A budding mobile application developer? Or planning on diving into the world of smart apps for your business idea? Either way, you are on the right track!

The usage of mobile applications ideas has increased ten-folds with tech-giants like Apple, Samsung and many more releasing flagship devices that are more or fewer mini-computers possessing many functionalities that assist users who are on the go. So, it is only smart to invest in developing a break-through application idea.

However, the process isn’t as simple as one may assume. Before diving into the extensive mobile application development cycle, there is a need to thoroughly understand the mobile-usage, its patterns, and trends.

 

1) Mobile-usage statistics report :


Digital media that is consumed daily, is done so through mobile apps. This information sets the tone for the next statistics that suggest that users spent 90% of their mobile time on apps. Moreover, nearly 85% of people prefer native mobile apps to websites on their smartphones. In addition to this, an average of 30 applications are installed in a device and around 35 hours a month are invested in using them.

 

These statistics make up for a good case in convincing anyone to re-direct their business strategy towards building mobile-apps. But, before taking the plunge, it is better to be quite clear on the development cycle that needs to be followed to have a bug-free, workable and complete mobile app. A project which not only compliments the business but also caters well to the targeted audience furthering the marketing goals and niche of the company.

 

A software development company may have its own set of phases for web application development, but these are the basics that are a must-follow.

 

Without further-a-do let us explore the mobile application development cycle.

 

2)    Requirement Analysis; market-research & tech-stack

 

Since you are contemplating building your idea, you must have a few good mobile app ideas jotted down. This is a good start, but since there are many technicalities involved – it is best to research your market, targeted audience and competitors.

Call this the discovery phase, if you may. Start with the right questions and then find their answers.

  • What purpose does your mobile app fulfill?
  • Is this app any different from the ones available in the market? (If so, then search what are they offering and what more can you bring to the table)
  • What are the core requirements of your app? (Which includes the technologies required to build it- like the programming language, framework, etc.)
  • Who is your targeted audience?
  • Investment required and development budget?
  • How profitable will this be? (This includes the marketing strategies and scope)

It is best to brainstorm on these answers with the entire team; which includes the IT department, marketing & sales, and the main leads. Thorough research before the development phase is of utter importance as it helps figure out the possible vulnerabilities early-on.

Once the basics are covered with a floor-plan ready, you move on to the details of the mobile application.

 

3)    Mobile App Objectives; defining goals and usage

 

This is where the magic happens, at least on the initial stages. Here you define the important aspects of your mobile app- which are the features it will offer to the consumers and how that will facilitate your mobile marketing scheme. As you know that applications, whether mobile or web solve a certain problem and provide ease of access. Hence, these are the questions to ask during the objective phase.

  • What problem(s) your app is solving for the targeted customers?
  • The features that it will offer.
  • How user-friendly is your app?
  • Any potential risk remaining and how should they be addressed?

 

Here’s a tip: By keeping the potential audience in mind including the aim to provide smooth user experience, will set the course for the rest of the mobile development phases. This, in turn, will ensure good profits and app popularity down the road.

 

This is also a great time to determine which aspects of the mobile app dev will be handed over to the in-house team and what needs to be outsourced. Moreover, research shows that when it comes to defining the functionalities of the app, it is best to keep it audience-focused, rather than the ‘exclusive service’ features.

 

After the nitty-gritty details of features, the overall look of the app, scope, and tech-stack is mapped; then comes the execution phase.

 

2.  Execution; Wireframes, Storyboards & tech-specifications:

 

Execution doesn’t translate into coding the app just yet. This is where you take your vision of the app and build it onto a wireframe or in the form of a storyboard – whichever is feasible. The storyboard or wireframes will depict the features and how they combine with the overall functionality of the application. Which includes the back-end structures of the app – like APIs, servers, data integration, and data diagrams. 

 

Also, the storyboard or the road-map will demonstrate the connections between each screen and user interactions – ‘User Cases’ are a great way to go about the user-app interaction showcase.

 

This is the time where you identify potential risks and changes to the back-end resources if required. Hence, stay open for feedback and group-discussions that might help in making the necessary changes before diving into development.

 

3.  Prototyping:

 

Whether large-scale or small, it is best to prototype your mobile app. It is the initial stage of testing. Further, prototyping helps in creating a smoother development experience for the developers that receive the final and confirmed report of the front and back-end of the application.

 

This helps in evaluating the design concepts better, identify any flaws, dead links and the usability of your mobile app. Once the loopholes are determined and corrections made – a finalized concept with a prototype is available for development.

 

4)     Develop the app

 

If you are a software development company then you must be using an app development platform or mobile BaaS provider; otherwise, there will be a need to set up APIs, databases, servers and storage solutions for the backend.

 

Another thing that needs to be kept in mind is having developer accounts on app stores (whichever ones you are planning to distribute your app on). Caution: It is best to read on the app store guidelines before even starting to code – since, if fail to meet, it will result in your app being rejected.

 

Now, comes the coding where UI/UX matters. So make sure every detail, whether design or back-end is in tune with your finalized wireframes and storyboards.

 

5. Testing the app

 

Exciting yet crucial phase. One your mobile app is ready with commendable graphic and on-point concept, comes the thorough testing of the app. There are many kinds of testing but what needs to be kept in mind is during the testing phase, you might come across a feature that seemed like a great fit at the planning stage, might not necessarily work out in a practical form.

 

Get the feedback of real-users as well, that can give you’re the user-end opinions about the finished product. Moreover, check its cross-platform compatibility.

 

6) Launch preparation; marketing, hype build-up, app-promotions

 

Yes, the final stages involve a long check-list, but since it is handled by different departments – it is do-able.

 

Marketing your app before its launch is a great way to create curiosity and hype that will drive many to your eventual app lunch. The marketing team can do its magic by creating promotional videos. demos and doing keyword research; for SEO and app store optimization (ASO).

 

Aside from all this, the discoverability of your mobile app needs to be tackled from all areas, not just through ASO and SEO. You need to build a website or at least a landing page that supports and promotes your mobile app, simultaneously. Since Google’s App Indexing API fetches content from your app and its respective web page in its search results algorithm – it is crucial to have a well-written optimized content to land on Google’s search pages.

 

With all marketing strategies included, last but not least, customer feedback needs to be taken into consideration regularly. If they suggest a bug or anything that needs fixing- it is best to update as quickly as possible.

 

These were the phases that lead to a functional mobile app. Once you are well-versed with the amount of effort, care, and maintenance that goes into mobile application development, you’d be all set for it.  

Published by Zubair Hassan