Mobile applications’ accessibility at any time anywhere led people to rely on mobile apps more, resulting in the massive growth of the mobile app development industry. This trend also presented lucrative opportunities for businesses as they started investing in mobile apps that increase business exposure, improve brand awareness and customer loyalty.

With mobile apps, customers interact with brands in a personal space thus enhancing brand value. Though a mobile app is worth the investment for a business, high app development costs often deter them. Mobile app development doesn’t have to be expensive. All you need to do is take the right measures to significantly reduce development costs. Of course there are many ways you can reduce development costs but most of them demands a sacrifice in app quality.

That said, here are a few ways to reduce the right way i.e. without compromising on quality of the app.

Plan the app development process

Most businesses often neglect the importance of efficiently planning the entire development process. App development is a complex process that may require a lot of iterations and modifications before the app is ready to offer the best user experience while serving its purpose. Without proper planning, each iteration can increase the cost of development. By planning way ahead of development, you can choose just the right features your app needs to make it stand out and deliver a great experience. This means lesser iterations and faster development.

Sketch the final version of the app

While the quality and success rate of an app depends on how efficiently it’s coded, the developer should still be aware of what is expected of the app, how it will be used and how it can stand out from its competitors. To make things easier, you can roughly sketch the final version of the app including its interface before coding begins so the developers can use this as a starting point.

This way the development team can come up with the most appropriate design of the interface and the workflow that match the sketch. This subsequently prevents unnecessary design modifications and reworks thus reducing cost.

Choose the right platform for the app

You can have an app developed for the most popular mobile platforms like iOS, Android and Windows. But if you want to reduce development costs, it’s better to stick to just a single platform. To choose the right platform for the app, you should first understand your customer base. A good rule of thumb is to go for the platform that’s being used by the majority of your brand’s customers. Another good alternative is to invest in cross-platform app development – a budget-friendly approach to launch your app on all major platforms.

Outsource the project

While many businesses see outsourcing of app development as a means of losing control over the development, many others rely on outsourcing to cut down development costs. When outsourcing the project, you hire developers and pay them by the hour. In-house teams, on the other hand, will require fixed salaries that don’t take into account the number of hours they spent developing the project. Outsourcing app development also gives you access to the expertise of proficient app developers with good track records.

Encourage thorough testing

Hastening app development simply for faster time-to-market is not always a good idea especially when testing is also not properly done. This may result in damaged brand reputation and increased development costs to fix issues that popped up after app launch. We recommend taking good time to thoroughly test the app’s framework not only to identify issues and fix them before launch but also to ensure that the app delivers on its promises.

Partner with an expert mobile app development company

A mobile app leverages many technologies to serve users and to provide the best possible experience. Most of the time, utilizing trending technologies may not be economically feasible for businesses that want to develop their app themselves. So it’s a good idea to partner with app development companies with proven expertise in the most trending UI/UX and development technologies. This ensures a high quality, high-performance app that meets the expectations of today’s mobile users. If the company provides end-to-end app development services including design, promotions and marketing, it can’t get any better.

Conclusion

The mobile app development industry is a rapidly growing industry which means you can only go so far to reduce app development costs without compromising on quality. In this age, even the smallest of bugs can impact user experience which would in turn annoy customers enough to get the app uninstalled. To reduce costs without compromising on quality, expertise and experience are critical factors. AOT has both. Get in touch with our experts to make an app that will stand the test of time.


A prototype is basically a preliminary model with which the development team can build other forms from. It can be a simple sketch of the product interface or an interactive model. Generally, development teams refer to working, interactive models as prototypes.

The prototype enables the development team to visualize how the product will function and give them ideas to come up with an interactive user interface and deliver the best user experience possible. Errors can be tested and identified early on in the development phase subsequently maximizing the development efficiency right from the beginning itself.

In this blog, we will take a look at 5 best practices for mobile app prototyping.

