By Simon Hutchinson

Developing for mobile – things we learned along the way

Accountants

A recent study showed that more and more people are beginning to feel ‘lost’ without their phone and cannot leave home without it. It’s not hard to see why when you look at the amount of tasks that can be accomplished by a smartphone these days, and in the software development world the competition to create a popular app has never been greater.

While recognising that Reckon has a big development team, there are a lot of things we’ve learned that could help anyone creating an app of their own – whether it be on the big or small scale. In this blog post I’ve covered off some of the things that we learnt that may help you on your journey too (they’ll even apply if you’re contracting the work out to someone else!)

Design aesthetic is the key to a successful app

More than a desktop product, a mobile product must have instant visual impact and everything easily accessible to be successful. In a world where you are competing with other apps on the same device ease-of-use and visual appeal are king! Ensuring the design is appealing and makes sense will not only help you get more downloads but it will keep users coming back to it time and time again.

Mobility and speed

Most of the time when the user is interacting with an app they will be on the road, be it commuting or working out of the office. Keeping things easy to use and quick is the key to keeping the user returning. With Reckon One we introduced a PIN based password system for ease of login and made everything as few taps away as possible – this allows business owners to get the info they need fast whilst providing the functionality to perform business tasks on the road as well.

Remember that you are not just developing for your current users

Your application can get in front of millions of potential users. If you are developing applications to be published on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store ensure you are keeping abreast of any changes being made to their rule set and constantly review your application against those rules. There is nothing more disheartening than the euphoria of submitting your app only to be rejected on a slight technicality.

Get the application on devices ASAP

One of the key aspects during a mobile development project is getting the software on devices. Get colleagues, friends and family to test out the application as soon as possible on a number of devices. You will begin to gain valuable feedback as well as figure out where your designs may need some tweaking. It’s also a lot easier to figure out how useable an application is when it’s on the device its intended for as opposed to a large computer monitor.

Prepare for all scenarios

With mobile applications available anywhere around the globe at any time you must have an application that can deal with any number of scenarios. Consider all types of issues your user may face and how your app responds. Even if it’s just a simple message informing the user they currently do not have internet access – this is a much better result than the user being left bewildered as to why their application isn’t working. If someone wants to attempt to use your app diving in the Pacific Ocean with a waterproof phone, figure out how you deal with that even if it’s just a ‘no internet found’ message.

Have the app on your phone at all times

Like a business card an application can represent you and your company. If you are at a business meeting and someone happens to mention they have an interest in smartphones or apps you can quickly show a work in progress version of what you have built so far. It not only gives a good conversation starter but is free marketing that could lead to some positive word of mouth.

We’ve learned a lot during the development of the Reckon One mobile app. Mobile devices offer an incredible new way to interact with your clients, and we really are just beginning the mobile revolution.  New technology demands new thinking. Put in the effort to connect with your customer 24/7 could be just the thing that helps your business reap rewards.

Take a free trial of Reckon One and tell us what you think of the new mobile app.

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