Before we dive into mobile app development standards, let’s first understand standards. As mobile app development is currently high in demand due to pandemics everyone wants to do business online.
“Mobile applications” are software applications for active mobile systems for Android & iOS. Mobile apps can collect, use, and transfer user information from a mobile device. As mobile app developers, we have a responsibility to consider privacy at all stages of an app’s life cycle.
Mobile applications are at the forefront of consumer privacy concerns. Recent data breaches have caused media & government agencies to raise the question. Is there any industry standard or mobile app development standard that are up to the mark?
Due to lack of common industry standards & blind eye by developers projects suffer a lot. It also suffers if the architecture or tech stack is incorrect. Developers may find it difficult to collaborate & meet the business goals. Hence while hiring a mobile app developer you should ensure they follow the industry standards for development.
This article is a complete guide that can serve as a road map for web and mobile app standards. So clients can consider the same for hiring the best mobile app development company.
Table of Contents
Why do we need a Standard?
Standards are essential for:-
- Product safety assurance
- Custom-made products meet their purpose
- Promote collaboration
- Reducing or removing barriers and
- Ensure general product understanding.
In simple terms standards is an agreement on the common working methods & practices to meet the goals.
Why do we need web and mobile app development standards?
As explained above website & mobile app development standards are essential so the client can be assured of the data safety of the end-users, the tailor-made products meet their purpose & serve the targeted users. In situations where many developers need to collaborate to work on a single platform, it’s easy and smooth.
Even if many developers are working onshore and offshore there are no barriers to website or mobile app development. Thus mobile app standards are principles are important.
The client can be assured that the mobile app development company offer a reliable, working, secure and scalable solution.
Industry Standards for Mobile App Development
Standard bodies generally create standards. They bring together groups of experts from various technology companies to agree upon how technologies should be used to meet their use cases. But so far there is no such standard body for mobile app developers who have laid the mobile app development standards.
Every technology inventor has various documentation but those are majorly focused to address on the promotion of their technology rather than the standard. Hence we have detailed below the various aspects of mobile app development and which standard practices can be adopted by developers for mobile app development.
Standards for Requirements gathering for mobile app development projects
What is a Requirement Gathering?
Requirement gathering (or “requirements elicitation”) refers to the process of detailing to define software requirements. In simple words, this is the process where developers understand & establish the need and document what needs to be done, and why to build the mobile app. What are its goals, what pain area it’s addressing, how the success of the mobile app will be measured post-launch?
This process usually includes various tasks as detailed below:
capturing business needs & requirements from all the users to understand the user needs and address their pain areas and end goals. Users are also referred to as stakeholders.
Converting the gathered information in a simple form like short stories and detail out the feature specifications which can be later accessed by the mobile app development team. Post the requirements are gathered such information should be compiled into a document or in such a form that users issues are addressed by offering functions and feature specifications to answer those challenges.
This task aims to make sure everyone’s has the same understanding of what the client is trying to build.
Impact of skipping the requirements gathering for your software project?
Though requirements documentation is crucial, still many fail to understand its importance. If you skip this step at the start of the requirements discussion or discovery phase, the project will suffer within each week of development. The situation can be very well illustrated with the below image of a Tree Swing Story. No one would ever like to be in such a situation and hence documentation should never be skipped at the initial or subsequent phase of project development.
This option is an easy way to ruin your project which results in too many sleepless nights and conducting meetings to improve all the bad situations & not to say this will cost you money and time. So as a standard practice Project Documentation is of utmost importance for mobile app development and the standard documentation process should be followed religiously.
Best Technology for Mobile App Development
To develop mobile apps developers are generally well versed with technology skillset. For eg:- Though Kotlin is the official programming language for Android app, many android app developers use Java. Hence Java is considered the best technology stack & used globally by android mobile app developers.
For building iOS app developers choose either Objective-C or Swift. Hence when you do tech stack selection for Native mobile app development you need to make sure the developer is proficient in the above Native technologies. The mobile app development standard here is to make sure the developer is well versed with the above technologies and can suggest the best backend technology stack.
Native apps can work with any backend tech stack and database, but considering the client needs the developer should pre-define the technology architecture of the mobile app to offer security & scalability.
