Developing a successful iOS application isn’t easy. It requires forethought, planning, and a commitment to quality. Your strategy and approach may vary depending on what kind of app and audience you have, but there are some guidelines you can adhere to no matter what kind of app you’re creating.
Let’s take a closer look at seven best practices for iOS app development.
Do your market research
Before you start coding, it’s important to have done extensive market research. This will help you better understand your customers and the need for your app. Without this important first step, you run the risk of your app failing to resonate, making it more difficult to grow and sustain your user base.
Have the right understanding of who your app is for and what pain points it solves. This will lead to happier users later, along with more frequent adoption and use.
Define your Minimum Viable Product
Yes, you should do your due diligence and perform the necessary research to ensure there’s the right product-market fit for your app. But you’ll also want to deliver value to your customers as quickly as possible.
When you’re starting out, you’ll want to identify a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. This is the application you can offer to a smaller subset of customers with the least amount of features they’d need to derive value out of using it. They can test it and provide valuable feedback on what needs to be fixed.
Your MVP doesn’t represent the final form your app’s going to take. Think of it as an extension of your research efforts. By identifying an MVP and testing it with a small cadre of users, you’ll then be able to better pinpoint any challenges your app may face. You can then fix them without having to do so after you’ve deployed them.
Take your time to ensure your code is on point
When you eventually submit your app to the App Store, you’ll want to be sure it gets through without issues or delay. You may feel pressure to get your app to market as quickly as possible. But taking the time to review your code to ensure it’s high quality solves a lot of problems you’ll run into after release if it’s bad code.
This means having a robust system of quality assurance throughout your organization – whether you’re a one-person shop or a team of developers. Quality code is the backbone of all successful apps.
Look at documentation as a part of the process, not an extra task
Documentation often seems like a bore and a chore. We can view it as an additional task after we’ve completed all the truly critical work that needs to be done.
Don’t fall into this trap! Documentation, at every step of your iOS app development process, is vital for creating a better overall user experience.
For one, documentation helps your users understand what your app is and what it does. Documenting your code is also useful for helping your developers both now and in the future. When improvements or changes need to be made, documentation serves as a source of truth for helping you get back on track.
While you may like your developer team at the moment, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay forever (in fact, your developers are almost certain to change at some point). Having proper documentation helps maintain institutional knowledge between your teams.
If you don’t have additional developers and work on the project yourself, this makes documentation even more important. Don’t let one person (namely: you) become the single point of failure.
Always keep app security at top of mind
App security is another critical component of the iOS app development process. Consider the consequences of releasing an app with faulty security in place. If a malicious actor hacks into your app’s data, they may then be able to hack the data of any device that has used your app. That data could include personally identifiable information (PII) or financial information like credit card numbers or bank statements.
If your customers have their data exposed and stolen, they won’t be happy – and for good reason. Beyond eroding their trust in you as a product or service provider, you may also be exposed to potential legal action.
Sound security practices using features like encryption and multi-factor authentication – help keep your users and their information secure. This requires attention to detail when coding to minimize vulnerabilities. It may take more work and oversight upfront, but it’s much easier (and less costly) than taking shortcuts that lead to bigger headaches later on.
Distribute it via the right channels
Research is important. Correct code is important. Security is important. These are vital steps to make your app a success. But just as critical as these components is your ability to get your app in front of the right people. You do this by distributing it through the right channels.
Don’t overthink this step. When you’re developing an iOS app, the best place to distribute it is via the App Store. Apple has a set of comprehensive guidelines for app developers to follow when submitting their apps. These guidelines cover just about every aspect of app management you can think of, addressing everything from performance to legal concerns.
Review these guidelines before you start creating your application. Ensure that you’re adhering to them at each stage of the development process – through planning, development, and deployment. If you don’t, you may have to fix these issues later. That will take additional time and money, potentially delaying your app’s release or causing you to pause operations.
Optimize backward compatibility
Your iOS application shouldn’t just run on devices or systems built in 2022. Not all of your users are going to be on the most current iPhone or operating system. You’ll want to ensure you can appeal to the broadest number of users possible.
That’s where backward compatibility enters the equation. Backward compatibility is when an app can run on earlier versions of iOS and Apple devices like the iPhone.
Your ability to optimize this will depend on your app’s specific features and how well they match up with previous iOS versions. In some cases, you may not be able to do this for older versions. But maintaining awareness of earlier versions and being compatible with them when possible will help increase your potential users.