Getting started on building a native mobile application for Android for your next project? Chances are, you may have a long list of things to tick off and in the right way. To make it a bit easier, here are some useful tips that would give a boost to your native android app development skills right away.
With the staggering growth in technology and dependence on mobile apps for almost anything and everything, from leisure to work, it’s not surprising that more and more businesses are keen on having a dedicated mobile application. While both iOS and Android are the two most popular platforms, Android enjoys slightly more admirers due to its open-source nature.
In fact, there are about 2.96 million apps on Google Play Store till June 2020, as per Statista study. The number is huge and only going to increase with time.
As an app developer, however, that also somehow puts pressure on developing an app that’s engaging for the users and fruitful for the company. That’s when native Android app development can turn the tables in your favor. Before we move forward, let’s first understand what it actually is.
What is Native Mobile App Development?
Developing a native mobile application means building an app for a particular operating system. So in case of a native Android app, the app would only work on the Android platform (smartphone or tablet). Also, the language to be used for native app development is platform-specific. For Android, the language used is Java or Kotlin whereas, it’s Swift or Objective-C for iOS.
As a native app developer, you can take advantage of the easily-available SDKs, development tools, and components offered by the platform, both Google and Apple, for a flawless result.
WhatsApp is a great example of a native app. The most popular messaging application has distinct interfaces for its Android and iOS users.
But why should one opt for native Android app development?
Well, native apps, in general, are thoroughly customizable, leveraging the full features of the OS they are being built on. There is a whole list of its benefits, discussed below, to help you get a clearer picture.
Benefits of Opting for a Native Mobile App Development
Secondly, native Android apps are built particularly for Android OS. Thus, they easily avail the standard layers of security mechanism offered by the platform.
Third, you get to select from a plethora of official APIs out there for development – all of which are thoroughly tested for compatibility with different system versions. That reduces your need to use a third-party platform, strengthening the overall security of your app and users’ data.
An app, when developed for a certain platform, whether iOS or Android, would be coded using the programming languages fully supported by that platform’s environment. Hence, it’s bound to meet all the expectations of the platform regarding the app architecture and user experience. That’s the primary factor considerably boosting a native app’s performance.
Apart from that, native apps are built utilizing platform-specific APIs and optimized set of components. As a result, the native app achieves a smoother, quicker performance compared to a hybrid app. And let us tell you that the app’s performance remains accurate even with the varying screen sizes or system versions.
Thanks to a native app’s requirement to be compatible with a single operating system, it won’t take long for an app developer to configure it.
In addition to that, you will be able to try out every latest feature offered by the platform that you feel may enhance your app. The scaling of the native application will also be a hassle-free process since you have fewer restrictions to tackle.
If your project requires you to incorporate both the native and cross-platform features, you should always begin with a native product. That would make the expansion into a cross-platform code simpler for distinct modules.
You must be aware of how Android and iOS, besides providing native apps with complete assistance, keep up their efforts to improve their platform consistently. And those efforts are not just for competition, but also to offer a better experience to the app developers as well as the users.
Such consistent efforts by these platforms result in more stable native mobile applications. There are fewer hassles while developing and maintaining the app. The user experience would improve as well since the app would function seamlessly with minimal glitches or crash reports.
- Access to device features
As native apps are developed for an individual platform, these apps get uninterrupted access to all the features that the software and operating system pack in. Not just that, native apps can also access the hardware of your handheld devices, such as camera, microphone, and GPS. The result? You get an app that is more rapid and seamless in its functions. The one which ultimately provides the users with an unmatched experience.
Furthermore, native mobile apps can offer push notifications, making the app more polished and personalized for each user.
While Apple offers Apple Push Notification Service (APNS), Google offers Firebase Cloud Messaging (formerly known as Google Cloud Messaging). Both these services enable third-party developers to send notifications to the installed apps on the iOS or Android device.
- Superior UI/UX
We already saw that native apps have complete access to the device hardware features. Now that enables the developer to come up with a better interface and a great aspect ratio. Better aspect ratio translates into the app having exceptional quality graphics and visuals for its audience.
On top of that, you also get more control over elements, such as size, resolution, and orientation. All of it together makes it simpler to move about the app, surpassing the user experience expectations, which, in turn, leads to greater user satisfaction.