To develop a hybrid mobile app, tech stacks like Cordova, PhoneGap, Xamarin, Flutter, Ionic etc. While developing a cross-platform mobile app the developer can use various technologies like React Native, Xamarin & C#, etc. It’s important to have a good plan when making a technology stack selection to build professional, functional software with scalability and security.
Hence the standard practice is to make sure developers consider all the influencing factor-like types of app, the number of users it will support, time to market etc.
Types of Mobile App Development
Before defining the mobile application requirements, based on your project you must identify which format will best capture your requirements. Mobile apps are categorized whether they are web-based or native applications, or specifically for the dedicated platform. If you are looking to combine powerful elements of native and web-based applications, Hybrid app development is the best way.
Native applications, web-based applications, and hybrid applications all can cater to mobile users needs. There is no clear winner or a specific unique best solution as each type of development has its own strengths and weaknesses. Such recommendations and choices depend on your project requirements. The below table list some of the strengths and weaknesses of each mobile application type.
Mobile Application Types- Native Apps Vs Hybrid Apps
Mobile Application Type
As the technologies have few standard bundles, like Native apps use any database and backend technology but when you need to decide upon Hybrid and cross-platform app development you can consider full-stack development like MEAN (Mongo, Express, Angular Js & Node Js) or MERN (Mongo, Express, React & Node Js) or MEVN (Mongo, Express, Vue Js & Node Js).
So if you see the database recommended for full-stack development or cross-platform development is MongoDB and for backend Node js even hen React is founded by Facebook & Angular is maintained majorly by Google with a community of individuals and companies. Similarly, Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google.
So generally small apps are best suited with Native or Hybrid but apps big in size would be developed using Native tech stack. So as a standard practice of technology selection also plays a major role and you should be aware of the prime reasons for the adoption of the same.
Designing or UI/UX standards for mobile app designing
Even if you select the best technology stack carefully and your developer gives his best and the code is done great. The apps poor design or UI/UX will have a direct impact on the apps low performance.
Hence User Interface & User experience needs to be given a high priority and hence UI/UX design standards play an important role.
What Are UI standard Guidelines?
In UI design, every designer needs to follow some principles & general guidelines to follow as that help them to build a consistent look and feel across all the screens of mobile apps as a product.
The UI Guidelines describe the best things about UI objects and their behavior by providing real-life examples. Such UI guidelines are often defined at the organizational level and are equally useful for all developers, designers, testers, or the whole team.
“A guideline in his words can be termed as a graphical communication language to share design goals with the designing team & ensure everyone in the team understand the common goal and strive to practice the same.” — (summary of quote) by Yuki Gu
As a concerned mobile app development company, we can share our published guidelines with our client’s request while discussing their project needs. Contact us for Free Quote.
Types of UI Guidelines
The style guidelines describe the manifestations of a business that presents the world. Every business has its own style guide that they use to create logos, colours, images and symbols.
This describes the complete structure of the interface. The UI can be designed using a list or a grid layout or list, such a guide also contains responsive construction behaviour.
Components of the UI-
These guidelines provide specifications and UI elements that are displayed on the interface and the user can interact with them. UI items include standard controls like dialogue boxes, menu items, input controls, design windows, chat boxes, panels, header menus, footer views, navigation bars, labels, buttons and many more similar things.
Text guides cover the style as well as set the tone of the text that should be used in the UI. The text should be understood easily by people from different cultures who form your audiences. Text specifications such as the size of the font, background and text colour, and bold or italic or no style are part of these guidelines. Text display in UI such as fields, labels, messages, and user information.
Cooperation and Conduct-
The types of communication (click, action, voice) that the user makes about the project, and the program’s response to this interaction are part of such guidelines.
Platforms nowadays are changing at a fast pace as software and mobile, software and automotive applications are developed for standard desktop applications. The organization’s UI guidelines contain details of all platforms & act as decision guides.
To design a system accessible to all, it is required to follow few specific guidelines which are set and predefined for users facing different types of disability like partial vision, the main aim is such users can feel & access the design like any other user.
Reusable patterns are generally included in such UI guidelines. Such patterns describe the behaviour or feeling of the regulator body or regulators. There are a few examples for pagination, navigation, search boxes and buttons, forms for various use & data formats while input etc.
