May 2019 | Mood Up team - software house
A person's hands highlighting words with a marker over desk full of design papers

8 Things to Consider Before Developing a Mobile App

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

With over 4,7 billion mobile phone users around the world, who spent an estimated $19.5 billion globally in the first quarter of 2019, developing a mobile app to tap into this vast number might seem like a no brainer. 

A mobile app, however, is an extension of your brand, and developing one should be approached quite carefully to ensure the app brings its intended benefits and doesn’t cause more harm than good. Another reason why we recommend the consideration of the below eight factors is as a haphazardly developed mobile app can have you losing money, time and opportunities. 

1. Do you really need it?

You’d think this to be an odd question from a mobile app development company such as ours, but asking questions such as this makes our clients evaluate themselves and their expectations.

Remember, an app is an extension of your brand and developing one for the sake of doing so is not a smart idea. 

Creating and adding value for your end user however is. 

2. End-user 

All apps should be developed after extensive research as doing so helps to understand the current offerings on the market and the expectations users have of such apps so that your app may serve a better solution. The top four questions you must ask yourself therefore is 

  • Who are my competitors and what is their app offering?
  • What’s their strategy and unique selling point(s)?
  • Are there any weaknesses?
  • Customer sentiments to the app offered by competitors

Having answers to the above should give you an idea of the state of the market you intend on entering and help identify threats as well as opportunities. Upon establishing this, we recommend doing some research on the end-users themselves as the success of any app lies in its user-centeredness. The question you should ask yourself, therefore, is 

  • Why are customers using these apps?
  • What are needs that are being met at present
  • Are there any needs that are not being met?

3. Operating system 

The global app ecosystem is dominated by two key players, iOS and Android, who each command 81.8% and 18.2% respectively. Any development of an app, therefore, should cater to these platforms and their users. 

It might be tempting to aim for the dominant Android platform and leave out iOS users, but do keep the following in mind 

  • 30 million iOS users switched to Android in 2017, whereas Android lost 112 million to iOS.
  • Almost half (45%) of iOS users have more than 5 paid apps or subscriptions, whereas only 19% of Android users could say the same. 
  • Revenue from the iOS App Store was double the revenue from the Play Store in 2018

We have a great article that can give you more information to help make a decision on your platform here.

4. Native or cross-platform development

Once you’ve made a decision on the platform you’d be opting for, it’s important that you pay attention to the technology that will be used for app development. A key option you can pursue is native app development, which is essentially apps developed for the specific operating system, which gives them the ability to utilise device-specific hardware such as camera, GPS and fingerprint scanners.  We at Mood Up favour native programming languages such as Objective-C, Swift for developing iOS apps and Java for Android apps. The downside of such an approach, however, is the increased development time and cost a client would have to incur if the apps need to run on both iOS and Android. 

There is however a second cross-platform option through which developers can create one code base and use it to run apps on both platforms. Such development using frameworks such as React Native and Flutter can reduce development time and costs, allowing the app to be deployed faster. One must, however, remember that such an approach is not always best if the app that is being developed need to be tightly integrated to their operating systems and/or will be performing heavy duty tasks such as graphic heavy games. 

5. UI/UX Design

UI is the interface that the user interacts with whereas the UX is the experience one has with it. Both design elements are equally important and can mean the difference between the success and failure of your app. Such design thinking at the early stages of the design of an app is vital as it sets the look and feel for the app, which then allows the developers to start coding. 

A well thought out UI/UX design will provide your end users with a seamless experience that will translate into increased revenue, customer advocacy, faster growth and better brand image. 

6. Mobile analytics 

It’s impossible to improve on something that we cannot measure and that’s where mobile analytics become highly useful. This, however, should be done in conjunction with your business goals so as to recognize and optimise the performance of your app. Integrating mobile analytics to your app will help analyse and pinpoint functionalities that are performing well with those that are not, so that the design and development team can continue optimising the app to achieve your business goals. 

7. Testing 

An app that works is more useful than an app that looks pretty but is riddled with bugs. Such buggy apps that do not respond, crash and is generally unstable will have your hard earned users abandoning you for your competitors and damage your brand. 

That why at Mood Up place a core focus on running automated and manual tests on each the end of builds we produce. Such testing allows us to discover bugs (if any!) that are then passed onto the developers, who ensure the issue is rectified. This rigorous process ensures that the product build our customers get at the end of every sprint is one that can be deployed should they decide to. 

