Mobile application development can be confusing for someone without a lot of experience in this field — so most business owners. Developers will use specific language when talking about the functionality, development, and design of your mobile app, and it can be quite difficult to keep up.
An experienced and professional mobile application development team will explain every step of the process in simple language, but it can certainly help to have a base level of knowledge. Continue reading to get a handle on the main terms you will need to know when discussing iOS and Android application development.
Android is a mobile operating system, also known as an OS. It was developed by Google to be primarily used in smartphones and touchscreen tablets. However, the software has also been used to power a range of other devices, including cameras and televisions.
Android is open source, meaning a range of mobile phone companies use the software to run their devices, including Samsung, Huawei, and Google.
It can be helpful to think about Android in terms of what it is not, which is part of the Apple family. The main marketplace for Android applications is the Google Play Store. However, there are other avenues where you can download Android apps as well.
API stands for an application programming interface. In simple terms, it is a type of software that acts as an intermediary between multiple applications, allowing them to speak to one another.
Purchasing something on a website using PayPal, for example, is an API at work. The API enables the website to communicate with PayPal systems, verify that the funds are available, and complete the purchase.
A mobile application is divided into two segments: the front-end and the back-end. The front end is what your users see — the interface they interact with. The back-end, on the other hand, is where data is stored and app functionality takes place.
Beta is the second word in the Greek alphabet and refers to the second phase of application testing. A beta test is performed on a product that closely resembles your final application. All the functions and features you are offering your users should be included in the beta version. It’s an opportunity to uncover any bugs before releasing your app to the general public.
In the world of mobile application development, cross-platform refers to apps that are compatible with multiple operating systems — like Android and iOS, for example.
Cross-platform development is seen as an alternative option to building two separate apps to run on Android and iOS systems, which is known as native application development.
Cross-platform development generally enables you to reach a larger audience with less time and resources required for the development.
iOS is Apple’s operating system, created exclusively for their devices. It is one of four Apple operating systems, alongside iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
iOS is a closed operating system, meaning it is proprietary software owned by Apple. Many of the smartphone functions we rely on today — like swiping your screen or using your fingers to zoom in — originated from iOS.
iOS applications are offered exclusively on Apple’s App Store.
UI stands for User Interface. It’s a type of design that is concerned with the graphical layout of an application or website. In the case of an app, this includes the buttons you click on, the text you read, any type of interactive animation, and more.
UI designers make decisions about the color scheme, font, graphics, illustrations, and more, all with the user’s best interests at heart.
The terms UX and UI are often confused, which is understandable. While UI is about the graphical layout and appearance of your application, UX is about the entire User Experience. UX designers take a bird’s eye look at an application to ensure the broad structure is intuitive and makes sense to a user.
The job of a UX designer is to make it as simple as possible to get from point A to point B. If there’s any confusion along the way — the user has to backtrack or spends too much time working out what the next step in their journey should be — the UX of your application may need to be reassessed.
Wireframes are not exclusive to mobile application development but they’re certainly a handy tool. A wireframe is a two-dimensional sketch created by a designer that helps define the user journey, identifying what content is required, and establish basic design ideas.
Wireframes are an essential step in the mobile application development journey.
As the client, you shouldn’t ever feel that you don’t understand a concept or step in the mobile application development process. If your mobile app development team is using words you don’t understand, ask them to simplify their language. Hopefully, this brief dictionary is also of some assistance!