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Eight Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mobile App Development Toolkit

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

In the mobile application development space, user experience (UX) has grown to become the key focus of how apps are conceptualized and built. In fact, it’s now the primary component of every stage in the development lifecycle.

This makes sense as businesses have grown to become more customer-centric. As a result, technology has become the key enabler that can help deliver enhanced customer experiences.

Like with any development project, the developers have to focus on the bigger picture throughout the whole process. This means that they have to start thinking about everything that is required for the build (including a variety of tools that will be needed to develop and manage the app) and how they’re going to deliver a great mobile UX.

Furthermore, developers should also integrate the app development phases into lifecycle management infrastructure (that is much larger) to incorporate the following:

  • Build processes
  • Change management
  • Deployment
  • Quality assurance
  • Source control

The development team will also have to come up with a plan that covers how the app will be developed, tested, deployed, updated, and maintained throughout its lifecycle.

As a result, right from the beginning, app developers will have to start thinking about how the app will scale across multiple data centers and how it will integrate with third-party and enterprise tools and services (this includes mobile device management and client management tools).

Usability of the mobile app development toolkit goes without saying, but what other factors should developers take into consideration?

1. UX (I can’t stress this enough!) 

If you build an enterprise app while not taking UX into consideration, you can be sure that it will fail. This means that developers need to think far beyond the user interface (UI) design and layout and ensure that the app’s different features are easily available and accessible.

At this juncture, it’s also important to consider the fact that UX takes a broad scope of factors into account. For example, UX can also mean app performance, how useful it actually is, and how relevant the features are.

To deliver an enhanced UX, the app needs to be highly user-friendly, responsive, and intuitive (and developers should also avoid cramming tons of features into the app). The UI should also be free of clutter.

This means that developers should consciously make an effort to avoid over-engineering the app and keep tasks easy to perform. As a rule, developers need to remind themselves that their app development toolkit shouldn’t turn the mobile application into a desktop. The mobile app just needs to be as simple as possible.

2. Access to specific hardware

Developers need to follow industry standards when it comes to gestures and elements within the app and take advantage of built-in features like GPS and the camera. Providing access to specific hardware isn’t a major issue when it comes to native applications, but if you take the cross-platform development route, it can quickly turn into a significant challenge.

Thankfully, a California-based Microsoft-owned software company, Xamarin has been successful in resolving this issue. Xamarin comes equipped with cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Specifications (often called Microsoft .NET) and Common Language Infrastructure (CLI).

Furthermore, as it’s already equipped with a C# shared codebase, coders can easily utilize Xamarian tools to write native apps (Android, iOS, and Windows apps) with their shared code platforms (including Windows and MacOS) and native user interfaces (UI).

As a result, this makes Xamarin a top hybrid mobile app development tool that helps save time by re-utilizing abilities, the best part of the code, along with tools to deliver great UX with the Android SDK and GDK.

3. Make sure that apps show their true behavior

It’s no secret that video and audio channels can get pretty weird in mobile apps, so to be safe, developers need to ensure that they always show their best behavior. But how do you achieve this?

Again, the solution comes from Xamarin as you can use either native or Xamarin.iOS/.Android mobile tools to enhance app behavior and UX.

4. Seamless integration

Depending on your business goals, you might have to effectively integrate either customer relationship management (CRM) systems or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. For the most part, there are plenty of tools in the marketplace that can make this a seamless experience, so developers should make sure that they can help achieve this when selecting their toolkits.

The mobile app development tool also needs to be able to integrate well with other systems and services throughout the lifecycle of the product. This essentially makes mobile application management a critical component of this whole process.

5. Lifecycle management and associated costs

Before the app development cycle is initiated, the lifecycle management of the product must be factored in during the planning stages. At this juncture, it’s also important to consider its long-term implications, capabilities, and costs.

When it comes to enabling more possibilities and power, you can be sure to incur extra costs, so if you’re building for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone concurrently, costs can rise if you use tools with large chunks of code and mandatory licensing fees.

How to architect apps to ensure they're easy to monitor during production

As a result, it’s important to consider all the different variables that can impact your bottom line before you even commit to a development toolkit.

6. Security controls

Your mobile app development toolkit needs to come with built-in security controls. Furthermore, it’s critical that your development toolkit also enables audibility and good governance.

7. Matching toolkits and skill sets

Delivering a successful mobile app with enhanced UX heavily depends on how well the development team’s skill set matches the chosen mobile app development toolkit. This will also largely depend on the type of mobile app that the business is trying to build.

As a result, it’s vital to ensure that the tool is able to meet all business requirements. Furthermore, meeting the needs of the organization alone isn’t enough, it also needs to deliver it in a manner that provides satisfactory end-user experiences.

8. It must be able to scale

Once the app is built and deployed, it should not only be dependable, it should also be released with the ability to scale seamlessly. As a result, the tool should allow seamless updates, upgrades, and scalability based on performance and end-user feedback.

What else would you add to this list? Please share your thoughts and experience in the Comment section below.