In this post, we will concentrate on enterprise mobile application development best practices including notifications system and mobile application design; we are talking here about a mobile application of service to the employees of an enterprise whose main functions revolve around sharing and communicating data and / or information.
Considering that mobile applications and mobile navigation are now part of our everyday life, one should not underestimate the impact of a good design on the rapid adoption of a mobile application.
Mobile Application Development Best Practices should apply whether you are developing a mobile application from scratch to answer a specific business need or from an actual enterprise application.
Before You Even Start, Consider Your Audience & Your Business Need or Problem
Before you take any time to develop a mobile application, consider your audience and build a solid Business Case around the business need or the problem you want to solve. You’ll find more about building a business case in our recent post: You need to develop a new application? Fine, do you have a Business Case?.
Calling all App Stores
Do your homework. Despite how unique you think your idea is, there’s a good chance someone, somewhere, have already built it, or something similar. Who knows, you may be able to adapt it at just the cost of a license or an SDK?
ENTERPRISE MOBILE APPLICATION DESIGN
One Screen, One Task
Every screen should offer a single action of real value. Design each screen for one purpose, no more than 1 call-to-action. This makes the mobile application easier to learn and to use.
Invisible User Interface
Focus on the content and remove unnecessary elements that does not support user tasks. Users should be led as quickly as possible to useful and appropriate content.
Use Breathing Space
Less is more. White space, the empty space between and around elements of a design or page layout, helps focusing on the visible elements; that is, the relevant elements.
Make Navigation Self-evident
Help users navigate easily, this should be a high priority of your mobile application design. Mobile navigation must be discoverable, accessible, and it should take little screen space.
Test Your Design
Involve users right from the beginning and test the look and feel of your mobile application design. This is one of the best practices to follow because it will save you time and money.
ENTERPRISE MOBILE APPLICATION NOTIFICATIONS SYSTEM
This is the most important purpose of an enterprise mobile application; to communicate and share information (send, push, reply) but one must use notifications wisely and think twice before sending a message because annoying notifications is by far the first reason (77 %) why people turn them off or, simply uninstall or stop using a mobile application.
When in a Mobile Environment, it is all about making every message count. And especially in a business context, don’t send notifications for the sake of engagement; this is not a social venue. Every interaction should be valuable to the user and not a distraction.
Your mobile application messaging strategy should use all types of message (push notifications, email, in-app notifications, news feed messaging) based on urgency and content.
Your communication and notification strategy should contribute to creating a great user experience, not killing it.
Image Source: Appboy
ENTERPRISE MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT
Start With Your Enterprise Mobile Application Security
Again, since we are in an enterprise environment, creating a new work experience, one should start thinking about security right at the beginning of the development process.
Identify the kind of input you’ll be dealing with so you can build data testing into the mobile application. Understand the network and communications mechanisms so to secure the data in transit (SSL/TLS). Understand what security mechanisms are in place and what are available to protect both users and data; de-identifying user data (i.e., hashing), two-factor authentication, and encrypting all sensitive data stored in the cloud.
Industries like finance and health care are heavily regulated, make sure you comply with all industry regulations.
Assess the level of risk accurately. Don’t use a hammer to kill a fly, apply the appropriate security measure for each case. For example: what could be the potential impact if someone would steal the information of a client purchase order?
Build From The Core User Experience
Take the most important features and business functions and build these into an application framework, a core application experience; creating the user story.
Make sure that the mobile app processes are solid, that the communication interface to the back-office database is absolutely fluid and bullet-proof, and that results returned to the mobile application are sound. Make sure all is working perfectly.
Plan how these features and functions will be implemented and allow flexibility to deal with results from testing. Be agile.
Performance Is of the Essence
Today, user wants results now… even a little sooner.
You should constantly monitor your mobile app, the networks, and your servers to make sure they are operating at peak performances and set up alerts to know instantly about problems. In other words, design the performance within the project.
The Success of your Mobile App Depends on Testing
Testing should be part of each step of the development process. Test everything about your mobile app: design, functionality, performance, interactions with other applications, browsers, carriers, etc.
Learn the Lessons of Analytics and the Value of Feedback
You should integrate analytics features within your mobile app to monitor and track users’ activity, interactions, crash logs and other events. You should view your mobile app improvement (features and usability) as a constant work in progress.
Also, remember that the user is always right. So, gather and sollicit feedback (rating) and comments. Users always provide the best ideas on how to improve your mobile app.
Happy Mobile App Development,
Denis Paul & Michel