App design process / 8 min read

What is the best platform to develop Android and iOS apps in 2021?

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By Josh / September 20, 2021

The top 7 most important app development process steps you should look for in a mobile app builder platform.

With the current era of digital transformation and the adoption of digital technology by companies to improve value for customers and simplify business processes, the mobile app development industry is growing fast all over the world.  Read more on this in our previous blog ‘Five key insights into digital transformation in the publishing industry’.

The pandemic and resulting remote working saw business apps and users accelerate to the top of the growth charts. Statista 2021 reports on up to 30% of clients now ask for an app (read more here)

If you are a designer, developer or business owner who wants to have their own mobile app, in this blog we will give you the five most important app design process steps you should look for in a mobile app builder platform from our point of view.

1. Decide which platform to launch your app on

You have three primary platform choices for launching your app: iOS, Android, and the web. 

The app builder platform should give you the choice (the more, the better). Even if you only want to launch on one operating system today, you might change your mind in the future and will restrict your business opportunities.

We’ve built a software platform called Reptile where you can create an app in days. And to speed up the design and app design and development process, this new platform publishes the content in a native iOS, Android app and Web app simultaneously. There is no need to duplicate, they are all in one system.

2. What do you want to achieve, what type of app do you want?

We think there are six categories of apps including lifestyle (music), social media, utility (weather), games, administration (sheets) and news/information outlets.

Do you want an app for internal employee communication, an e-commerce app, a charity, or an event?

A good platform with a good app design process gives you the choice of templates to create any type of app you want.

3. When do you want to launch your app?

If you decide to build a custom app with a development company, the day you launch the app could be months (or even a year) later! 

The app development and app design process can be a complex task and can be time-consuming. If you engage with a development company to start from scratch with the app design process, your competitor may have already sold their products on their app.

As a smart business owner, you’ll know that speed and a strong delivery are essential for success.

The better alternative is to use a platform where you can build your mobile apps without coding requirements (no coding knowledge or experience is required) – this is also known as a white-label app.

If you work in a sector where companies have similar business models (like publishing, accountancy, law, or HR), it’s likely there will be software houses that have ready-built platform solutions.

These will offer out-of-the-box solutions in return for a license fee.

Benefits of white label apps over custom apps (see also ‘Why modular apps make sense’ and ‘DIY or outsource when building an app?’):

4. Do you need to integrate an existing database with authentication?

The smooth connection of an app with your other services is essential if users are to be happy. In fact, the best business case for a native app is that it provides 'one touch' reach services that can otherwise be hard to access.

Integration is important, so before you think about adding apps to your network it is important to work out how you will connect them and what the costs and effort will be of maintaining those services.

The two most common integrations are with CRM and CMS systems.

Connecting to the CRM system in the app design and development process means users will need to be authenticated when they first try to access the app (login). It is important to keep users happy that they don't have to log in every time they use the app. 

The CMS integration means that your communications can pass straight from your existing systems - website, newsletters, even emails - and straight into the app without your people having to laboriously move them over.

5. How much will it cost to build an app?

This is a difficult question to answer, and we can only come up with an estimate as each app design and development process depends on the development complexity that collectively influences the final number.

The costs to develop a mobile app might start from £5,000 up to £120,000, depending on what the app does. 

Of course, you can also employ a developer, but… developers have holidays, get sick and leave their jobs – so you need a minimum viable team to even start. Don’t forget that they also tend to specialise and do either Android or iOS. 

So you arguably need a minimum of one developer for each platform, plus someone to cover when they are away.

The development budget factors for the app design and development process are: which platforms are supported, how many functions it has, does it require integration, DIY, white-label or custom build, is there a maintenance plan included, these are just some of the cost breakdown factors.

6. Help and after launch support

Even if you’re using a white-label app platform and building the app yourself, you should always expect help from the app platform. Be aware, there are lots of app development platforms on the market that do not support you and you have to figure it all out on your own (which isn’t a productive or efficient use of your time as a developer, designer or business owner).

Make sure that your app development platform provides this support and help, if and when you need it. Call the potential mobile app development platform customer support or send and an email and check how quickly they react. Make sure that you get an efficient answer as quickly as possible.

Also look out for videos, tutorials, how-to guides to assist with the process.

Apps are notoriously difficult to support as the platforms they are built on (iOS for Apple and Google for Android) are constantly changing. Hence, you should expect publishing assistance as this not the easiest task.

And what happens when Android or Apple has a software update or releases a new version? Ideally, the app development platform should offer support. Most offer, for a fixed monthly fee, to keep apps up to date with the needs of the iOS and Android platforms.

7. Get ready for the next launch

The biggest mistake people make with apps is thinking that the mobile app design and development process ends when the app is in the store. Check out the apps you have downloaded already and you’ll see a long history of app updates which include fixes, performance improvements, changes, and new features.

I hope, these top 7 most important app development process steps you should look for in a mobile app builder platform are of interest to you.

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Affordable bespoke apps

We have spent ten years constantly developing and refining our app-building platform. The latest version, Reptile, enables us to build a custom app five-times cheaper than the equivalent app built through a development agency.

We have built a set of robust modules to cover everything a typical enterprise app needs. Power your business with an affordable bespoke app.

What is different about us

Our new modular app platform is the most efficient way yet to build and support apps. Imagine the business app of your dreams and we assemble it quickly from our existing component library.

Automated builds ensure consistency of code with maintenance, upgrades and support included for a fixed fee. 

From our expert mobile UX designers to the technical team who can integrate the app into your network, we provide a dedicated team to support you all the way.

Case studies

We are continuously looking for ways to improve things using technology. As such, we’ve built many apps that we’re proud of, and if you are interested, here is a link to a few of our recent achievements we’d like to share with you.

Design beautiful apps with us – call us on (+44) 207 183 3690 or send us an email info@pagelizard.com

Cover photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash

Photo 7 floors by Frankie Lopez on Unsplash

Photo time by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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