfil every user requirement at the outset can be overwhelming, and you will fail. Building a successful solution that meets the needs of most of your customers will naturally generate the momentum needed to deliver additional requirements over time.
In conclusion, creating an app is a meticulous journey of planning, execution, and continuous improvement. However, at the end of the day, the passion and dedication you pour into the process transform a simple idea into a digital masterpiece. I will leave you with a saying I came across many years ago, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”.
This article was written by David Spindler, our Chief Digital Officer. If you’re looking to adapt to the fast-paced technological changes and enable voice services in Microsoft Teams or Zoom, David and our team are here to help.
You’re not just choosing a service; you’re choosing the future of your communication strategy. Don’t get left behind – reach out to us today.
📧 David can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries.