Mobile App Development Process: 7 Simple Steps to Develop an App
What is a trigger point to a successful mobile app development process if 6,140 apps are being released through the Google Play Store every single day? Meanwhile, only few of them are not being removed by customers after the first usage.
According to a recent Statista research, Android users were able to choose between 2.1 million apps; when i-Users from almost 1.8 million available apps at Apple’s App Store, as of the first quarter of 2019.
How to create a unique and compelling mobile application that will stand out from the crowd? The mobile app development team at Synergy Way unveils the 7 core stages of successful mobile app development.
Step 1: Got an Idea?
All great apps start with an idea. Sometimes the cliches are true.
Even if your app idea isn’t clearly set, the best point to kickoff is to start thinking of things in terms of actual problems and possible solutions. Ask yourself and your colleagues the following questions:
- What is the problem that I want to solve?
- And why does this problem still exist in our tech-savvy world?
- Is there any existing solution on the market?
- Which other ways can this problem be solved? Is there a better solution?
When the idea is defined set up the clear goals:
- What are the primary use cases for my future app?
- What is my ideal target audience?
- What are my business objectives for the app?
When you determine a problem and market the solution with your target audience in mind – count you are a halfway to success. Once you have a complete grasp of the problem, you are about to invest a considerable amount of time and money into the app development process.
This is when a precise strategic approach becomes crucial.
Step 2. Build a Research-Based Strategy
Don’t neglect researching the market to get an overview of the whole picture. By skipping these meticulous steps and moving directly to the app development part you risk to do lots of mistakes and decrease the number of obvious misses during the development. Finding one or more competitors on the market with even better solutions has certain benefits:
- An overview of the app market in your industry
- Understanding of your target audience’ actual interests
- The real example of the mobile app to learn from
While creating a mobile app development strategy consider that sources that can give you a wide range of information and feedback.
iOS Market and Google Play need no introduction. These two biggest mobile app markets can support you with any info regarding app popularity, demands, and your main competitors.
Kickstarter and other popular crowdfunding platforms will help you learn what people actually are interested in. The top funded projects in mobile application development category will give you a precise idea of the greatest ‘inventions’ that have recently popped up.
Crunchbase is a platform that can help you get a clear understanding of the priorities on how and why investors backup startups.
Assure your primary analysis of the market includes actual demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and needs of your buyer persona. Once these characteristics are nailed down you should know how your future customers will be using your mobile application.
Step 3. Create a Wireframe and Prototype
The next step is to document and wireframe of your future mobile application. During this part your idea will become a small project.
Sketching (wireframing) your future application will help you and your mobile development team to get a complete vision of functions, uncover usability issues, and overcome technical limitations popped up in the backend development process on the early stage.
Picture: this wording (located and designed the way you prefer) on the background
Wireframe – a basic outline of your future software:
- Visually represents your mobile app
- Displays how you want it to look and work
- Shows app’s inner navigation
- Describes basic features of your future app
Wireframe should have a simplified design of your future project. The easiest way to bring it to life requires only pen and paper, while there is a number of software solutions that allow to bring an app idea in simple but interactive animations.
To build a rapid prototype (btw, rapid is the key word here), you may want to consider the following prototyping tools.
Balsamiq is a constructor-like tool where you build a mobile app prototype from the pre-made small pieces. Simple navigation and drag and drop basis is user friendly and allows to concentrate on functionality.
Justinmind is another simple prototype tool that doesn’t require any code knowledge. Drag and drop user interface elements on the virtual mock-up model, assign actions, and adjust transitions – this will help you present your project to the app development companies, investors, and shareholders.
Step 4. Design Your App
When application development steps have already passed wireframing and prototyping, it’s time to consider the UI/UX design. Easy and user friendly control of your mobile app is what makes your product appealing to the end customers.
To make a long story short, mobile application design is a multilayered process with the numerous review stages. Though, it is essential for getting an appealing and interactive product in the end.
User Interface (UI) is the way your product represents itself in terms of look and style, and User Experience (UX) refers to customers’ emotions and attitudes about using this product. The success of your future app will be measured by both, its functionality and attractiveness.
Step 5. Find the Mobile Application Development Team
Finding the right mobile development team to execute your idea is not less important than the market research, UI/UX design, or the development process itself. Obviously, a thorough research will help you choose the right hands to implement the entire application development process.
Don’t make a quick decision and stick around to interview several vendors. The best option would definitely be contract a team with proven expertise in your niche and direct all your requests to them.
The professional teams are of help when it comes to providing a client with a clear understanding of the app development process, optimizing the workflow and choosing the best technologies for the project.
After the development team is chosen, you are ready to start setting up the application workflow. At this stage you need to create an advanced to-do-lists with specific tasks, directions, and timeframes.
As the successful start of the mobile development process can only start with a proper organization, you may also want to consider workflow assistance software like Trello, Tallyfy, or Asana. All of them gives better control of the mobile app development process – assign tasks to mobile app developers, managers, and testers, store the data, and set up the deadlines.
Step 6. Develop and Test
You have likely heard that mobile app development is an iterative process. And that during the development phase, an application goes through a set of smaller milestones and stages. This basically means building an app in a series of cycles, where terms like Sprints, Agile, Kanban, and Scrum methodologies are an integral part of the development process.
If your project assumes that user requirements will be constantly changing, consider Agile methodology. It will help you and your mobile app development team with flexible planning, progressive development, and features changes/corrections. In terms of Agile, you can cut down your application into smaller modules, and apply the methodology to each of the small parts.
Independently of the approach you choose for your product development, each app development cycle will include planning, development, testing, and review.
- During the planning phase, your team will work on the list of tasks for the current iteration: setting up clear requirements, estimating time for each task, etc.
- The development phase involves your team to implement styles and functionality. Once the task is completed, it is assigned back to a Project Manager or Quality Assurance tester for review.
- Testing early and often will keep your final budget low. The further you’re into the development cycle, the the more valuable it becomes to fix bugs.
- At the end of each cycle, review the work done – determine how the sprint went to eliminate similar issues from future cycles.
Coming back to application testing, we have to say it’s literally boundless. Make sure your QA team covers tests for usability, functional, performance, compatibility, stress, security, and UI. Functional testing is needed to ensure the feature works as described in the initial requirements; usability – to test if the feature is user-friendly; performance – to see how well it loads and responses to your commands.
In the phase when the app is already tested and improved by your Team, release it to a certain group of external users, preferably not developers, for additional testing.
Beta-testing gives you an opportunity to see whether your mobile app works for your target audience. Once your application passes the user acceptance test, you will know your solution “works.”
After the bugs are fixed, the app is ready for the deployment phase and release.
Step 7. Deploy and Support
Voila! Your mobile application is ready to see the world!
Unless you’ve developed an enterprise app, which requires in-house system integration, you will be directed to either Apple’s App Store or Google Play Market for publishing your product.
The policies of launching in these stores are different. To receive the confirmation, you have to follow a certain procedure that is based on requirements of the chosen platform. So to make sure you’re on the safe side you can delegate deployment to your mobile app development team. Get a quote!
Nevertheless, app development doesn’t end at the deployment stage. Considering the fact that your application will soon reach users’ minds, the diversity of feedback will pour in. Can you ever say your app is ‘complete’? No, every digital product constantly needs updates and new features.
Incorporate users’ feedback into future, enhanced versions. Talk with your development team and the stakeholders to determine how it’s possible to improve the quality of your app. By working on the product together with your team, you’ll keep strengthening its content and relevance on the market. It’s vital, as there’s always room for growth and improvement.