23 minute read

Best Practices for Mobile App Development

Best Practices for Mobile App Development

by William Hook

Mobile App Development is a fast-paced and constantly evolving field, with millions of apps competing for users’ attention in app stores. To make your app stand out and succeed, following best practices, such as having technical know-how and designing with the user in mind, is crucial. Doing so can distinguish your app from the competition and ensure its success.

This blog post discusses the best mobile app development practices, covers the complexities of mobile app development, including strategy, design, testing, marketing, and more, and helps developers navigate them.

What is Mobile App Development?

Mobile application development encompasses the procedures and processes involved in coding software for various portable devices, including tablets, smartwatches, and phones. Unlike traditional software development, mobile app development focuses on leveraging the unique features of handheld devices.

Even web designers must ensure mobile-friendliness, ensuring websites display correctly on mobile devices. Developing a mobile app can be complicated. However, following best practices can help ensure a successful launch and a positive user experience.

Using all the features available in modern cell phones, such as cameras, GPS, Bluetooth, and near-field communication, can be both difficult and beneficial. These capabilities make mobile app development more complex and provide new opportunities for developers to explore.

Mobile app developers face a tough challenge. They need to pack all the features into devices with limited hardware capabilities, pushing the boundaries of innovation and user experience. They must do this to compete with web applications in a highly competitive industry.

The two most common mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, have installed essential apps, such as basic web browsers and app stores. However, thousands of other app options exist, and developers create all these mobile-specific programs through mobile app development. These apps demonstrate the breadth and depth of possibilities within the field.



by Felix Mittermeier

The initial step involves devising a plan to transform your concept into a successful mobile application. When developing mobile apps, it’s crucial to consider their unique impact on different platforms. Each app has its own objectives, so tailoring the mobile app development process is essential.

To ensure success, developers must consider the needs of their target audience and organise information logically. Each app uses distinct development tools tailored for specific mobile operating systems. Establishing a foolproof strategy is paramount.

During this phase, you will:

  • Conduct market research.
  • Identify the target audience for the Android or iOS app.
  • Analyse competitors thoroughly.
  • Define your product’s value proposition.
  • Choose the appropriate mobile platform for your app.
  • Set clear goals and objectives for the app.

Market Research

Thorough market research is a critical step in mobile application development. Understanding your target market is crucial to the success of your app. You can use this information to identify potential users and any challenges that may arise.

Define Your Target Audience and Their Needs

Target Audience

by Melanie Deziel

Defining your target audience should be prioritised as it plays a crucial role in the app design and development process. You can distinguish your app from crowded app stores by clearly defining your target audience and aligning your app’s development with the user’s needs. To identify your target audience, consider: Who will utilise my application? What issues or hurdles can my app address for them?

When creating a successful app, it’s essential to conduct market research and gather feedback from potential users. Conducting research will help you ensure that your app meets their needs and desires. This approach will also help you design an app that centres around the user’s experience, increasing the chances of a successful launch.

Identify Your Product’s Value Proposition

Incorporating your mobile app’s core value proposition into your mobile strategy is essential. To develop your app successfully, you must first consider what it offers, who it’s for, and if it fits the market; this means understanding your target audience, potential users, and customers. Additionally, defining unique service propositions stemming from the primary value proposition is crucial.

Before developing a mobile app, it’s crucial to clearly explain the problem your app solves for your target audience; this is the first step before contacting a mobile app development team. You should also assess your solution’s specific competitive advantages over potential competitors.

Analyse competitors

It’s crucial to analyse and learn from your competitors to increase the chances of creating a successful app that outperforms competitors. This method can provide valuable insights into your planning and app development process, enhancing the likelihood of meeting your audience’s needs and standing out in the market.

When comparing competitors in an industry, it’s essential to analyse startups and established companies with similar objectives. Startups bring innovation and agility, while established companies may have established brand recognition and resources. Analysing these will help you gain valuable insights into their strengths and weaknesses, which can inform your app development strategy.

Understanding your competitors’ weaknesses allows you to address potential gaps in the market with your app. This might involve offering better features, user experience, pricing, or customer support.

Platform Considerations

Understand the differences between iOS and Android platforms and tailor your app development strategy accordingly. Consider user demographics, design guidelines, and feature compatibility to create a seamless experience on each platform.

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are the two most commonly utilised mobile platforms. These mobile platforms necessitate using their specific development environment when creating applications. Each device uniquely operates mobile apps. This way, they can give users a personalised experience that matches their device.

