Mobile App Development Best Practices and Methodologies (Guide 2024)

Mayanka Pant
Apr 24, 2024


Whenever we talk about mobile app development, I remember a great saying by Jim Highsmith, “Build less, start sooner.” The saying perfectly represents the process of developing a mobile app and the hard work, planning, resources, and investment it takes. As stated in our previous blog, 99.5% of consumer apps end up being a failure; the biggest reason remains the mistakes and errors during the mobile app development process. Fortunately, there are several development best practices and methodologies following which you can cement the chances of your app's success, even in this competitive landscape. 

The mobile app development methodologies resemble the entire lifecycle of the project, including planning, designing, developing, deploying, and regular updates. Meanwhile, the mobile app development best practices ensure the creation of high-quality, user-friendly applications that meet the needs of the target audience. 

Today, there are various mobile app development methodologies, each serving a different purpose. However, the abundance of options may confuse businesses and other stakeholders when choosing the best one. To help you choose the right development methodology and follow the best practices for mobile app development, here’s a guide to keep the project roadmap simple and solely focused on goals. 

Key Statistics Showing the Need for App Development Best Practices

  • About 50.6% uninstall an app if it's hogging too much of their phone's memory, as they are keen on maintaining some free storage space. (Source: Intersog
  • A complicated sign-up process could lead to most users uninstalling the app on the very first day. (Source: Intersog)
  • Concerns over security and privacy or unclear policies regarding these matters can lead to 29.6% of users deciding to uninstall the app. (Source: Intersog)
  • Annoying notifications are a major turn-off for users, with 71% stating they would delete the app if bombarded with such alerts. (Source: Intersog)
  • Performance issues such as crashes, freezes, and other errors can lead to 62% of users deleting the app. (Source: Intersog)
  • Data consumption is another factor, with 20% of users indicating they would remove the app if it uses too much data. (Source: Intersog
  • Agile methodology has proven successful in the US, with 71% of companies reporting a 64% success rate in their projects when using this approach. (Source: Topdevelopers)


All these above stats show why following best practices for mobile app development is essential. Remember, errors made during the development process can negatively impact the success of your app. 

Top 10 Best Practices for Mobile App Development

Developing a mobile app is challenging, especially if you’re from a non-technical background. But everything is easier if you know what to do in advance. So, here are some of the latest best practices for mobile app development that will help you keep the process simple and successful. 

1. Everything Starts with Extensive Research

The success of your application depends greatly on how you have researched the market. Initially, you must pinpoint the intended audience for your app. Gaining insights into their identity and behavior patterns will simplify your role as a developer.

After you've determined who your potential users are, you need to ascertain how your app can cater to their requirements. How will your app enhance their lives? What benefits does your app provide?

Are there any existing apps like yours in terms of features and functionality? This implies that competitor analysis is also a crucial part of your research.

Neglecting to conduct exhaustive research prior to starting development could lead to unnecessary expenditure of time and resources in creating an app that lacks demand or appeal.

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2. Choose a Development Method

Not all mobile apps are built equally; choosing the right one depends on your needs. There are three main options: Native, Hybrid, or Web-based mobile apps, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

The type of app you're planning to create can influence your choice. For instance, if you're developing a gaming app that requires a seamless user experience, a native app might be the best fit. While native apps offer excellent performance, they are more costly to develop and are platform-specific.

If you're aiming to launch your app on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store at the same time, a native app might not be the best choice due to its platform-specific nature. In this case, a hybrid app, which is less costly and allows for cross-platform app development, could be a better option.

For those who wish to create an app that isn't bound by the rules of app stores, a web app could be the way to go. 

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3. Prioritize Security

While security might not seem crucial during the initial phases of development, think about your app for a moment. It's going to have a vast amount of data and confidential details. Your application will store information about your organization and your users.

Depending on the purpose of your app, you can gather payment details, such as credit card numbers. You'll have access to data like residential addresses, telephone numbers, and any other information supplied by your users. 

Safeguarding this data should be your responsibility. That's why it's essential to make security a priority from the get-go. Users will be reluctant to share their information if your app lacks robust security measures. A security breach could inflict severe damage to your brand, making recovery challenging.

As an app owner, you are responsible for safeguarding sensitive data by implementing protective measures like encryption and additional strategies, such as two-factor authentication (2FA).

