By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
SkyTech Mobile a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Data Titan, Sofvue, LLC and the author.
So, you are building a mobile app and you are now ready to share it with the world. It’s an exciting moment, but it can also be overwhelming, even terrifying, especially if you’ve never deployed an app before. There are many different steps that need to be taken before your mobile app is ready for prime time.
If this is the first time you’re deploying an app, it’s important you have the right team assembled. This means having an experienced and reliable mobile app development company who’s able to assist you every step of the way. That said, here are the five keys to consider when deploying a mobile app. By following these five steps, you can increase the likelihood of winning the digital divide and ensuring a successful mobile app deployment. Remember, it’s important to adapt your approach based on the specific needs and context of your target users to provide them with a meaningful and inclusive digital experience.
1- Pre-test All Services Prior to Launch
Some of the key testing variables include checking to ensure all website features, links, forms, and interactive elements work as intended. This includes testing the navigation, buttons, input fields, menus, search functionality, and any other interactive components of your mobile app.
Additionally, and assuming your mobile app has an accompanying SaaS interface, you must also test the website’s compatibility across different web browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer), aka “Compatibility Testing”, and different devices (e.g., desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile).
You must also consider “Usability Testing”, a process that evaluates an app’s user-friendliness and overall user experience. BETA Testers, representing the target audience, perform tasks on the app and provide feedback on its ease of use, intuitiveness, clarity of instructions, and overall usability.
We read about it almost daily where a major company’s network is hacked and millions of records are stolen, so “Security Testing” is vital. Security testing focuses on identifying weaknesses and potential vulnerabilities with your mobile app. This involves checking for secure data transmission (HTTPS), protecting against common web vulnerabilities (such as cross-site scripting or SQL injection), and ensuring user authentication mechanisms are current and stout.
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Other testing requirements can include “Accessibility Testing”, “Integration Testing”, “Interruption Testing”, “Performance Testing” and of course, “App Store Compliance Testing”.
It’s important to note that specific testing processes vary depending on the nature of the mobile app, its intended audience, and available resources. A comprehensive testing strategy helps identify and address issues before launching an app, ensuring a smooth user experience and reducing the need for immediate fixes after deployment.
2- Secure Your Data
You should also be aware of the importance of encryption. Encrypting data at rest or in transit is essential, and there are many ways to do this:
- Use SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security). This is a commonly used protocol for establishing an encrypted connection between two parties. It’s not just used for mobile apps, but for mobile app related sites, user interfaces, SaaS applications, as well as on email servers, FTP servers, and other types of applications.
- Use strong passwords. Strong passwords contain upper-and-lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters like @#$%^&*. Weak passwords include only one type of character such as lowercase letters or all uppercase characters only. Also, where optional, enable two-factor authentication on your accounts when it’s not already required by the vendor whose services are being used.
- Implement Firewalls. Firewalls block unauthorized access attempts from outside sources. Depending on your project’s specific needs and goals, deploy firewalls with proper rules and enabled logging.
3- Set Up Crash Reporting Tools
Crash reporting tools are a critical part of the development process. They allow you to monitor your website and app and determine if they’re having performance issues.
There are several types of crash reporting tools that can help pinpoint what users are doing in your app, how often they’re using it, how long they stay “in session”, and more.
- Crashlytics ( https://firebase.google.com/ ) is a crash reporting tool that will tell you which users are having issues with your app so that you can fix them. It also provides an overview of the most common issues, so if there’s something glaringly wrong with the UX or performance of your app, this should bring it to light quickly.
- Leanplum ( https://www.leanplum.com/contact-us/) Leanplum is a mobile marketing and A/B testing platform that helps optimize user engagement, especially in areas such as mobile gaming, subscription based mobile apps and mobile retail. Leanplum provides A/B testing capabilities for mobile apps, including dynamic experiments, push notification testing, and personalized messaging. Leanplum offers a range of features to analyze user behavior.
4- Staging Release
At Skytech Mobile, we use a three-pronged approach to source code and database management. These include three environments, one for “Development”, another for “Staging” and finally, the “Production Environment”. Over the past few decades, we have found that offering three continuous environments allows us to keep testing database content separated from the production environment database, as well as provide a clean platform for UAT testing during staging release. Through this approach, programmers and testers can freely work without limitation, while employees and customers can work in the “Production Environments” without even realizing that invisible testing is taking place “behind the veil”.
5- Deployment onto Production
Deploying your site to it’s final “Production Environment”, is the final step before you can begin enjoying its full benefits. This process involves setting up new servers, configuring them to match those of your staging environment, transferring files from staging to production, and performing additional testing. At Skytech, all mobile launches are through the Apply Store and Google Play Store. That said, mobile platforms that launch typically include a web-based application, and these applications are typically hosted across Amazon Web Services.
Whether you are new to the process, need some guidance or want to talk to someone in our office about some particular challenges you might be facing, we’re here to help. At SkyTech Mobile, we’ve been developing and launching mobile apps and web-based applications for nearly two decades. To learn more, give us a call at 623-845-2747.