App developers lead the charge online

By Alvin R. Cabral / Khaleej Times 


SOURCE: Khaleej Times - App developers lead the charge online

The cliche "there's an app for that" cannot be more overstated: we live in a world that actually, well, lives that concept.

The explosion of mobile devices has given an opportunity for app developers to provide any and every need that users demand or need. And with so much resources, learning opportunities and industry players ready to lend a hand, practically anyone can be part of this continuously-growing dimension.

App developers are becoming the leaders of the online world with new creative solutions and innovations being released for everyone to enjoy. In the Middle East, the developer community is slowly but surely growing with new faces emerging every day. From logistics service apps to online shopping or even gaming, these apps have come to add value and entertainment to our lives.

To encourage more people to get into this field, some of the local app developers in the region have shared their insight to the app development process. They have shared their top tips to building a successful app, some of the challenges they faced and the marketing tools necessary.

Emirati game designer and founder of Hybrid Humans Game Studio Fakhra Al Mansoori has some tips for developing apps.

Be passionate and be willing to fail: Make sure you're doing something you're truly interested and invested in, and mostly, good at. More importantly, keep in mind that you might fail on the first go, but you need to learn from every mistake to create a successful app. 

"Think of it this way," says Al Mansoori, "if you don't try, there's no opportunity to succeed. Failure at anything is honestly a learning lesson to improve on the next decision you will make."

Understand the platform you are developing your application on: If you understand the capabilities of the operating system you're using, you are better-equipped to take right decisions.

For example, on iOS, Al Mansoori says: "Once you get it right on either iPhone or iPad, you're set. My recommendation is utilise the different features offered on the iOS system so you can understand user behaviour."

Be organised; celebrate the small win: Take it one step at a time, make your lists and break down the tasks you need to do for a project. The more focus you have on short-term goals, the more progress you will see taking place. You can use apps like Trello which can help you manage your work and be more diligent.

App developer and CPO of Designer-24 Samer Bejjani adds his personal take on what it takes to become a developer and how it's an ongoing process.

"There's a positive change in the app development and startup scene in the Middle East. The standards and qualities are getting higher with lots of innovation happening within the region. What's more exciting is this upward transition happened in a short period of time, so we are definitely raising the bar," he says.

And he has his own suggestions to make things work.

Keep it simple: Design for a great user experience, code for continuous development and start off by building a minimal viable product first. Stick to the minimum requirements for your first release so you can get the initial round of feedback and testing. Once you have that ready, take the most non-technical friend or family member you have and watch them work the app. Is it intuitive? What is the user experience like?

Stay up-to-date with learning tools: You never stop learning. If you are new to the iOS platform, Bejjani's advice is to "start using the latest programming language and learn to write code that works and is tested on all supported devices. Once you've done that, design a layout that is adaptive and fluid".

"Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Today, you are lucky to have access to thousands of great libraries and components," he adds.

Test, test, test: Apply a solid testing methodology whether it's automated, using focus groups or otherwise. The standard goal is: does your app meet the requirements when used by your friends and the outside community? 

Joy Ajlouni, co-founder and marketing director of Fetchr, a courier service company and the first startup in the Middle East to be funded by a top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, shares her own take.