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4. Keep the Design in Mind

The roles of developers and designers are different yet interconnected. Developers are often seen as more technically inclined, while designers are perceived as more artistically driven. However, it's crucial to not lose sight of the bigger picture when it comes to app development.

Understanding the design elements and how they will function is essential for coding the app effectively. To ensure a harmonious collaboration between designers and developers, it's important that everyone in the team shares a common understanding.

Use tools like mood boards to organize your ideas and design components. This not only simplifies the development process but also minimizes the likelihood of making extensive late-stage modifications to accommodate the design.

Even if you're skilled in both development and design, it's still beneficial to sort out your design elements during the initial stages. This approach ensures a smooth and efficient app development process.

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5. Build Around a Strong Core

Establishing a strong foundation is essential before undertaking a mobile app development project. Identify all the essential features that your app needs to function effectively. These will form the basis of your coding.

Additional features and functions can be developed around this foundation. If needed, these can be incorporated later in the development process as plugins.

Incorporating plugins after establishing your core code can help lighten your app. This not only simplifies maintenance but also enhances its speed.

6. Focus on the User Experience

While developing an app, your ultimate goal should be to focus on its user experience. Your app is destined to reach thousands or even millions of users. Consider why users tend to choose mobile apps over mobile websites. 


It narrows down to aspects such as:

  • Convenience
  • Speed
  • User experience

From the get-go, you need to ensure that your time, effort, and resources are dedicated to these key areas. Making the user experience a priority will help guarantee your app's success and profitability, which should be your primary motivation for this venture. 

7. Follow the App Store Development Guidelines

Once you've chosen your platform, it's crucial to adhere to its specific guidelines to ensure the successful deployment of your app. It's essential to familiarize yourself with the rules and best practices of both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, even if you're currently developing for just one of them.

As previously mentioned, your goal should be to eventually have your app available on both platforms. Although this will require writing new code when you expand to the other platform, understanding these guidelines from the outset will simplify the process in the future.

Non-compliance with these guidelines could result in your app being rejected from the store. Therefore, it's advisable to comprehend these regulations in advance to avoid potential delays or complications.

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8. Personalization Matters

Let's proceed with our discussion of your app’s user experience. It's crucial to ensure that each user has a unique, tailored experience, and this should be a key consideration throughout your development process.

Include code that facilitates the integration of analytics and other similar tools into your app. These tools are instrumental in tracking and understanding your users' behavior and preferences. This data can then be utilized to customize their experience.

For instance, if you're developing a shopping app, you can leverage the data on a customer's browsing habits to send them push notifications that align with their interests. This way, the user experience is not only personalized but also engaging.

9. Plan for Regular Updates

Your app development journey doesn’t end with just releasing it to App Stores; it's a continuous cycle of enhancements and routine upkeep. It's important to note that maintaining an app isn't always a low-cost endeavor.

It's beneficial to plan ahead for these expenses to avoid future hassles and potentially save some funds. You'll want to ensure that the app's components are easily accessible and adaptable for future updates.


It is crucial to keep your app in top-notch condition at all times. This ties back to our previous emphasis on prioritizing the user experience. Remember, a well-performing app is key to a great user experience.

10. Ask for Feedback

Asking for feedback and working on them is crucial to building your application successfully. We've mentioned this before in the context of testing, but it's important enough to explore more deeply. 

Indeed, beta testers will provide you with valuable insights. However, don't stop there. Consider seeking advice from fellow developers that you know.

Working on a single project for a long time can make it challenging to maintain an unbiased viewpoint of your work. You might overlook glaring issues or areas for improvement, but another developer could spot them easily. 

Now that we have discussed the top best practices for mobile app development, let’s proceed to cover another crucial aspect of app development, i.e., methodologies. 

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What Are App Development Methodologies? 

App development strategies are structured guidelines that offer a systematic way to create an app. These strategies guarantee that the end product is superior quality, aligns with user needs, and is delivered punctually and within the allocated budget. 

Here are some key reasons why selecting the appropriate app development methodology is crucial:

  • It ensures that the development team understands the project specifications and delivers a final product that satisfies those specifications.
  • It offers a structure that streamlines the development process, minimizing the chances of confusion and missed deadlines.
  • It assists in pinpointing potential project hazards and reduces the probability of project failure due to unexpected events.
  • It fosters effective communication and comprehension among team members, enhances teamwork, and minimizes the risk of miscommunication.
  • It helps control project expenses and ensure the project is finished within the budget.

