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Web Application Development in 2020: Challenges, Changes, Plans

UI Bakery Team

24 min

According to one of the Forrester’s scenarios, the revenue in the US tech channel delivered in 2019 will decline from $880 billion to $777 billion in 2020. Before COVID-19, this revenue was forecasted to rise to $961 billion. According to the most likely scenario, there will be declines in the US tech budgets in both 2020 and 2021: the tech budget spending in the US would be cut by 9% in 2020 and by an additional 5% in 2021.

No surprise that COVID-19 has affected the entire IT industry, and app development companies in particular. With the Web Dev State 2020 Survey, we wanted to determine how exactly the companies had to revamp their business strategies and transform web application building approaches due to the economic changes.

Respondents' characteristics

The characteristics of the surveyed companies

Challenges in app design 

The challenges businesses face in app design in 2020

Building strong UI/UX is essential to make users fall for your product from the very first second. Sometimes, even tiny adjustments in UI/UX design affect an app and the navigation across it. 

Despite understanding the importance of design, most of the surveyed companies still lack in-house designers, while the availability of a skilled UI/UX designer in a company increases its chances to create an intuitive and appealing solution.

Since there's no UI/UX designer, developers sometimes take control over design, and this situation is relatable to the majority of the respondents. Since they’re not skilled enough in it, a lot of bugs affecting the final product occur.

Finally, the main goal for any software development team is to create a user-friendly product that people will like to use and tell their colleagues about. It’s not possible without due attention paid to the product design by each team member. More than 50% of the respondents understand it.

App development challenges

The challenges businesses face in app development in 2020

It’s impossible to create a profitable product on the first try, that’s why it’s vital to spend enough time on ideas validation before getting down to web app building. Almost 90% of the respondents can't find time to figure out how their software will actually help users, and how much they are ready to pay for it. Make sure you know the answers to these questions, since the cost of the mistake will be so high.

Due to the lack of development resources most of the surveyed companies face, it often takes too long to deliver a solution to the market. What’s more, for a majority of the respondents it’s vital but not always feasible to build a scalable product to further keep its performance metrics high without redesigning it.

According to the respondents’ answers, communication gaps between the development team members often result in a range of bugs, including post-release bugs. Will these errors increase your customers’ loyalty? Hardly. 

App support challenges

The challenges businesses face in app support in 2020

Once you release a new application, the maintenance stage begins. Making sure your app answers user expectations and requirements is essential to avoid it becoming obsolete.

Keeping your application up-to-date is impossible without its prompt update, and the majority of the respondents know from their own experience how hard and time-consuming the update deployment process is. Moreover, to make sure your software is competitive, you must constantly work on improving its performance and usability. It’s impossible to achieve it without regular frameworks updates, and this process takes a lot of time in more than 70% of the surveyed companies.

To keep their competitive edge, companies have to adopt innovative approaches to keep pace with the technological development. Quite a number of the respondents find themselves dealing with the difficulties occurring when moving to a new technology

Options to speed up app development

Ways companies choose to accelerate application development

The acceleration of the entire app development cycle has become vital for tech companies in the COVID-19 times. In order to save time and money, a lot of surveyed companies opt for using the software they created within the previous projects. The use of frameworks like Ionic allows for speeding up the process of converting your web app into a cross-platform mobile app without much effort. App design can be facilitated as well if you embrace UI kits. A half of the respondents have already understood how helpful and time-saving the use of UI kits and customizable Design Systems is.

Many companies prefer not to build their web and mobile apps from scratch but use ready-made templates provided by template markets like Themeforest, or, for example, offered by no-code and low-code app development platforms like Bubble, Thunkable, UI Bakery, etc. Besides, the use of no-code and low-code apps creators makes it possible to decrease time-to-market, reduce development resources, scale apps on the fly, avoid the need to maintain them (the platform copes with it), etc. Nevertheless, there’s still a number of companies that prefer a classical approach – overtiming. However, maintaining a work-life balance becomes a challenge in such conditions. 

Decision making

To ensure all your team members focus on achieving one common goal, a decision-making process should be properly conducted. But who usually takes this decision, and what factor do they consider as the crucial for their business?

The main decision makers in the surveyed companies

To make the right decision and not jeopardize business sustainability, it’s better to consider several decision makers’ opinions. As it’s seen from the results, up to 5 people take part in a decision-making process in most cases. They’re usually product managers, team leads, and less often – chiefs of the departments.

Judging from the survey, cost-efficiency, security and the development speed are important for an equal number of companies. However, the product quality is the most significant aspect for most companies. No surprise: the higher your app quality is, the more recognizable your brand becomes.

COVID-19 business impact

The impact COVID-19 had on businesses and their plans

To stay afloat in the COVID-19 times, a huge number of companies had to implement a range of changes in their working processes, starting from the switch to a remote work approach and ending with the staff reduction. Nevertheless, as it’s said on InfoWorld, locked-down software engineers do not seem to be less productive: many of them work harder when sitting comfortably at home with fewer pointless (for them) meetings.

According to the survey, not so many respondents are going to reduce their workforce in 2020 to deal with the COVID-19 impact. However, more than 33% of the surveyed companies have no particular solution for this yet: they need more time to revamp their business strategies and define a new direction.

The coronavirus has not made the majority of the surveyed companies opt for an alternative software development approach to save development resources. But still, about 25% of the respondents are starting to use previous projects, app templates, UI kits, etc. to minimize efforts. Thus, the pandemic has not affected web app development companies and their plans that much. Nevertheless, it has made some of them look for a more cost-effective app building ways.

Perfect apps builder

Although most of the respondents are not planning to abandon the custom app development approach, the survey results helped us understand what features a perfect app building tool should have to make businesses consider it as an alternative to custom application development.

The features of a perfect apps builder

No-code and low-code app development platforms have a shot at gaining popularity among web app development businesses – especially in the post-COVID-19 times. There’s quite a number of no-code and low-code platforms having all the features the respondents expect their perfect app builder to have (UI Bakery, Adalo, etc.). 

To sum up

The pandemic has brought changes to the strategies of a lot of web app development companies. Nevertheless, a lot of tech companies are not planning to reduce their staff, and about 25% of the respondents plan to drastically reorganize their web app development approach to adapt to 2020.

Surprisingly, low-code or no-code development platforms like Adalo, Retool, and some others are not often considered as the alternatives to custom app development. Nevertheless, the low-code market is forecasted to be around $14 billion by 2024. The reason why not so many companies opt for low-code or no-code app builders yet is that they are not probably familiar with the benefits this approach brings.

Low-code and no-code development tools can help you solve a range of challenges in UI design (the lack of time on design), app development (long time-to-market), app maintenance (complex changes deployment). Low-code and no-code development tools are proving to be a worthwhile alternative to custom app development. 

Even despite the impact COVID-19 had on the global economy and the app development market, companies are successfully surviving through uncertain times. Use the insights they shared in the survey to adapt your business to the changes 2020 has brought.

August 7, 2020
UI Bakery Team
The core team of UI Bakery

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