Businesses users demand better enterprise mobile apps, but writing a great enterprise mobile app takes a lot more than just the technical aspect of building it. If you don’t consider the app’s primary purpose and how it will actually be used, you’re courting disaster --- an app that no one uses.
Robert Sheldon of Search Mobile Computing has some very good advice for enterprise developers who want to build the best mobile apps. As a start, he warns, “Even an internal app that serves only a small group of employees requires careful planning and attention to the many factors that go into application development. If an app doesn't make workers' jobs easier and enhance their productivity, chances are that app will fail.”
Here’s three steps to writing apps he recommends in his blog “What developers need to know about building mobile apps for business.”
Step 1: Learn what users really need
It’s easy to make assumptions about what users are looking for in a mobile app --- and frequently, those assumptions are wrong. Sheldon says, “Development teams often ignore what their users want or need, failing to take into account their perspectives until it's too late.” So he recommends that developers conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, or use other ways to understand the culture that an app will be used in, as well as what users want in apps. He concludes: “If they [developers] don't take the time to understand users, they are much more likely to develop an app that fails.”
Step 2: Identify tasks and workflows
Developers need to do more than just understand users’ overall needs to deliver better enterprise mobile apps— they must intimately understand the problems users need solved, and the features they need to solve those problems. And they must also “take into account the different roles users play and how those roles translate to the tasks they perform each day,” in Sheldon’s words.
Understanding that is part of developer outreach to users. Based on what developers find out from users, they need to clearly define the app’s purpose, and then map out the required workflows for it.
Step 3: Choose platforms, devices and app types
Before writing an app, make sure you clearly know what platforms it will be written for: iOS, Android, Windows or others. Global audiences favor Android; enterprises tend to skew towards iOS. Decide which OS versions to support, only the latest, or earlier ones as well. How about device type? Will it be for smartphones or tablets --- or both?
Finally, decide how to write the app. Will it be native, web-based, or hybrid? At Alpha Software, we recommend a write-once and deploy-everywhere solution for this, by building the mobile app and deploying it to any mobile platform.
Alpha Anywhere is the ideal tool for building better enterprise mobile apps. To find out how Alpha Anywhere lets you build building native-quality, cross platform web and mobile business applications, click here.