app-building
Mobile Applications

The rise of DIY apps that don't require coding skills

This is a contributed piece by Matthew Hunt, CEO at Apadmi Enterprise, the enterprise app development division of the UK’s leading mobile app developer Apadmi

Mobile innovation is at an all-time high, especially with new tools becoming available that allow people with little or no coding skills to create apps. Recognising the importance of going mobile, many businesses are looking to get ahead in the digital revolution but can these tools deliver the desired results for a business app?

The first thing to consider is that an app will be representing the business so the end result needs to uphold the company’s reputation. Tools and services that allow people to build their own apps illustrate that technology is constantly evolving – which is quite an exciting concept. But for businesses looking to use this software, there are a few things that they should give thought to before taking this route.

What type of business are you?

It’s unlikely that these creation tools will appeal to large organisations that are looking to build intricate apps with specific requirements and designs. Apps built through these services usually follow a set structure and so the building process cannot be adapted to suit complicated briefs. For this reason, they tend to be marketed towards smaller companies such as bars and restaurants or not-for-profit organisations that in general have more simplistic requirements and are interested in developing an app on a budget.

What will these services deliver for your company?

Before putting your design ideas on paper, it’s important to consider why you want to build an app. What function will it perform? In some cases a good responsive mobile website can carry out the role that you require and in these circumstances it is perhaps advisable to focus on building the best website possible before looking at creating an app using tools of this type. An app should not be developed simply to deliver the same service as a website. Apps in general are there to provide services to existing customers and not advertise/sell to new customers, this is what web and social is best at. Once you have your customers, the app provides them with the service, but only if it’s the right thing to do.

Think about how the app will be used to improve the customer experience and how it will fit in with the way customers are currently interacting with your business. I would suggest testing out some of the apps that are listed as case studies by the service providers and consider whether the examples would be something you'd be happy to associate your brand with.

Are you ready for the challenges of app development?

If these tools experience issues or defects, these will be evident within your app and this could affect its productivity and potentially your reputation. For example your app could be affected if the service provider is experiencing delays in updating to the latest versions of the operating system - such as iOS updates. This is because you are working with software that is positioned between your app and the mobile operating system.

Are you aware of the restrictions imposed?

You may notice that the finished product from using these services is not dissimilar to some of the other apps out that that were also created in the same way. This is because there are a lot of restrictions when it comes to creativity and you won’t receive the same results as you would with a native application or cross platform solution.

In addition, users of these services will only be able to achieve ‘lite integration’, so you could struggle when trying to integrate the app into existing business systems. And if you decide to leave the platform and swap supplier or go native then you will have to start again.

Overall, these new tools bring with them a range of possibilities and allow people with little or no coding skills to create an app. They’re a great way to get creative and give app building a go, but for businesses that are serious about developing an app that will work for the company and its customers, I would highly recommend that they seek a more advanced method.

For large organisations that have very specific and technical requirements, these services just can’t deliver the same standards. There is potential for them to work for small bars or restaurants, for example, depending on what function it will need to perform. But again, in some cases a well-built website can perform just as well. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see where this technology will lead and hopefully, we will see some success stories from those who have used this kind of software.

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