Planning ahead

The prototype is meant to give the team a better understanding of the end users’ problems so they can determine how the mobile app would address and solve those problems. This is why it’s important to define features and ideas that the team want to test out in the form of a prototype. Once that’s done, the team should make a plan that sets some time apart for developing the prototype without delaying the project. Once the prototype’s ready, it can be sent out for feedback with which the team can make adequate improvements on the product.

Reduce design details as much as possible

 As mentioned above, a prototype is basically just an outline to envision the end product, which means it doesn’t need to have a lot of design elements in it like color, fonts, animations and other effects. A good practice is to reduce the use of those design details that aren’t essential to the app’s functionality. The idea isn’t to test out the effectiveness of design elements.

Make a list of priority features

Another good practice before building a prototype is to make a list of the features that you want to test out in the prototype, and then prioritize them. While making this list, the team should take into account various factors like the main problem of the end users that the app will solve and how the app will solve it. Include only the prioritized features on the prototype.

Map the end user’s journey

Every mobile app should be built with the users in mind. This applies to the prototype as well. It’s important to look at a product from the perspective of a user before beginning development. It should begin from when a user launches an app through to the end goal which can be anything from making a purchase to using the app to fulfill a purpose like scanning or uploading documents. Such a prototype will provides insights on designing the app to be convenient to users.

Gather feedback

Feedback for prototypes is how the ideas included in the prototype are validated or invalidated. Based on this feedback, the prototype can be updated with improvements and retested. Each iteration of the prototype reveals errors to fix and opportunities to improve.

Conclusion

Prototyping should be an important part of the mobile app design process to allow the development team to understand user needs better and determine the right set of product functions for the final version before starting production.

If you have any questions regarding prototyping and app development, get in touch with the app development experts at AOT.

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What we’ve known for years as mobility has evolved into what’s popularly termed ‘Smart Mobility’. Computing is not constrained to desktops and laptops anymore as new ‘smartphones’ arrive with hardware power that rivals their desktop and laptop counterparts. The convenience granted by mobility have sparked a trend where people started browsing through their mobile devices. Now it’s the norm.

Organizations have started to realize the significance of an enterprise mobile app not only to serve customers but also for streamlining business processes, managing human resources, and reporting to stakeholders.

Modern Day App Development

Despite the dominance of mobile applications in both the tech world and the day-to-day lives of people, there are many apps that fail as soon as they are launched. Thousands of applications fail at what they had been designed to do owing to more than one reason.

Not surprisingly, one of those reasons is the back-end of the app. As more businesses invest in a ravishing front end for their mobile app, some neglect the significance of a robust backend. While the front-end makes the app visually appealing and grants a pleasing experience to users, it’s the back-end that does the heavy lifting; comprising databases, services etc. and influencing the app’s performance quotient.

This is why it’s important to choose the right back-end technology for a mobile app.

Tips to Choose the Right Back-End Technology Stack

Ensuring expertise

Regardless of the technology used for the app’s back-end, everything ultimately comes down to how efficiently the back-end is built. And the key to getting the best results out of a robust back-end is expertise. So before choosing a back-end technology stack, it’s wise to ensure whether the in-house developers have the expertise to handle the stack. If you are outsourcing the development, make sure the development company you hire has the expertise to efficiently utilize the back-end technology you choose.

Consider time-to-market

For many organizations, time-to-market is a critical factor they can’t neglect. Back-end technology directly influences an app’s time-to-market. The right back-end technology stack facilitates quick integration of features which can be beneficial for projects with impending deadlines.

If the brand that owns the app doesn’t have a time constraint, the developer can go for more exciting technology stacks that allow them to explore and get creative with the back-end likely resulting in standout features for the app.

Consider non-functional requirements

Many non-functional requirements like scalability, security, performance, usability, compliance, disaster recovery, documentation etc. also should be taken into account when choosing a technology stack for the app’s back-end. A reliable technology stack known for its success rate may not offer the best performance for the app.

