Building an outstanding business web application can solve workflow issues that waste crucial employee working hours. When general software or desktop applications don’t offer the functionality you need, custom web applications provide a more flexible and multipurpose solution.
But a web app project can quickly burn your budget if you aren’t heavily involved in the development process. Approximately, 16% of software development projects are completed on time and budget — often because the technical requirements took longer than expected, which may divert the business goals.
Don’t wait for anything, especially when you’ve invested hundreds of hours and efforts in mapping out a web application to realize it doesn’t meet your actual business objectives. Here’s how to make a web app that accomplishes your business goals. But first, understand what a web app is?
What is a Web Application?
How is a web application different from a website? The basic difference is that a website is a collection of pages that usually display static content, while a web application is a piece of software with dynamic content and more complex user interactions; in a web app, you can leverage APIs or trigger actions from other software services. Both websites and web apps are accessible through several web browsers (such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari, etc.)
Web applications allow for the ability for users to interact with, create, and manipulate data. Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Amazon.com are all examples of web applications. Examples of plain websites can be found as landing pages for corporate brands, local businesses, or traditional blogs. But these days, many websites’ landing pages have web apps connected to them.
Before we get into the details, let’s understand the difference between a Web app and a mobile app.
There is no specific software-development kit (SDK) for web app development, unlike mobile apps made for iOS or Android. Mobile apps, also called native apps, are deployed on your smartphone via its app store (Google Play Store, Apple App Store, etc.) Web apps can still be accessed on your phone via a web browser app. If you want to turn your web app into a mobile app, there are ways to use custom native wrappers to save you time.
How do I build a web app for the business?
Option 1: Traditional coding frameworks
Option 2: No-code web app builders
Simplifying the design, development, and deployment of a web app makes it easier and faster to get your idea off the ground.
Well, now moving ahead, hold a cup of coffee and kindly read till the end.
We have identified three major secrets that seem to make things go smoother:
- Concentrate on user tasks, not on features
- Don’t try to explain everything
- Don’t overreact to user feedback
1. CONCENTRATE ON USER’S TASK, NOT FEATURES
When you’re asked to build a business Web application development , you do that: build a Web application. You have not been asked to resolve a business problem or make it easy for the user group to fulfill a task. Instead, your job is to add some crucial features and build a specific application type. Unfortunately, this can turn out to be a dangerous approach. By focusing on the application you are developing, the emphasis is firmly on technology, not the users’ requirements or the underlying problem to be solved.
- TAKE A STEP BACK
An experienced development team will step back at the initial stage of a project and look at the common issues that have led to the application being initiated.
Try to spend time with those who will use the application, especially users—observing how users complete the tasks and how they respond while using the application.
Speaking to those who will be interacting with your application on a daily basis will create a much more problem-solving solution than blindly following the directives of whoever is associated with the project.
- MAKE USER TESTING PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
User testing is a necessary process of getting to know the user. Aim to test the application at least twice a month throughout the full development cycle. This does not need to be costly or time-consuming. Instead, each session requires only three or four users and should be easily completed within a morning. This allows the entire development team to participate in these sessions and be involved in the debriefing, which can happen over lunch.
2. DON’T TRY TO EXPLAIN EVERYTHING
If you cannot focus on your user needs, then things can get out of hand. These kinds of opportunities tend to suffer particularly badly from scope creep. Once people in your organization see the application’s potential, they will start putting up new ideas for new functionality. The problem is that every new feature comes with more complexity. This can undermine the efficiency of the app. When developing a Web application, we urge our clients to start with ease.
Predicting and analyzing how users will respond to your application can be challenging; ample time and money can be wasted building innovative features that no one uses at this moment.
- MONITOR YOUR KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Once the application has launched, shift into a phase of monitoring key performance indicators. This will help you to guide the success of the app.
The indicators will vary between projects. However, establishing how the success of the app will be measured is essential at the beginning of the process. Combined with user feedback, this monitoring provides an overall clear picture of where you should go next. But be careful with user feedback and be responsive to your user’s feedback.
3. DON’T OVERREACT TO USER FEEDBACK
Users sometimes may react negatively, do not panic, or get angry. Learning a new system takes time, even if it ultimately is easier to use. Users will be most likely to complain and make a plethora of suggestions.
- USE THE AGILE METHODOLOGY TO MAP OUT YOUR WEB
In traditional business web application development, the development team collects the technical requirements and builds what they think the decision-maker requires. Stakeholders don’t provide feedback until they see the final finished product. Any changes could result in a complete overhaul of the app and send you back over a high budget and extend the deadline.
Agile development is a more flexible, realistic approach to developing applications. Using this methodology, coders work in short development phases (known as sprints) and deliver an essential functionality for testing every 10-16 days. Regular user feedback and contribution help developers adapt to changing requirements, keep business objectives in focus, and avoid project waste.
Once you’ve figured out your business problem and decided on a web application as your solution, follow these simple steps to plan and prioritize development tasks:
Break down all application functionalities into project stories that can be accomplished in 14days sprints (for example, allow users to log in).
- Backlog all stories.
- Work with stakeholders to prioritize stories by order importance to the business.
- Do things through user testing after each sprint.
- Settle down with feedback and resubmit the functionality for user testing.
- If approved, move into the next story.
- Project management tools like Jira can help you to track each phase of business web application development.
- TEST YOUR WEB APPLICATION FREQUENTLY DURING DEVELOPMENT
When developing a web app, frequent user testing is the most crucial step to fulfilling your business goals.
The agile development model breaks down complicated application projects into small pieces of user functionality and encourages testing.
You build each app functionality in short sprints that last one to three weeks. After each sprint, key stakeholders thoroughly test every component and provide feedback to improve the product.
Plan to invest at least five hours a month to application testing. Get the maximum number of team members as possible to ensure you’ve tested the most common user scenarios.
Whether you’re developing in-house or collaborating with a development company, consistent collaboration between users and developers is very important. Dedicating hours to testing upfront will save ample time and money in the long-run process. You won’t have to overhaul the application after six months of work altogether. Instead, you can address a few concerns in real-time and make little changes when you need to.
When the application is ready for launch, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re getting exactly what you envisioned for your business application.
- SOMETIMES TECHNOLOGY IS NOT THE ANSWER
Interestingly, many of the project stakeholders’ suggestions (not users) revolve around management issues, such as workflow and monitoring.
While these suggestions are sometimes valid, we have found that the simplest solution to these problems is usually managerial, not technical. For example, several clients have asked me for workflow functionality in their content management systems not to be published without approval from anywhere in the organization. In fact, it comes standard in most content management systems.
But we usually wonder whether it would be easier to tell content providers not to publish a document before checking by someone else. Does this need a technical solution when a policy would do the job?
We know adding more features adds more complexity. Therefore we should not solve each problem with a new feature. We could add that functionality later as per the necessity.
We hope you will take the time to share your experiences in the comments to come up with new best practices for developing Web applications in our businesses.