Creating a Mobile App for Android Platform
Description of Group’s design goals
In this assignment, we are required to create a mobile app for Android Platform with which a user would be able to locate the properties and related information in the area that they require. Our mobile application will be divided into two sections. The first section will be for the “Guest Users” who will be able to use the app without the need of any credentials or registration. The user could enter the location details, budget and the type of property required. The list of the properties matching the requirements will be displayed on the screen. On tap over any item in the list, the information regarding its description, size, price, location, the details of the owner to contact will be provided accompanying with the photographs of the property.
The section two of this application will be for the registered users. The registered users here will be the property owners who have displayed their property on the application. They will be given their credentials by which they would be allowed to move to the “Member Zone”. Here they will be able to make alterations in the information about the properties, can add more properties and photographs of their properties.
While creating an application, the foremost step of the development is to set the design goals of the application. What is the purpose of design and while designing a product it is important to see that who all are going to use the product?
The app we are going to produce will be used by the users who are seeking the property for their use, whether commercial, residential or etc. Thus, while designing an app, it is important to create the app in such a manner that the user who are involved in finding properties for their use will be able to discover the available properties with the ease of use (GERBER, 2013). However, it would not be possible to create an application according to the perception of each and every end user of the app. Thus, we will try to design an app that will be developed in such a way that an average user will use it. How will the user attract towards the application and will pay attention towards it or not. Hence, in the course of developing a mobile app following points are required to be kept in mind:
So in order to create an efficient mobile application, we will start with creating the template. The template is always acting as a major characteristic while creating a mobile app. The reason is that whenever a user opens the application, the center of attraction of the app is based on the colors and the background provided by the developer (Pratas, 2013). If anyhow the colors used or any other irrelevant features are added, the user will get irritated and will not continue to use the app.
While designing an application, it is very important for the developer to think according to the user that how will the user start using the app and up to what extent. The user always wants to get the work done as soon as possible. Thus, the developer should place each and every slot for entering details properly and suitably. The user should not strive to find the required slots to enter the details for finding the property.
The application should be designed in such a way that the user will not feel irritated while using the application in any sense. Thus, the application should be efficient to use. For instance, it should not rapidly deplete the battery life of the devices, should be able to adjust itself according to the device etc. These points are explained below: (Gruman, 2013)
Screen size these days makes a very important feature while designing a mobile application. Today in the market, there are lots of mobile and tablet devices are available in the market with different screen sizes. Thus, it is important to design such an app that will be able to adjust itself according to the size of the device. The importance of this feature is that in case a user with smaller screen size downloads this app in his mobile and in case he has a small screen size and your application works best in large screen then the user would not be able to use the app.
The battery of the device plays an important part in the working of a device. In case any application using more of the battery resulting in the depletion of the battery would not be accepted by any user (FERRISS, 2013). Thus, it is important to develop an application which will not use much of the battery life of the device in any situation.
Each and every user wants to get his work done at the earliest. In such a case if an application which is working slow or leaves the user hanged in the middle of the work will not be able to catch the attention of the user. Hence, it is important to make your application efficient to use by making it to respond at a faster pace.
Handheld devices have become a lifeline of the people these days. Hence, in the process of creating an application for the handheld devices, it is important to understand the needs of the user (Erickson, 2012). In other words, the developer while developing an application has to “step into the shoes of the consumer” to understand what the consumer wants. In general every consumer wants:
It is important to design the app in a such a way that it can be used over touch screen devices because all the handheld devices are touch scree these days. Therefore, designing your mobile app around touch and ergonomics is very important.
Ease of use
While using a mobile and handheld device, especially the android devices, the application does not respond properly and ultimately takes an exit. Moreover, during navigation the user finds it fussy sometimes to navigate the page. Thus, making your app efficient and easy to use is important.
Last but not the least the developer should lay emphasis towards the product goals. Each and every application that is being developed should be able to differentiate itself from other applications (Warren, 2011). So, the developer should add some features and improvements in the applications so that the users will form a likeness towards the applications. Thus, while developing an app the it is important to consider the following:
What problem does your application solve?
