The Mobile Strategy Of The Cross Platform Web App
Depending on your business model and go-to-market strategy, you may want to roll out your digital product across different devices. Your technology strategy will depend on the needs and priorities of your target market and the budget designated for your technology products, applications, platforms and services.
An application designed for a simple responsive web based experience displaying on mobile, tablets, and desktops is a contrast to a fully native mobile app only strategy with an application designed full stack to perform on a specific mobile device platform, interacting ‘natively’ with its related apps and operating system i.e. Apple iPhone vs Android.
With a browser based experience creating and mimicking an ‘app like’ experience on your mobile phone, you are creating a cross platform web application deployment. One technology stack, with a powerful underlying platform powering use across all platforms by building the native mobile device components needed in ‘containers’ which are ‘stacked’ at the top.
These are all different technology deployment models. If you want to release a roll out across all devices, all powered by one underlying core platform, a cross platform web application may be your solution. The most effective way for some to build their business may be to first to build out their core platform in a responsive website model, and second to customize and refine it for the app marketplaces. With gaming applications the processing power needed may lead you to design and develop a native only mobile strategy.
Design With Your Target Market In Mind
Your digital products will have different people working within the system, known as actors or users within application design and development. You may need localization, events which require code logic for in-app or email notifications, or integration with the calendar. The application may need to access native applications on the mobile device, as consumers may need to use their camera for the app to function, require geolocation or use of the accelerometer. The success of any design and development will depend upon the technology strategy, technology stack, and the architecture of the database, related entities, and the relationships to the code logic. These will all map out into user journeys, use cases and processes ~ and a prototype is critical in helping you work out these needs and screen flows before you code.
Alpha & Beta Launches
The alpha version of a software product is a pre-release, pre-market, early internal version of an application designed and dedicated to a testing process. The alpha version is part of the process for developing efficient, accurate and bug-free software. With a beta launch, you are opening up the application to actual users, often in a controlled private environment, to try the product with real use, which can also potentially be in live market conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product. Beta is really by definition the software development version of a final focus group and minor or major design changes can result.
You can provide alpha and beta launches, gather marketplace feedback and refine the process of connecting customers, buyers and sellers by working out all use cases. A responsive web application can provide a low cost way to test your product, and one which you can go to market with immediately and efficiently. Irrespective of model, once you have your core platform deployed, you have a foundation by which to do business digitally. A combination of deployment models can be a part of the strategy. There will be different ways people will utilize the system and you can refine these easily and efficiently in a responsive system. Once they are actually using the services, you can make minor improvements based on feedback with users.
Once you have your solution working in the market, you can scale the same platform out by just extending it into a cross platform web app format on different mobile devices. You build out all of the native components needed to "package" your platform slightly differently into a mobile app format - iOS (Apple) or Android. This deployment requires native customizations in discrete containers for each mobile platform and you release these unique "packages" - your app in a nicely packaged platform, into the specific app store marketplaces.
The Cross Platform Web Application Iceberg
The business which is first to market does not always mean it will be successful. Take the time to map out your technology strategy. The cross platform web application model is like an iceberg. You build what is below the platform in the core application first.
On top of the water and visible to users are your mobile containers, in the form of an app on your mobile device, delivering the services the core platform provides to your phone. The core platform in the database, systems design and underlying architecture you build IS the product - it lies beneath the water. Focus on your core platform and the mobile strategy will evolve and follow becoming the tip of the iceberg.