In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the mobile app development process and the things you need to consider to help make your app a success.
Mobile App Development Process
Mobile applications are largely considered an indispensable part of our daily lives (for both businesses and our personal lives). Each app is different – they differ in functionality, complexity, and intended use – yet the key considerations and steps to having an app successfully developed remain the same.
The mobile app development process might seem to be overwhelming and complicated, however, it can be both a very rewarding and lucrative experience. There are a number of basic steps to follow, from pre-development (idea generation to adoption strategies) to development, through to deployment, and post-launch phases.
Before jumping into the actual mobile app development process, it is necessary that you:
- Consider the purpose of your app, and specifically consider if something similar already exists. We often find that people come up with great ideas for an app, but upon performing some simple searches on the various app stores, countless similar apps already exist. If so, then:
- How does your app idea differ from what’s already on offer?
- Have you downloaded some of those other apps to look at their deficiencies? For example, are they ugly or cumbersome to use, have bad reviews (always a great place to start!), or were they developed in ‘suspicious’ countries?
- If your intended purpose is to sell your app on the various app stores, then how will you compete against those existing apps?
- Consider your customer – identify who your customers are, and what platforms (Android, iOS, web, other) they use. Once your target customer is identified, only then can you best decide what to cater for and offer them.
- Consider your competitors – it is important that you know who you are competing with. Conduct research about what they offer and how you can differ, and where their app originates, and whether there is a gap in the local market for something more specific or better suited geographically (e.g., metric units of measure, or a list of local suppliers versus an app from overseas that may use imperial measurements, or overseas suppliers etc.).
It is imperative that you understand and can clearly articulate the purpose of your mobile app. For example, is it to help solve a specific business problem or inefficiency – eliminate paper perhaps or is the app intended for the various app stores and mass consumer market? Have you allocated a budget for the app? At this stage, you should look to answer questions like:
- What problem (or problems) will your app solve for your customers?
- What features will it include?
- What is your app’s core appeal, or perhaps: how does your app differ from others that may exist?
- What platforms or operating systems do you need to cover (things like Android, iOS and web)?
- What are the main ‘actions’ people can perform on your app? These would generally be the main buttons you’d have on the homepage of your app for example.
- How are you looking at generating a return on your investment?
Some thorough research and idea brainstorming is highly recommended at this point. After which, it becomes easier for you to express your ideas to us (the developers) so that we can help calculate the time it would take to develop the application. Now don’t stress too much at this stage if you haven’t quite figured everything out; a good developer should be able to offer some great advice and suggestions.
The development stage is specifically focussed on all the tasks related to creating and delivering your app. Here is a checklist of the items that must be considered during the app development stage.
- Operating system – Android, iOS, web and/or other platform and perhaps even specifying a minimum operating system version.
- Data connectivity – Does the app require data connectivity or can it work offline?
- User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) design – Consider things like mobile phone and tablet compatibility, screen size and resolution, different designs for different devices, and ultimately the ease of use of the app (apps generally do not come with instructions!).
- App features and specifications – Clearly documented requirements that the developer is to build.
- Featured gestures – Determine the controls to be used for the app to work, (i.e. finger scanning, swiping – both up and down as well as left to right, facial / speech recognition, double tapping or a long press etc.).
- Language – Apps supporting multiple languages might need different designs.
- Security and accessibility to use the app.
- Data security and data collection, use and retention policy – This is now largely regulated by governments from around the world.
Here are some considerations of things to do once the app has been developed.
- App testing – To ensure that your mobile app functions exactly as intended, you must dedicate time to test, test, and re-test. Most app developers will provide a limited warranty period, so it’s crucial you spend time testing all aspects of the app. Where possible, involve many testers across as many different devices as possible.
- App launch – Launch the mobile app to your target market. Send out your marketing messages and seek engagement. Have some fun, perhaps throw an app launch party to celebrate your achievement – goodness knows that you probably deserve it given you’ve gotten this far.
- Maintenance – Keep the app efficient, functional and updated through a support team. Respond quickly to user comments.
- Updates – Now that you have released the first version, always consider how the app can be improved and kept current with interesting new features, discounts and fresh content. Statistics show that many people uninstall apps that don’t get updated.
You certainly want your app to be successful, thus it is necessary that you understand the basic process of getting your app developed. We hope that this article has helped explain the important steps in getting your app successfully developed.
If you are looking for an experienced mobile app development company who can create your app from scratch, help with or fix an existing app, or you need any more information on one or more of the steps above, then you’re in luck!
The Mobile Apps Man is happy to speak to businesses, app-preneurs and app owners at any stage in the process. Whether you are a start-up or an established company, we have the team and knowledge needed to deliver a fantastic mobile app. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today.