What Is Custom Web Application Development? Is It Important?

Custom web applications are an essential ingredient for success in today’s competitive environment. Desktop and mobile web application development give your website visitors the kinds of applications that give them a seamless user experience.

Examples of web applications include online ordering forms, email programs, such as Gmail, collaboration tools, such as Basecamp, project management tools, like Trello, or social media platforms, like Facebook. As such, they are critical ingredients in your business’s success.

So, what is web application development? What makes custom web applications so superior to off-the-shelf solutions? In this post, we’ll show you what web application development is and why custom web applications are the best way to go for your business.

What is a web application, and how does it differ from a website?

Although you access both web applications and websites with a browser, web applications (apps) focus on functionality or serve as a useful tool on a global scale. Websites, on the other hand, focus on delivering content that rarely changes. 

Web applications differ from mere websites by their interactive nature. They are function-specific tools that enable users to perform a task.

For example, your bank’s home page is a website, but the online banking tool hosted on that website is an application. Google’s homepage is a website, but its Gmail program that enables you to send emails is a web application.

These applications have a wealth of business uses. From online banking to e-commerce through to online reservation capabilities, these tools provide businesses with a way to interact with customers directly through automated processes.

Other uses include:

  • Social networks
  • Online shopping carts
  • Interactive education and job training
  • Forums
  • Content management
  • And many more

What is web application development?

Web and desktop application development is the process of creating dynamic, function-specific tools that allow users to perform tasks more efficiently than they would with traditional desktop software.  

Web application development slightly differs from mobile web application development. Unlike mobile applications, web application users usually do not need to download them. Rather, they can access these applications on web browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or others.

You might wonder, ‘What do I need to develop a web application?’ Unless you’re specially trained in programming languages, you need a software engineer or a web application developer.

What is a web application developer?

Developers utilise two types of programming: client-side and server-side. Server-side programming uses highly technical languages to control the app’s on-screen appearance, format the information, and allow visitors to interact with the content.

Server-side programming, on the other hand, creates scripts that web applications utilise to provide the user with a custom interface. Using another set of programming languages, developers can create dazzling interfaces that they can customise to each business’s needs.

What can a web application developer do for my business?

Web application developers design, build, and test web applications that function within a website. Basically, they take your business objectives and goals and turn it into reality. 

First, they meet with you to discuss what you need the application to do and what you want it to look like. Then, the UX & UI designers will research and design the best and most intuitive way to design the interface. Once approved, the developers write the code that turns those functions into a fully functioning web application.

Working closely with graphic design, web application design, and content teams, they create and test a prototype. Generally, they go through several iterations, getting feedback from you, the client, and typical users along the way.

Once they launch your application, they keep a close eye on it to make sure it looks and functions as it should. Continuous improvement is the stamp of quality in web application development services — and at Bapple, it’s our way of life.

What are the risks in web application development?

As you can see, the uses to which you can put a web application to work are as diverse as your imagination. If you can dream it, developers can probably design it.

For each of those uses, the ideal solution is a custom web application. If you use an off-the-shelf application, you run the risk of not providing your website visitors with that stunning user experience – and they’ll likely leave. Plus the reality is, that most world changing innovations do not simply come off the shelf. Facebook was written from scratch in a dorm room. 

Let’s look at the purpose of your website: to attract likely customers to your site, impress them enough to look your business over, and eventually turn those visitors into paying customers. When every element on your website makes it easy for your target audience to find what they need quickly, you’ll soon become their go-to resource in your industry.

The numbers tell the story. Thirty-eight per cent of users will leave if your website is unattractive. If it takes too long to load, 39 per cent of them will leave.

Yet if you customise your website to reflect your brand, it’s values and its focus on your customers, you’re likely to increase your revenue by as much as 23 per cent.

Consistent branding across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23 per cent. With a custom web application, you have a customer-focused website that addresses what your customers want, not the general public.

A custom application that meets your unique business needs can do just that. With a custom application, your risks in web application development decrease dramatically because your customers’ needs are at the forefront of its design.

