It is no secret that applications, whether desktop or mobile, are burgeoning in a bid to satiate the ever-hungry digital consumer market. As of today, there are well over 2 million apps that are available on the Android platform alone, with numbers close to that on the iOS platform too. The digital consumer is obviously spoiled for choice and the pressure is on the application developers to create products that will keep the consumer coming back to them. This has resulted in a cut-throat market that is unforgiving of mistakes and seldom offers second chances. Below are some common application development mistakes that shouldn’t be repeated at any cost.
- Insufficient Research: Any application is tasked with attracting and retaining a visitor and hopefully converting him/her into a long-term user. This necessitates the knowledge of the consumer’s preferences and matching their expectations. Understandably it is not an easy task and hence thorough research should be done on the target audience. This can be done in the form of surveys, market testing, and narrowing down of the audience, prior to the development and release of an application. Failure to do so will certainly result in having the developer eat humble pie.
- Skimping on Security: Most applications require users to share sensitive information and thus security must be of paramount importance. Weak Server-Side Controls, Lack of Binary Protections, Insecure Data Storage, Insufficient Transport Layer Protection, Broken Cryptography, Client-Side Injection, etc. are some examples of security risks that cannot be ignored while developing an application. Cutting corners in matters of security is sure to instigate a mass exodus of users.
- Poor and Complicated Design: ‘The First Impression is the Last Impression’ If a visitor to an application doesn’t like what he/she sees and finds it taxing to navigate, most likely he/she will never return to that application again. A good UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are pivotal to the success of an application. Overloading an app with needless features, redundant menus, and other design complexities will put off the modern user who is generally impatient and will avoid going through a tutorial. The mantra is to enhance accessibility and shorten the learning curve for the visitor.
- Feature Overload: A lot of new application developers are overly enthusiastic about features, understandably so, as they add value to the user. However, in a lot of cases, less is more. Overloading with features costs time and money and presents the users with a steeper learning curve, not to mention slowing down the application. More features also pose a threat to the stability of the application as an integration of all the features need to be well programmed.
- Device Compatibility: Modern applications cater to multiple operating systems and a plethora of devices, each having a different configuration. This poses a challenge to the developers and often results in inflexible applications that don’t adapt well to different screen configurations and work slower on certain devices. Not paying attention to cross-device compatibility is a rookie mistake as the burgeoning desktop/mobile market calls for applications that support any device configuration.
- Blocking the Main Thread: Whether you are on an iOS or an android platform, a fresh process is created when an application is run called the main thread. User Interface work occurs on the main thread and cannot be blocked for running a parallel code which may freeze the user interface till the code is executed. Extra care needs to be taken while writing an application to ensure background threads are used for parallel processes and that data is modified by only one thread at a time. This results in smoother performance while maximizing the usage of all the available CPU cores.
- Rewriting Existing Code: We are almost at the peak of the digital revolution there are over a million applications available and many more being developed by the minute. This means that there is no need to reinvent the wheel and in the application development parlance, rewrite codes that are already written and deployed. Most applications share features like network calls, social logins, image loading, etc. and codes for these are already available. Spending time and effort to rewrite these can and must be avoided.
- Insufficient testing: The worth of an application is not in the ingenuity of its written code, rather it is in the flawless execution and usability of the same. Every application needs to be tested in every possible aspect so that all possible faults are exposed during the development stage itself and bugs and glitches are weeded out prior to the launch. Metrics such as App crashes, API latency, App load per period, network errors, etc. are crucial for robust application development.
- Relying too much on Frameworks: A lot of modern developers rely heavily on frameworks to get the job done quickly. This, in a way, has made many developers ignore the inner workings of a framework library and focus just on the implementation. Though these frameworks accelerate the application development process, using too many can result in a bloated application with the developer clueless about all the pretty code that is actually being used. Then the problem of debugging or revising when something goes wrong, especially when these frameworks have been used arbitrarily.
- Not Focusing on the Backend: Far too many applications make a grand entry on the market, promising features no one has heard of, and then vanish quietly. This is mainly because applications are unable to sustain their performance over a period. The culprit is poor programming and implementation of behind-the-scenes aspects of an application. Often, in a bid to attract users, front-end development is prioritized, and little attention is paid to aspects like database management, remote updating, cloud storage, and hosting, etc. Riddled with errors and bugs, the application then becomes unusable after some time.
The above list is not comprehensive, yet it underscores the important mistakes that are often repeated while developing an application and results in a tremendous hassle for both the developers and the end-users. Learning from these mistakes will go a long way in staying alert to any repetition of the same.