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Mobile Application Development: Challenges and Best Practices

Mobile Application Development comes with challenges and best practices. Learn about those in this Accenture Point of View.

Overview

The plight of a mobile application developer these days is a challenging one. On the one hand, development in this space is vibrant and full of opportunities; a spectrum of new devices, from smartphones to tablets, is redrawing the boundaries of what users can do. On the other hand, this new landscape also brings new development questions – including, what devices to target, how to create simple yet effective applications, and how to secure the data that is uploaded and downloaded.

In particular, the trend of the consumerization of IT weighs heavily on enterprise mobile application developers. This trend encompasses many facets. Increasingly, corporate users are accessing enterprise data from mobile devices which may be their own or may be deployed by their internal IT department. That means developers may not know what the target platform is, requiring either a cross-platform or multi-platform development effort.

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Analysis

Developers have the unenviable task of accommodating multiple usage scenarios through the choice of their development environment. Multiple development environments are available to address the challenges of data access, security and user experience. Developers must decide which development environments give them a better chance for success.

The best results for developers engaged in enterprise mobile development come from applying best practices to the design and deployment of mobile applications. Some of the following best practices relate to any application development effort, but most take into account the vagaries of mobile development.

Mobile Development Best Practices focus on:

  • Methodology

  • Development Skills

  • Design

  • API Management

  • Security

  • Testing and User Experience

  • Application Analytics

  • Feedback Mechanism

Recommendations

Sustainable application development and delivery excellence requires the implementation of five steps:

  1. Optimize development and testing efforts by accurately identifying which platforms to target, whether for internal or external deployment. This facilitates a better return on development and testing investment.

  2. Employ consistent and reliable development practices across all leading platforms. This facilitates consistency in look-and-feel of applications, reusability of code components, and more-easily programmed updates.

  3. Collaborate extensively. The application development team should incorporate coding, testing, graphical design, and user experience skills to help applications to fulfill users’ needs.

  4. Tailor distribution mechanisms appropriately. This involves creating capabilities for both initial downloads through managed application stores, periodic updates, and integrated device management for security purposes.

  5. Track emerging technologies and maturing standards. With mobile technology still advancing, developers should look for ways to make applications perform even more efficiently, whether in terms of speed or features.

 

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Industry & topics highlighted

Mobility