Types of mobile applications

Native Mobile Apps -

  • Platform: Developers specifically design native mobile applications for iOS or Android platforms.
  • App Access: You must download the app from either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store onto a mobile device.
  • Performance: Native apps typically offer the best performance and user experience because they optimise specific platforms.
  • Access to Device Features: They entirely access device features and functionalities, allowing seamless integration with hardware components.
  • Development Cost: Developing apps for both iOS and Android can be more costly due to the need for specific development for each platform.
  • Time to Market: Developing native apps for multiple platforms may take longer, potentially delaying time to market.

Mobile Web Apps -

  • App Access: Accessed from a web browser

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Web applications can be accessed through web browsers on various devices and platforms, making them cross-platform compatible and designed to be user-friendly and straightforward, ensuring everyone can easily use them.

  • Development Cost: Web apps generally have lower development costs as they utilise standard web technologies and do not require separate versions for different platforms.

  • Maintenance: Web apps require less maintenance as developers can deploy updates centrally on the web server.

  • Limited Access to Device Features: Web apps have limited access to device features compared to native apps, resulting in potential constraints in functionality and performance.

Hybrid Apps / Cross-Platform Apps -

  • App Access: Downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store onto a mobile device.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Hybrid apps offer cross-platform compatibility by combining web technologies with native components.
  • Access to Device Features: They provide access to device features through plugins, although not as extensive as native apps.
  • Development Cost: Hybrid apps offer a balance between native and web apps, requiring less platform-specific coding compared to native apps.
  • Performance: While hybrid apps may not match the performance of native apps, advancements in hybrid frameworks have narrowed the performance gap significantly.

App Store Guidelines

App stores are places where developers can share their apps, and users can easily find and download them. To keep up with the constant flow of new apps, app stores have strict rules that developers must follow. These guidelines may encompass safety features, performance standards, and other criteria essential for ensuring a positive user experience. Familiarising yourself with these guidelines is crucial to avoid potential app store rejection.

Furthermore, when launching products on these marketplaces, it’s essential to recognise the competitive landscape. Your app must stand out from similar offerings to compete effectively. To do this, you must develop your app and create a solid marketing strategy.

Choosing a unique name for your app is paramount. Like domain names, app names must be distinctive within each app store. Conduct thorough research across all app stores to ensure your chosen name isn’t in use.

Choose the platform


by Obi

When deciding between native, web, and hybrid app platforms, there are a few things to consider. This decision should be based on performance needs, access to device features, development budget, time constraints, and target audience preferences. Ultimately, choosing the platform that best suits your needs is essential. Carefully evaluating these factors will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals and objectives.

When considering the native development path, you must determine whether to develop for iOS or Android platforms. Refer to the market research conducted earlier on your target audience to understand their device preferences. This information will serve as a valuable guide in your decision-making process.

When choosing a platform to launch your app, it’s essential to consider the preferences of your target audience. Apple and Android users often have different preferences, so selecting the platform that resonates with your audience is crucial. If you plan to launch on only one platform, this decision becomes even more critical.

Attempting to develop native apps for both platforms simultaneously may be overwhelming. While it’s advantageous to have your app available on both app stores eventually, trying to manage both simultaneously may exceed your capacity. Therefore, it may be prudent to prioritise and choose one platform for the initial launch, ensuring a focused and successful deployment.

Set Goals


by Ronnie Overgoor

A mobile application typically emphasises user growth, engagement, or brand awareness, often incorporating a blend of all three. However, it’s crucial to only select from these options. Instead, it’s essential to tailor your approach to align with your business’s specific SMART goals.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. They are applicable not only in mobile app development but also in project management more broadly.

Setting SMART goals can help clarify and achieve management objectives. Although it may only solve some challenges, it provides a solid foundation for development. SMART goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Choosing The Technology

When creating a mobile app, selecting the right technology stack depends on the app’s requirements, target audience, development team’s expertise, budget, and time constraints. Here are some popular options to consider:

Native Development:

  • iOS Apps: Swift or Objective-C using Xcode.
  • Android Apps: Kotlin or Java using Android Studio.
  • Pros: It offers high performance, full access to device features And a seamless user experience.
  • Cons: Requires separate codebases for iOS and Android, which can increase development time and cost.

