Companies need an effective customer engagement strategy and model in order to provide the best and evolving customer experience for most of their businesses. These businesses cover all aspects of the customer journey, such as product advertising, purchase transactions, marketing communications and support services.
In the current digital world with platforms such as e-commerce, the strategy is required to be consistent across various platforms of engagement and media of communication. These are delivered through apps (applications). Application development is building computer programs to perform the different operations that a business requires to be run on a computer device. These devices can be laptops, smartphone or tablets. Apps are diverse in nature depending on the domain and nature of business and present an associated user experience. For example, an app that presents maps to a user helps in location discovery, path finding and navigation in real time depicting in a graphical manner. Another app such as an e-retailer presents a unified platform for a range of products, their specifications, user ratings, search engine and a secure purchase interface.
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The devices that customers use can have different Operating System (OS) environments such as iOS, Android, Windows, macOS or Linux to name a few. It is hence important for businesses to support these diverse environments for a common and seamless user experience.
Cross-platform development with a Software Development Kit (SDK) and a framework is a process for software design and development for mobile applications that can work on such OS environments and platforms with very less / zero-recoding for different OS platforms.
There are several cross-platform development kits in the market. One of the best solutions is Flutter from Google that enables cross-platform app development. Flutter is a user interface SDK as well as a framework that is open-source and supports mobile OS flavours (such as Android or iOS) and platform OS flavours (such as Windows, Linux, or Mac) with a common codebase.
Here are some compelling reasons why a business should consider Flutter as a choice for developing a compelling user experience.
1. Cost Efficiency
App development platforms that support native app development can prove expensive and time consuming due to the requirement of setting up multiple teams to develop these native applications for different OS flavours. There will be added costs due to OS-centric customization and periodic maintenance of multiple variants of apps for these OS flavours. Flutter focuses on native end-user experience however with a common codebase across platforms to address this challenge. Further, Flutter’s widgets support all critical platform differences such as scrolling, navigation, icons and fonts.
2. Rapid App Development
Flutter supports ready-made widgets for effective use in a user workflow. Flutter’s SDK also supports Hot Reload that enables developers to quickly code a new feature, and immediately preview them on emulators for devices. This hastens testing and experience assessment and aids rapid development.
3. Faster Time-to-Market
It is important for a business to turn around apps with new features or fixes in the shortest possible time and high level of robustness. Flutter supports cross-platform app development with common codebase that not only enables cost efficiency, but also helps reduce time to market and enables faster release of products and fixes. Flutter thereby enables small business for focused apps as well as enterprise business for a set of related app products.
4. Ease of Maintenance
Once released, an app needs to be maintained for requirements such as bug fixes, extensibility for new features at scale. This can prove expensive and time consuming if an app development platform expects code changes for every new feature. Flutter’s framework, in addition to enabling a common codebase across platforms, supports plugins and widgets therefore enabling an app developer to customize to customer expectations extend the app to add in new features seamlessly at scale.
5. Advanced User Interface with Flexible Customization
End user experience is a very important aspect of any product with a User Interface to attract new customers, while retaining existing customers onto their business platform. Flutter supports built-in Material Design (Google Android design language for UI) or Cupertino design (Apple iOS design language for UI) and with a rich set of platform-specific widgets. Its layered architecture supports full customization, high speed rendering and expressive and flexible designs presenting users with a flexible and smooth experience.
6. Near-native Performance
Flutter-built applications performance are close to native solutions. Flutter employs Skia (a 2D graphics library) to create fast-responsive apps at the native speed of a mobile device. Flutter achieves fast response using Dart (a programming language for fast apps on any platform) and compiles application ahead-of-time into machine code. This results in incredibly fast rendering and flexible designs.
7. Easy Migration from Existing Apps (developed from different frameworks)
Businesses that already have apps built and deployed using existing app frameworks often hesitate to migrate towards development of apps with a new platform owing to cost challenges or app access challenges. Flutter mitigates this scenario as it supports embedding in existing code of native applications. This enables a customer to evaluate and gradually migrate from an existing app design approach to consuming Flutter for their apps.
8. Strong Community Support
Flutter is strongly backed by a community support for aiding developers in app design and implementation with rich documentation, example implementations and rapid turnaround in its version releases with robustness and stability.
9. Diverse Device Platforms
10. Support for Embedded Devices
Flutter supports embedded devices such as a small sized smart-display or a thermostat. Flutter can also be embedded into a new mobile platform or a new operating system. It has a strong community that supports such advanced development.
11. Advanced Features
Flutter provides advanced features such as ready-to-use plugins like GPS coordinates, sensor data collection and Bluetooth support. It also enables support for development of apps that rely on OS relevant features not currently supported as plugins through platform channels (these are channels to connect native code with the Flutter app). This way, a business can develop platform native requirements into a Flutter app with minimal effort on the native development. Fuchsia is an open-source effort that is work in progress to create a production-grade operating system that prioritizes security, updatability, and performance, driven by Google. It is anticipated that Flutter will be implicitly supported with Fuchsia thereby strengthening a strong future for Flutter.
Consider Flutter for your app development for your businesses, be it a small business or an enterprise. A single base design with customization features for platform and user-centric experiences is a significant plus point in Flutter framework. Flutter supports Accessibility (such as Large Fonts and Screen readers) and Internationalization too. Flutter’s support for a rich and flexible User Experience that can be easily extensible and scalable, makes it a promising SDK for your business apps.
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