One of the biggest areas to research for this project is deciding which tool is best for the job. Over recent years there are many popular tools and frameworks that support mobile app development and with HTML5 becoming ever popular and accepted (particularly for web developers), the available options are becoming hard to keep track of.
Before delving into websites and Google searches I speak with friends and colleagues who have worked on similar projects, to see what they recommend and find out their experiences about the process. Annoyingly most people I spoke with had differing opinions, which meant there’s no obvious answer and its kind of a how long is a piece of string type question!
There’s so many factors to resolve when deciding which direction to go. I decided to think of a list of priorities based on what I know now the app will definitely be like…even though there are a few unknowns at this point:
- Development time –
- This is obviously important as no one has time to waste endless hours developing in such a way that could be done in a more streamlined manner another way. Not only does this app need to developed quickly, it needs to be easily and quickly update-able. Also of all the frameworks I’m thinking of deciding from, they need to target multiple platforms despite the potential performance hit this brings.
- Performance –
- This is one of the most important areas in my opinion. We’ve probably all used a few bad apps before. What happens when an app crashes, is unreliable, is unresponsive and generally sluggish? You delete it and download another app that does something similar even if it lacks the same features…its just not worth the hassle. Which is why I rank performance as being so important. If the app turns out with any of the list above, then no one will use it or at most will only use it a handful of times.
- Style –
- Comparatively low priority if it wasn’t important that the users get some enjoyment from the app. Usually changing and updating the design of anything is pretty painless so I don’t envisage this being a big deal. The most challenging part of this will be getting the style and design right and attempting to cater for everyone!
- Accessibility options –
- Accessibility options are commonly an afterthought, which is a shame, as by alienating such a large user base for a bit of extra work could damage usability and repetition not to mention reputation, app usage etc. When building this app I will always be thinking how I choose fonts, how the colours contrast, padding, spacing etc are all very important. I will be asking for help with advice and testing for this as I go. Thankfully nowadays most mobile and tablets offer pretty good accessibility options built into the operating system. So I’d hope to utilise these options to save reinventing the wheel.
- Support and documentation –
- Unless you know everything there is to know about programming, then support and documentation is important. I know I’ll be learning many new skills, tips and tricks along the way and knowing there’s good support when required is important.
In my next post I will write about the tools and frameworks on offer and the one I think I’ll go for and why. In the meantime feel free to comment your suggestions.