The guidelines contain a set of resources that can be used in the design of the program. Such resources offer multi-device design templates, thumbnail sets, libraries, UI fonts along with various colour schemes or palettes.
Collection of UI Guidelines
The below list is a collection of UI guidelines offered by top companies in the industry:-
- Microsoft- Desktop design & UWP Apps, Desktop design, Design guidelines
- Apple- Guidelines for Desktop design & Mobile design.
- Google- Material design, WearOS, Augmented Reality (AR) Designing, & Android Auto
Following the above UI guidelines will help you improve usability with the look & feel of your products.
What Are UX standard Guidelines?
Consistency and standards. UI/UX designers should make sure that apart from the graphic elements, name conventions & terminologies are maintained across the platforms. For e.g- if an icon is used to represents a category or concept, it should not be used to represent another concept even if it’s used on a different screen.
Types of UX Guidelines
UX is not (only) a UI. User Experience is part of the User Experience. User Experience (UX) focuses on understanding users, their needs, interests, abilities, and limitations. It also looks at the business objectives and goals of the project management team. Good UX practices encourage the improvement of the quality of user interaction with your product ideas and any related services.
UI vs UX- Changing the UX with a UI design, as if these two things are the same, is a common mistake for many designers. It is important to understand the differences between the two categories.
The main purpose of UX is to ensure that end-users get value for what we offer them. For the designer to convey a practical and important user experience, the design must be:
- Unique: Your content must be unique, genuine and meet the requirement
- Usable: The site should be easy to use
- Desire: Image, identity, product and other building materials are used to evoke emotion and appreciation
- Available: Content needs to be properly navigated and available on-site and off-site
- Accessible: Content must be accessible to people with disabilities
- Trustworthy: Users should trust and trust what you tell them.
In a nutshell, the user interface is the space where interaction between people and a product takes place, while the User Experience is an emotional effect after a product encounter.
Collection of UI Guidelines
Below is a list of collection of UI guidelines from few popular companies:-
- Microsoft- User experience guidelines.
- Apple- UX design guidelines.
- Google– Material design, WearOS, Augmented Reality Design, & Android Auto
Following the above UI guidelines will help you improve usability with the look & feel of your products.
Now once the UI/UX guidelines are followed for mobile app designing. The next thing to consider is the actual development in any technology stack.
Mobile App Development Standards for Developers
There are no specific standards by any governing or authority body for mobile app development, so every organization need to develop their own standards for mobile app development keeping the aspects which we have discussed next.
What are the different standards for mobile application developers?
As there are various programming languages used to code mobile apps. So every programming language have their own coding standards as below:-
Coding Standards for Mobile App Development Languages
|Programming Language||Coding standard Links|
|Kotlin||Android Kotlin coding conventions & Google’s Android coding standards for Kotlin|
|Swift||Apple Swift coding standards|
|Objective c coding standards||Objective c coding standards|
|Java coding standards||Oracle Java coding standards|
|Flutter coding standards||Flutter coding standards|
|React coding standards||React Native coding standards|
|Ionic coding standards||Ionic coding standards|
|Cordova coding standards||Cordova coding standards|
|Xamarin coding standards||.NET Framework Design guidelines|
|Angular coding standards||Angular coding standards|
|Node Js coding standards||Node Js coding standards|
|Laravel coding standards||Laravel coding standards|
Laravel Basic coding standards
Laravel Autoloading standards
|Node Js coding standards||Node Js coding standards|
Arka Software is one of the top mobile app development company and our developers are well versed with the above coding standards and follow the best mobile app coding standards to ensure the code is easy to read and provides optimum performance.
Also, along with the coding standard best practices & styling guides, depending upon the location of the targeted app, domain or the industry of your mobile app, developers may need to be aware of various industry compliances & follow any specific coding standards as well. For the healthcare industry, you would need to follow the HIPAA & HL7 compliances. Similarly, if the app is going to target the European market, then the developer needs to be aware of the GDPR compliance & principles for app development.
EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) 6 data protection principles
Lawfulness, Fairness & Transparency-
This principle states that organizations must make sure that their data collection methods are law-abiding and are transparent with data usage.
