The new and innovative world revolving around mobile applications is an unavoidable aspect of modern times. Smartphones have given us almost magical capabilities that provide us with game-changing opportunities that couldn’t exist before. And as mobile apps have become ubiquitous, companies are adopting them to boost their business value. They are using them for practically everything from customer engagement to automating business processes and systems to replacing legacy systems.
Unfortunately, most companies make the mistake of rushing into mobile app development without a clear plan. Without an effective strategy and optimal functionality, such apps provide little benefit. To avoid average results, you need to consider what goes into your mobile app development architecture.
What is Mobile App Architecture?
Mobile application architecture or app architecture is a set of technologies and models for development of reliable, scalable, extensible, and secure mobile apps based on industry-specific standards. It involves the structure of your apps, how they work together with backend services, and the development and maintenance process.
Moreover, mobile applications can be complex to develop and upgrade. Application architecture is a system of interconnected interfaces that enables the quick development of programs in a systematic way. App architecture provides clear guidelines for developers and reduces costs, time, and risks for mobile application projects.
Essentially, application architecture is the three-tiered hierarchy (presented below) used to structure applications for development and data exchange.
Presentation Layer: represents the interaction of the user’s interface with the application (viewing and displaying UI elements). It defines a framework of appearance elements (forms, tables, buttons…), their behavior, and the way they communicate with the business logic.
The presentation layer often referred to as the user interface or UI layer, describes how the presentation of data and other aspects of an application is displayed to the end user. It receives requests from the client and sends back responses based on the type of request. This layer is mainly concerned with the presentation style of your app and the correct usage of controls, such as tabs, menus, and sliders; plus, techniques like displaying images and pulling data from a database into your app’s interface. The presentation layer gets data from the business layer and creates the interface for how users interact with it.
Besides these crucial aspects, there are several types of validation: making sure that users can only access certain information, that certain pages must be visited first before entering another page, and many, many more. These validation rules should be sent to all other parts of your application so that each part has a consistent view of how it should operate.
Business Layer: includes business components, business entities and workflows. It helps manage the company’s business complexity in one place.
The business or domain layer deals with the application logic and is responsible for managing the flow of information. It decides what data needs to be displayed on the screen and when it should be displayed. It also decides how to parse and manipulate business logic. It handles your app’s rules and logic, database access, validation and processing, the main flow of execution, and exceptions. The business layer aggregates its own entities from data gathered from the data layer. Moreover, this layer is the core of your application, and it gets to define everything else.
Data Layer: includes data access components, data utilities, and service agents (data caching, data manipulation, etc.) It simplifies the complexity of operation by providing a single source for access to persistent data (i.e., data storage).
An application’s data access layer serves several critical features. It allows you to meet strict technical requirements and establish security protocols. You must apply the design principle of scalability to this portion of the application so that you can evolve it over time as business needs change.
Mobile Application Architecture Development
Your mobile application architecture is the most crucial step in the development process. But how do you make it right? By taking time at the beginning of the application lifecycle, you can set up your application or website for success by defining clear project and product expectations.
Bear in mind that the strategy and architecture you choose today should be flexible enough to accommodate future requirements. This is perhaps still the most challenging aspect of mobile application development because there are no set rules or processes for designing application architectures. It is going to differ from organization to organization, process to process, and project to project. The architecture you choose for your app needs to support the business requirements and create an overall experience good enough to retain users.
However, there are certain guidelines that can make application architecture design easier for you and your team.
Determine the Device Type
Today when it comes to Android or iPhone devices, there is not a single device that is the same. Even if we are talking about some of the newest Android or iOS devices with the latest and greatest specs, they are still different because of the: screen resolution and size, CPU features, storage space, development framework availability and other features.
To be successful, a mobile application should be tailored to the device it is running on. And it is important to have a mobile application architecture that shares objectives and goals with your application.
Consider the Available Bandwidth
Bandwidth situation is one of the very important aspects while developing an app. No matter how good your app is, if it takes too long to load, then no one will stay on the page long enough to learn anything about your business.
Fluctuations in internet speed, connections, and network stability can have a significant impact on how your client uses the internet. So, it’s important to understand what your users connect to the internet with, and how much bandwidth they are given in their country.
Determine the Right UI Elements
The main purpose of UI design is to make your app convenient and easy to use. A good user interface design in a mobile application should address the user’s needs. It should allow your users the freedom to interact with each element of the system and that too easily. And one of the best ways to ensure your UI is intuitive to use is by ensuring that all visual elements have clear borders, padding, and margins.
Adding the Right Navigation
When it comes to navigation, the user experience is extremely important. The user should never be overwhelmed by your mobile application — in fact, they should be able to intuitively understand how to use it. Therefore, the navigation system you choose must enhance the user experience and make it more enjoyable.
Also, it can be extremely difficult to select the most appropriate navigation strategy, particularly when there are so many available. These are not just different choices to make but rather different worlds and experiences for the user. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
- Search-driven Navigation
- Scroll View
- Hamburger Menu
- Horizontal Navigation
- Vertical Sidebar Navigation
- Footer Navigation
Mobile applications with parts impossible to monetize are destined to fail commercially. App architecture is critical in building a successful mobile app, as it is the skeleton of your application. The architecture determines how a mobile app communicates between the operating system and its features. As such, the quality of your app architecture dictates how smoothly your application runs on any platform.
At XDuce, we specialize in Mobile App Development Architecture, and have been able to overcome the complexity in developing these applications. We have the right mix of technology and experience to deliver the results you want.