- Fewer bugs
Hybrid apps depend upon a bridge to access the hardware. As a consequence, often the development process, along with user experience of the app, get hampered. It also increases the possibilities for errors. However, native apps successfully evade this kind of problems since they are able to enjoy direct access to all the platform and device features from the word go.
Additionally, native app developers can access the latest SDKs with all the new features to build/redesign their app. That not only reduces the chances of bugs to a great extent but also aids the maintenance process significantly.
Other than these advantages, native apps offer excellent offline performance with more interactive and intuitive UI.
Now that we’ve explored the benefits, it’s time to dive deep to learn about how we can improve our native Android app development skills. We’re sure you have a great app idea and the following tips will help you make the most of it.
9 Super Useful Tips to Improve Native Android App Development
- Abide by the Android Guidelines
New to the world of native Android app development? Well, the easiest thing you could do to get things right the first time is to make yourself aware of all the important Android guidelines and follow them religiously.
While it may sound complicated, it isn’t. Google regularly releases its set of latest guidelines to ensure there is a desired level of consistency among all the apps in its Android ecosystem. By adhering to these set standards, you will be able to build a user-friendly and easy-to-use app – the factors which help an app click with its audience instantly.
- Develop an App that Fulfills the Requirements of Users
Always remember the fact that any app you build is for a set of users, not for you. People are not going to use the app if it doesn’t solve their purpose, no matter how beautiful, feature-rich, and impeccable it is. Therefore, keep the focus on target users, their needs, and expectations all the time. And find ways to meet them through the app in the best possible ways.
At the same time, never ignore feedback from users. Analyse them well and make the necessary changes as doing so would let your users feel heard and valued.
- Have a Thorough Knowledge of the Android Ecosystem
Just like you need to get into the water to learn swimming, you must have an Android device to get your way around the platform. After all, how would you be able to make a successful native Android app if you are unfamiliar with the platform and its working?
So, make sure to use Android to attain the unsaid technical knowledge. That would also let you form your own honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t. Joining an online Android community or closely learning Android SDK would greatly benefit as well.
- Be Up to Date About All that’s Happening in the Android World
Google keeps releasing updates for its Native Development Kit (NDKs) and Software Development Kits (SDKs) at regular intervals. As a native Android app developer, you have got to not just follow these updates but implement them as well. Moreover, staying informed about the newest Android developments assists you in swiftly fulfilling all the set app standards.
If you fail to follow these updates, your app would miss out on the required modifications which can bring down the quality of user experience, raise compatibility issues, or render the app completely useless.
- Try and Be Flexible
Whether you’re building an app currently or have done developing one, be open to learning. It can be a new Android feature, an update, an idea, anything. When you learn something new, you would be better at accomplishing tasks and making a better app.
The knowledge that comes with such flexible learning also teaches you to be open towards any modifications that might be needed for your app to be flawless.
- Learn Different Technologies Revolving Around Android App Development
Want to become the best native Android app developer? Then, invest your time to learn as many diverse Android app development technologies as you can. Doing so would not only expand your knowledge base but also give you an advantage over your competitors who’re stuck to a single technology. Learning more technologies would also enable you to pack any app that you develop with amazing features and functionalities, increasing ROI for your clients while adding to your CV.
- Be Realistic.
With excessive knowledge comes the possibility of overdoing things. You may want to build an app that’s perfect in both UI and performance but that thought might lead you to overthink or over analyze things. Therefore, make an effort to be real and do things that you think suits well for the project for now. Any changes, if needed at all, can be made later. That would save you from unnecessary delays and confusions to a great extent.
- Explore the Option to Monetize Your App
A majority of apps are created for attaining commercial returns. However, to reap maximum ROI, one needs to ascertain the category of the business the app falls in along with its target market and its requirements. That would help you get a right start. One can derive additional benefits by showing advertisements in the app or offering in-app purchases.
As far as ads are concerned, be selective and only partner with firms whose products/services your users would find relevant.
- Conduct Effective App Promotions
Building an app is not enough. You have to make people notice it. How else they would download it, right? Hence, invest a fair amount of time to efficiently promote your native Android app. Ensure that your app is optimized for the Play Store as well as the target user base so that they don’t just find it but get interested in downloading and using it.
With a booming app development market, it’s only wise to stay on top of your game as a native Android app developer. What we saw here are some of the basic tips required to create an awesome and engaging native Android app. However, the way you put them to action makes all the difference.
Varsha Solanki is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Space-O Canada, an app development company. She has 3 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. She spends her time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest technologies.