Third-party integrations support

If the app’s user base is expected to increase significantly within a short time, the developers would have to polish existing features and add new ones that improve the app’s interface, service offerings, and functionality. All these additions need to be integrated rather quickly. Furthermore, other developers would want to integrate the subject app’s feature set into their own apps. Without the right back-end technology, such confidential incorporations wouldn’t be possible.

Back-end in the cloud

The cloud enables on-demand access to a plethora of configurable computing resources – from hosting servers and networks to storage, applications, and services. Every major cloud service including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud offers various design patterns or engines (application frameworks) that function as app back-ends.

The cloud- based back-end solutions offer several benefits such as:

  • Data synchronization across all app platforms (mobile and desktop)
  • Handling various offline scenarios
  • Sending notifications and messages
  • Reducing and managing front-end data storage
  • Throughput and Network Usage optimizatio

Cyber-security

Cyber-security is a major keyword for modern day mobile apps. Every year, new cyber-threats emerge shaking the security foundations of almost every IT service connected to the internet. With mobile apps becoming invaluable for businesses, even the smallest security breach could potentially result in irreparable damage.

There shouldn’t be any exploitable vulnerability in an enterprise mobile app. With the right back-end technology and ample testing, this shouldn’t be a concern. There’s also the fact that relying on outdated or older technology stacks may open up security gaps in an app. Latest technologies are generally considered more secure.

Conclusion

Mobile app development is a steadily growing industry that’s encouraging the development as well as evolution of mobile technologies. As technologies advance, the capabilities of mobile apps evolve to newer dimensions. From amongst the vast number of technologies, every business investing in mobile apps should overcome the challenge of figuring out the right technology stack for their apps.

If your business needs help with this, get in touch with the app development experts at AOT. We can help you identify the best mobile technologies that would augment your business in the form of a mobile app.

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In an age where big, video game consoles are all the rage among Millennials, it may seem near impossible for mobile games to gain some traction. But in reality, mobile gaming apps have contributed significantly in the video game industry thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and the advancement of smartphone technologies.

Evidently, mobile gaming is a big deal right now with an increasing number of mobile gamers and mobile gaming YouTubers. This means, visualizing the right mobile gaming idea can make the developer rich in no time. That said, building an enjoyable mobile gaming app isn’t rocket science but is still a challenging feat. Unlike regular mobile apps, gaming apps are meant to consistently entertain and engage.

A perfect mobile game has a few major ingredients that directly tie into its success starting with…

A Game Artist

A great movie can never be a reality without a great director. It’s the same for a mobile game. The involvement of a capable game artist is directly tied to the success of the game post launch. A game artist is essentially the director of the game – the person with the vision and capable of conceptualizing the core of the game. They may not always be technically sound, and will require developers to bring their ideas into reality.

Engagement Factors

Engagement factors are the crux of a mobile game. Unlike PC and console games, mobile games run on devices with smaller screens which means it will be harder to keep gamers engaged. This is where engagement factors come in. These elements are hand-picked to make the game enjoyable enough for users so they will spend more time on the game. Engagement factors can be anything from an environment setup inside the game to flashy, gratifying in-game elements.

Challenge

As they say in the gaming community – if it’s easy to beat, it’s not a game. If it’s made to be that easy, it’d only qualify as a learning program for children. A game needs to be challenging i.e. the players should put in some amount of effort to achieve something in-game. On the other hand, if the game is too challenging right from the beginning itself, it may frustrate players even forcing them to quit playing the game. The trick is to go for an unsophisticated AI and a simple interface that players can easily figure out complemented by a slightly challenging yet fun gameplay.

Scoring and Rewards

A game obviously needs to simulate a sensation of victory on the gamer. Most games reward players with scores for their performance. But it’s important to maintain a standard that induces competition and keeps players engaged. The reward system should be enticing enough to bring back players who have not used the app for a while.

Coders

Last but not the least is the team of coders behind the game. The coders should collaborate extensively with the creative team to develop a game that meets modern mobile gaming expectations.

To conclude, building a mobile gaming app is somewhat different from building a business app. Without the right ingredients in the right proportions, the mobile game would seem dull and soon fade away.