Organizations should only collect personal information for a specific purpose, state clearly what that purpose is, and collect data only when necessary to further execute that purpose. Data storage to maintain a public benefiting record or for scientific, historical or mathematical purposes is granted additional freedoms under this rule.
Organizations should only consider the personal data they require to achieve processing goals. This offer 2 benefits, 1st in the event of a data breach, the unauthorized person will be able to access a limited portion of data. 2nd, as the data is less so updating and maintenance of the data accurately gets easier.
The data accuracy for anyone personal crucial data is associated with data protection. This GDPR principle states that “all reasonable steps should be taken” to remove or rectify inaccurate or incomplete data. People have the right to request their inaccurate or incomplete data be cleared or corrected within thirty days.
Similar to the above rule of updation, organizations need to comply to delete all personal information when it is not needed in future. According to a marketing company, Epsilon Abacus survey for GDPR, organizations & business owners state that “they should be permitted to keep record or track of data for the total duration of that person considered as a customer”.
To be honest there is no standard period detailing in days or months a user will be customer per industry you are working and reasons for data collection. So in such a case, any organization that is unsure about how long personal information should be kept should consult a legal GDPR Consultant for help.
Integrity and Confidentiality-
This principle focuses on data security. It states for the personal data that needs to be processed in any manner the developer ensures to offer complete security of the data, not limited to safeguard against not authorized or not permitted by law for processing and ensure there is no loss of data even by accident, by damage or by destruction, & the developer should abide by using right technical and organizational steps to offer integrity & confidentiality)”.
This GDPR principle is deliberately unclear on what steps to be taken by organizations, because of the frequent technology changes.
Till the time there is no clear guidance every organization should encrypt and/or user pseudo names i.e pseudonymize such crucial data wherever & whenever possible, after considering all the other appropriate options available or recommended.
Other Industry Standard practices for Mobile App Development
1. Visibility and time
An app developer needs to understand and respect the relevant context in which his or her application collects and uses the information. If the app is processing financial data, users will expect the developer to implement and follow a higher level of coding standards and methods to ensure data is secure while processing sensitive data.
The hired mobile app developer should provide the users with additional notification, options, or acknowledgment when his or her application accesses or collect any sensitive information or store data that may not be visible to the user.
It is necessary to explain to the users why the developer needs access to such crucial data and also offer the option to the users to delete or revoke the access wherever possible. This falls majorly in line with GDPR compliance.
2. Data Security and Storage
Due to recent media hype around data breach on popular portals, data security and storage has gained a lot of attraction. Hence to avoid media scrutiny and data breach, development should be done such that mobile applications should not access or collect user data unless the application requires it.
If you were to collect or transfer data that your app would need for any irrelevant purpose, the developer would be putting yourself and your users at risk.
In case data access and storage are required for a legitimate purpose then the transfer and collection of targeted data should be done in a secure & transparent way where users are given options regarding the use of their important information for that purpose only.
However, the app should maintain its own rules regarding the use of user information and its collection for various purposes such as promotion, identification, validation, etc.
Astringent policy for violations of the terms of operation of the platform should be implemented such that misuse of the same can get a user into trouble with the app store or platform and in a few cases, with administrators.
As a standard precaution, the developer should not access or destruct any data or traces that do not need to be stored for any specific business purpose post use.
It is important to limit the total amount of sensitive data connected to the user identifier or use parts of data to implement de-identification as detailed below.
Only store any sensitive data with a unique identifier for the given time to use the application and deliver any service to users.
Never store user data at a time that may not be important another day or instance. The same standard principle should be applied to whether you store user data on their own devices, on your servers, or even on 3rd party cloud platform.
Mobile app developers need to remember to clear any associated data or separate indicators of deleted data.
Following these standard mobile app development practices, the company actually respects the privacy interests of the user and helps them to protect your end-user and your company in the event of a data breach. If your app’s security is violated, you may be charged with failure & it may impact your business so it makes sense to apply reasonable security procedures and let your users know that their personal data is safe.
Deleting any user data information after account deletion or if required destruct the crucial personal data and referencing the same with de-identified information. Users have complete rightly to expect that after closing their account, all of their data will be actually deleted from your server, If the nature of your business requires you to store some data the same needs to be done by following legal storage restriction limits as per the guidelines issued by your government.
