App development for mobile devices is, in many ways, similar to development for other platforms. However, in other ways, development requires attention to items that are not even present in traditional development. Mobile devices have operating systems that run apps differently than traditional programs do, have access to environmental sensors that are not available in laptop and desktop computers, have a limited power supply, and have a much smaller screen.
This chapter provides an overview of the design issues associated with these differences. The chapter also discusses differences between iOS and Android devices that impact design. The chapter concludes with an introduction to the app that will be developed to illustrate design and development for both platforms.
App Design designing for the specific device your app will run on is extremely important! Applications that work well on a traditional computer may be complete disasters if ported to a mobile platform without redesigning the logic to fit the device’s capabilities.
Additionally, the capabilities of the device enable you to design an application that can do different things than an application on a traditional computer. Apps are cheap and easy to obtain. If yours doesn’t work well, there is likely to be an acceptable alternative. A well-designed app can be a delight to use. A poorly designed app will not be used for long, if at all. The operating system, device size, and mobility all impact design and must be accounted for.
Operating System Design Issues the primary technical difference between mobile device operating systems and operating systems used on laptop and desktop computers is that the mobile operating system is not a true multitasking system. On mobile devices, only one app can be active at a time.