Cross-Platform Development:

  • React Native: This software uses JavaScript and the React framework to build cross-platform apps.
  • Flutter: Utilises Dart programming language and offers a single codebase for iOS and Android.
  • Xamarin: Allows building apps with C# and .NET, sharing code across platforms.
  • Pros: Faster development with shared codebase, cost-effective, consistent UI across platforms.
  • Cons: It may not perform as well as native apps, and certain native features may require additional plugins or customisation.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs):

  • Developed using web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) but behave like native apps.
  • Pros: Easy maintenance, accessible through web browsers, and capable of functioning offline.
  • Cons: Limited access to device features compared to native apps may not provide a user experience as smooth.

Hybrid Development:

  • Use frameworks like Apache Cordova or Ionic to build apps with web technologies wrapped in a native container.
  • Pros: Allows leveraging web development skills, quicker development time, and access to device APIs.
  • Cons: Performance may not match native apps, and some advanced features may be challenging to implement.
  • Evaluate each option based on your project requirements, resources, and long-term goals to make an informed decision. Consulting with experienced developers or tech leads can provide valuable insights into your project’s best approach.

Responsive UI & UX Design

Prioritise responsive design principles to ensure your app functions seamlessly across various screen sizes and orientations. Employ flexible layouts, scalable assets, and adaptive UI components to maintain consistency across different devices.

Ensure your app offers ease of use, visually appealing design, and intuitive navigation. Pay attention to the user’s journey and ensure a smooth flow throughout the app. Utilise clear language and avoid cluttered or confusing layouts. Conduct user testing to gather feedback and refine your app before launch.

Remember, a positive user experience can lead to favourable reviews, increased downloads, and user loyalty.

Poor mobile app design can frustrate and disenchant users, making it more likely that they will uninstall the app. Therefore, prioritise intuitive and enjoyable user experience (UX) whenever possible.

To keep users engaged with your app, ensure the user experience is easy to use, memorable, and familiar. An easy-to-use app will help reduce the chance of people uninstalling it and encourage them to keep using it. A well-designed app provides functionality and evokes positive emotions in users, enhancing your brand’s reputation.

Automation Testing

Automated testing uses automated tools and scripts to execute pre-defined test cases without manual intervention. It involves writing scripts for repetitive and time-consuming tasks of running regression, performance, and functional tests.

Automation testing aims to optimise the testing process by minimising human error, saving time, and providing quicker feedback on the software’s quality. It allows for the execution of tests across different environments, configurations, and datasets, ensuring the software’s reliability and stability across various scenarios.

Automated testing tools such as Selenium WebDriver, Appium, TestComplete, and JUnit are widely used to verify the quality and reliability of software products. These tools offer several features, including recording and replaying test scripts, generating reports, and integrating them with continuous integration and delivery pipelines. Automated testing plays a significant role in today’s fast-paced development environments, ensuring that software products are high quality and reliable.

Please note that not all automation testing tools available in the market may suit your needs. Some criteria for evaluating automation testing tools include:

  • Functionality: Assess the tool’s capabilities for various types of testing, such as functional, regression, performance, and load testing.
  • Ease of Use: Consider the tool’s user-friendliness, including script creation, maintenance, and execution.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the tool supports the technologies and platforms used in your development stack.
  • Scalability: Evaluate the tool’s ability to scale with your testing needs, including support for parallel execution and integration with CI/CD pipelines.
  • Reliability: Assess the tool’s stability and accuracy in executing test cases consistently across different environments.
  • Reporting and Analysis: Look for features that provide detailed test reports and insights into test results.
  • Community and Support: Consider the availability of online resources and user communities for troubleshooting and support.
  • Cost and Licensing: Evaluate the tool’s cost-effectiveness, including licensing fees and additional costs for support or features.

Consider the above factors to choose the best automation testing tool for your requirements and improve your testing process. Organising your criteria in this manner will help you make an informed decision.

Performance Optimisation

Enhance your app’s performance by optimising for swift loading, seamless animations, and responsive interactions. To achieve this, streamline resource consumption, minimise load times, and reduce lag through techniques like image and video optimisation, fewer HTTP requests, and caching mechanisms. Consider utilising a content delivery network (CDN) to enhance global users’ performance. Prioritising performance elevates user experience and increases the likelihood of a successful app launch, contributing to positive user engagement and retention.

User Authentication and Security

User Authentication

by Ed Hardie

Ensure robust user authentication and adhere to security best practices to safeguard user data and prevent unauthorised access. Prioritise secure code development utilising encryption for data protection across various aspects such as database, API communication, local cache, and data transmission. Implement two-factor authentication, secure communication protocols, and authentication tokens to fortify sensitive information and foster user trust.

