The release of Android 8.0 (Oreo) is a game changer that is destined to have a huge influence on Android app development in 2018 and beyond. The Android platform has become fragmented, with many devices running on outdated OS versions. Over 50% of devices accessing the Google Play store in August 2017 were still on 5.x. Oreo aims to solve this by making it a lot easier for device manufacturers to deliver ongoing OS updates.
The benefits for mobile app developers are clear — access to a much larger audience of Android users and the promise of a standardised OS platform to ensure a better and more consistent app experience.
So what are the best practices for Android App development in 2018?
What need does your app serve? Does it offer something new or improved? Doing market research and workshopping your idea rigorously is definitely best practice and something all mobile app developers should invest in before you invest money and resources. This includes studying your competitors and deciding where your app will sit in the marketplace.
A successful app needs a fully developed design before any code is written. Google provides a helpful guide to their Material Design visual language. Working with these style guidelines will make your app feel like a natural part of the wider Android UI. Compelling design is the key to standing out in this highly competitive app marketplace. Poor design is often cited as the main reason why users stop using an app.
Creating secure apps that protect user information is paramount — nothing defines ‘fail’ more than a serious security breach. The good news? Oreo makes it much easier to push out security updates, but until it’s installed on more devices, developers will still need to ensure their apps work safely on previous versions of Android.
The Android develop community offers many useful tools for optimising your app, including Proguard, which will remove unused code and reduce your APK file size. The Android Debug Database is another great tool for debugging databases and shared preferences in Android applications.
Testing It’s important to test your app for issues such as faulty code and memory leaks but also from a functional, UI perspective. Get users to test your app before its release using real devices, not just emulators.
Keep your code up to date and be sure to act quickly on any user feedback you receive through the Google Play Store. Users expect to get updates that not only fix issues but provide improvements. In fact, the key to ongoing user engagement is to connecting with your users, meeting their needs and delighting them with unexpected new features.
Prepare For Success
Unless your app targets a specific niche, it has the potential to attract huge numbers of users — so be prepared! You need to factor scalability into your design and development, so your app continues to grow and caters to the needs of its users.
As Android 8.0 Oreo takes hold in 2018, Android app development will have a unified and cohesive platform that will provide increasing opportunities to reach a larger user audience with apps that work better, are more secure and provide longer-term revenue for developers.
Are you an app developer? Activate Design is a design and software development agency. We welcome any opportunities to collaborate on app development projects. Click here to find out more about what we do, or contact us for more information.
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Posted in Mobile Apps
Originally published at www.activatedesign.co.nz.