a developer looking at board with UX modifications of an app

You’ve got a polished, working prototype of your app and you’re ready to kick off development. Before you start coding the UI, programming screen-by-screen actions, and building out your mobile backend, now is a good time to take a step back and make sure your app is as fine-tuned as it can be.

While a prototype can get you pretty close to a polished, finished product, it’s best to embark on the development phase armed with a few things: tightened security, a road-tested UI and UX, and some product management expertise to help keep things on track. The more you catch and refine now, the better—not only to avoid tedious revisions and resubmissions, but to keep users from getting a subpar first impression (or worse, have their personal information compromised).

Whether you’re building a native app, hybrid app, or cross-platform app, before you engage a mobile developer to write the first line of code, here are three things to help make sure you’re developing the best version of your app possible.

1. Put Your App’s Success In the Hands of a Skilled Product Manager

Good product management can be the difference between a great app that’s delivered on-time and within budget and an app that misses the mark. They’ll be instrumental before development begins, and during the entire development cycle—especially when it comes to phases that require the (sometimes expensive) time of a mobile programmer.

They’re pros at monitoring the pace, schedules, and output from cross-functional teams—an inevitability in the world of mobile development, where you’re tapping the combined efforts of UX experts, UI designers, programmers, QA and user testing, and more. They also help organize meetings and generate helpful reports throughout the process.

Tip: Have a product manager help you create a roadmap with hard and soft deadlines. These plans help keep everyone on track, set clear expectations, and ensure the end product meets user needs. In return you’ll likely have fewer rounds of revisions, a shorter production cycle, and a better finished product.

2. Tweak Your App’s UX and UI Design

Your prototype is complete with splash screens, navigation, menus, and more—but have you had a (UX) and mobile UI pro weigh in? Have you run your prototype through user testing to see where users are getting hung up? Don’t wait until your app is in development to get costly feedback on usability and appearance; now’s the time to have a pro weigh in.

Whether your app is complex with numerous features and flows or simple with one core function, it needs to be very easy to understand, with straightforward actions and attractive design. Engage a skilled UX designer to optimize your app’s functionality.

Tip: Set aside time and resources to run your app through user testing to ensure it resonates with your target audience and looks how you want it to on compatible devices. This might involve A/B testing to fine-tune designs, manual testing on actual devices, or automated testing to catch bugs and errors.

3. Head Off Security Concerns with Good Mobile Security

Build an airtight app from the ground up by putting mobile security on your radar now, not later. Mobile security gives you a few more things to consider than web-based security, like protecting information that’s bounced between devices and the cloud, or stored locally on devices.

Look into two-factor authentication and authorization measures to protect your users’ sensitive info and secure logins. Authorization is generally dependent on that authentication step, and allows third-party applications to access your information via an authorization server and a one-time “token” that grants access between the two. With authorization, you’re able to more securely share personal information between applications.

More importantly, you’ll want a strategy to encrypt mobile data that’s in transit and at rest to prevent hackers from stealing sensitive information. Utilize software-based encryption measures like full-disk and file-based encryption to safeguard data shared between endpoints, stored on your server or in the cloud, or stored locally on devices.

Tip: Developing an Android app? Be sure to read up on the latest, like DNS over TLS security.

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