Stay ahead of the game with these 8 biggest Android app development trends. Discover the latest advances and techniques that will shape the future of Android app development.
6 tips for faster Android app development
“Money loves speed.”
Regardless of who came up with that quote, it exposes a fundamental truth about business: The one who launches first tends to get the money.
The same is true with apps.
If you have a cutting-edge app idea, your goal is to get it to your users ASAP before your competitors do.
But with app development taking an average of 4 to 6 months (possibly more), launching fast can be a big challenge.
Fortunately, you can adopt a few simple strategies that can help speed up your Android app development.
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Go Agile to shorten your release cycles
Your software methodology greatly impacts your app development, most especially your timeline. And for most projects, we can’t think of any approach that could speed it up like Agile.
If you’re unfamiliar with Agile, it’s an approach where you divide app development into sprints. Each sprint lasts a few weeks and contains every development step, from planning to testing.
Sprints work in sequence, where the output of one sprint is fed into the next sprint. This cycle is repeated until the project is finished.
This iterative process is what makes the Agile methodology so much faster.
Because your team goes through the planning and testing phases multiple times, you expose the software to more testing and feedback.
This means you can find more bugs earlier, where they’re cheaper and much quicker to fix.
Ironically, this means you spend less time troubleshooting because you can correct critical but avoidable mistakes.
Contrast this to traditional approaches like Waterfall, where steps are done sequentially.
If you make a mistake later on, it’ll be more costly and time-consuming to go back to an earlier step and correct it.
Source: Segue Technologies
Another advantage of Agile is that it makes your team much more adaptable to changes.
For example, if a competitor forces you to add a new functionality to your app, you can easily do so with Agile.
But with the Waterfall method, you’ll need to go back to the very beginning of the process.
All these lead to a faster time-to-market.
In fact, studies by QSM Associates show that Agile projects are launched faster (i.e., their time-to-market is lower) than the industry average.
Source: Delta Matrix
The bottom line is that for most complex app projects with changing or uncertain requirements, the Agile methodology is essential in giving a quality output in record time.
Opt for low-fidelity wireframes
Low-fidelity wireframes are one of the best tools to achieve a great user experience (UX) much faster.
Indeed, wireframes can cut design time by half. That’s a dramatic speed-up! But why is that?
First, let’s explain what low-fidelity wireframes are.
These are basically a rough sketch of your proposed app design. They only use basic shapes to represent the elements in your UI, with absolutely no colors or fancy graphics.
Wireframes also have text to explain certain elements and arrows to indicate flow.
The goal is to evaluate the app design’s layout, components, and flow. Finer details like colors, typography, and look and feel are evaluated much later, using a high-fidelity wireframe.
Here’s a low-fidelity vs. high-fidelity wireframe for comparison:
The most important characteristic of a wireframe is that you can assemble it very quickly. You don’t even need fancy software to draw it.
Just plain paper and pencil will do—in fact, it’s preferable because it’s faster.
Speed is critical because it allows you to flesh out your design ideas much faster. This allows you to show it to others and get their feedback.
You then apply this feedback to the next version of your wireframe and review it again.
You repeat this process, iterating and optimizing your design every time.
Once you have a wireframe that everyone’s happy with, you can turn it into a high-fidelity wireframe, mockup, or prototype for further evaluation.
The benefit of this process is that you arrive at a good design much sooner. You also involve all stakeholders in the final design, which is great for getting them to buy into it.
Plus, you also get to uncover and fix UX design flaws early on.
However, don’t make the mistake of simplifying your wireframes too much—like the example below:
Source: Google Ventures Library
We don’t know about you, but we’re struggling to understand the idea portrayed in this wireframe!
There must be a balance between simplicity, time spent, and clarity. When in doubt, use annotations to explain certain elements clearly in the wireframe.
Or you can also use wireframing software if you don’t trust your own drawing skills.
Get the latest tools and plugins
Tools have always existed to make our tasks easier and faster to accomplish. The same is true with Android app development.
Android tools can help you save time by streamlining or automating common but tedious tasks.
Android Studio, the native integrated development environment (IDE) for Android, is probably the best example of this. It contains various features that could help speed up development.
For instance, the Gradle build system will help create Android app packages by bundling all assets automatically.
It can also help you save time when generating packages for various builds.
Source: DevOps School
Another great tool in the Android Studio IDE is the Emulator.
This allows you to test your app on virtual instances of Android devices conveniently instead of installing and running it on multiple physical devices.
Apart from Android Studio, there are hundreds of great tools you can try. Some are especially useful for implementing advanced capabilities with minimal coding time.
One example is ML Kit, Google’s tool for easily adding machine learning and artificial intelligence to Android apps.
This opens up features like text cognition, face detection, speech processing, and motion analysis.
