Non Functional Requirements or NFRs are one of the most underrated yet integral aspects of cloud application development. Though it is an important part of an application’s design, they are not given enough attention during different stages of the development of the app. Comprising the operational features of a cloud-based product, the NFRs of an application usually come to the focus of your developers and clients only towards the end of its development or after the product is released on the market. This results in several unprecedented problems that compromise the integrity and usability of the application. For instance, if NFRs like the application loading speed and the response time of the menus are not defined and discussed during the inception and designing of the product, the final application may encounter issues like delayed execution of the app’s functionalities that have not been taken into consideration while developing it. These issues that occur following the release of the application can be avoided by integrating the NFRs into the developmental stage of the product life cycle. An efficient and flawless application will have met all its Non Functional Requirements – NFRs decide the effectiveness and level of usability of the application once it starts engaging with the consumers of your client’s services. Hence NFRs are as important as the Functional Requirements and play a huge role in deciding whether the application will succeed or fail.
The following are some of the non-functional requirements that you need to consider while building an application.
While developing the application, you must discuss the specifications in terms of the compatibility of the product like hardware requirements and supported versions of different operating systems. This NFR will help your developers research the most common media used by the users of the application so that the insights gained from this user analysis can be incorporated into the application. For example, if the devices used by a major part of the users of the application vary from android phones to MacBooks, your developers can ensure that the product is compatible with all these devices and their respective operating systems. This will ensure that the application is readily available to the target audience of the product.
The ability of your system to meet the storage requirements of the application is an important factor in determining the uninterrupted functioning of the product. Not only does this NFR explore the practical aspects of scalability but it also helps the application in keeping up with the activity of the end-user. By researching, analysing and predicting the changes in the current and future engagement of the users with the application, you will be able to integrate adequate capacity into the action plan of the app so that it can function without glitches even when presented with an escalated user engagement. This ensures that a sudden inflow of user requests in higher numbers will not cause the overloading of the cloud application.
Foresight is a vital quality that both your developers and your customers need to have from the first stage of the application’s development cycle. They need to discuss all possible outcomes of the application and its functionality in the future – it would not suffice to design the product to meet the current requirements alone, rather you should embed provisions that will optimise the app for scalability. Whether the number of active users increase or decrease, the cloud application must be able to handle the respective increase or decrease in workload without compromising its functions and efficiency. Hence scalability is an integral factor that facilitates your application’s success.
This is perhaps the most important Non Functional Requirement, in whose absence, the other NFRs become obsolete – the cloud application must be available to the users for other NFRs to come into play. The availability of your product is inversely proportional to the downtime of the application. Hence your cloud architects must focus on the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) while working on the application’s disaster recovery strategy. The success of your cloud application is heavily dependent on its availability – this demands a model that does not have any leeway for failure. Even if it encounters any unexpected downtime, it should be able to recover fast and with zero loss of data.
A critical NFR for all cloud-based applications is security. The users’ trust in your application is dependent on whether it is equipped with highly efficient security measures that will protect it from any cyber attacks, unauthorised access or malware threats. Hence you must ensure that the product design meets the global standards of security. While functional requirements include concrete options that enforce security, NFRs define different security standards and properties that the application must possess. The talking points to execute this NFR include enumerating the specific kinds of threats that must be addressed, setting a benchmark for the standards that need to be met and exploring the most functional and effective security practices.
The users’ experience while engaging with the application is an important factor that determines the success of your cloud application. The usability of your product is dependent on elements like efficiency, learnability, memorability and error frequency. If your application is efficient, the users will be able to complete their goals quickly. Learnability refers to the ease with which the users can understand and learn the functioning of the app without guidance. If your product facilitates memorability, the users can engage with the application after long periods of inactivity without having to learn its functioning from the start once again. Error frequency refers to the number of times that the user makes mistakes while using the product, which is a reflection of the usability of the app. By developing the application in a way that decreases error frequency while increasing its efficiency, learnability and memorability, you will be able to offer a pleasant user experience which in turn would add to the success of your product.
Incorporating these NFRs from the time you begin to work on the application will ensure that you have all the bases covered once the app is complete and ready to be released. The right and timely incorporation and execution of non functional requirements will not only help you minimise problems after the application hits the market but also boost its popularity in the respective industry. Hence, NFRs are powerful game-changers that will contribute to the success of your cloud application.