Mobile App development is a process comprising of phases or steps that depends on the professional mobile app development company including the nature of the project that they have taken on. However, the core process itself remains the same and the most crucial as well.
With majority of businesses taking a mobile app centric approach, considering the lucrative market-place including the growing consumer demand – it is only fitting to understand the mobile app development process in great detail.
What do the statistics say?
After all, there are 2.7 billion smartphone users around the globe with 90% of mobile time spent on mobile apps. Moreover, mobile apps are to generate around $189 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, according to the experts. Now if we take mobile app downloads into consideration, then statistics show that Apple App Store has 2.2 million apps available for download; while Google play store houses nearly 2.8 million apps.
Safe to say that mobile app popularity is only growing and according to the graph below, mobile app downloads will continue to rise high well into the year 2022. Nearly 25% increase in global app download between years 2018 and 2022.
Not to mention that now with futuristic technology taking hold of mobile apps like artificial intelligence, AR, and VR- refining mobile apps and the user experience they provide – elevating their demand within the consumer market.
So with all the data in hand giving us the green light on investing in the development of mobile apps for your business, we need to understand the lifecycle to fully tap into the entire deal.
Idea Generation, Market Research, and Technical Decisions
One of the first things you need to have is an idea that has the potential to grow into a substantial app with a nice set of features.
So once you have an idea secured, you need to dive into the research. This research is not just about the market or your target audience but the long standing competitors as well. Over all, you research about the sustainability of your idea within the market, gathering information on the audience, and finally the competitors.
Lastly, for this step, you also need to determine the technical details for your mobile app that includes the tech-stack.
When you are researching, you need to ask and answer the following questions:
- Is your idea solving an existing problem for the users?
- Does this app have a good amount of target audience?
- If yes, then identify that audience and find out more about them.
- How will your end-users use your mobile app?
- Who are your competitors and how is their app performing and what features does it have?
- Is there a long-term growth potential for your mobile app in terms of features and usage?
- What platform will you use?
- Which mobile app development language will and framework will be used?
- What is the total budget?
- What is the development timeline for this mobile app project?
- How do you plan on marketing and promoting this app?
Yes, your marketing efforts need to start with the development process. Why? Because in a saturated marketplace such as of mobile app, you need to do every bit of effort to stand out from the crowd. In order to build an audience, nurture their interest, and ultimately driving conversions in the form of downloads and purchases – you need to market your app pre and post launch.
This is a crucial phase as the intel gathered during this time will determine the entire course of mobile app development process.
Determining the Features, Achievable Goals, and Revenue Model
Your app ideation phase is still incomplete as you have to determine the goal it will serve and through which features. For this, you will have to sit down and keeping the budget in mind, determine the core and additional features your mobile app will include.
Keep in mind that this is a great time to determine the revenue model for your mobile app. Meaning, how do you plan on monetizing your app? Will you go for the one-time purchase, monthly subscription, in-app advertisements, freemium, or some other.
So for this, you need to answer the following:
- What is the end goal that your customers will achieve through your mobile app?
- What will be the features?
- What’s your mobile app’s X factor that gives you an edge over your competitors?
- Which revenue model will suit your business and consumers the best?
Wireframing and Storyboards
With features, revenue models, and app’s objectives among other things are decided, you can move on to the design that includes the user interface and user experience of your mobile app.
Do note that the mobile app development has increasingly become UX-centric. Meaning, it heavily focuses on the experience it provides to its users and refining that process throughout the lifetime of the mobile app.
Hence, the design process should be given extra attention and detail as the consumer market demands an impeccable and seamless user experience.
For this, you need to design wireframes of your app. The goal with wireframe is to develop a clear picture of the mobile app using online tools for wireframing. Once the two-dimensional skeletal outline of the app, its pages, and features has been developed through either a sketch or a tool – it allows you a visual insight into what it will look like.
Taking a step further, you should build storyboards determining the connections between each screen and how the user will navigate through the app.
What will you achieve with wireframes and storyboards?
- Developers will get a clear insight into what will be developed.
- Stakeholders and clients get a visual representation of their app and can make changes before development.
- User experience can be tested and refined.
- The overall usability can be analyzed and tested for any further changes or improvements.
Remember, development of a mobile app is no cheap marathon – which is why you need to make sure you are planning for success and not a failure that would require a redo. Unless you have a big budget and deep pockets, this will cost you a hefty sum.
Build a Prototype and Test It Thoroughly
Once the wireframes are tested, revised, and finalized – you need to step up your game and create a prototype. A prototype is your earliest release of a product with core functionalities. A prototype gives you the opportunity to truly test out the concept, flow, usability, and any loopholes that need to be addressed. Again, like wireframing tools, there are plenty of prototyping tools available at your disposal – online and for free even.
This is where it is best to choose a group of target audience for the testing of your prototype include the clients and any concerned party. The aim is to gather real user data and feedback and make necessary changes accordingly.
End goal? Finalize the prototype that will set the foundation of your development process making it faster reducing your time to market timeframe.
Develop the App
This is where your development team gets active and starts building the app keeping the prototype and design details as the references. Not to mention your quality assurance and testing team works side-by-side ensuring bug and error free iterations and builds.
The back-end and front-end developers work in unison to design and build the application. So you can expect the UI/UX designers to be equally involved in each deliverable.
Test, Test, and Test Again
Although development and testing is a simultaneous process, it is equally important to make sure that you rigorously test your app before launch. There is no such thing as “too much testing” when it comes to mobile apps. There are so many scenarios, circumstances, and environments that you need to test your app in to determine any fault that needs addressing before having users complain in the feedback section.
Prepare for Launch
Launching a mobile app in itself is a complete process that should be conducted with utmost care and diligence. There is much that goes into app launch for it to be a success. Considering your marketing team has been performing pre-launch marketing efforts in full swing, these are the following you need to keep in mind.
- App Store Optimization (ASO)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When dealing with setting up your app on the app store you need to conduct ASO to ensure maximum visibility, discoverability, and ranking within app store. As for SEO, this is for the landing page of your website promoting your app.
Both play an important role in the promotion of your mobile app, which you need excessively to beat the competition and acquire users. Remember, you are not just doing this for your own app’s success but you have to consider the intense saturation and competition within your market.
Once the app in launched, your post-launch campaigns and marketing efforts should launch full-speed to gather as much attention and possibly conversions as you can. So, now that you have a decent knowledge of the truck load of work that goes into professional mobile app development company– we wish you all the best!