While searching for a solution for making your next app, you may have stumbled on Rapid Mobile App Development solutions, also known as RMAD. These solutions position themselves as a code free solution to creating an original app, often using a drag and drop interface. The simplistic nature of RMAD means that creating an app with an RMAD solution is often fast, but it is hard to create something custom in design or in function.
RMAD may look great on the surface: accessible, code-free programming you can use to quickly create a mobile app for your customers or your staff. Unfortunately, the easy way out is rarely the best way.
While RMAD can work for a business under certain limited circumstances, it also presents a handful of key challenges. Below, we outline the limitations of RMAD so you can make a fully informed decision about whether it’s right for your business.
While RMAD allows you to do everything in-house, you must evaluate whether your in-house resources can deliver the expertise needed to plan and develop an app from start to finish. At a glance, it may seem more costly to hire a professional developer when you can utilize RMAD to put together the app interface on your own. But, remember that when you do it yourself, you’re also on your own when it comes to design and feature decisions for your interface. Do you have someone on your team with experience in UI and UX trends and best practices?
The development of an app’s interface is just one of many reasons to hire a professional developer. A dedicated mobile app development team comes with a breadth of experience in the industry: Which user experience elements resonate best in your sector? What is the competition doing? What are the latest and greatest upgrades you should be integrating into your app? Where can you set yourself apart? These are questions developers can and will answer when you bring them onto your project.
Opting for RMAD means losing the strategy collaboration and expert feedback that comes with hiring a development team.
U.S. consumers now spend an average of five hours per day on their mobile devices, giving them ample opportunity to discover your mobile app. Consistent branding is important to make a positive first impression, capture new audiences, and build brand recognition across your consumer base.
Unfortunately, RMAD makes it difficult to personalize your app to your exact branding standards. Companies that choose RMAD as a development tool do so at a trade-off: a faster process and lower cost, at the price of total control over functionality and brand design. You will be able to create a semi-customizable app through RMAD, but it likely won’t be consistent with the graphic standards of your other online assets, including your website. This can confuse loyal fans of your brand when launching your app, if it doesn’t appear clearly connected to your brand it may distract customers from the purpose of the app.
Something we often fail to appreciate about the best apps is the way they seamlessly integrate with other platforms used by the same business. We’re talking about how your mobile app talks to your online store; how the email address a customer inputs on your app registers properly in your user system; and how the purchases made on your website or in-store are automatically reflected in the app, as well.
While you can produce an app quickly and by using RMAD, you likely won’t have access to the backend; i.e. the way your app interacts with any other systems of your business. Not all RMAD platforms are built equally, and some may not connect well with your existing online infrastructure. If your users encounter any errors when trying to connect between your app and your company’s website, for instance, you may not have full insight into the connectivity issue in order to resolve it.
Additionally, while RMAD may offer a convenient way to develop one simple app, it’s not well-suited for a company that wants to produce multiple apps for different functions. It quickly becomes overwhelming to manage them all without proper resources in place.
Your customer’s privacy is of the utmost importance. It’s hard to ensure security and trust if you store this valuable information in a platform where you don’t have complete control over privacy settings and upgrades. RMAD platforms can be intuitive and fast to use, but they can also compromise app security parameters. Even if you develop an app using a secure version of an RMAD platform, you won’t have control over bugs or updates that could create potential security breaches in the future. Working with a professional development team gives you better control over the security measures and the task of keeping them updated moving forward. Favoring a cloud-based (or other off-device) data holding center is another good way to avoid security risks.
In the end, there are situations in which RMAD make sense, but they are few and far between. If you’re operating under a very tight budget or deadline and if the app functions you need are extremely simple, it may work for you. In the end, though, RMAD is best reserved for the prototyping stages of a project — brainstorming the product you eventually want your mobile developers to expertly build to your exact specifications.
If your company has made the decision to create its own mobile app, it’s best to do it right the first time with an experienced development team.