8. Costs 

Custom app development is not cheap and anyone who says otherwise should have you worried. The benefits of a custom app with a good UX/UI, strong backend and no bugs however far outweigh the costs of making it, and should be considered as an investment in your business with far-reaching benefits, 

Development costs, however, could be reduced if you choose a software partner with agile pricing where charges are only incurred for the development done, unlike the fixed pricing method which locks clients into a contract with set expectations and higher costs (due to set profit margins). 

Another thing to consider is, will you be charged separately for the design, development and QA? If so the bill will be on the hefty side. 

Mood Up, however, offers design and QA as value added services for our clients and only charge for the app development work that is done. 

Summary

Mobile app development as we mentioned is no walk in the park with many factors contributing to its success and continuity. Being prepared and giving due consideration to factors such as the UI, UX, the development frameworks used and QA, however, can help transform an idea to a great mobile app, at a considerably low cost.

Flutter versus React Native

Flutter vs. React Native: Which should you choose for your mobile app?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Choosing the right technology stack for a mobile app can have anyone confounded with the amount of technical jargon out there. The conflicting advice you would find on Google isn’t very helpful either, and this can have you feeling disheartened despite the exciting idea you have for your app. We know this as many a client has told us the same before we sat down with them and started asking the right questions.

The tried and tested method of developing apps for both iOS and Android, is doing their coding separately (native apps). Android apps, for example, require a developer to use Kotlin or Java, while iOS apps are built using Swift or Objective C. Such separate coding is essential for the performance and the stability of the apps, despite the increased time and cost involved.

A second very interesting option is the use of cross-platform solutions, such as Flutter and React Native through which a developer can translate the code to fit both iOS and Android platforms. To elaborate, Flutter is written using Dart, and compiles its code into a native library which is then attached to each platform project. React Native, on the other hand, is a framework in which the code is written in JavaScript, allowing it to run in the background thread of an application and be translated into native code and components expected by iOS and Android. Both platforms as per our experience perform the same despite their differences and have been gaining increasing acceptance from the development community due to their ability to shorten development time and effort.

The technology stack you would need however is dependent on your idea and the expectation you have of your app, which is why we have penned this article with a comparison of Facebook developed React Native and Google-owned Flutter.

Maturity, community & stability

Flutter alpha was first seen in mid-2017, giving React Native a two-year headstart in building a solid foundation, larger community and access to big players in a market with no competition. Flutter, therefore, might still have issues that have been resolved by the React Native community who provide more support and is generally considered more stable. Google, however, is putting its weight behind Flutter and is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Design

Flutter implements components from its own graphics library, allowing developers to choose between Android’s Material Design and Cupertino’s iOS-style widgets to make an app look the way it should without additional work.

React Native, on the other hand, uses platform-specific components, which makes the components such as buttons or switches look different on iOS and Android. Creating identical apps, therefore, will give rise to additional work.

Time

Flutter as we mentioned previously can be useful for developing apps when time and costs are of the essence. This, however, is not applicable when the app contains a sizable number of custom views and requirements that are difficult to implement.

React Native with its large community of developers, on the other hand, can be useful here its head start on Flutter has created a library of information one can use to troubleshoot any issues.

Maintenance & Updates

An app is not a one-time investment and needs to be maintained well. Both Flutter and React Native are equally good in this regard if one is comparing the time and effort that needs to be invested. Those who work with React Native however, might find their work made easier due to a large amount of information they can turn to online.

Updates are vital for any app as they allow it to add/remove functionalities in response to market changes and keep it secure. Flutter wins this one as updates cause very little problems, whereas apps built using React Native can pose unexpected issues.

Documentation

Flutter’s documentation is very exhaustive and supported by Google codelabs example apps, through which developers can learn how to develop and search for specific solutions.

React Native’s documentation in our opinion is not as good.

Popularity with developers

React Native due to their headstart is more popular than Flutter at the present. Flutter, however, is fast narrowing the gap as we are seeing an increasing number of clients and developers taking it up. You might also want to see the popularity of the two terms on Google Trends over here.

Support for testing

Testing is an integral part of app development and Flutter offers a wide range of support for such tests and provides rich documentation about it.

React Native does a good job of handling unit tests. The same, however, cannot be said for its capability for handling integration or UI tests.

Conclusion

Cross-platform app development is the future, with Flutter and React Native vying for a piece of it. Both platforms in our opinion have their pros and cons, depending on the requirements you expect of the app. What is clear however is that React Native is capable, has more help for troubleshooting issues, whilst Flutter is easier to update and provides richer documentation. We at Mood Up are very curious and excited to see what the future has in hold for cross-platform development frameworks.

Do you have an idea for an app we can help with? Mood Up has extensive experience in mobile app development and offers a one-week development trial.

