For a business, having its web app today often seems like a happy middle ground between having a website and creating a full-blown native app. As the website only has limited functionality while the app has greater capabilities. Moreover, it is less dependent on outside factors like Internet connection, but are much, much costlier to develop. This consideration is especially important for small and middle-sized businesses.
On the one hand, they can greatly benefit from having an app to their name. On the other hand, they rarely have enough resources to sacrifice them on full-scale app development. Nevertheless, even with web apps, development costs can sometimes get uncomfortably high. And the question how to keep quality and budget in balance is as important as ever.
#1. Concentrate on the Core Competencies
Ask yourself: what functionality is necessary for the app in question? What you (or your client) expects it to do? Once you have singled out one or two of these core competencies, concentrate your full attention on making them function. The simple and uncluttered design of an app that does what you have designed it for is more attractive. Just compare it with a cluttered mess of an app that has a couple of dozen functions nobody is going to use. Not only less is better, but such a lean start will save you a great deal of money.
#2. Engage with Customers
All too often both development firms and businesses that place orders with them forget a crucial point. When all is said and done, they create an app that is going to be used by people. Instead, they concentrate on their vision and don’t bother to find out how the clients are going to perceive it while using. To avoid it, engage with your customers before, during and after launch. You can find out what they want and what quality of life improvements you may introduce. Also, what functions they use more often than other, and what options you can drop entirely.
#3. Use the Right Tools
The growing demand for web apps has led to the appearance of numerous easy-to-use tools. Some of which allow people with virtually no knowledge of the subject to successfully create apps. All they need to use is simple drag-and-drop interfaces. Some of them enable you to achieve good results without any knowledge of HTML or PHP. Although professionally developed apps are in most cases superior in most respects. Nevertheless, if your budget is tight, these tools should not be discounted altogether. However, your website might be looking a bit generic.
#4. Learn by Example
When creating an app of your own, before you commit any resources it is crucial to study high-quality examples of web applications that already exist. Having an example of something that already works well is an excellent way to learn. It shows why some approaches function properly while others fail miserably. This may happen even though everything suggests they should be as effective as their successful counterparts. This point is especially important if you do not have prior experience of web app creation and testing. In this case, you cannot say at a glance if your ideas are viable or not.
#5. Select the Right Framework for Your Project
Taking into account the wide variety of programming languages and their subtypes nowadays, choosing any particular one can become a tough task. Especially if you personally aren’t very tech-savvy. Depending on what your project is and how it is going to work, an optimal choice may be wildly different. The resources you have handy and how quickly you want to go to the market influence the choice as well. For example, Meteor is not suited to work with SQL. This means that you should be particularly careful with your choice if you intend to use databases widely. On the other hand, Meteor and Ruby are very viable options for fast development and work perfectly for projects that you have to complete quickly. There is nothing more wasteful than spending months developing a product only to be forced to start anew due to technical limitations. That’s why in the long run, you should consult a specialist before making a final decision – it may save you much money later on.
#6. Hire an Outside Professional Team
Many an aspiring startup met a premature end simply because its founders overestimated their own and their team’s internal capabilities. Don’t fall into the same trap – by trying to save resources on development costs and deciding to build an app internally. You are most likely to extend the development time as much as four times, with all the accompanying costs of lost man-hours and missed opportunities over the time your app could have been working and bringing in business.
#7. Focus on What You Can Do Instead of on What You Cannot
People say that limitations boost creativity – and it is so. When you have an unlimited budget and broadly defined tasks, it often freezes up your ability to think and make decisions. When you have very limited resources, you have to cut off much unnecessary flab, find workarounds. Moreover, replace costlier and more complicated elements with more available ones, and so on. All this eventually leads to incredibly creative solutions to problems that otherwise could have been left untreated. Perceive your limited budget as an exciting challenge instead of as an unfortunate circumstance. You will be amazed how much the result is going to improve.
The market of web apps is more bustling than ever, and its growth does not show any signs of slowing down. In such circumstances, it is of paramount importance to maintain competitiveness while retaining reasonable budgets. We hope that these tips will help you with it.
Moreover, what do you think? What valuable lessons have you learned when building an app for your business? Feel free to tell us about it in comments!