10 Golden Rules To Follow While Developing an Android App
Jul 16, 20206 min read
Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.
Over 2.5 million.
That’s how many mobile apps were available in the Google Play store at the end of 2019.
Mobile applications provide an additional sales and marketing platform, enhancing brand awareness, strengthening customer engagement and loyalty, and creating new profit opportunities.
The highest-grossing applications generate dozens of millions of USD in global revenue, which proves that the significance of mobile development for modern business is evident. Today, building an app has become essential for most companies, so if you still haven’t got one, you might be missing out on a whole lot of business opportunities.
Before we dive deep into our list, let’s cover the basics of app development for Android.
What Software Do I Need to Develop Android Apps?
The array of tools and software for building Android apps is huge. However, for a conventional implementation, you will need the following technology setup:
First of all, the Integrated Development Environment (IDE), so a software suite that consists of vital tools and features required to write and test code. Using it facilitates and speeds up software development. There’s a profusion of Android IDEs to choose from, ranging from open-source solutions to robust, subscription-based all-embracing platforms. Their choice is dictated by the app to be created, the programming language (see below), your budget, as well as developers’ skills and preferences. The most popular IDEs for Android include IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio.
Another Android apps development tool that’s required is the Android SDK (Software Development Kit). It is a set of development tools (e.g., libraries, code samples, documentation) used by programmers to create applications for Android specifically.
Java JDK is another piece of the puzzle. It’s a software development environment used for Java-based applications.
If you want to use C/C++ or C# languages for your app implementation, you will need the Android Native Development Kit.
What Is The Language Used to Develop Android Apps?
As the first official language for Android, Java ranks first as the tool of choice for enterprise Android development. Google regularly publishes tutorials and documentation to facilitate mobile app creation in this language.
However, another programming language that has been gaining traction with Android developers over the last few years is Kotlin. Created to resolve some of Java’s limitations, it requires less code and provides greater code simplicity, which leads to faster implementation. In 2017, Google named it the second official language for Android, and it has the potential to replace Java in the future.
Android mobile apps can be partly developed in C/C++, C#, Python, or Corona. However, as those aren’t the preferred languages, the implementation requires more time and effort on the developers’ part, including the use of additional transpilers and converters. Therefore, in each project, it’s crucial to verify individually whether a choice of a language other than Java or Kotlin provides enough value to offset these disadvantages.
10 Golden Rules of Android Apps Development
It’s time to discover what goes into making a successful Android app. Here are the 10 golden rules to take into account.
#1 Determine Your Budget
Building an app is no different from launching any other product. As the first step, prepare cost estimation that will factor in the project scope, development hours, required resources, quality assurance and support, communication overhead, and other critical budget considerations. Once you have figured out budgeting and know how much you are willing to spend, sit down with your product and development teams to discuss further steps of the development process.
#2 Know Your Users
Before tackling technological considerations, conduct market research, and analyze the group that you are going to reach with the app. Investigate similar products on the Android marketplace, examine user reviews, conduct a user survey. A successful mobile app should focus on solving the problem of its target buyers. Identifying what that problem is exactly will allow you to narrow down the scope of your application and determine top functions to include.
#3 Choose The Core Feature
Too many features spoil the app. And clutter the user experience. Build your mobile application from the bottom up, starting from delivering a specific core function, and gradually adding extras. Focus on a single purpose to make it clear to your users how your product may help them get what they need. Then deliver it within a few taps on the phone.
#4 Hire The Right People
Android apps development stack is constantly evolving; therefore, instead of looking for technology/language-specific programmers, turn to a team of versatile mobile developers who can leverage what’s best from ever-changing technologies and tools. If you deem your in-house skills and assets inadequate for Android development, consider retaining an external team of vetted mobile app developers who will deliver your project within budget and the assumed timeframes.
#5 Focus on Usability
Over half of mobile users feel that a negative mobile app experience makes them less likely to engage with a brand. Never undervalue the power of usability. The impact of ultra-modern, appealing design and rich features will wane if an app is difficult to use. Some common Android app usability errors include:
The lack of optimization for Android devices. You cannot simply clone an iOS app code and deploy it to Android (or vice versa). Both platforms require specific app design and implementation for optimized performance and native feel.
Cluttered design. Typography, colors, the positioning of clickable elements - they all have to be adjusted to mobile devices for readability and ease of use.
Inconsistency in design, content, and user experience. An app that’s easy to play with must provide an intuitive, repetitive experience. “Moving” UI elements, inconsistent workflows, commands, and behaviors, create confusion, and make the users question the app quality.
Apps’ speed and responsibility matter for 96% of mobile app users. That means your mobile application has to work seamlessly. Performance has to do with how fast an application loads and responds, which is determined by several factors, such as the app’s technology stack and code, the server, mobile device, and connectivity. While some of them are outside of your control, others, like the programming of the app, can be optimized. For best results, design your app for optimum performance from day one, then regularly test, monitor, and update it to do away with bugs and avoid crashes.
#7 Remember About Security
Security is another vital aspect of Android application development, especially that more than 40% of all Android apps are believed to be exposed to high-threat vulnerabilities. What’s even more alarming is that those risks often result from small deficiencies in the app design and rather than omissions on the client or server-side. Among hundreds of security threats that you should be aware of, the most common ones include insecure data storage and transmission, improper session handling, the lack (or insufficient) of data encryption, and leaks in authentication.
#8 Test Your App
It should go without saying that before mobile app launches, you test it. Mobile application testing is a topic of its own, and there is a good bit of testing tools and approaches to choose from. However, any strategy assumed should incorporate the following testing areas:
Functional testing where you verify whether an app meets the specified requirements.
Usability testing, which covers testing of UI elements (menus, buttons, images, etc.), the ease of access and navigation flow, and an app’s efficiency.
Compatibility testing, which checks how your app performs and looks like on different devices, Android versions, network configurations, and so on.
Performance testing under various loads and configurations.
Security testing, which validates the security of your app and any data that it handles.
#9 Prepare For Launch
#10 Collect Feedback and Improve
Last but not least, don’t forget that creating a mobile app is not a one-off endeavor but an ongoing process. To keep your app on top of popularity charts, you must continuously grow and evolve it. Create a communication channel to facilitate communication with your users and collect their feedback. Frequently monitor review sites and respond to all comments, even if they are negative (or even more so!). Commit to regular updates to keep your product relevant, compelling, and secure.
3, 2, 1… Ready to Build Your Android App?
The emergence of mobile apps disrupted the way people do business. Mobile applications are now a vital means of customer engagement and interaction for most companies, creating an enormous opportunity to expand the reach and offer immediate, highly personalized services.
We hope that the above tips throw some light on Android app development to make this process easier for you. And if you would also like to publish an app on Apple Store, check out our essential checklist for building an iOS app for your business.
So, what’s holding you back from launching your first Android app?
Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.