You may be tempted to enter the app development arena and turn your dream app into reality without giving it another thought. Still, you need to visualize the impact of the app development process to create an app that in line with marketing goals and target audience.
There are over 1.5 million applications for both the iOS and the Android platforms. It’s not quantum science to develop a mobile application. In the end, the mobile application development life cycle is the mobile adaptation of Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).
However, the app development process must entail extensive and thorough pre-planning to deliver a successful application that will enhance the lives of others and generate money. Therefore, do not take your mobile app development process lightly, but quite the opposite.
How you choose to implement your process of creating an app will shape your future vision. An involved process, the mobile applications development process must include upfront design, multi-device testing, a complete beta lifecycle, usability testing, and deployment.
Here you are presented with a comprehensive perspective of the different stages of app development along with the challenges you will be facing throughout application development cycle and the objectives to remain aligned with and guide you along the way.
Perform Your Multifaceted and In-Depth Research
Research is the foundation of any app development process just as an idea is the beginning of any app development endeavor. Turning an idea into an actual app involves a lot of research focused on the key target of your app: the end user, the buyer, target audience.
In the early phases of your investigation, you should focus your research on key features of the intended end user: incentives, demographic affiliation, patterns of behavior, as well as ambitions. The whole point is to get a clear picture of your buyer personae and drives them.
Use the end user as a reference all through the development phases of your app. It is an exercise that will allow you to define and understand your buyer’s lifecycle better from the time you get their attention to conversion, retention, and, ultimately, loyalty cultivation.
Figuring out the characteristics of your end users is the only viable method to stand any chance of understanding customer experience from their point of view: how they will use your product, i.e., the object of your carefully thought and crafted app development process.
Once you comprehend how they will use your app, i.e., your digital product, you have a solid basis to launch your app development process with the confidence and clarity required to turn it into a lucrative venture for you as well as your business partners or business investors.
Research is for app development life cycle what foundation is for buildings. The foundation can make or break a construction project. In the same way, research can bring either total success or total failure for your app development. Therefore, it is a crucial, mandatory step.
You need to research your competition objectively in addition to researching your end user because it is unlikely that you will be able to develop a unique app in a world packed with applications for every imaginable purpose and every existing mobile operating system.
With a glass-half-full approach to business, take an impartial look at the app/apps that your competitors offer, dismantle it into pros and cons. It is the step that allows you to see your app without bias and make the necessary improvements to stand out from the crowd.
Conduct Your Comprehensive Business Analysis
A complete business analysis is a must before launching your app development process and getting deep into the development lifecycle. An ample analysis should cover all the bases.
Assessment of original idea. The starting point of your app development endeavors, your idea must go through a thorough analysis performed by experts. They will need to examine and correct the idea, provide solid advice to adjust and improve it, and initiate a rough logic.
SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis of business competition or project planning. Again, this is a fundamental step.
Return on Investment (ROI). Any app development project is a business investment, and you must evaluate the actual market performance of your app, which will allow you to see its value to make proper budget amendments.
Competitor Analysis: In addition to researching your competition as far as their app performances and technical features, you need to analyze your competitors’ strong and weak points, which will eventually allow you to recognize threats and opportunities.
Scope of Requirements: another part of a complete business analysis is putting together a comprehensive list of requirements for your digital product.
Define Your Mobile Strategy
The mobile strategy involves a variety measures that you need to take to make sure your app is ready for mobile device users. Here are four factors that you need to pay heed to:
Market Research. Market research reveals current situation, which will help you tweak your app’s concept to adapt to existing demand. It is crucial for mobile strategy purposes.
Buyer Persona. Adjust mobile strategy to the market segment that you are targeting, which comes with specific expectations, requirements, objectives, behaviors, and motivations.
Technologies and Tools. Identify the exact tools that the mobile app industry is requiring and establish a specific package of technologies to meet your project goals accordingly.
Marketing Strategy. It is a detailed plan that targets client acquisition as well as retention.
Create Your Technical Documentation
Technical documentation is a multifaceted, comprehensive manual or set of specifications of your app that defines requirements and business objectives. Your app development team specialists will refer to it throughout the different phases of the app development process.
Technical documentation may be referred to as software documentation or even technical specification. It is essential for proper management of your mobile app lifecycle. Here is how:
- Technical documentation makes your app/digital product comprehensible
- Technical documentation is like a flexible framework to insert future changes
- Technical specification is an explicit instruction manual that boosts product value
- Technical documentation supports your control over the product
- Technical documentation permits recycling of certain parts of the developed app
Generate Your Wireframe and Roadmap
Wireframing entails a visual guide that presents the framework of your app. Wireframing is necessary if you want to have a better understanding of your app’s intended functionalities. It primarily represents your digital product’s detailed schematics.
