A woman testing a mobile phone app

Android Programming: 5 Basic Tips for Getting Started

David Barlev

January 12, 2021 · 5 minutes

Android programming is complex.

Even before we started writing this piece, it took us a little while to determine which information would be easy to digest AND most helpful for your business. 

Do we give you the down and dirty details of coding languages and developer tools? Or jdo we ust tell you why your business needs a mobile app?

We settled on giving you the barebones of Android programming because let’s face it, unless you’re a mobile app development agency like us, you’re not reading this article becuase you want to learn how to code.

You want to know what the process entails before you reach out to a specialist.

With that out of the way we’re going to get straight to the point: how to get started in Android programming for your business.

In this article, we’ll dive into the full process of what happens, why, and how you can find the best partner when you’re ready to build a mobile app for your business.

How Is an Android App Built?

A laptop on a tableTo start, there are two reasons why you should consider building a mobile app for your business.

  • You want an extension of your brand on mobile
  • The app is the business (ex. Robinhood)

Today, there are 81% of Americans who own a smartphone, and half of all Internet search comes through a mobile phone. Further still, in the U.S. more than 1 in 3 of all smartphone users own an Android. 

As you can see, that’s not a small segment of the market, and it’s certainly worth pursuing if your businesses demographics tends to swind Android.

So, once you know you want to build an app for the Google Play store, what’s the Android programming process like?

Breaking Down the Android Programming Process: Ideation to Launch

Here’s how all of your favorite Android apps are built..

Step 1: Establish Your Vision

If you want to build a quality android app, it’s important to keep in mind that it can be a long and expensive process.

To start, you’re going to need a team of dedicated coders, designers, quality assurance engineers, and a solid project manager to keep them all in line. Even the fastest mobile apps can take months of construction and development so it’s important to do the thinking on the front end as opposed to the back.

This is why the most important step on this list is the first: planning.

This means envisioning every aspect of the user experience. It also means building a clear user roadmap and conducting deep market research to see if there’s a market need for your app. As a result, this planning step is essential to building a successful app.

Step 2: Test the idea with a RAT

Think of this process as a “stress test.”

Standing for Riskiest Assumption Test (RAT), a RAT employs the scientific method of sorts to determine if an audience needs the app you’re building. Using the RAT process can help you figure out how many people want your app, how much they’ll actually use it, and how much they’ll pay to have it.

Here’s an example of what we mean:

Let’s say you want to test your mobile app idea by setting a list of parameters you want to hit—parameters that would prove its success (500 app sign-ups in two weeks). In a RAT, if your test doesn’t accomplish that bar, it’s not worth pursuing in its current state.

So, you run your RAT, you build a prototype of your app, make it available in a closed beta, and only garner 300 sign-ups. Based on your RAT, you would need to go back to the drawing board to enhance its success (getting 500 sign-ups) before investing in building the app.

However, once you’ve got a solid idea that your core audience is responsive to, it’s time to move to the next step…

Step 3: Create a Wireframe

Effectively this is a blueprint or layout for your android app. Expect this to be extremely rough but this is what the app will generally look like on the actual screen of the smartphone. The idea behind this kind of wireframing is to get as close as possible to a representation of the app idea before construction begins.

Step 4: Choose a Development Method

Python Code

Now, that you’re almost ready to begin your mobile development project, one of the penultimate steps is to determine which development method you’d like to use.

Here are the most common…

Native Development

Involving low-level coding, you’ll need to hire a specialized developer who can build your app for the Google Play store. This type of development is great for flexibility since your building from the ground up. As a result, native apps are also faster and more reliable in nature.

Cross-Platform Development

Built with a universal language like JavaScript, cross-platform development helps bridge the gap between Android and other marketplaces (like iOS) for better versatility, a wider audience, and a faster launch time.

Hybrid Development

Less expensive than native development, hybrid development relies on Javascript. With a high degree of flexibility, hybrid apps can be deployed on multiple platforms. However, the downside of hybrid development is its reduction in quality, effectively acting as a “beefed-up” website. So, be ready for performance lags in comparison to native apps.

Rapid App Development (RAD)

RAD is a user-friendly method that allows even non-technical users to build their own apps. However, this development process is limited and you won’t be able to do as much using a RAD platform.

Cookie Cutter

Designed to fit even the most low-level consumer, this type of development allows users to create apps out of the box with just a few tweaks and changes to the base template. Think of this type of app as being similar to WordPress. 

And finally, once you’ve decided on your platform development method, it’s time to…

Step 7: Build It, Test It, Launch It

A guy on a laptopWith your timelines, due dates, and expectations set by your team’s project manager, the rest is simply executing.

Once the construction process is complete, however, the work isn’t over yet. At this point, it’s time to conduct your own quality assurance testing (QA). This means testing every function of the app to make sure it’s doing what it should, stress-testing as many variables as possible, and essentially trying to break it.

Not only will this testing process help ensure your app is at its highest quality possible, but it’ll also make you that much more confident prior to launch. 

On smartphones, 90% of our attention goes into about three apps.

Deliver a buggy or subpar app and even if your customers/users download it, it’ll be rare to find them using it.

And that’s why good quality assurance—especially before launch—is so critical to the mobile app development process.

When it’s time to launch, upload your completed app to the Android or Google Play Store and voila, you’re ready to go with an effective, high-quality, and soon-to-be successful app.

Moving Forward with Android Programming and Development

We hope all that was pretty clear and straightforward, but more importantly, we hope you’re ready to build your very own mobile app. 

Android apps can be a significant undertaking—but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. 

If you’re an organization in need of a compelling mobile app, or an entrepreneur with the next great idea, drop us a line.

We’d be happy to get you started.

If you’re ready to develop your own mobile app but need a little help
Click here to schedule a free consultation.

About David Barlev

David is the Co-founder and CEO of Goji Labs. David loves working closely with passionate founders to understand their vision and help them build beautiful applications while focusing on risk-mitigation. As an author, he focuses on informative and educational blogs that enable our clients to make the most of their businesses.

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