Developing great cross-platform apps by addressing all platform specific features and design attributes remains a challenge. Every platform has its peculiar set of attributes and reconciling to them to ensure a great user experience is not easy always. A cross-platform app must integrate myriad device specific features and should offer great native capability on each platform. For cross-platform developers striking the right balance between core consistency and native capability is the main requirement, besides obviously maintaining a high degree of platform independence and responsiveness.
1. Focus on relative aesthetics
The look and feel of an app is relative to a platform for which it has been designed. The challenge is to retain a semblance referring to brand identity while making the app look great in each platform and device.
- Always make a basic platform independent app design delivering a core aesthetic for all platforms.
- Now upon the core aesthetics and brand focused design elements add and integrate other platform specific elements to let the app maintain both design consistency and diversity.
- There are some high-performance tools like Appcelerator that can allow a high degree of code reusability while helping you to achieve platform-independent look and feel.
2. Coding for platform specific UI and UX
In cross-platform development reusability of code is a double edged sword. While reusing code helps to maintain the core app logic, it does not help in tweaking the user interface for each platform or creating user experience separately for all. So, besides reusing codes for core area, to optimize platform UI and UX the developer needs to be original in coding.
- Cross-platform development tools should only be used to apply core app logic, content, and functionalities, not for platform independent UI/UX elements.
- Maintain a high degree of uniqueness in coding to create relatively brilliant UI and UX.
3. Build app like platform independent web service
While building cross-platform apps most developers through a habitual inertia get attached to any of the platforms. It mostly happens with the device platform the app is frequently being tested on. This causes significant problems in the cross-platform development. Most notably, such bond provides an obstruction in decoupling the app logic from the specific platform. This is why it is advised to develop apps as platform independent web service.
- Handle app development process like a web service in which UI maintains distance from core app logic.
- There are a lot of development frameworks and modules to help you creating platform specific UI and UX.
4. Address UI attributes of each platform
Each mobile platform has its own set of UI requirements and guidelines. Cross platform apps to deliver a unique native look, feel, and usability, addressing these requirements for each platform is crucial. From device functions, navigation, platform behavior to visual elements, all should be taken care of for each mobile platform.
- An array of platform-specific differences is there and a cross-platform developer should address them.
- Personal level of user experience with similar apps on each platform can be helpful.
5. Get help from tested API modules
Use of app development modules is not only recommended to reduce development time but they can also provide you robust exposure to all native SDKs of various platforms. While development gets pace you gain an array of inputs from native SDKs by using these modules.
- An app development module consists of native development frameworks making your job easier, flexible and value added.
- Most reputed third party app development modules come loaded with a rich toolset and cross-platform frameworks to create a unique user experience in respective platforms.
- Using modules also prevents developers from the bond developed with any particular platform and relative lack of knowledge about others.
6. Test, test, and test
Lastly, how the end product looks and feels across all platforms and allows great performance is crucial. Only repeated and frequent testing on all platforms can make the loopholes and glitches clear. Repeated testing on diverse devices will also offer more insights in optimizing the design.
- Testing often and testing exclusively on all platform-device combinations helps addressing issues in a focused way.
- Frequent testing makes you more confident of the app performance and output.
- Through testing frequently you can prevent counterproductive scenarios like finding faults at later stages of development.
- It is time-saving as at later stages you cannot leave things untested behind.