Did you know that mobile device internet use is starting to exceed desktop use? With more people than ever accessing the internet via mobile devices, it’s clear that developing a mobile app is crucial to your organization’s continuing success.
However, companies often limit their own potential growth by developing an app that’s only compatible with a single operating system. Although Android’s market share may exceed that of iOS in the United States, the popularity of iOS is growing in other countries.
In other words, you can’t expect your customers to all use the same operating system. To reach as much of your audience as possible, you need to develop an app that can function on multiple platforms.
That means you should look to hire a programmer who has experience applying cross platform development strategies. The following information will give you a basic overview of the process, and what factors your team must consider throughout it.
Choosing Between Native Mobile Design & Cross Platform Development
You have two options when building an app for multiple platforms: you can build a native app for each platform, or use cross platform development tools.
With a native app, you’re essentially building separate products for each operating system. Use cross platform mobile development tools, and you can create one codebase that you then translate for multiple platforms.
The latter strategy offers certain key benefits. First, it reduces the amount of time it takes to develop and release the app. Second, it typically costs less to create a single codebase.
That said, there are instances in which it may be impossible to translate particular features from one platform to another. You may have to abandon certain functions if you go the cross platform route. That’s another reason to hire a qualified development team: They’ll let you know what features, if any, are platform specific.
Knowing Your Tools
If you do opt for cross platform mobile development, you’ll need to use the right tools to translate your app. Of course, each software has its own strengths and weaknesses. Although some options (like Xamarin, PhoneGap, and Appcelerator) are more popular than others, there isn’t one tool that’s ideal for every project.
Professional developers who have experience creating apps for both iOS and Android can assess your needs, determining which software will yield the best results for your product
Designing the App
When you build an app using cross platform tools, in many ways, the development process is similar to that of creating one for a single platform. Your team still needs to decide what features to include, perform market research to understand what users want, and prototype various iterations of the app before it reaches the market.
However, it’s important to understand that there will always be some differences from platform to platform. Features that are available on one server may be limited or unavailable on another. The UX/UI will also be somewhat unique for each version of the app. You’ll need to compromise on some features, while also trying to maintain a certain degree of consistency across each iteration.
That said, it makes more sense for the majority of organizations to use cross platform tools instead of developing native apps. With this approach, you can release your product sooner rather than later, without needing to spend a lot during the development process.
Just make sure you hire a team that has experience with these types of projects. They’ll understand how to create an app that is equally impressive on iOS and Android, giving your mobile customers a valuable product no matter what operating system they use.
Guest post written by Catherine Metcalf from Blue Label Labs.