10 Things to Know About App Development

Technology has created a seamless approach between websites and apps (acknowledgement to HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript for this) so there is a demand for app development that meets the needs for the growing market of device’s used to access the internet. A developer can make two choices; firstly, they can use the original website and simply optimise the settings for a smart phone or tablet device and secondly, they can use a framework to essentially ‘wrap’ up your website which means that your app is presented in a very similar way to your website except that it is accessed via an app store rather than via a web address.

Before choosing read these ten important points you need to know before developing your app. 

1. K.I.S.S. – UI controls that is

Even though your app development may be the presentation of your original website orientated towards a smart phone user it still needs to consider the UI or User Interface controls to establish familiarity and a connection between user and information. When you use or continue the use of UI controls that your audience are comfortable with it encourages the user to come back and interact for longer periods.

There are libraries of UI controls that you can access through the app development process such as Sencha Touch and jQuery Mobile.

2. Use your head to consider the fingers

In the smart phone and tablet arenas there is a glaring omission compared with PCs or laptops and that is no keyboard and definitely no mouse. Whilst designing your app you need to be aware that the user will interact using a finger or fingers that are not capable of engaging with particular design features such as sub-menus and mouse over effects.

Bottom line is optimise your design for touch.

3. Low-res move over

With the introduction of Apple’s Retina display it has created issues for designers as they have to consider the higher-resolution screens. Buttons designed for these screens will appear smaller than on a traditional PC or laptop and this discrepancy needs to be addressed. A designer can choose to either loose the resolution to format change or they can create two simultaneous versions of each app element to account for smart phones, tablet, PCs and legacy devices.

4. Time is money

Smart devices are used for time poor users who cannot always access PCs.  An app developer needs to make allowances for this in the layout to ensure that the functional focus is presented to the user as quickly as possible. Logical menu systems and hierarchy of options are always important.

5. Prime real estate

It goes without saying that the screen size difference between a laptop and a tablet is significant. Also the use of covers with phones and tablets is a real impingement on screen real estate. These considerations need to be addressed in app design. Take into account covers, fat fingers, tight borders and small phones when you are developing your app.

6. Typing

The on-screen keyboards included with smart phones and tablets are more useful than numerical keyboards but less useful than full-sized ones. There are pre-fill HTML5 form elements which can be used to overcome the need to type more than a few words. It is an important consideration when your focus is to prolong user engagement.

7. Don’t reinvent the wheel

You know the saying ‘No need to reinvent the wheel’? Well, there are programs such as PhoneGap, Sencha, Corona Labs and Appcelerator that can assist in the creation of a native app which uses standard web code to create a hybrid app that installs on a user’s device.

8. It’s all in the context

The use of smart phones and tablets has proliferated so greatly because of our need to access information in a timely and convenient manner. When designing your app contextual development is as important as the app development itself. Ask yourself what are the most important aspects of your business and dedicate the real estate of your app to just the essentials.

9. White space versus dark space

White space inclusion is said to add professionalism and ease of viewing to a design. On smart devices white space is generally used to highlight user input and therefore white space on app design tends to become dark-space.

10. Get your Wireframing on

Wireframing is the ability to visually mock-up your app design which is important as you can visualise the interface without having to write complicated code for it first. It allows for the visual elements and functionality to be decided before the nitty-gritty stuff needs doing.

Wireframing tools such as Pidco, justinmind and iPhoneMockup are all useful options.

If you are considering creating an app for your business please contact iFactory today to talk with one of our creative team members about the possibilities for Application Development such as Mobile Apps, Custom App Development and Online Apps.

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