Emerging companies and startups know that mobile is not the only way to succeed in the market. Businesses operating in e-commerce, healthcare, transportation, communication, gaming, and other industries apply web technology as an efficient tool to attract new users, and improve client retention and ROI.
Due to stiff competition, the development of a successful web application requires effort. So, let’s dive into 5 key moments you have to consider when building a web application for your business.
1. Set Clear Project Goals and Validate Your Idea
Every project has a purpose. Before you start developing, you should have a clear idea of what value your product will bring to the table and for what audience. Lack of interest in the product in the market is one of the main reasons why startups fail, so you need to work on how you will position your application right away.
Start with market research and determine the target audience of your product. You should undertake a study and narrow the audience before diving into the development phase. Try to focus on particular users, targeting the defined age group, geographic location, specific location, etc. The main goal, which is the prerequisite for a successful project, foresees setting goals in accordance with the target audience. Then you need to answer a few simple questions:
- What challenges does your app address?
- How can you meet customers’ needs with your app?
- Is it possible to implement an idea and launch a full-fledged application?
The last question is related to the validation of the idea. Before investing all available funds in the development of a web application, it would be good to be sure that the idea is worth it and it is feasible in implementation, right? The development of a Proof of concept (PoC) or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) will allow you to create the first versions of the app at minimal cost, test it on real users and decide where to go next while relying on this data. Also, this approach allows startups to show investors the prospects of the product on different funding stages.
For example, if we consider an application related to AI, at this stage you need to find out how much data you will need, whether the pre-trained model can work as you need and whether the money won’t be thrown away. Initial AI tech research helps answer these questions and mitigate project risks.
2. Choose the Optimal Technology Stack
Technology matters. The choice of technology stack determines your web application’s future scalability, performance, and efficiency. An optimum set of programming languages and frameworks for web app development depends on the product features and should be perceived as separate pieces of the puzzle.
If your project is in the early stages and doesn’t have complex features, you can benefit from using no/low code platforms. No-code and low-code technology enable building web applications from scratch, leveraging a simple graphical interface. This technology requires basic programming knowledge and allows you to save on development. Moreover, against the backdrop of growing interest in this type of solutions, creating your own no/low code platform can be a great idea for a startup.
Drag-and-drop functionality and pre-installed templates simplify the development process, speed up time to market and reduce costs. However, no/low code solutions have some downsides such as high probability of integration issues, fragmentation, and problems with performance.
The optimal tech stack for a web project includes technologies that allow you to best achieve the goals of the project. For business owners, identifying technologies on their own can be a daunting task, so consulting with web developers is never a bad idea. Software development experts will be able to more accurately determine the specifics of your application concept and find a solution that meets all requirements.
3. Focus on User Experience
How do users evaluate interaction with a web application? Nearly 90% of them have stopped using an app because of poor performance. The quality of the product is composed of several components, namely: utility, usability, design, performance, accessibility, and ergonomics. A great user experience will be provided in case of the right combination of these components.
The improvement of UX/UI web app design may consist of the following steps:
- Large scale preliminary research. You can find out what apps your potential users are currently using and what their preferences are to provide a better user experience.
- Alignment with the existing trends. In 2022, one of the main trends is simplicity accompanied by enough whitespace. So, keep things simple.
- Processing of the feedback. Take into account what users say about the application and make relevant changes. Conduct testing at the stage of creating the UX/UI part of the application to make sure that you are doing everything right.
- Shifting the focus to the quality of the content. Text and illustrations should be at the forefront of the application. Use unique content created specifically for your product so that users don’t perceive your project as second-rate.
While working on this or that element, think about the big picture since design is a guide to help users navigate your application. How easy and exciting this path is will determine the success of your product.
4. Take Security Seriously
Vulnerabilities in web applications, from broken authentication to information leakage, do irreparable damage to the reputation of the product. Data breaches endanger applications, so you should take steps to ensure security, avoiding risks related to SQL injection with accessing databases, cross-site scripting, remote file inclusion, and so on.
The roll-out of the methodology to ensure app security includes the following steps:
- Carrying out an audit that allows us to find out potential threats. The audit can be performed according to the black box – only the URL of the web app is provided to the audit team, or white box – the whole codebase is provided to the audit team, or alternately, with the gray box scheme – the mix of both approaches.
- Introduction of data encryption. Users’ information that’s being transited to the server should be encrypted, and SSL/TLS encryption is a minimum requirement for a web application.
- Monitoring of the security in real-time
- Implementation of modern logging approaches
- Permanent introduction of updates
If we’re talking about enterprise web apps, we should also pay attention to the relationship between apps used across the organization. Single sign-on (SSO) allows workers to sign in once, using the same combination of the username and password, for obtaining access to all web apps. SSO works through sharing a certificate between an app and access management system. This certificate consists of identification data – email, username, phone number and other data united in the form of tokens. SSO brings such benefits as fast log-ins, efficient B2B partnerships, and high adoption rates.
5. Don’t Neglect Testing
When you have a finished application in front of you, you are often impatient to show it to users as quickly as possible, but we caution you not to do this until you are sure that everything works flawlessly. Web application testing foresees the screening of all functionalities and interfaces. It’s a crucial task that precedes deployment and includes the following types of testing areas:
Testing should ensure the compatibility of an app with UI standards and may be performed via open-source tools. Web app development companies apply testing regardless of the chosen tech stack. To make the process the most effective, they use functional, regression, performance, cross-browser, and security automating tests. This approach allows one to quickly check whether an app works as intended across all browsers regardless of the user load while new features are accessible after implementation.
To round off the story about successful web app development, we have to highlight the importance of a competent team. Deep technical and business expertise can help such a team bring your idea to life and improve it on the path to realization, putting your company or startup ahead of the game.
About the Author
Oleksii Tsymbal, Chief Innovation Officer at MobiDev. We run a software engineering company with offices in the US, Ukraine and Poland. I’m a part of the business team and in charge of marketing and innovative technologies. I lived in Kharkiv, a great city that today is under Russian attack. So had to move to safety along with our Kharkiv office. Today I’m working in Chernivtsi, missing my native city and recently renovated apartment. But most of all I miss my family as I had to send them abroad, and my parents who refused to leave Kharkiv.