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Mobile app development: how to choose the right technology in 2022

Sam Dods
Phone being held above phones

The questions you need to ask

No journey to mobile maturity begins with the misguided belief that an app will solve everything. We live in a world of complex and ever-changing user requirements, so there’s no such thing as the perfect, one-size-fits-all technology solution.

Instead, organisations of every shape and size need to consider a range of scenarios to identify the best mobile solution for them. Whether it’s for a small event or a large enterprise, you’ll need to find the answers to some critical questions before you begin.

Mobile or web: choosing the best solution for your audience

Has your due diligence shown that an app is the right choice at this stage or might an overhaul of your website’s UX suffice?

 

There’s an abundance of ways to improve your mobile experience for users and, while an app can be fit for many purposes, it’s not the automatic answer every time. It might be more cost-effective in the long run to bolster your website instead and plan for an app further down the line.

Old code vs new code

The reuse of code is a common consideration in app development. A whole host of UX and UI requirements need to be factored in here to help you decide how to proceed. What are your current user requirements and have they changed since the latest iteration was developed? Has your team and resultant grasp of the codebase changed since then, too?

Whether you choose to keep the same technology and build upon it or you want to start again from the ground up, the success of your new mobile solution depends on your understanding of the reasons for it in the first place.

Enterprise use vs commercial use

The way your intended audience will use your mobile app will determine the technologies you choose to build it.

If you require an in-house solution to improve productivity or accessibility, you’ll need to consider how it will efficiently access data or integrate with other in-house tools from the likes of Amazon, Google or Microsoft. If you’re building for commercial purposes, such integration might not be required.

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Budget, scope and scale

From off-the-shelf technologies that suit lower budgets to custom-build solutions that are accessible to higher budgets, there’s a wide range of possibilities for mobile apps. The question broadly comes down to the scope and scale of your requirements: do you need a solution for a short-term project or a long-term integration that will be crucial to business success?

Consider the ways in which your needs will change over the years and how much flexibility you will need in that time when you’re choosing suitable technologies.

New skills vs shared resources

It’s not always necessary to learn new languages to implement new technologies. If you already have JavaScript capabilities, for instance, it’s likely you’ll be able to build an app with React Native.

 

By looking internally at the skillsets you have available, you might be able to save budget on the app’s development and repurpose it for the likes of distribution and monetisation instead.

Cutting edge, mature or legacy technologies

The risks involved in choosing a new technology are commonly overlooked, especially when there is either a familiarity with and reliance on an old platform or a ravenous appetite for a new one.

Take care over choosing developers based not only on their knowledge of new technologies, but also on their willingness to work with old languages. Objective-C might not be the way forward if more experienced and versatile developers have moved on from it.

Independence, integration and testing

How important is independence from third parties for your app? How bespoke do your integrations need to be for each platform? How advanced do your testing and continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) capabilities need to be?

 

In one scenario, you might opt for Native for total independence and avoid Flutter for its inoperability challenges when integration requirements change, but, in another, you might consider Flutter for the robustness of its testing mechanisms.

User experience, accessibility and flexibility

Each technology has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to providing seamless experiences for every possible mobile user; your choice depends on whether or not your mobile app development needs to focus on one host platform or take a cross-platform approach.

Moreover, accessibility is a key consideration for those who want to make their products and services work better for more people, so there are crucial differences between platforms to consider here, too (not to mention the flexibility and compatibility with other technologies).

Choosing the app technology for you

It’s inevitable that requirements for mobile experiences will continue to change in each and every industry. Indeed, user needs are often strikingly varied across a single organisation’s customer base, so it’s more important than ever to take multiple angles and possibilities into account when choosing a mobile technology.

For greater clarity on the solutions to your mobile needs, download our Mobile App Technology Report 2022 today and be sure to get in touch to discuss how Kin + Carta can make it happen for you.

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