We firmly believe that just about every business should have a mobile presence in today’s digital world. A mobile app puts your business in your customer’s pocket and is a main ingredient in your digital relationship with your customers.
If you didn’t have a mobile app before the pandemic, you may be scrambling to put something together. However, we caution against a rushed approach, and urge you not to fast track mobile app development.
We’ll tell you why, but also share some things you can do in the meantime to create a mobile presence while you work on a long-term, successful mobile app solution.
Why fast-tracking mobile app development isn’t the answer
It’s tempting to rush mobile app development. You want to reach your customers while they’re stuck at home and basically living on their mobile devices. But if you fast-track mobile app development and don’t follow the proper steps for how to make a successful app, you run the risk of losing more than you gain.
An app is another face of your business, so naturally you want it to be an accurate representation of what you can offer and the level of quality you provide. An application that fails to meet customer expectations and function properly is a poor reflection on your business, and can actually end up hurting you in the long run.
Today’s customers have high expectations when it comes to mobile applications. They are comparing your app to every other app they use. They expect it to be visually pleasing and intuitive. They assume it will function properly, and perform well (in other words, it won’t crash). Customers also have a low patience threshold when it comes to apps, with 25 percent of users abandoning an app after just one use.
You need to provide something of value from day one if you want to engage users and keep them coming back.This takes time, as we have discussed in a previous article. A successful mobile app can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to develop, depending on the complexity, supported platforms, devices, and more.
While we don’t recommend rushing your mobile app development timeline, there are a few things you can do to get your mobile presence going while you work on a quality mobile app that your users will also love.
The path to mobile app success can start today
The simplest first step to take, while work is being done on your mobile app, is to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. It should not only function properly on mobile devices; it should also look good.
This is not a huge endeavor and should be something your web team can handle rather quickly. If they can’t, you can outsource this project to an application development consulting company to get the work done.
Getting your website to “play nice” with mobile devices allows your customers to engage with you and do business with you on their phones. This is the most basic way to create a mobile presence without cutting corners on your mobile app.
There are still limitations however, to how far this will get you. For example, your customers can’t engage with your website when they’re not on the internet. They may have a poor connection in their basement, on a train, or in a tunnel, but they still want to connect with you. Your mobile-friendly website isn’t enough to meet those needs.
At this point, we recommend exploring low-code app development tools. Low-code app development is a streamlined approach to developing applications that focuses on rapid design and development with minimal manual coding.
App developers use a drag-and-drop tool to visually represent the business logic, integrations, and User Interface (UI) behind the application. These types of tools allow you to build a decent mobile application—one that works and adds value to the end user—quickly and cost-effectively.
There are some drawbacks to low-code app development, such as integration limitations and lack of customization options, but it will allow you to go to market with an application that won’t put you at risk of losing customers.
Some of the most popular low-code and no-code tools in use today are:
- Mendix—Provides user- and developer-specific native mobile apps, as well as automated software testing and QA monitoring.
- Good Barber—Provides a single management interface to create iOS native, Android native, and progressive web apps for ecommerce and content management.
- Appery.io—Offers templates and a drag-and-drop user interface to easily design and develop hybrid mobile apps, web apps, and progressive web apps.
- TrackVia—Great for developers with limited coding knowledge and provides a clean user interface.
- Visual LANSA—Comes with a powerful, low-code IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and extensive testing, deployment, and integration controls.
When using low-code tools, it’s also important to remember that a successful mobile app requires more than just code. You still need to adhere to best practices for application security testing and quality assurance.
It’s also essential to keep the user in mind when thinking about design. Talk to users and find out what they really want. You may not be able to meet every expectation with a low-code tool, but you will be able to prioritize their expectations, so you can meet as many important user requirements as possible with the interim solution. And the information you gather will be useful for the work being done on your permanent mobile application.
For some businesses, a low-code mobile application may be all you need. If you have a small customer base or a very simple product or service, a low-code app may very well meet your customers’ needs and expectations. Others will want to reach a larger share of the market or may have complex requirements. For these companies, a low-code application can buy you some time while your custom mobile app is being developed—without having to worry about losing business with a rushed solution.
While you may be tempted to get your mobile app out the door as fast as possible, your business is better off in the long run if you take the time to do it right. The good news is you can still create a mobile presence through your website and low-code app development tools, so you can stay in the game while you work on a quality mobile app that will exceed your user’s expectations and help you generate new business.