Our application would be able to solve the problems for the people who are finding properties for themselves. The user with the app would be able to find properties with the help of this app on the go with ease of use and without any issues.
What are the top features or outputs that users need from the application?
The five features that user expects from our application should be:
Nearby options: if the user wants to find property and he is using the app in a particular area, then it will find the results of the available properties in the nearby locality.
It will show the properties efficiently and according to the relevance of the search.
The images of the properties will be clear and proper.
The user will not require any credentials to search a property.
Once the data is updated in the app, then the user would be able to review the already updated data in the app even being offline.
The users will not have an unlimited data plan- Our application is a real estate application that will display information regarding various available properties. The details of the property and the list of the properties needs to be updated every hour and such update requires a working internet connection on the device. Thus, while developing such application the developer needs to keep in mind that every user will not have an unlimited data plan on the device. Hence, the data that need to be updated should be least data consuming. However the images should be of high quality, thus the user will require a data plan to download the images. Thus, this assumption is very necessary to be kept in mind.
In-app advertisements should be avoided
Most of the applications on android platforms are advertisements supported. The basic idea of keeping advertisements in your app is that the advertisers pay the developer for supporting their advertisements. However, every user does not want to see the advertisements popping up in the middle of their search. Thus, while developing a real estate application, it is important to avoid supporting the advertisements because if the app used on a small screen device, then one-third screen of the device would be wasted in the advertisement only.
The app will not reduce the battery life of the device
The battery life of a device is considered as a major concern these days. If the application consumes a large portion of the battery, then the user would not accept to use it for a long time. Though as per the assumption mentioned above regarding the data plan, it is expected that the device won't use much battery of the device, but the developer also has to make some alterations in this regard (Matzner, 2012).
The app will not record any data of the users
It is very common these days that the application sometimes record the data entered by the users in their previous searches. However, the application should be developed in such a way that it will not record any data of the user. It will benefit the user in two ways: first the user would not be shown the data of any previous searches and secondly the app will not use much of the storage space of the device.
One size will not fit for all the devices
As stated above, the developer should keep in mind that the app is being developed for the handheld devices and with the increase in the variety of the handheld devices, there are possibility of different screen sizes available (Kirov, 2012). Thus, it is important to keep in mind that only one size of the app will not fit for all the devices.
Mobile app requirements
A need for a flow map
While designing a mobile application, it is important to list out the features that the developer wants to include in his application. Features like: Search bar, navigation options, login option, etc. should be listed at first and inserted in a flow chart so that anything will not be left by the developer while creating the device.
Most of the mobile devices are providing a very efficient quality of displays on the devices, hence it is important for the developer to make an app with the best combination of low and high quality resolutions. Even better: the developer should design with vector graphics rather than scale-challenged bitmaps (Engelsma, 2009).
Don’t undersize the hit area
It is to be kept in mind that most of the users have their index fingers with the width between 1.6 Cm to 2 Cm and moreover the users are always in a hurry while doing anything. Sometimes in a hurry the user isn’t able to reliably tap a tiny area of the screen. Though it is possible to add a lot of buttons and functionality into a screen, but be sure to always make buttons big enough and properly spaced enough.
Don’t use more of any intro animations
At the time of opening an application, the app shows a slight animation about the logo or the brand name of the company. Though it looks nice, but overuse of such animation results in lack of users attention (Szczur, 2013). Hence, it is important to properly use the intro animations which will be appealing enough to be worth the extra second or so that the user has to wait.
The user should not be left hanged
Sometimes it happens that when the app is loading or processing and Leaving the user out of the loop could cause users to think the app is malfunctioning. Which will result in a poor experience of the user in regard of application. The user should not be left with a blank screen while loading the results in the app. The indicators and animations to give users a heads up that the app is working should be added in the app while the app is loading content from the web.
The styles from other Operating Systems should not be blindly copied
If the developer converts or tries to convert an app from one mobile OS to another can confuse and annoy users. Each of the applications has its own, creative features and styles. For instance an app on the iPhone that uses the WP7’s block-layout and navigation style would be unfamiliar and confusing to users (Ranola, 2013). It is not necessary to make every application looks similar on each operating system. Hence, the developer should be very careful while copying or adding features in the application.