15 Android Development Tips & Tricks for Beginners
If you are beginning your career as Android Developer, then have a look at the tips and tricks we present in this article as they will make your development journey smoother and will also help you to be a successful developer.
Whether you are an independent Android Developer, publishing your own app or a developer working for a client, understanding the Android ecosystem and staying on top of the development paradigms are essential to be successful in your career. We have collected tips and tricks from experienced Android and mobile app developers and are presenting the tips below to help you learn from their experience.
With the help of these tips, you would be able to avoid common pitfalls as well as be able to offer excellent user experience to your app users. While most of the tips and tricks below are Android development specific, however similar learning can be applied to any kind of mobile app development. Let us take a look at them:
1. Keep a tab on Play Store (App Marketplace)
When you are building an app for a marketplace, always make sure to dive into it fully prepared. For Android, this can be done by understanding the app trends on Google Play Store. Take a look at some of the top rated and top grossing apps as well as editor picks. Learn what they do differently and how they delight their users. You can also use external services such as App Annie or App Brain to gain additional insights such as top Android phones, top Android SDK versions, top app categories etc.
2. Find and Build Your Passion
In order to succeed what you are doing, it is important to be passionate about your work. Hence, to be a successful Android developer, it is important that you find and follow the right passion. If you are doing app development, find the market segment that you are passionate about and then build an app for it. If you have passion for games then go for game development. If you like working for clients then do freelance work or apply for Android developer position in an app development company. The bottom-line is, do what you are passionate about and it will be easier.
3. Understand Android Design Guidelines
While building apps for the Android Platform, it is important to have solid understanding of the Android Design guidelines. Google’s design guidelines for Android Developers is a good place to start learning about them. You should get yourself familiar with Material Design which is the design language of Android and also learn about different animations, styles, layouts, components etc. that are adopted in Material Design.
4. Start Building a Portfolio
A simple mistake developers make is not focusing on building their portfolio. In the long run, your portfolio will matter a lot especially when you are working for a client. Even if you are an independent app developer, it is important to have your portfolio to help others discover and learn about your apps. You may want to invest in a website for your portfolio. Additionally, you can start blogging about your Android development journey as it will help others learn from you and will also help them to discover about your apps. Don’t worry about the cost of hosting a website as you can easily host a static website for free.
5. Understand and Use Branding
Branding and Logo of a product play an important role in leaving a lasting impression on the user’s mind. Make sure to understand the concepts of branding and how different aspects like color, typography etc. play a role in it. You may want to check out these infographics as they offer a ton of information on branding, color psychology and logo design.
6. Study Competitor Apps
Needless to say, if your competitor apps are doing a better job than your app, you can forget about user retention. Studying what your competitors are doing best and why people love their app can help you strategize your own features and unique aspects that can pull users towards your app. You can even learn from negative reviews of your competitor apps and learn the top pain points of users, then address them in your own app to get positive reviews.
If you are a game developer, learning about the psychology of addictive games will help you understand how to retain your own users/players for longer.
7. Get Familiar with Android Development Ecosystem
This one is a no-brainier, however many a times, developers skip learning about the development ecosystem as a whole, which may lead to decisions taken in hindsight and use of obsolete technologies. It is always a good idea to stay on top of the latest changes in the Android development ecosystem, subscribe to newsletters and e-mails which inform you about latest SDKs and platform changes. Also get to know additional services offered by Google such as Firebase, AdMob, Google Play Services etc. which can enhance your app and games and can help you make more money.
8. Make a Choice between Native or Hybrid
9. Version Control Your Code
You may not have the habit of using version control for your code, however it is one of the most important good practices adopted by developers and the earlier you start, the better. Using a Version Control System for your code, you can rest assured that you can easily roll back to a safe checkpoint in case of failures and can easily track the changes you did over the last checkpoint. Integrating a VCS into your development workflow will help you manage complex projects with ease.
10. Delight Your Users
The biggest success mantra for any app or game is to focus on delighting their users. You can achieve this by making use of your market and competitor study and releasing features which users really want. Moreover, don’t go overboard with monetization and sprinkle ads all over the app or game. Don’t nag your users with contact pop-up ads or notifications either. This may seem like a good way to earn money in short time, however in longer run, users will simply abandon your app and leave negative feedback which will prevent acquisition of new users.
11. Always Test a Lot, Before Publishing
Whenever you are publishing a new app, or releasing update of an app, make sure to test a lot. Better yet, invest time in setting up an automated test infrastructure to test your app against in order to catch regression. It is also a good idea to invest a bit into purchasing real Android devices for testing.
12. Stay on Top of Reviews
One you app is out in the store, you have to stay on top of the user reviews and immediately address the concerns they share. Play Store allows developers to reply to user reviews and you should make use of this feature to solve the problems users are facing. If the users are reporting an issue with your app then make sure to start working on the next update of your app while informing the users that you will be fixing the issue shortly. Once fixed, you can ask them to increase their rating if they are satisfied with the changes/resolution.
13. Allow User Feedback
An easy trick to avoid users leaving negative review is to give users the option to send feedback from the app. If users don’t find a way to contact the developers from inside the app, they generally resort to leaving bad reviews through the app review system. If you give them the option to send feedback via the app, users can complain via the app which will come directly to you and you can address their concerns individually.
14. Don’t Give Up
App development is not easy and becoming a successful one is even harder given the fierce competition one faces now a days in app store. The only way you can overcome these is by not giving up. Learn from your mistakes, learn from other successful apps and app developers, but keep moving forward instead of winding up as with constant efforts, you will start to see success. In-fact, later you would come to know that getting success in app store is not as hard as retaining that success is.
15. Have Fun
All work and no play will make you dull, lose your motivation and give up. Thus it is essential that you spend time in having fun.
That’s it, hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks for Android Developers. If you have any questions, concerns or feedback then you can write them in the comments below. Before, you go, don’t forget to share these tips with your fellow developers.
Also take a look at these Android app templates and Android Games code that can help you kick-start your app development career on Android.