4 Essential Mobile Development Design Approaches

Zey Ngobese
23 June 2022

What is mobile development?

Mobile application development is the set of processes and procedures involved in writing software for small, wireless computing devices, such as smartphones and other hand-held devices. Similar to web applications, mobile app development has its roots in more traditional software development. However, one critical difference is that mobile apps are often written specifically to take advantage of the unique features of a particular mobile device.

The importance of mobile app development

Mobile apps help in enhancing business accessibility. They assist businesses to develop a robust relationship with customers, permitting strong customer loyalty and a genuine customer base. Similarly, mobile apps permit the users to have functional access to products, information, process, and services that they would demand in real-time. Moreover, it enables the business to send notifications about changes in products and services or something new. Even without the internet, apps perform these simple functions.

Essential mobile development design approaches

Before investing in a mobile app, a business must decide the approach they will follow to build an app. The most commonly known approaches include — native apps, cross-platform apps, hybrid apps, progressive web apps, and rapid mobile app development.

Native app approach

Native apps are built for use on a particular device and its Operating System (OS). It has the ability to use device-specific hardware and software. Additionally, native apps can provide optimized performance and take advantage of the latest technology, such as a GPSCompared to web apps or mobile cloud apps, Native apps are developed to be generic across multiple systems.

The native apps approach also has design principles used to make the development process easier when designing apps for different platforms. This is our essential mobile development design approach:

Essential Mobile Development Design Approaches

Mobile development design approaches

As with web development applications, mobile development uses design principles to design uniform applications that are aesthetically pleasing to the user.

Atomic design is one of the design principles mostly used for native mobile applications. It consists of Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates and Page elements and allows us to build a reusable UI component. This reusable component not only accelerates the development process but also allows us to build a uniform application.

As the name suggests, atomic design is inspired by the basic building blocks of nature. At Integrove we build Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates and Pages to get manageable and easy-to-use code.

Atoms

Atoms are the smallest building blocks in our system. Rather than atoms like Oxygen or Hydrogen, in design, we have buttons, inputs, labels and other small elements. Icons fit in this category, whether it’s a menu icon or avatar. They are small elements that come together to form the next stage – molecules.

Molecules

In the molecule stage, we take our independent atomic design elements, each with their own characteristics, style, and format, and begin to bring them together into new groupings. Take for instance our avatar atom. If we combine the avatar atom with name and title labels we can create a profile molecule. Additionally, each atom has carried its unique properties into a group that on its own has distinct characteristics.

Similarly, like in chemistry, we can combine the same atoms in different ways to create unique molecules for use in our design.

Organisms

In the organism’s stage, our collections of atoms and molecules now become more complex. Take for instance our ‘profile’ molecule. It was a simple element comprising of an avatar and a pair of label elements. As we bring that into an organism, we may be adding that into an app header for a profile page, complete with navigation, a background cover photo and some other molecules. This creates our header organism. The organism is not yet a complete design but is a component that can be reused across designs or layout templates.

Template

The template is the first stage of the atomic design methodology that does not align with a stage in the molecular world. However, it is important for atomic design. A template is where we begin to curate our organisms and other elements into a cohesive design.

Pages

Pages are the final stage of the atomic design methodology. You create templates here by creating instances. In the design process you may not design out pages for every instance, but it is helpful to create a few variations.

As your data changes, different profile information, or languages may impact your template design. Additionally, building out to the page stage allows you to test for these variations and make adaptations globally to your templates.

It is possible in some instances you won’t use all organisms in a template. Whether a user doesn’t have those on, or they don’t apply, the pages are where you would adjust what parts of the template show.

Integrove’s mobile app development

At Integrove we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. We create mobile app solutions to suit your specific needs. Additionally, our team of experts can seamlessly integrate with existing information systems and brands. If you want a bespoke app to streamline your business processes, we can assist you to connect the digital dots.

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