Top 3 Tried-and-Tested Mobile App Development Methodologies

There is no dearth of methodologies used in app development, each offering distinct benefits and drawbacks. While some strategies offer greater adaptability and a faster route to market, others prioritize product specifications, thorough testing prior to product launch, and documentation.


Choosing the best mobile app development methodology is influenced by a number of factors, including the budget set aside for the project, the speed at which the product needs to be launched, and the resources on hand to execute the project.

The majority of app development methodologies can be classified into one of three categories:

  • Waterfall
  • RAD (Rapid Application Development)
  • Agile

Let’s take a look at each of these development methodologies in brief:

1. Waterfall Methodology 

The Waterfall methodology is characterized by its systematic and sequential approach. It begins with a comprehensive planning and analysis phase, where the client provides a detailed list of desired features and functionalities for the app. The project manager then distributes the tasks among the team members.

The name 'Waterfall' signifies the one-way flow of the process. Once a phase is completed, there's no going back. The team collaboratively builds the app according to the outlined specifications. Mobile app development starts after the design architecture is finalized. The complete app is then tested thoroughly for functionality before it's presented to the client for implementation.

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Advantages of Waterfall Methodology

  • The waterfall model is extremely thorough and an excellent choice for large-scale projects that require a unified vision.
  • It allows for more accessible training of junior programmers as they can focus on specific parts of the development without being overwhelmed by the entire project.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Methodology

  • The model lacks the flexibility to accommodate changes often occurring during development.
  • Even if the team successfully builds the app as per the original requirements, changes in the market, technology, or organization could render the app useless, making the whole process a waste of time.

2. Rapid Application Development (RAD) Methodology


Rapid Application Development (RAD) stands in stark contrast to the traditional waterfall method. The primary focus of RAD is on swiftly creating functional prototypes and refining them through continuous iterations. This approach fosters a close-knit collaboration between the development team and the client throughout the project.

RAD teams are typically compact, comprising seasoned developers with a wide range of skills. The flexibility of the RAD approach allows for easy adaptation to any changes in the project's original plan.

The product undergoes further refinement with each completed iteration in the RAD model. Initial prototypes might be quite basic, but they provide a glimpse into the potential of the final product. Subsequent iterations bring the product closer to its final form.

Advantages of RAD Methodology

  • The strengths of RAD lie in its speed, adaptability, and the strong relationship it fosters with the client. It can respond to changes more swiftly than the waterfall method. 
  • RAD is not overly committed to any single prototype and is always ready to modify it to better meet the client's needs.

Disadvantages of RAD Methodology

  • RAD necessitates the involvement of highly skilled (and consequently, highly remunerated) programmers to handle the project's potentially fluctuating complexity. 
  • The emphasis on feature addition over strict adherence to deadlines could potentially lead to project delays.

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3. Agile Methodology

While agile app development resembles RAD, it has been adapted to better suit larger projects. Like RAD, it's an iterative process, but the focus is on the step-by-step creation of individual features. The team meticulously crafts each feature, and the customer is actively involved in reviewing and approving each feature before moving on to the next.

In Agile, we use "sprints," which are periods during which a specific feature is expected to be developed, tested, and demonstrated. The aim is to encompass the entire Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for a feature within each sprint. This ideally helps to adhere to a predetermined timeline and allows for regular reviews.

Advantages of Agile Methodology

  • Agile prioritizes delivering value to customers by addressing their needs and preferences. It empowers teams to take ownership of their work and make collective decisions. 
  • Agile encourages robust collaboration among product owners, developers, and other stakeholders throughout the development journey.

Disadvantages of the Agile Methodology

  • Due to Agile's iterative and incremental approach, accurately predicting project timelines and outcomes can be challenging. 
  • Agile heavily relies on continuous feedback and involvement from customers and stakeholders. If customers are not available or need more domain knowledge, it can hinder development and cause delays.


Developing high-performing, bug-free, and efficient mobile apps can propel a business forward and captivate end users. Adhering to best practices during the app development process can enhance the app's success among its users. Apart from following the best practices, app development methodologies are also crucial aspects of the process. 

As said earlier, there are numerous application development methodologies available today, but choosing the best one for your business app can be challenging. Remember, the suitable methodology for mobile app development is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it depends on various factors, such as the scope of the project, specific project requirements, and the target audience's expectations.

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