Two people shaking hands

10 factors you need to consider when picking a software house

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Picking a software house is not a task that should be taken lightly as the wrong choice might mean a loss of a sizable amount of money, time, peace of mind and more importantly, opportunity.

This is why at Mood Up encourage our partners (client is a word we steer clear off of) to look beyond the boastfulness and accolades that one sees at first glance and dig deep into a software house’s people, skills, previous work and processes. It might be a tedious task, but one that will pay off in dividends once the project is completed.

1. Presence and market reputation

Software development is no walk in the park and can be a costly affair if done incorrectly.

That’s why we encourage any client looking to develop a product to do their research on the business operation length of the software houses they intend on working with. This will dispel any doubts on the financial stability of the software house in question and create a lasting partnership.

You might also want to take a look at the portfolio of the software houses to evaluate their previous work. Recommendations from clients on websites such as Clutch can also be very helpful.

2. Communication strategy

Communication is vital in any partnership and all the more so in software development as a project’s velocity is dependent on the speed in which issues are discovered, communicated and fixed.

Inquire on the communication tools used by the software houses you intend on working with and find one that matches your preferences whether it be Slack, Jira, Asana or Trello.

Remember, communication with your software house, who are essentially your extended team should be seamless, and not a chore.

3. Partnership dynamics

The strength of a partnership is only as good as its dynamics and this is pivotal when picking a software development partner.

This is why we recommend expending some time to research your potential partners for a good fit. Meet them if it’s possible and/or encourage them to pay your company a visit.

Remember, you need to like the people you are working with.

4. Technology Stack

You need a partner with proven experience and skill sets that match the requirements of your particular app, and not one that dabbles in many programming languages.

Pose your potential software houses with your requirements and evaluate their approach to it. Ask for the credentials of the development team that will be allocated to you. Ask for examples of previous work using the same technologies.

Remember, a good software house should have no qualms about answering any questions a client might have.

5. The work process

Does your potential software development house use agile or the waterfall methodology in developing their products?

If it’s the latter, you might be in trouble as agile work processes such as scrum is now an industry standard due to its ability to increase the velocity of product development at lower costs.

6. Cost model

The cost of development is at the forefront of any customers mind and rightfully so.

Our recommendation is to opt for agile pricing models that charge for the work done as the development progresses versus the fixed pricing model, which can have you paying more for limited functionalities as software house usually add a sizable markup to counter any unexpected issues.

Remember, if the price of a project is too good to be true, it probably is.

7. Scope of service

Some software house provides end to end services that encompass design, development, QA and even listing the final product on iOS and Android app stores.

Make sure you opt for one that has the services you require as close cooperation between designers, developer and QA creates better products, faster.

8. Contracts

Transparency is vital in any partnership, which is why you should ask your potential software development house to provide you with an example of the contract that will be signed.

You are also well within your rights to ask for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before submitting your idea for an estimate.

9. Location and cultural fit

Close collaboration is key to a successful partnership.

Working as such, however, is rather difficult if the software development partner you outsource to is on a vastly different timezone and culture.

This is why we at Mood Up prefer to work with clients who nearshore their software to us.

10. Trials

Outward appearances can be deceiving which is why we recommend agreeing on a trial period to test the dynamics of the relationship and all that we mentioned above.

A phone and an IoT device

8 things to consider before building an IoT app

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

With the Internet, you can upgrade your program. Developing such apps are now easier, Moreover, such apps can be smarter and more effective. 

It is a need for some special applications. 

1. Which platform will the app be built on?

The IoT platform is essentially the ecosystem that supports and connects it to. It can be managed and analyzed to improve functionality.  

Growth in the IoT of The has garnered a the Attention of the big tech players such as with the the Microsoft , Amazon’s , the SAP, the CISCO  and the Google the who offer now! Just made the read, the secure platforms That help the app developers to Accelerate the Pace of development with lower power costs and Risks. Youn’t be able to create a custom made platform from scratch.

The right platform Choosing with Their Contents Technical jargon is the no the easy task, the which is why <br> we Encourage you to the write to us AT the Up with your Mood: idea. 

2. The device you are connecting to 

If you are developing an app. Below questions

  • what kind of functionality does your app perform?
  • which industry do you want to cater to? Entertainment? Fitness? Home security?
  • do you want to connect to the IoT?
  • would you like to expect interoperability with many devices?

3. Making privacy of user data a priority

Our data is a significant concern in today’s digital economy. 

This is not the case. 

Remember, privacy breaches are costly to the bottom line and more importantly, its reputation. 

