Web Application Development, like any other business, has specific challenges that vary per the requirements, business complexities, and opportunities. And, like a lock-key combination, these challenges have their specific solutions.
In this article, we don’t look at those specific challenges but rather common challenges that you may encounter when developing a web application.
But, before we move any further, let’s understand more about the web application.
What is a web application?
Let’s break it down real simple:
An application is a software program that runs on a device, be it a mobile phone, tab, laptop, or PC. It is stored on the internet and can be accessed from any browser. Also, you can run them on any of your devices without the constraints of the operating system. Further, they don’t even take up hard drive space on your device, and all you need is an internet connection to use them.
Do you think you haven’t interacted with any web applications? Think again! Google Drive, Slack, candy crush, or Words — are some popular examples of web applications.
However, web application development is not as straightforward as you think. It is, in fact, full of twists & turns.
In this article, we brought you 7 common challenges developers may face during their web application development journey.
If you’re new to development, read this clearly, as it will help you plan for these roadblocks.
The list includes 2 challenges from the planning part & 5 challenges from the execution part. So let’s start it without any delay.
7 Common Challenges During Web Application Development
2 Common Challenges During Planning
Clearly defining your goals
Having defined goals and requirements is one of the factors that determine the success of your web application.
You can say this is the foundation of your web application, as challenges that arise in the later stages, such as application performance & speed, can be avoided/easily addressed if you make thoughtful choices during the planning stage.
Starting with a clear vision simplifies the process and shifts your focus in the right direction.
You need to understand that the requirements for an eCommerce app are different than those for an LMS app.
If you’re still in doubt about the vision of your app, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are your target users?
- What experience do you want to give them?
- What are your must-have design features?
- What are your technical requirements?
It will surely clear the clutter & help you make a clear roadmap.
Choosing the right tech stack
Let’s talk about the tech stack first!
Tech-stacks are a combination of:
- Programming languages,
- Software, and
- Other tools used by developers
In short, they’re the set of technologies a web development & design agency uses to build a web or mobile app.
- Choose a tech stack that aligns with the problems you are trying to solve.
For example, avoid using a complex tech stack for a simple web application or a tech stack that helps you optimize for scalability when your user base is a consistent size.
- Choose an industry-standard tech stack — a tech stack that is widely used in the industry. This way, you will have a large pool of skilled developers to build your web application and future requirements.
Also, for a smoother troubleshooting problem — which is inevitable — make sure to choose a tech stack with thorough documentation. It will save you a lot of time, money & hassle.
5 Common Challenges During Implementation
User Experience accounts for the reactions, perceptions, and feelings your users have when engaging with your application. Therefore, your designing process and the intended outcome should be aligned to give your users a great experience every time they visit you.
In fact, a lack of context on users’ expectations from a website’s UX design is still one of the most critical challenges many web development companies face. That’s the reason why many big firms hire researchers to deep-dive into the users’ expectations. However, not every organization can have these extensive resources.
- You need to understand that your users will not be using one screen size or browser. Hence, users’ experience largely depends upon the responsiveness of design, i.e. design must adjust as per the different screen sizes & browsers.You can refer to our blog Complete guide to UI design for Beginners to understand the key elements that you can include in your UI/UX strategy to give your users a smooth & unique experience.
- You can also go for Online surveys or Guerilla research to understand the perspective of your potential users through a series of questionnaires.
Performance & Speed
When did you last visit a website that took you a long loading time to open and open it anyway?
You can’t remember, right!
Well, that’s not you alone, but 47% of the users expect a website to load in two-second!
Hence, if you’re building an application with a lot of content (High-quality images/videos), you also need to ensure that they don’t drag down its performance.
- Leave room for scalability: You don’t want your application to crash or slow down with an unexpected rise in traffic.
- Code Optimization & Image Optimization: Ensure that your code & images are optimized to their fullest to facilitate faster loading of web pages.
- Web.Dev by Google: It is perhaps one of the most popular tools to measure website performance. There are some critical metrics, also called the core web vitals, defined by Google itself that help in measuring website performance — Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) & Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Check if your web application is adhering to these norms.
If your web application can perform the same way with 100 visitors per minute as it used to do with 10 visitors per minute and can perform the same even with 1000 or 10,000 or 100,000 visitors per minute, your web application is scalable.
Paul King, a data scientist who has worked with many renowned names like Facebook, Quora, and Uber, has listed 4 major problems that can arise while scaling — Search problem, Concurrency problem, Consistency problem, and Speed problem.
The scalability of a web application is not just about scaling servers but several other elements too.
For example, your application had fairly lean content at launch. Now it’s 2 years since your inception, and you are planning a detailed, expansive content-rich experience.
- Extensibility: Extensibility refers to an interface initially designed to incorporate new capabilities and functionality in the future. However, you have to have a long-term vision for your app for this.
- Architecture: Building a component-driven or headless architecture for your application also adds to its scalability.
Did you know?
50% of web applications are prone to high-risk vulnerabilities.
You’ll be shocked to know that only 5% of enterprise data folders are protected against threats.
Combining these flaws with increasing cyberattacks over the past few years, you have a perfect recipe for disaster.
Here’s a list of security flaws highlighted by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP):
Broken Access Control
Vulnerable and outdated components
Identification and authentication failure
Software and data integrity failures
Security logging and monitoring failures
Server-side request forgery
- SSL certification: It is a global standard security technology that facilitates encrypted communication between web browsers and servers.
When you integrate SSL certificates into your app, they enhance its security & eliminate the chances of it being flagged ”not secure” by web browsers.
In addition, it protects sensitive user data such as usernames, passwords, email addresses, and credit card numbers in eCommerce transactions.
With features like “private conversation” between the two intended parties, it hides users’ sensitive information from hackers and identity thieves.
- Robust password requirements: Complex passwords are less prone to get hacked.
- Multi-factor authentication: Gives your app an added layer of security by asking users to take multiple steps to confirm their identities.
- Filtering input data: It can be a bit complicated, but it is the best way to filter malicious inputs. It also deals with broken authentication systems more efficiently.
Maintenance & support
Doesn’t matter how good of a web application you’ve built; you can’t ignore the maintenance & support aspect of it.
When your website is live, that’s when the real challenge begins.
You’ll encounter issues like low loading speeds, unresponsive web pages, and security & performance issues.
Upgrading, updating, and maintenance while ensuring zero downtime is something you should be aiming at.
- Microservices architecture: You can minimize the dependency of functions on your web application by using a microservices architecture.
To put it precisely, it’s a suite of independent services that can be upgraded individually without disturbing the existing system.
- Monitoring: Monitoring becomes essential if you are dealing with maintenance challenges. A constant check on the vitals of your web application can result in the immediate fix of any rising issue.
Web development is a broad industry, and unlike every business, it has specific requirements that lead to unique challenges. These challenges are not limited to scalability, security, UX designs, performance, speed, integrations, and maintenance.
But you don’t need to have it all sorted right now. However, there are a few things that you can take care of when building your next web application:
- Plan strategically, i.e., have the long-term vision & business goals in mind. Then make sure your process is aligned with them.
- Never forget that your web application is a blend of design elements & technical elements. Hence, don’t ignore one for the other.
- You are building a web application, not for yourself but the users. Being a developer makes the understanding of features very logical. However, check your web application for the normal users’ understanding.