Failing to abide by such rules may put you at risk to face any kind of legal issues. So a mobile app developer should consider offering a few common security and privacy controls in settings post the user login in my account section. Also, proper notification should be offered to the user detailing what happens to his stored information post the user deletes his data.
3. Provide Security Measures
A mobile app developer should understand & handle the various security risks associated with the application such as the sensitivity of certain information that is collected and stored and the number of users using the application.
All crucial data that applications use, access, store or transfer data of any individual need to be rigorously tested for various security purposes.
Identify any leaks or scenarios technical and non-technical which can impact the data security and find alternative solutions to comply with current state-of-the-art security measures.
It is also important to use data storage policies and security measures that will help to ensure that user data is properly protected.
Apart from the coding practices special security measures also need to be implemented at the server level where the application backend will be hosted and the live app will access such data.
4. Data encryption
As per the business flow many times, the data may need to be shared with 3rd party API for processing such as payment integration and verification.
In such scenarios, the developer needs to be well versed with encryption of data when transferring to 3rd party or while verifying user’s information or transferring any personal information.
Mobile application needs to be programmed such that they provide optimal protection of user data from transfer especially if that particular data is passed as session data, authentication data or personal information.
As per reports the modern hacking tools have also improved a lot and have made smuggling unsafe connections much easier, especially in the case of insecure Wi-Fi networks.
While practicing advanced coding standards the developer needs to implement basic protection as well to avoid various problems using SSL / TLS on all forms of server communication as the latest backend providers have no problem measuring SSL on any transaction number.
Encrypt any personal crucial data on behalf of users like passwords, person unique identification details, phone numbers, or any sensitive information. Whenever possible, developers need to make sure the app is properly recording user data, and important verification information such as email addresses, usernames and passwords.
A common logic to offer enhanced security to any data is to make the identification of any person based on data. So it makes sense to split the identifying data into various chunks or parts that when combined can only identify a unique entry.
Hence developers need to make various efforts to identify crucial user data before sharing it with any other 3rd party.
So if purely identified data is something that can be linked to a specific user in any logical way. This can be generally achieved by usually scrubbing the unique identification features like personal data, making it relatively safe for privacy without making any effort to maintain scientific or commercial value. Thus de-identification can be the best practice to offer exceptional security as in such case the developer will need to write and implement his own algorithms which by default is only know to him and adds value to secure the app development.
6. User Verification
The best method to secure data is to make sure that users can easily kill all data created or traces of the data by simply log out of the session using a mobile client and that their password changes on the backend side which does not allow current sessions for mobile clients.
Two-factor authentication is the best option if your mobile app accesses collects or stores any sensitive or crucial data. In the case of high usage or crucial financial applications, this process is very important.
When we talk about security privacy and policy need to go hand in hand. During the mobile app development, we need to make sure that the mobile app development company or the client thinks about privacy. You should always have at least one person in charge to ensure that separate privacy protections are properly integrated into the applications & tested during the development stages.
8. Hear & Respond to your user
Through the development process, only you and the mobile app developer are involved, who plan, develop and launch the mobile app based on various findings, discoveries, surveys, research, and assumptions. But at the end of the day, if the end-user for whom it’s made is not able to communicate with you, the communication cycle does not complete.
So you need to provide your users with easy ways to contact you and you should respond to their problems and questions as soon as possible.
You should allow users to contact you with any questions, complaints, or concerns easily. This can be easily achieved with a simple contact us form or chat widget which is accessible within your app, any feedback forum, or provide a specific email address or support number that your users can use to directly contact you.
You should take enough time to review and respond to your user’s messages and offer not only responses but even proactively give feedback and provide tips and tricks to use the app more securely. The best place also to monitor such responses is on the Google & Apple store where users generally share & rate their experience based on the use of the application.
So you should always respond to any low ratings and work on the new version updates based on the concerns shared here. This standard practice helps you to gain more downloads and maintains a better ranking as major app installs happen on Google play store and apple store.
The development of mobile applications in modern times has created a demand for changing industry standards. These standards protect users and their information and protect the mobile development company.