4. Securing your app from threats

IoT apps. IoT apps need stringent security protocols and continuous updates. 

5. Scaling the app to fit market changes.

With Gartner expecting 95% of all products to use IoT by 2020, your app should be able to. 

You will be able to add more functionalities while you are in the future.

6. The quality of the user experience

It’s a bit of a funk. 

Doing research on customer expectations, features and integrating lean design standards , therefore, is important. 

7. The speed and quality of the app’s functions. 

It is important that you get it connected. 

8. How much will it cost?

The costs of the building an IoT app as you might have guessed is different from a regular web or mobile app due to its nature. 

This, however, is dependent on many factors that include the above, the functionalities expected and the technical skills of the developers you’d hire. 

Summary

The role of technology is to ease the lives of its users and IoT devices are its forefront. Such devices provide a very large market potential which is why we are seeing an increased focus on developing apps that are always connected to the internet. Our advice, however, is to first be clear on the idea for your app and then partner with a software house that has the necessary skillsets, experience necessary to advise, build and deploy your app. 

Mood Up team several years of experience in developing IoT apps. AT a look of Take Our work in the IoT the apps found here or the send us your: idea for an Estimate found here. 

React Native vs Real Native moodup team 12 2018

React Native Apps vs. Real Native Apps – Which Should You Pick?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mobile apps have become an integral part of our lives, as are the apps that help in making life a lot more convenient and hassle-free. This is the reason why companies are constantly looking for ways that will accelerate and facilitate the process of creating mobile applications to meet market expectations. Not all smartphones, however, are created equal, which is why app developers need to pay careful attention to their operating systems, in order to develop apps that can run on the said operating systems.

Mobile Operating System Market Dec 2018

Statistics data from the Statcounter.

The question then boils down to picking between iOS and/or Android, the two operating systems holding the largest share in the app market. It isn’t easy, which is why we have a separate guide on picking the right platform for your app.

Once a decision on the platform has been made, the developers must then go about creating the code for the two platforms, which are very different. This is as time-consuming and expensive as it sounds, which is why React Native is fast becoming a favourite amongst the app development community.

React Native AppsAbout React Native

React Native is a cross-platform framework designed by Facebook to give developers the opportunity to create apps for iOS and Android at the same time. It is based on React, which is a Facebook library for building user interfaces and has been used in the creation of apps such as Airbnb, Instagram and Facebook due to its

1. Efficiency

One of the most important advantages of using React Native is the ability to save time that would otherwise be spent on developing two separate versions of the same app. Such time saving allows developers to focus on creating better code at a faster speed, which lowers app development costs for the client.

2. Modular and intuitive architecture

The modular and intuitive interface of React Native makes it easy for developers to migrate and implement quickly on the project. This increases the flexibility of the development team and facilitates a faster introduction of updates.

It is however not without its disadvantages

1. Not for all APIs

One of the biggest disadvantages of the React Native framework is the lack of support with some native APIs, preventing it from being able to communicate with other applications, thereby affecting its overall functionality.

2. Design adjustment

The design adaptation may require writing additional code to avoid confusion in the application as Android and iOS platforms have seperate design guidelines.

Real Native Apps

Real native apps require developers to write separate apps for iOS and Android, unlike with react. Applications for iOS are developed using Swift or Objective-C while Android applications are developed using Java and Kotlin.

About Real Native

Do not discount Real Native just yet, as it trumps where React failed.

1. Best performance

Thanks to the native structure, applications are created and optimized for a specific platform, which makes them very fast, responsive and high performing.

2. Better harmony with hardware

The Real Native approach provides better access to hardware such as  GPS, camera and microphone, which translates into enhanced performance and application capabilities.

3. Easy errors detection

By using basic languages for the chosen platform, the possibility of errors are fewer and can be detected as they happen.

The above however does not come without its own share of disadvantages

1. Higher costs

Making an application for two separate platforms require twice the labour, which translates into longer development and testing time, requiring the client to foot a larger bill.

2. Separate optimization

The two platforms require different levels of optimization to their inherent differences.  This is all the more pronounced when developing for Android, due to a sizable number of versions of its platform in the market.

Conclusion

React vs Native Benefits

The React Native structure is a solution that allows you to deliver applications in less time on both platforms and provides many functionalities. It provides full support for the functions of mobile devices and a high rate of performance, which is why most clients prefer to use it for their apps. This, however, is not a standard and requires careful consideration of the project and its scope before deciding.

Got an idea for an app and not sure whether to opt for React or Real Native?  Drop us a line with your idea here so that we can get back to you with an estimate.