You may wonder, ‘What is web application design? How does it differ from simple graphic design?’ Glad you asked.

What is web application design, and how can it impact user experience?

User experience design is a critical component of custom web application development. Web application design focuses on how your web application looks, as well as how well it functions in the hands of your target customers.

Here’s where customisation is crucial. For example, if your target customers are seniors or have disabilities, they’ll interact with your application way differently than Internet-savvy millennials. You will then need to consider adhering to WCAG AA or AAA interface accessibility standards. 

Furthermore, your target customers will probably have distinct design preferences, depending on their demographics and interests. A web application for a company that sells saddles and other equestrian tack and equipment needs to appeal to the horsey set, while a financial services site needs a design that conveys a sense of wealth, of trust.

No matter how crowded your field is, getting design right can make the difference between gaining a customer or losing a prospect. Web application design includes four components, each an essential ingredient in making your website a standout.

1. User Interface (UI)

The user interface includes everything visitors can see and interact with. It includes fonts, colours, buttons, navigation, drop-down menus, and more.

Giving users an attractive, brand-forward interface with easy-to-find interactive elements is a vital aspect of getting web application design right. The more welcoming the interface, the better their experience will be.

2. User Experience (UX)

Once the user interface is up and running, web application designers will conduct usability testing to see how visitors feel about the application. Testing user experience looks at how easy the application is to use, how fast it loads and operates, and whether users can find what they need quickly.

To be successful, user experience design testing must take into consideration typical users’ needs. The more actual customers or potential customers you use in the testing process, the better your application’s user experience will be.

3. Content

Gone are the days when flashy adverts could sell customers on a product or service. Your web application design must include quality content that educates your customers, positions you as an authority in your field, and is easy to read and understand.

In addition, world-class content can prove even more valuable in the long run by building backlinks to your website. For example, let’s say you’re the saddle manufacturer we mentioned earlier.

You notice that many of your customers have difficulty choosing the right saddle for both their and their horse’s body type, so you write a blog post about how to choose the right fit for both horse and rider. As riders, trainers, and tack stores discover your post, they’ll likely cite it in their own articles.

Each of those articles, in turn, provides you with a backlink to your website. Over time, these backlinks will position you higher in searches for the products you sell. Not only that, but it will position you as a thought leader in your field, which will give your brand even more clout online and off.

No matter whether your application incorporates a blog, a video player, or an e-commerce platform, clearly written content is an essential component in a well-crafted application.

4. Graphic Design

Graphic design is only one component in a web application’s overall design – although it is a vital part of application design.

A graphic design team creates the images, infographics, typography, and other visual design elements that appear on your application. A well-crafted image or infographic works hand in hand with your content to attract readers’ attention and keep them on the page.

As you can see, all these design components work together to come up with a customised web application that helps you solve problems for your target audience. That’s why here at Bapple, we don’t have siloed departments. All our teams work together to create a custom web application that meets your business’s unique needs.

Advantages of custom web application development

Custom web applications are your best bet when it comes to delivering more value for your business. A custom-developed web application gives you and your customers:

  • The capacity for database integration: Custom web applications can update your database in real time, giving you a current picture of your business at any moment in time.
  • A bespoke look and function: Your custom application will attract the attention of your unique customer segment, meeting their needs quickly and efficiently.
  • A user-friendly interface: As we pointed out earlier, different types of customers need interfaces that they don’t need a degree in programming to understand. Developers tailor the interface to your customers’ preferences so that they’ll want to return again and again.
  • Scalability: Custom web applications can grow with your business, allowing you to expand as you do and scale down during the off-season.
  • A more cost-effective solution: Since a custom application is designed specifically for you, you cut out the middleman and save costs on design and support services that you don’t plan to use.

It’s time to turn your dream application into reality

You dream big – and you have big ideas to match. See how our helpful Bapple development team can turn your web application idea into reality. Get in touch or email your brief to [email protected] with us today.

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