Source: APK Monk
But probably one of the most critical tools in developing Android apps (or any type of software) is GitHub.
GitHub is an online repository that allows you to store different versions of your source code and project assets.
This has multiple benefits, such as sharing files remotely and having a safe place to back up your project.
But the ability to go back to any version of your source code is perhaps the biggest pro of using GitHub.
It’s an incredible timesaver when you or the client want to revert to a previous feature or code you already removed.
Save time by using third-party libraries
Third-party libraries are the most effective ways to cut your development time dramatically.
Imagine you need to create your app login with multiple authentication protocols like MFA and biometrics.
This would take weeks to code from scratch. Not to mention that errors and bugs could delay it much further.
Instead, why not just use third-party libraries? Essentially, you’re using proven code someone else has built and tested.
This helps you create advanced functionality with minimal effort. Fewer lines of code are involved, which could help speed testing and troubleshooting.
One example is Glide, a library that handles and processes images in your app.
This is useful because image handling in Android can be incredibly tricky as there’s the risk of memory problems.
Source: C1 CTech
Another good third-party library is OKHttp.
Even though modern apps are online, coding network calls can be tedious and tricky. It’s even more challenging if you want to do it optimally.
OKHttp encapsulates the complex networking code into an easy-to-use library. With it, you’ll only need a few lines of code to handle HTTP requests efficiently in your app.
However, you also need to be careful when using third-party libraries.
A poorly coded library can cause problems like slow performance or memory problems. In some cases, it could even introduce a security vulnerability that will make your app easier to hack.
Thus, it’s best to use only third-party libraries from reputable developers who still update it regularly.
One way to check this is through the library’s GitHub page under the Insights tab. This tells you how often the developer contributes (or updates) the project.
Low or zero support might indicate an abandoned project.
An abandoned project is risky because it can’t respond to growing cybersecurity threats and market changes.
If you’re using a third-party library that’s no longer supported, switching it out ASAP is best.
But despite these risks, third-party libraries are a fundamental strategy for speeding up your Android app development times.
Utilize automation to speed up testing
There’s no doubt that testing is one of the most important phases in app development. But it could also be a time-consuming process that slows down your timeline.
Fortunately, automation can help speed up your testing dramatically.
Instead of running the test himself, the tester could write test cases and feed them into the automated testing software.
This will execute automatically and record outputs for the tester to review.
Automated testing can run hundreds of test cases and iterations in seconds instead of hours when done manually.
This saves you tons of time and could cut your testing schedule drastically.
Additionally, automation can expose your app to hundreds of scenarios, thus helping you spot more bugs and vulnerabilities faster.
However, the best benefit of automated testing is that it frees your team for other tasks. For example, they can manually test another feature while running an automated test.
The overall efficiency this setup gives can be profound.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of.
The biggest issue is that automated testing can’t be used for everything. They’re only ideal for quantifiable tests, those that require numbers as a metric.
For instance, a test that measures load time is quantifiable and can, therefore, be automated.
But tests like usability or aesthetics, where the metrics are subjective, can’t be automated. That’s because software doesn’t have the emotional capacity to make such judgments.
Nevertheless, automated testing can still help tremendously by speeding up the tests that can be automated so testers can focus on the ones that can’t.
Outsource your Android development
If you really want to speed up your Android app development, there’s no faster way than outsourcing.
This is especially true if you don’t have an existing team to begin with. Hiring in-house can be very time-consuming and tedious.
Brainhub estimates that it takes up to 40 days to recruit a developer. And that doesn’t even include onboarding and training.
Contrast this with outsourcing, which could take as fast as one week.
Plus, an outsourced team would already be highly skilled and will thus require minimal onboarding (assuming you partnered with the right agency, of course).
For instance, when you partner with DECODE, we’ll assemble a team pulled from a pool of over a hundred experts and professionals.
These are experienced developers who’ve already done successful projects in the past, so they can get started with yours immediately.
Best of all, a good outsourced team would require minimal micromanagement.
This frees you (the client) and your team to work on other things, like marketing the app or searching for the next big innovation.
The bottom line is that outsourcing is the cheat code that helps you deliver quality software on time and within budget. No wonder outsourcing is set to become a $460 billion industry by 2023.
Of course, you can only benefit from outsourcing if you partner with the right people.
If you don’t know how to do that, check out our article on how to hire an outsourced team. Or, if you want an even faster way:
Just hire DECODE
As mentioned above, DECODE has a team of 100+ professionals in various disciplines like software engineering, QA, and UX design.
And we’ve completed over a dozen successful apps that collectively achieved 30 million downloads, all within time and budget!
With our track record, we believe we can do the same for your project.
Interested? Schedule a free consultation with us today, and let’s talk!