Maintaining the work of a large online store is not an easy technical task. It is necessary to integrate several different IT-systems and maintain their stable operation. Among them are payment systems, inventory accounting, storefront management, etc. There are two ways to do this: use a ready-made CMS for an online store or write your own.
When such an online store results into the idea to develop a mobile app, it turns out that it is even a more difficult task. Such an app should adapt to the structure of the online store and the systems that integrate with it.
To do this, top app development companies
need to know what the project entails. With that, they can accurately estimate the cost of the project. Based on this knowledge, they can start the development.
What you need to do to start developing
Make a design. In general, this process can be divided into four stages:
- Developers study the project - research the project and describe all the systems with which it integrates;
- Analysts and designers draw what they want from the application - together with the customer they create a prototype of the interface;
- Developers find out how all this will work - design the API architecture and server-side;
- Designers draw how content management will look like - design an administrative panel of the application.
In this article we will talk about the main issues of the first stage - it is the most important. All subsequent steps depend on what the top mobile app development companies find out first. A detailed analysis of the design interface, administrative panel, API architecture, and the server will be discussed.
Research and description of project systems
Here, it is important for developers to understand how the application will be arranged, that is, what services and systems of the online store will need to be integrated into the application API.
What is an API and why is it needed?
API is a set of agreements on how different services, systems, and parts of applications should exchange data with each other.
When it comes to mobile apps, the API
is needed to connect the server of the online store and all the IT systems that it has in it with the client, that is, the mobile app. The API helps to negotiate how to exchange data.
Top mobile app development companies cannot simply transfer data from the server to the app and vice versa. To start doing this, you need to agree on the format of the data transfer.
When the agreement, that is, the API, is ready, the app and the server can interact. The server collects data from IT systems, turns it into a readable format and sends it to the mobile app and vice versa.
So what should be integrated into the API?
To design an API, you need to know the systems it will integrate with and how these systems are built.
- Inventory accounting system
This tells the app which products are on sale. This is necessary in order to prevent ordering for products that are not actually present. This system is integrated and receives data from the stock balance accounting system.
- Logistics of goods
It gives a person the opportunity to choose the delivery address where a particular online store
delivers the goods.
When the developers have studied and understood the project, you can begin to describe the functions of the future app and draw the interface prototype.
What do you need to know about this stage?
The way a person interacts with a mobile app is different from how it interacts with the site. Plus, the app cannot show the same amount of goods or banners as on the desktop screen, because the screens of mobile devices have their limitations. At the design stage, you need to figure out the content to show to the user immediately, how to build navigation through the catalog or functions of the mobile app. Developers will recognize all this and create a prototype interface.
In addition, users of different platforms - iOS and Android - have their own user habits. For example, Android smartphones have a back button, and iOS smartphones do not have it. iOS users are used to pushing the "back" button inside the application, and Android users do not need it. Users of different platforms interact with the application in different ways, so the guidelines for app design will be different for each platform. Mobile app designers know all these features and take them into account when creating interfaces. The Knowledge and experience of a web designer is not enough here.
The functions that developers include in the interface prototype affect the data that the app will need to receive from the server. That is, the services and systems to be included in the API architecture. After designing the interface, design the API and server side.
This process will affect the interface prototype. After that, only the design of the administrative panel remains.
Administrative panel design
Why is this stage important? The mobile app is an additional showcase for an online store. The app, unlike the site, has a different size, format, and method of interaction. People most often look at sites sitting at the table, while applications are used both by standing in transport and walking to work. At the same time, a person perceives information differently.
Applications have different technical capabilities. For example, a push notification can be sent to an app user. This creates an additional communication channel that needs to be managed through the administrative panel.
What to do with all this?
Work on a mobile app for large online stores is a complex and unconventional process. Before you start developing an application for an e-Commerce site, the customers need to understand how the contents are arranged. It is worth preparing for long-term communication with the contractor, and then the communication will be much easier and faster. It is worth it because success lies ahead of increasing profits. Back