Regular data backups and security audits are crucial for maintaining your app’s security framework and addressing potential risks. By prioritising security measures, you protect user data and instil confidence in your app’s reliability and longevity.

Offline Functionality


by Marcus

To improve user engagement, consider adding offline functionality to your app. This way, users can access important features and content even when they don’t have an internet connection. Developers can achieve this by incorporating local data storage mechanisms, caching strategies, and offline synchronisation protocols.

These techniques ensure that users can continue to use your app and access critical information without interruption, regardless of whether they are online or not. Enhancing the user experience can increase satisfaction and help them efficiently perform essential tasks.


To make your mobile app more accessible, consider incorporating accessibility features in your design and development process. This will help you create a user-friendly experience for all users, regardless of their abilities or impairments. By doing so, you can ensure that everyone can use your app easily. Additionally, testing your app with real users with disabilities can provide valuable feedback and insights for improving accessibility further.

Design inclusive interfaces, provide alternative navigation options, and support assistive technologies to make your app accessible to a broader audience. Here are some key aspects of accessibility in mobile apps:

  • Screen Reader Compatibility: Ensure your app is compatible with screen readers like VoiceOver (iOS) or TalkBack (Android) - appropriately labelling UI elements, providing meaningful descriptions, and structuring content logically for easy navigation.
  • Colour and Contrast: Use colour combinations with sufficient contrast to make content readable for users with visual impairments or colour blindness. Avoid relying solely on colour to convey critical information and provide alternative cues such as icons or text labels.
  • Text Size and Font: Allow users to adjust the text size within the app to accommodate different visual preferences and impairments. Choose fonts that are easy to read, especially for longer text passages.
  • Keyboard Navigation: Ensure all interactive elements within the app can be accessed and operated using keyboard input. This is particularly important for users who cannot use touch screens because of mobility or dexterity impairments.
  • Alternative Input Methods: Support alternative input methods such as voice commands or gestures, allowing users with physical disabilities to interact with the app more easily.
  • Accessible Media: Ensure multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio files has descriptive text or captions to provide context for users who may not be able to perceive the content directly.
  • Focus Management: Ensure the focus indicator is visible and moves when navigating through interactive elements using a keyboard or assistive technology.
  • Platform Accessibility Guidelines: Familiarise yourself with platform-specific accessibility guidelines provided by Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). Ensure your app complies with these standards to reach the broadest possible audience.

Third-Party Integration


by NordWood Themes

Mobile apps can be improved by adding external services, APIs, or software components, known as third-party integration. This addition allows app developers to access new features and enhance functionality without creating them from scratch, saving time and resources while improving the overall user experience.

Common examples of third-party integrations for mobile apps include:

  • Social media integration: Integrating social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram allows users to log in using their social media accounts, share content, or interact with friends within the app.
  • Payment gateway integration: Integrating payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, or Braintree enables secure and convenient in-app purchases, subscription management, and payment processing.
  • Mapping and location services: Integrating mapping and location services such as Google Maps or Mapbox enables features like real-time navigation, geolocation-based services, and location tracking.
  • Analytics and tracking: Integrating analytics platforms like Google Analytics or Mixpanel provides valuable insights into user behaviour, app performance, and user engagement, helping developers make data-driven decisions to improve their apps.
  • Communication and messaging: Integrating communication APIs like Twilio or Firebase Cloud Messaging enables features such as push notifications, SMS messaging, or in-app chat functionality, facilitating user engagement and communication.
  • Cloud services: Integrating cloud storage services like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure allows apps to securely store and access user data, media files, and application resources in the cloud.
  • Authentication and identity verification: Integrating authentication services such as OAuth, OpenID Connect, or Auth0 enables secure user authentication, single sign-on (SSO), and identity verification within the app.

Developers can improve their mobile apps by adding third-party services and APIs. Adding third-party services enhances functionality, improves user experience, and helps developers focus on their unique features. However, choosing reliable and reputable third-party providers is crucial to ensure security, reliability, and compliance with privacy regulations. Developers should keep track of changes and updates to third-party APIs and services to maintain compatibility and optimal app performance.

Continuous Testing and Quality Assurance

Testing an app involves checking its functionality, usability, performance, and security to ensure it meets quality standards and provides a good user experience. Test throughout the app’s development, from the beginning to after it’s launched, to catch and fix problems before they impact users.

