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How to Develop an Application That Users Want

By: SEI Team


Create an application that shines and stands the test of time with this development guide.

Technology drives innovation and efficiency, opening up endless possibilities for business growth. As a result, many companies are increasingly turning to software applications as the cornerstone of their operations. Whether you’re a small startup or a multinational corporation, the development and deployment of applications can significantly impact your success in the market. However, the path to a successful application is not without its challenges. To unlock the full potential of your organization’s application development project, consider these ten recommendations to help guide you through the process of developing and integrating valuable software into your workflow — without the interruptions.

1. Define Clear Objectives and Scope

Before diving headfirst into a web application development project, it’s essential to have a crystal-clear understanding of what you aim to achieve. This begins with defining your objectives and scope. Here are some questions to ponder to get you brainstorming:

  • What problem does the application aim to solve?
  • Who are the target users, and what are their needs and preferences?
  • What features and functionalities are essential for the application’s success?

By establishing a well-defined scope, you provide your development team with a roadmap that keeps everyone on the same page. Clear objectives also serve as a yardstick for measuring progress and success throughout the project so that you’re always aware of where your team is and how close you are to your next milestone.

2. Choose the Right Development Methodology

Selecting the appropriate development methodology is a decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your project. There are several methodologies to choose from, with Agile, Waterfall, and DevOps being among the most popular. For example, Agile is highly adaptable and well-suited for projects with frequently changing requirements. In contrast, Waterfall is more structured and suitable for projects with well-defined objectives and minimal scope changes. DevOps emphasizes collaboration and automation, making it ideal for continuous deployment and integration scenarios. Each has its unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to align the methodology with your project’s specific goals and constraints.

3. Prioritize Security

In an age where data breaches and cyberattacks are common headlines, security should be at the forefront of your application development process. Integrate robust security measures at every stage of development to close any security gaps that could lead to potential data leaks. For example, consider regularly conducting security audits and vulnerability assessments and deploying penetration testing to identify potential weaknesses. Protecting user data and your organization’s sensitive information should always be a top priority — otherwise, your business could face severe legal and reputational consequences.

4. Focus on User Experience (UX) and Design

An application’s success often hinges on its user experience. If your app takes forever to load, is complicated to use, and is prone to bugs, it’ll likely deter consumers from using it. Investing in user-centric design principles can make all the difference in attracting and retaining users. Create an intuitive and visually appealing user interface, but be sure that your app’s design aligns with your brand identity and values for consistency and integrity. To keep your app relevant and up-to-date with consumer expectations, conduct user testing for real-time feedback that can guide you to make necessary adjustments for an even better user experience. A well-designed application not only attracts users, but also keeps them engaged and satisfied, fostering long-term relationships and brand loyalty.

5. Aim for Scalability and High Performance

Don’t just design your app for today — design it for the future. As your user base grows, your application should be able to handle increased loads without sacrificing performance. Scalability and performance optimizations should be an ongoing process, ensuring your application remains responsive and efficient as consumer preferences and industry trends change. Additionally, consider cloud-based solutions that can automatically scale resources to meet demand, providing a cost-effective way to ensure your application can handle surges in user activity.

6. Incorporate Budget and Resource Management

Cutting corners on resources or budget may seem convenient at first glance, but this can actually lead to issues down the road, including delays, subpar quality, or even project failure. A well-planned budget accounts for unexpected challenges and additional investments you’ll need to see your project through to completion, including testing, maintenance, and future updates. And if you want to provide a user experience that truly resonates with your audience, don’t settle for baseline features. Make room in your budget to splurge on innovative features like AI-driven tools such as chatbots for 24/7 customer support, mobile payments and digital wallet compatibility, and in-app social networking. Maintain clear documentation of your budget and resource allocation for reference and to keep teams accountable for expenditures.

7. Conduct Regular Testing and Quality Assurance

Before your application goes live, it’s important to smooth out any inconsistencies, bugs, and other issues that can hinder its performance. You may want to implement a comprehensive testing strategy that includes:

  • Unit testing to validate individual components.
  • Integration testing to ensure different parts of the application work seamlessly together.
  • User acceptance testing to gather feedback from real users.

Consider incorporating automated testing tools into your process to streamline testing, better analyze performance, reduce the risk of overlooked errors, and contribute to a more rapid application development process. The goal is to catch and rectify issues early, reducing the likelihood of users encountering them after the application is live. Once the application is up and running, it’s good practice to continue running tests and gathering feedback to keep all elements of your program functioning as they should.

8. Implement Documentation and Training

Proper documentation often gets overlooked in the excitement of launching an application, but it is essential for long-term maintenance and onboarding new team members. Documentation should cover aspects such as codebase architecture and structure, deployment processes and procedures, and troubleshooting guides for common issues. Providing training and support for both end-users and internal staff will help to maximize the application’s value, as well-prepared users are more likely to use the application effectively, leading to a more positive experience.

9. Adhere to Legal Regulations

Depending on your industry and location, your application may need to comply with specific regulations and standards. For instance, European applications handling user data may need to adhere to Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, which cover legal requirements for collecting, storing, and processing personal information. Similarly, healthcare organizations are expected to follow HIPAA guidelines to safeguard sensitive medical data and patient privacy. Failure to comply with regulations can result in severe penalties and damage your organization’s reputation, making compliance a non-negotiable aspect of application development. So, take the time to research the laws relevant to your business operations and practices to remain compliant in all areas.

10. Participate in Continuous Improvement

The journey of creating a successful application doesn’t end with its initial launch. In fact, that’s just the beginning. To ensure your application remains relevant, competitive, and valuable to your users, you must adopt a mindset of continuous improvement and adaptation. We recommend:

  • Actively gathering user feedback through various channels and diligently monitoring performance metrics, such as load times and user engagement.
  • Planning regular updates, focusing on user-demanded features and enhancements, and communicating these changes effectively.
  • Utilizing data-driven insights from analytics tools to prioritize improvements that offer the most value.
  • Embracing agility, staying responsive to changing user needs and emerging tech trends, and adopting an iterative development approach.

This commitment to continuous improvement is what will take your application from one that merely meets user expectations to one that consistently exceeds them.

Transforming Ideas into Applications with SEI

Applications involve many moving parts — let SEI help you with all of them. We focus on building lasting solutions that adapt, scale, and excel in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. SEI brings decades of software engineering and delivery expertise with a boots-on-the-ground approach to develop applications specially tailored to your business goals and needs. Harnessing the power of modern cloud technologies and flexible, iterative methodologies, we’re committed to helping your company develop a solution that not only meets your immediate needs but sets you up for future success.

Chat with one of our expert consultants today to learn more about custom application development.