The Biggest Obstacles in Web Development Applications
Effective web development has an enormous impact in determining the outcome of success for any web application. Users today have increased expectations for their experience. Fast load times, interactive functionality, consumer safety, and seamless experiences are all expected to be part of the process.
With these increased expectations comes an increase in considerations for web development. The risk is too great to lose business to competitors or even worse, brand reputation. Web developers must maintain high performing websites long after initial development. But it isn’t always easy. We examine more in depth some of the obstacles with web development today.
User Experience and User Interface Design
Designing user-friendly website navigation can make or break the success of a website. However, web development experts may not always specialize in this area.
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) concentrate on measurable outcomes based on the customer experience, not just “look and feel” or usability and other generic visual aspects. Instead, UX and UI understand how each feature or benefit is relevant and fits into the user’s experience. It involves understanding the code, product management, and business strategy in addition to the look and feel and design.
This integration is often an obstacle or a constant work in progress. It relies on testing and measuring the end user’s emotional connection to the website and their overall experiences.
Web Application Security
Often an afterthought of design and performance, security is a critical aspect of web app development. Security coding and developing need to be an important part of the software development life cycle, without it, applications can be penetrable and mischievous can gain access to payment information, customer contact information, business information, and other confidential data that the application stores.
Geekflare, a site committed to providing high-quality articles on Web Security and other topics, outlined their top 5 common threats to web applications, they were:
Security Misconfiguration; coordination of maintenance for databases, OS, firewalls, servers, and staff.
Malware; preparing for and avoiding spyware, viruses, ransomware, worms, and trojans
Injection Attacks; can occur in several forms. The idea is taking control of a database or other platform and injection malicious code.
Phishing Scams; users with malicious intent act as a trustworthy source to gain access to sensitive information, either by the recipient sharing the information or another method.
Brute Force; hackers or intruders attempt to guess or crack passwords with the intent of gaining full access to systems, servers, and databases.
These are not all of the security concerns, web application developers should consider other attacks, including denial of service, session hijacking, buffer overflow, and more.
When websites and web applications are still nascent, performance has a higher probability of being overlooked. As traffic increases performance begins to gain more of the spotlight. Customers expect websites to load quickly and properly, seconds lost to poor loading times can impact how long users stay engaged, loss of engagement can result in loss of sales, brand awareness, and reputation.
A variety of factors can impact performance. Developers should consider some of the following – data growth, unanticipated traffic increases, load distribution, database optimization, and 3rd party services in use.
Similar to security, application performance can be integrated into both the development lifecycle and long-term maintenance of the application. Front-end loading speeds are some of the easiest things to remediate. Identifying tips, tricks, and tools are as easy as a google search and aligning the remediation tips to what applies to your web development application.
Web Application Scalability
Issues with scalability can indicate that good things are happening. When scalability issues arise, it is often because your web application has experienced an influx of users, which could mean an influx of customers, and you are now addressing a new set of problems.
These problems could be your website loading slowly, images not showing up, servers hitting capacity and users abandoning (or bouncing) from your website or application an increased rate.
Generally speaking, the issues will be entirely tied to available resources, including memory, CPU, and network data speeds. Fixing these problems will often involve increasing and distributing loads from one or several servers to multiple or many. How this is done will depend on your current setup and desired future setup, you may need to purchase additional servers or rethink your architecture to meet future demands.
Finding Appropriate Skillsets
If you’re reading this site, you already know web development skills are in high demand. USA Today reported a projected increase of 13% of jobs by 2026. Building a team with complementary skillsets can be difficult, or costly, for any company or manager.
In that same article “7 Skills Every Web Developer Needs on their Resume,” USA Today identified their top skills, they were as follows:
HTML/CSS; HTML is the standard web language and its partner, CSS, are the backbone of how a website functions.
Photoshop; Abode’s standard for image creation and editing
WordPress; 25% of the internet operates on WordPress
Analytical Skills; understanding consumer behavior, how to research them, and how to adapt as they change
SEO; optimizing web applications for SEO relevance
Responsive Design; websites are accessed on countless devices, and they must be designed to respond accordingly without degradation to the user’s experience.
In addition to USA Today’s skills, PHP and SQL are also in high demand. Rounding out a team with the appropriate blend of these skills can prove critical to the success of the endeavor.
Web developers and teams are often working under pressure and deadlines trying to create new, never seen before applications. Many of these deadlines require vast amounts of work in a short amount of time.
Engaging appropriate resources, such as UX/UI Designers, and following appropriate framework and methodologies are just some of the ways to help a team avoid obstacles and ensure success. Building in achievable schedules, with scaled roll-outs that help ensure all elements are adequately considered (see Security), can ensure obstacles are avoided.
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