Various types of app testing, including:

  • Functional testing: verifies that the app’s features and functionalities, including user interactions, navigation, input validation, and data processing, work as intended.
  • Usability testing: Assesses the app’s ease of use, user interface design, navigation flow, and overall user experience to ensure it is intuitive and user-friendly.
  • Performance testing: Evaluates the app’s responsiveness, speed, scalability, and resource utilisation under different conditions, such as varying network speeds, device types, and user loads.
  • Compatibility testing: Ensures the app functions correctly across different devices, operating systems, screen sizes, and resolutions, as well as with various hardware configurations and software environments.
  • Security testing: Identifies and mitigates potential security vulnerabilities, such as data breaches, unauthorised access, encryption weaknesses, and malicious attacks, to protect user data and ensure compliance with privacy regulations.
  • Regression testing: Validates that recent code changes or updates have not introduced new bugs or regressions and verifies that previously fixed issues remain resolved.
  • Localisation and internationalisation testing: Validates the app’s compatibility with languages, cultures, and regions, including language translations, date and time formats, currency symbols, and cultural preferences.

App testing is essential to deliver a high-quality app that meets user expectations, enhances user satisfaction, and maximises app success. It helps developers identify and fix bugs, optimise performance, improve usability, and ensure the app functions reliably across different devices and environments. Developers can minimise risks, enhance app quality, and build user trust by investing in testing practices.

Applications need to operate smoothly and consistently from the initial stages. However, by continuously striving for bug-free, flawless performance, your app can climb to the top of app stores over time. Utilise automated testing tools to streamline the process and boost efficiency. Consistent testing and updates are vital in achieving a successful launch and maintaining long-term success for your mobile app.

Feedback and Iteration


by Celpax

According to Google research, poor mobile experiences can decrease app retention by 62%, regardless of how visually appealing or data-rich your marketing campaigns may be. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritise user satisfaction at every stage of app development. Prioritising user satisfaction helps to improve retention rates and minimise the risk of users abandoning or uninstalling your app. Remember, keeping your users happy and engaged is vital to the success of your app.

Developing a mobile app requires gathering feedback and regularly improving to meet user needs. To obtain feedback, developers can use surveys, ratings, and reviews from users, beta testers, and stakeholders.

This feedback is a valuable tool for developers to improve their apps. It helps them identify issues with usability, bugs, and feature requests so they can address them systematically. Developers can meet changing user needs and market demands by continuously refining the user experience, optimising performance, and introducing new features. Adopting a feedback-driven approach and iterating on their apps, developers can ensure they deliver high-quality, user-centric experiences that resonate with their target audience and drive long-term success.

Why Do Apps Fail?

“What are the factors contributing to the failure of mobile applications?” This frequently asked question demands a more detailed examination of various factors contributing to app failures for its answer. Let’s delve into them:

Poor user experience (UX):

Long loading times, confusing navigation, and complicated registration processes can undermine user satisfaction and lead to app abandonment.

Failure to address market problems:

Understanding the user’s needs is essential to creating a successful mobile application. While an app may have a user-friendly interface and great functionality, it’s only successful if it addresses an issue the user faces. Sometimes, mobile applications fail to meet the specific requirements of their intended market due to a lack of understanding of the user’s needs.

Inadequate monetisation strategy:

Despite thorough research and development efforts, some apps need help generating revenue. A well-defined monetisation plan can contribute to this. While attracting users is one thing, effectively monetising the app requires careful consideration of various strategies.

To succeed in a competitive market, businesses and app developers should be aware of these factors that can lead to common mistakes. Understanding these factors can help increase the likelihood of success.


In conclusion, successful mobile app development requires a multifaceted approach encompassing strategy, design, testing, marketing, and continuous iteration. Following best practices enables app development companies to meet user needs, navigate mobile complexities, and deliver high-quality apps.

Important factors include:

  • Conducting market research to identify target audiences and competitors.
  • Clearly defining value propositions.
  • Choosing the right platform and technology stack.
  • Prioritising user experience, security, and accessibility are essential to ensuring positive user engagement and retention.

Integration of third-party services, continuous testing, and feedback-driven iteration are critical for refining and enhancing app functionality over time. Ensure that you comprehend the reasons behind the lack of success in app development.

Some common reasons apps fail to succeed include:

  • Not offering anything unique,
  • Poor user experience,
  • Not addressing market problems
  • Lack of monetisation strategies.

Avoiding these pitfalls can help maximise your app’s success.

To create successful mobile apps, developers should follow best practices and be responsive to user feedback and market trends. Following best practices will help them stand out in the competitive landscape, increase user satisfaction, and achieve long-term success.

Need help with your mobile app? Contact us today for a free consultation!