Some developers find it very useful to create a detailed sketch of the app they are working on, which may help to reveal potential ease of use and learnability issues. Wireframing is key to an easy-to-manage, thorough app development process and uncovering usability issues.
Wireframing allows tracing steps taken throughout the development process and, being a visual exercise, enhances communication and collaboration. Wireframing is a refined sketch that can place design elements in the right order streamlining your app development process.
Furthermore, wireframing will help to surmount potential technical drawbacks occurring in the backend development process. It provides a comprehensive picture of your app’s characteristics, merging those features in a serviceable, purposeful, practical app.
In addition to wireframing, a storyboard or a roadmap can also prove useful in exposing how screens relate to each other, how users are going to navigate across the app. Concentrate on user experience and fit in your brand as well while continuing to pay attention to the difference between mobile apps and mobile websites from the user’s perspective.
Assess Technical Feasibility
Does your back-end have what it takes to support the functionality of your new app? It is a fair question that you need to get a straight answer to as soon as you are done with understanding the visual aspects of your app development process. Is it viable technically?
To find out whether or not your app is feasible from a technical point of view, you need to check the technical requirements that you need to meet, which may differ depending on the platform (Android, iOs, etc.) and its format (tablet, smartphone, etc.).
The next step is to identify these requirements by sourcing public APIs. Armed with the correct information, your team may not agree on the feasibility of the app’s functionality. Brainstorming is what you need to pinpoint the best possible solutions.
Set-Up the Backend Structures
Depending on the wireframe and storyboard, you need to develop the backend systems necessary to support your app’s functionality, i.e., servers, data diagrams, APIs, push notification services, and data integration.
Small and medium-sized enterprises usually prefer to use a mobile backend as a service platform because it is an option that resolves the matters of in-house talent deficiency and scalability issues.
As you define your backend structures, you may be met with technical restraints, which is the reason you need to remain flexible since you may have to adjust your storyboard and/or wireframe to overcomes those limitations.
Wrap Up Your Wireframe and Create Your Initial Prototype
This is the stage where you need to pay heed to pinpoint precisely the adjustments your wireframe may require due to technical limitations identified while defining the backend systems. Next obvious step is to implement the wireframe and storyboard final changes.
With the final touches to the wireframe and storyboard implemented, you can proceed with prototyping. The role of prototyping for the app development process is essential, and its value should not be underestimated.
Prototyping is your chance to assess design models, detect dead links, harvest feedback, and identify flaws in the usability and flow of your app. You can use prototyping tools already available online to make things easier.
Start Developing Your App
The app development itself is a process that entails multiple steps. First, you need to know that you can either use a mobile BaaS provider or an app development platform. Otherwise, your developer will have to handle every aspect of app development, i.e., setting app databases, storage solutions, servers, and APIs.
One other thing that you need to attend to is preparing developer accounts for the application stores through which you intend to deliver your app. Make sure you pay attention to the submission guidelines of the respective app store so that your app is not rejected.
You can now move on to the next important steps: programming and coding. In case you are working with an outside team on programming and coding, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement and agree on a clear timeline for delivering what needs to be done.
During the programming and coding phase, the designers will produce the app’s screens, informally referred to as skins. Skins are high-resolution representations of your wireframes and the future interface of your app. Use the data collected during the testing phase to make sure you include everything your users would want you to cover.
Test, Test, Test
During an app development process, the testing phase is the most stimulating part. You are now playing with an app concept equipped with superb graphics and typography. What’s left for you to do? Test the app over and over again until all flaws are identified and corrected.
In the testing phase, you need to refer to the initial planning and design details and test feature even if it worked just fine in the development stage.
Prepare Your App for Launch
Preparing for launching your app is a crucial phase because it can have a significant impact on the eventual success of your app development endeavor. It is the phase where you must bring in the marketing department because of their knowledge of SEO and ASO.
Without ASO, i.e., app store optimization and SEO, i.e., Search Engine Optimization, it is difficult/impossible for your app to be discovered, which is what you need to be able to monetize your app.
Keyword and market research becomes essential at this stage. The results will help refine descriptions and titles for the app to be delivered to different marketplaces and ultimately distributed. You can choose to have videos or superior screenshots to market your app.
The role of taking the app development process apart is to understand the essential features that define app development and how each phase unfolds and becomes a small process.
Equipped with this understanding, you will eventually develop an app that provides the characteristics and functionality you are looking for remaining within easy to manage budget and time boundaries.