A Year is a Long Time in Mobile App Development –So Much Has Changed

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Today with over 2.1 billion smartphone users across the globe it is hardly a surprise to see the mobile app market grow at a frantic pace. It is estimated that by 2017, the number of mobile app downloads will cross approximately 270 billion. The app economy continues to expand with people now becoming more willing to even download paid apps (the number of paid app downloads is expected to cross 14.78 billion in 2017). Clearly, the mobile app market is becoming intensely competitive and crowded.In parallel, the tolerance of users towards slow or buggy apps is reducing even further. Mobile app development tools and technologies are also evolving at breakneck speed. What was relevant yesterday is almost redundant today. In that scenario, let’s take a look at where mobile app development is heading in beyond 2017.

React Native takes ground

Facebook’s app development framework React Native that was launched a couple of years back has become exceptionally popular in the mobile app development circuit. While React Native was initially developed to support the iOS operating system, it now supports the Android operating system as well thus making app development for both the platforms infinitely easier. React Native has reusable native components which makes hybrid app development faster and also makes product iterations easier without impacting their reliability. It also helps in developing highly responsive and fluid UI’s using asynchronous JavaScript interactions with the native environment.This also ensures faster app load times and a smoother feel. With third-party plug in compatibility and lower memory usage, developing apps using React Native ensure that the apps keep running smoothly. The added plus is that React Native is easy to learn and implement since it uses the popular JavaScript framework and is also open-source. Keep React Native in your sights over the months to come for sure.

UX focus

The focus on User Experience or UX continues to grow in importance in 2017. As users become more app savvy, mobile app developers have to pay closer attention to the UX. Research shows that an optimized UX can increase app revenue by almost 37% and a poor UX can lead to higher app uninstalls and deletions. In 2017, mobile app development is witnessing the rise of interactivity and gamification elements to improve UX of mobile applications. Parallel advancement in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies and techniques is also having an impact on the UX environment for mobile apps. The use of haptic technology, a mechanical simulation of the touch sensation, is also on the increase to improve UX design. In-app gestures are replacing buttons in the mobile app UX space with progressive gestures catching on. UX designers also are paying close attention to the user on boarding and off-boarding as it has become increasingly clear that these experiences are crucial to app success. Along with this, personalization and use of motion based design are also becoming crucial to app success.

Cloud Connected mobile apps

Cloud Connected mobile apps are now cementing their position as an industry staple owing to the immense benefits they offer. According to Cisco, cloud apps will drive 90% of mobile traffic in 2019. Cloud Connected apps host the app content in a centralized server.This makes app updates easier and faster with no worries of application downtime. These apps offer convenient and automatic scalability options to respond to market changes faster. They also enable faster cross-platform app development. Additionally, cloud connected mobile apps do not have costly infrastructure demands, allow easy customization of app content, enable streamlining the efficiency of the content distribution network and ensure easy app maintenance. The sky is clearly not the limit for Cloud connected mobile apps.

The consumerization of enterprise apps

The days of functionally adept but poorly designed enterprise applications are coming to an end. Gartner predicts that by 2020, “70% of software interactions will take place using mobile devices in the enterprise”. With the rise of the smartphone culture, mobile application developers are tasked with bringing consumer grade experiences to enterprise applications. Enterprise applications thus are becoming more user-friendly. They now have well-designed and aesthetically pleasing interfaces and provide integrated experiences to ensure greater usability of the application. All this translates to higher productivity.

This may be the tip of the Mobile App development iceberg. So many other trends and technologies look set to make an impact in the months ahead. For instance, we can expect to see an increased use of AI in mobile app development. This could be in the form of cognitive interfaces and machine learning that drive development. Along with this, as the digital devices proliferate, mobile apps have to focus on delivering consistent omnichannel experiences by developing a common set of back-end functions or micro-services to isolate features and provide auto scaling capabilities. Watch this space too, if you are in the app development game.

As user expectations from their apps continue to mount,2017 looks set to be a year of signal technical progress and innovation in the mobile app development space. It has become quite apparent that mobile app developers have to work tirelessly to look for ways to make their apps more intuitive, engaging, faster, and smarter. A lot has changed in just a year – and the years ahead look just as exciting!

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