10 Principles of Modern Web Application Development

The trends in web app development are constantly changing, as well as customers’ needs. Those trends that were relevant just about a few years ago, don’t work at all nowadays. This may make you question how to create a successful web application? For this, you need to know about the modern principles of web development. In this article, we will talk about these principles.

10 principles of web application development

A web application development should start with an idea and business plan. But, in order to shape your idea right and develop a comprehensive business plan, you need to know about the current custom web development principles.

1.   Always put users first

The first principle of custom web app development is the importance of user-first approach. It’s relatable to not only web application development, but also to any service or product. Web application development tools and technologies keep on evolving, but providing convenient user experience doesn’t only mean using the latest technologies available.

The experience of using a product should be the focus of your work. When you’re building software for people, you need to understand your users and prioritize their needs above your own. Your own ideas and vision may not match with actual market demands and users’ needs.

Who is your target audience? Finding an answer to this question, you can better understand the goals of your product, and, consequently, develop a strong and competitive business plan.

Consider your future product as not just a web application, but as a solution to the specific problem of your end users as well. This will help you focus on your objectives and provide fantastic user experience that will make your users willing to pay for using your product and will certainly raise their engagement and dedication to your brand.

2.   The design should be consistent and simple

Consistent web design is an important principle to follow. Consistency helps users find what they are looking for, learn how to use the service, and understand how it works. In order to create a consistent experience across your web app, you need to make sure that the user interface is sleek, intuitive, and easily understandable.

When building a design, don’t try to reinvent the wheel; use icons that are well-recognizable to the majority of users (for example, a paper plane associates with sending a message).

The best user experience is the one that is seamless and familiar. It should feel like you’re using an app you already know, but better.

The first step to achieving this is making sure your app has a clear purpose and is easy for users to understand. If there are too many features on one screen, people will get confused or frustrated trying to find what they want. So, make sure that your web development vendor or your design team understands that the design should be simple and consistent.

3.   Wise usage of alerts and notifications

Alerts and notifications are an essential part of modern web applications. However, they should be used sparingly because they can be distracting and annoying. You need to use them to communicate important information that is relevant for the user’s context, current task or situation. Alerts and notifications should provide users with relevant information at just the right moment of time and shouldn’t interrupt them unnecessarily during normal usage of an application.

Remember that every time someone sees an alert box popup in their browser window all day long while working on other tasks, this could potentially result in negative feelings towards your service as well as distract the users.

4.   Adaptiveness is key to sharing your app among wider audience

Just about 15 years ago, people used to surf the web via computer only. But nowadays, they can access the internet via various devices: tablets, laptops, smartphones, and even smart watches. All of these devices have different screen sizes. Basically, this means that your web app should be adaptable.

Adaptiveness is the ability of a web application to adjust its layout to fit different devices and screen sizes. This means that your users should be able to use your application on any device, whether it’s a desktop computer or an iPad.

5.   Accessibility shows the users that you care about them

An important factor in web application development is making sure that your app is available in different languages and different regions. So, unless your app is not limited around one country or region by its specifics, think about translating it to other languages apart from English (for example, Spanish, French, Russian, etc.). Thanks to that, you will make your product available for people from other countries that also may want to get an advantage out of it.

You may also want to consider making your app available for people with disabilities (such as blindness or low vision, for example). For sure, you can rarely see this feature in other web apps, but the thing is the more groups of people have the opportunity to use your application, the better.

6.   Choose a technology stack wisely

When you’re building a web application, you have to choose your technology stack wisely. A good stack will help you avoid common pitfalls and make the development process easier for everyone involved, be it a development team on outsource, or your own internal team.

Use modern frameworks like React or Angular instead of older ones like jQuery or BackboneJS (unless there is a specific reason why to choose older frameworks). If possible, use libraries that are built on top of these modern technologies.

So, when approaching web development services or launching a project with your onboard development team, make sure that the chosen tech stack matches both your budget and needs.

Also, make sure to use up-to-date versions of all the technologies that you will be using during the development process. The old versions may lead to security issues.

7.   Security is more important than you realize

It’s not a secret that web applications are sensitive to various security vulnerabilities. According to Statista, concerns about data security in case of hacking is the main fear that the users have about app usage. Many web application businesses suffer because of that as they have to fight the consequences of security issues instead of preventing them in advance.

The main reason why this happens usually lies in the web developers attitude to security: many of them consider it as an add-on component that can be added at the end of the website development process.

Thanks to the more advanced approach to the security system, you can assure your users that they can safely entrust their personal data to your service and use it without fear of data leakage or hacking. Moreover, safety features should be added to your app from the very beginning of the development process.

8.   Speedy application is the only type of application people want to use

With time, users became overwhelmed with different types of services and websites. If they are facing some issues with one web app, they just close it and open another. But the main reason why many people prefer closing an app even before beginning to work with it is the slowly loading pages.

The demand for web application speed has grown dramatically over the last years as users have become less patient. And not only that. Google also considers loading speed as a ranking aspect (website conversion rates drop by around 4.42% with each additional second of load time).

So, as you can see, speedy work of your web application is a very important aspect of your project’s success (especially in terms of business and marketing). During the development process, make sure that each web developer that works on your project understands the importance of load speed.

9.   Finished development process is not the end of your path

Software development technologies, tools, libraries, frameworks, and third party integrations evolve and become more advanced. This fact has both positive and negative sides. Of course, more advanced technologies allow making your web app better, leaving your competitors behind. On the other hand, this also means that you have to keep on upgrading your product regularly to be on par with the latest innovations. Moreover, your security system will become defenseless against new threats that evolve along with technologies.

So, upgrading your app doesn’t just mean adding new features. Of course, this is an important aspect of product support as well because the needs and demands of your users will probably be growing with time. But, what’s more important is to keep your app compliant with the latest safety standards and the latest technologies. You can dedicate this task to your in-house web development team or an outsourcing company.

10. Don’t try to launch complex, feature-rich app right away

You may be thinking that launching a web app that solves multiple problems, provides dozens of useful features, and has complex design is the best way to go. Partially, this is true. But not at the first attempt. Trying to deliver as many features as you can in the first version of your app is, most frequently, appears to be a mistake, and leads to wasted resources and time that could be spent much more effectively.

Great app doesn’t mean an app with more features than your competitors have. You have more chances to succeed if you create a product that covers some market gap and solves the users’ problem that wasn’t solved by your competitors.

That is why it’s better to launch a web app that has one or two core features. You can gather and analyze the feedback from your first users and then add new features that definitely respond to the upcoming needs of your target audience. You can dedicate the task of your project support and maintenance to a web development company in the case if your in-house team will be busy with another project.


In this article, we have explained the principles of modern web application development. Let’s briefly review these principles:

  1. Users are of a primary importance
  2. The design should be consistent
  3. Notifications and alerts should be used at the right time and in the right moment
  4. The web app should be adapted to all screen sizes
  5. It’s better to make your app available in as many languages as possible
  6. Choose flexible tech stack that fits your budget
  7. Security is extremely important
  8. Modern web apps should be speedy
  9. The app should be upgraded on a regular basis
  10. It’s better to not overload the first version of your app with features

With these principles in mind, you can create a web application that will delight your users and keep them coming back for more.

BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.