The developers here at AOT are not just passionate about creating enterprise-grade apps. They can also get creative when it comes to mobile games that can turn heads. Give us a call to learn more.


Google finally launched Android Studio 3.4 on April 17th; downloadable on new versions of Windows, Linux, and macOS. Android Studio v3.3 came out earlier this year, and 3.4 comparatively only has a few minor improvements. It’s available in the stable channel, and is already being praised for its improvements.

The new version is the result of Google’s ongoing ‘Project Marble’ aimed at addressing issues associated with the core features of Android Studio. Though there are only minor improvements reportedly, there’s over 300 stability and bug enhancements in the new version.

That said, let’s explore the most interesting features of Android Studio 3.4.

A new UI

Every major Android Studio update comes with a notably enhanced New Project Wizard UI. Android Studio 3.4 didn’t break the tradition. The new UI looks much sleeker and smoother.

Resource Manager

In the earlier version of Android Studio known for its rock-solid stability, asset management and navigation was quite clunky. It was even more tedious for bigger, more complex projects. But that’s all in the past now.

The new Resource Manager looks more compact after efficiently consolidating the colors, layouts, and drawable elements in the app. With a better UI and an organized view of project assets, it’s now easier to locate various elements and switch between assets. In addition, by popular requests, the Resource Manager panel supports drag & drop bulk asset import as well as the conversion of bulk SVG to VectorDrawable.

Layout Editor Properties

The Layout Editor Properties panel has been improved for enhanced product refinement. There is now a resource binding control for each of the properties, and errors are now highlighted. The Attributes inspector in the layout editor has also been improved which is evident from its UI itself. The inspector features collapsible sections of attributes and a much better color picker.

Import Intentions

The Android Studio 3.4 can be a great asset to developers who are working with new libraries like Jetpack and Firebase as the new version of the popular IDE has been optimized to identify common classes in these libraries. Thanks to this, the devs will have code intentions aiding them with suggestions on library dependence and import statement.

R8

Proguard in Android Studio has been replaced by R8 in the latest version of the official IDE. The R8’s code-shrinking capabilities enable developers to reduce the size of APKs by eliminating unused codes and resources. Additionally, the actual code doesn’t take much space either. The R8 also combines dexing, desugaring, and shrinking operations in just one step which can be a particularly efficient approach for Android applications.

All of these features make R8 a better option compared to Proguard which is why it’s now the default code shrinker for new projects with Android Studio 3.4.

An Augmented IntelliJ

Android Studio 3.4 features IntelliJ 2018.3.4 – an evolved, augmented IntelliJ version with an array of improvements – from multi-line TODOs support to an updated Search Everywhere feature.

New Project Structure Dialog

Many developers have been requesting a user interface front-end to manage Gradle project files for a long while now. Android Studio 3.4 granted their wish with an improved Project Structure Dialog (PSD). With the new PSD, developers will be able to see and add dependencies, at a module level, to their projects. It also displays build variables now, and offers suggestions to make build file configurations better. The PSD in Android Studio 3.4 has a great UI that makes changing Gradle settings from the Project Structure a breeze.

Android Emulator Skin updates & More

The people behind Android Studio 3.4 also released the latest Google Pixel 3 & Google Pixel 3 XL device skins within the latest version. The release also features Android Q Beta emulator system images. This is certainly good news for Android app developers who want to perform app testing on Android Q.

Google also recommended using the canary version of Android Studio and the emulator so developers will be able to work with the latest changes in compatibility during the Android Q Beta program.

Conclusion

Other notable changes include the improvement of build speed and lint performance. The sheer number of improvements to Android Studio promises a fresh, unique experience to end users. Meanwhile, Google has already released the Android Studio 3.5 Beta for download, and it’s evident that the tech giant is not yet done with improving the quality of Android Studio. And apparently, until then, Project Marble will be active. The Android app developers here at AOT have already started tinkering with the new Android Studio. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we build great Android apps consistently.

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