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Do you want to understand the different app requirements and their usage?

March 13, 2023 No Comments

By Dr. Akuyoma Ohiri

Recently, we have relied heavily on mobile applications in our daily lives. From placing a meal order to reserving a ride, there is an app for everything. But not all mobile applications are made equally. Creating high-quality software that satisfies user needs is a difficult process that involves careful planning and execution.

The success of a mobile app depends on several things, one of which is its non-functional and functional requirements. They are the expectations, specifications, and constraints that define what a product should do, how it should behave, and what it should look like.

In this article, we will compare functional and non-functional requirements and explain why both types are critical to your application’s success. So whether you’re a developer, business owner, or just interested in learning about software development, keep reading to grasp the basics. Let’s get started!

What are functional and non-functional requirements?

In the context of developing apps, requirements are the functional and non-functional specifications that outline the features, abilities, and qualities an application must have to satisfy the needs of its users.

They are essential to the process of creating apps since they act as a blueprint for the software’s planning, creation, and testing. A recent survey found that between 50 and 80 percent of software development failures are attributable to inadequately defined or misunderstood requirements.

To create a robust app, it is crucial first to determine what features are needed. By gathering this information, the development team can better learn about the needs of the target audience and create a product accordingly. With this information, you and the team can escape misunderstandings, setbacks, and unnecessary spending.

What impact do these requirements have on software development?

Requirements can positively impact the development process in several ways, as we will see below.

1. Planning and Scope: Requirements are necessary for the early stages of organizing and defining the project’s scope. They aid in determining the scope of the project by figuring out what should be included and what can be left out. Here, the team collaborates with the project’s stakeholders to define the project’s goals, objectives, and features.

2. Design and Architecture: Once the requirements are identified, the next stage is to design the architecture. The architectural document specifies the parts, subsystems, and connections that make up the app.

3. Development and Testing: During the development phase, developers use the requirements to write code that meets the specifications. They help ensure the app performs as expected and meets the user’s needs. Testing is an integral part of the process and is used to verify that the software meets the requirements.

4. Change Management: The budget, scope, and schedule of a software development project can be affected by changes in the requirements as development progresses. Change management aims to ensure that necessary changes are integrated into the project without disrupting the process is the goal of change management.

5. User Acceptance: This is the last step in the process. Here, you put the app through its paces to see if it meets users’ expectations. Requirements are utilized to ensure the software functions properly and meets users’ needs.

Categories of Requirements

Requirements can be categorized in several ways based on their origin, scope, and level of detail. We will look at some of the most common classifications below:

1. Business Requirements: To put it another way, they are broad descriptions of what the company wants and needs. They are a blueprint for how the system should function to best aid the company’s operations.

2. Functional Requirements: Refer to the specific features and functions the software system must provide. They describe how the system should respond to user interactions, input data, and external events.

3. Non-Functional Requirements: These characteristics determine the software system’s quality, including speed, dependability, safety, ease of use, and scalability. They specify how the system is expected to behave and the limits it must not exceed.

4. Interface Requirements: Defines how the software should interact with other systems, devices, or applications. They define the communication protocols, data formats, and interfaces that the system must support.

5. User Requirements: Describes what end-users of a software system are looking for. What the users hope to accomplish, what they need to do, and what they plan to do with the system are all part of these.

6. System Requirements: Refer to everything the system needs to communicate with, from computers to networks. Their purpose is to outline the system’s specifications and constraints that it must adhere to.

Developing Mobile Applications: Functional Requirements

The foundation of any successful mobile app project depends on a thorough understanding of the project’s functional needs. They define what a piece of software should be able to do and how it should do it. These outline the functions and capabilities that the system should provide. They describe how users engage with the system and what they hope to accomplish.

For example, suppose you are developing a mobile app for a food delivery service. In that case, the functional requirements will include the ability to select food items, place orders, track delivery status, and make payments. The app can only perform its intended task if these features are missing or fixed.

Some examples of functionalities in app development include:

– User registration and login

– Ability to create, edit, and delete user profiles

– Ability to search and filter content

– Ability to share content on social media platforms

– In-app purchase functionality

– Push notification capabilities

– Integration with third-party APIs

Development of Mobile Apps: Non-Functional Requirements

Non-functional requirements, on the other hand, are related to how an app performs, its reliability, and its usability. They describe how the system should behave and perform rather than what it should do.

For example, the non-functionalities of the e-commerce platform might include the ability to handle a large number of concurrent users, maintain data privacy and security, and provide an interface that is easy to use and intuitive. These requirements help to ensure that the app performs reliably in different environments.

Some non-functional factors to consider include:

– Performance

– Scalability

– Security

– Usability

– Accessibility

Comparing Functional versus Non-Functional Requirements

Let’s highlight these differences below:

– Purpose: Functional requirements define what the software system should do, while non-functional define how well the software should do.

– Nature: Functional requirements are specific, measurable, and testable features a software system should have, such as user interface, input/output behavior, and system operations. Non-functional are the characteristics of the software system that are not directly related to its functionality, such as security, reliability, performance, and usability.

– Prioritization: Functional requirements are typically prioritized based on their importance to the individual or business, while non-functional requirements are prioritized based on their criticality to the system’s overall performance.

– Verification: Functional requirements are relatively easy to verify through testing and inspection, while non-functional specifications are more challenging to verify since they involve measuring and assessing the software’s overall performance against specific criteria.

– Stability: Functional requirements are generally stable and do not change significantly once they are defined, while non-functional requirement are more likely to change over time due to changing technology, user needs, or environmental conditions.

The Significance of Functional and Non-Functional Requirements

The importance of functional and non-functional requirements lies in their ability to provide a clear and structured framework for software development. Failure to clearly specify requirements can cause the development process to become chaotic, which in turn can cause delays, errors, and a final product that falls short of expectations.

The product’s success in meeting the business’s goals and the users’ expectations depends on the accuracy of the functional requirements. Non-functional requirements, on the other hand, guarantee the program will function properly in actual situations.

Together, they establish an all-encompassing set of standards that the team can utilize to make a product that is not just functional but also trustworthy, safe, and easy to use. Users expect mobile apps to be fast, reliable, and easy to use. If an app fails to meet these expectations, users will quickly abandon it and move on to a competitor’s app.

Conclusion

As technology evolves and software development becomes increasingly important, understanding the difference between functional and non-functional requirements becomes crucial. Both types of requirements are equally important and must be defined clearly to ensure that the software meets the needs and expectations of the users. 

By keeping these distinctions in mind, you can ensure that your software application performs as expected and is reliable, secure, and efficient. Neglecting either type can lead to project failure, customer dissatisfaction, and financial losses.

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