You are considering getting a mobile application for your company. Nothing strange there: a lot of your competitors probably already have one, just as hundreds of thousands of other companies in the world.
When you are trying to find out who to reach out to for the development of your app, usually you go around asking colleagues and acquaintances for help or suggestions, you go to Google and you ask for estimates. Nothing strange here either. But there is a question that always lurks in the background: “How can tell the difference between a high quality app and a low quality one? Can I trust that a higher price will guarantee me a better product?”
Certainly price on its own is not a great indicator of a mobile app’s quality because there are a lot of aspects to take into consideration, in addition to the cost.
Let’s take a look at these together, in order to better understand how we can tell if an app is a high quality one.
Design: Easy on the eyes and easy to use
Mobile app design is one of the fundamental aspects for understanding the actual quality of an app.
What we mean by ‘design’ in the context of a mobile application, is the user interface, i.e. what users, when they are engaging with your app, see, touch and experience on their phone or tablet screens. User interface determines the quality of the user experience and of the app as a whole; it has an impact on the number of downloads as well as, ultimately, on the overall success of the mobile application, if we may define it as such.
ORIGINAL DOES NOT MEAN COMPLICATED!
It is quite likely that you already have an idea for your app. You have a general sense of how you would like it to be. And you are certainly most concerned with wowing your users every time they use the app. Basically, you want a mobile app that is both unique and unquestionably yours, rather than the usual layout that you see everywhere else, right? To achieve this, the design is key.
Let’s make something clear right away: an overworked, colorful and out of the box design is not necessarily better than simple and thoroughly studied one. In fact, overdoing the design could confuse the user. This is why, when striving for meticulous design, it’s always better to go for something versatile. The concept of versatility is tightly linked with that of user experience (also known as UX).
You also have to keep in mind that “easy to use” does not mean “easy to design”. Quite the opposite, in fact. So when you are evaluating the cost of your app and its quality, remember that the easier it is to use, the more a higher cost is justified.
App User Experience is a Determining Factor for App Quality!
The more an interface is visually appealing, easy to use and intuitive, the more it will improve the user experience. The quality of the interaction between the users and your app is fundamental: if their experience is not great, they’ll stop using the app and they’ll eventually delete it, which is the exact opposite of what we want.
The elements that make up a good user experience
In order to understand if the user experience is good and if, therefore, the design was developed in the best way possible, we can look at different elements.
- Versatility: Users don’t have a lot of time to waste. So it wouldn’t make sense to give them an app that requires complex and contorted reasoning to figure out how it works. It’s far better to aim for intuitiveness. This applies to any type of app, whether it’s a game, an internal business app, a messaging app, or a news app, just to mention a few.
- Speed and Accuracy: The app, in addition to being easy to use, also needs to work quickly, otherwise the users are likely to get frustrated and, once again, to stop using the app altogether. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes: we are filling in a form and, for whatever reason, we switch over to another app. We come back to our form and … all our information has disappeared. This shouldn’t happen in a high quality app.
- iOS and Android designs: iOS and Android are two different platforms. If our app needs to be launched on both operating systems, we need to pay a lot of attention towards each one’s requirements from a development (and design) standpoint, in order to guarantee a great user experience. For example, the ‘back’ button only exists on an Android phone, unless one goes through a thorough and painstaking study of the navigation.
- High quality graphics: Easier said than done… In terms of interface and user experience, we can recognize a high quality app by its well-studied components and pleasing aesthetics. Unfortunately, these are qualities that are sometimes overlooked.
- Focus on detail: As we all know, details make the difference. Many different finishing touches separate a great app from the rest. A good example would be any sort of autocomplete feature. If your app has a password autofill – and it doesn’t get deleted out of nowhere – then you are on the right track towards developing a great product.
It All Starts with an Impeccable Design!
In order to create a mobile application – just as for any kind of product – we must begin with the design, meaning the blueprint that defines the goals and guidelines for the development of a great app, efficiently, competently and quickly.
A high quality and successful app stands out because of its well-studied, well-planned and well-organized design. It has a set of clearly established key points that it has to follow. Thus, the best design requires a strong and organized team and a lot of past experience. This is why a high quality app will cost more than one that did not have a strict and precise design backing it up.
In order to understand if the design of an app is optimal, you may want to get in touch with the app development company while also examining the relevant estimates: if this provides you with enough information to understand what course they will follow and a clear lay out of the steps necessary to create the final product, then you are on the right track.
Software Development: A Key for the Quality of the App
If the average person were to find themselves having to take part in a conversation about the development of a mobile application software, they’d probably roll their eyes and cut it short by saying: “Look, I’m not an expert in software development…”. And that’s fair enough. But if we’re talking about our own app, then it’s quite a different situation and we should be getting involved. Now, there’s no need for you to become an expert in software development, and it truly is a highly technical subject. But you should become comfortable enough with it that you can discuss certain important details with your app developer. For example, you may want to ask if they followed certain standards or if they simply copied and pasted the code of another application. And it would be interesting to know if your app has been fully developed for you or if some “basic” configuration has been used.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY APP DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS
We mentioned above that one of the main things to keep in mind when evaluating the quality of an app is if the software has been developed by following the standards set up by Google and Apple. But what are these standards? The first thing to know is that these standards are vital. They are a system of best practices that have been developed, tested and improved over the years and decades by professionals. In other words, they’re the best.
Using these standards can also help improve the communication between all team members, while helping these organize the work needed in a more efficient way. This last one is an important element when striving for the best quality product.
These standards are, essentially, rules. They are a sort of framework law, they provide a guideline within whose limits a developer can move around without being completely deprived of his creative freedom.
NATIVE APPS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY IMPACT QUALITY
Native apps are those that have been developed to work for a specific operating system (Android or iOS). Usually, when we develop a native app, the project is far more complex, the cost is much higher and the benefits are greater.
We could easily say that a native app is essentially a software (just like Microsoft Word, or Autocad, or any other desktop software) that works on a smartphone rather than on a PC.
It’s a product that follows all the development standards – and what more can we ask for – thanks to the expedients used in the development phase. We also know that nowadays technology is always changing. It’s not impossible that major changes occur between the beginning of the project and the final completion of the app, such as an update of the operating system. Thus, thanks to native app development, our application will last longer. It will not have to be revised, or, even worse, entirely rewritten in order to work on updated operating systems or new smartphones and tablets that are constantly being released.
In summary, these are the major aspects you want to keep in mind in order to understand if an app is of the highest quality or not and, hence, if a higher cost is justified.
Obviously, it’s always better to work with a team of experts, a well-known company that knows how to explain and show, at any given moment in time, what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
Asking a friend or a cousin might seem convenient at first, but, in the long run, you’ll also have to pay your cousin. Or, rather, you’ll have to pay for your mistakes.