A Pro Guide to Mobile Application Development
Description: The size and growth of the app market make it imperative for any business to leverage its huge potential and maintain a strategic brand positioning in the market. App development is a complex process. Let’s see how the expert mobile application development companies do it the best way.
Ever considered giving your business a much-needed digital push?
You should try investing in apps. The global mobile ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds, with more businesses relying on a mobile application to create their unique market identity. The revenues from various app stores are slated to hit $80 billion marks by 2020, nearly doubling from $44.6 billion in 2016. Hence, aligning your business goals around mobile application development makes much sense in the current business landscape.
Let’s say you want to engage your in-house team for application development or hire a mobile app development company to do the job for you. In both cases, it’s imperative that you are aware of the development process with entails making the app from scratch.
It is best that if you break down your app development task into phases with each phase contributing to the other. Your development process would be smooth if you follow an iterative model. This will help you to improvise on the idea during the initial stages and provide crucial feedback during the development stage to ensure the delivery of a stunning application.
However, just an app development will not do; you need an application that represents your business in the best possible manner to your audience. Once you decide to launch your app, it would be jostling space with 2.8 million apps in the Google Play Store and 2.2 million apps in the iOS App Store. Only a superior quality app backed with top-notch marketing strategies can help you stay afloat.
Not sure how to go about the process?
Let’s quickly look at how the professional mobile application development companies approach it.
Phase #1: Market Research
You are off to a good start if you already have your app idea in place. Start by understanding why your business needs a mobile app and what problems you seek to resolve it. This app development idea should be further explored by intensive market research, which will help you understand whether it is valid or viable in the present market scenario.
Before you get to the development phase, a thorough research-backed evaluation of the following fundamentals will create a solid foundation for your app and would provide the necessary confidence to your organization and the investors:
- Business goals
- Target audience
- Customer usage pattern
- Target platform
- Competition Information
- Development budget
- Development timeline
- Post-launch activities
Once you manage to address all these, delve deeper and focus on the following guidelines to develop a strategic app development plan:
Choose the niche: It’s better to focus on a specific user base rather than targeting an entire segment. For instance, if you seek to develop a banking app, you can focus on taxpayers and registered account holders, and create an application based on their preferences. As per a lot of expert mobile app development companies, it actually helps to connect to the users at a micro level.
Focus on problem-solving: Applications that manage to solve recurring problems tend to have loyal and repeat users. Try approaching the solution differently from others to stay ahead of the competition.
App store backed market intelligence: Mobile app development companies focusing on app research also make good use of the comprehensive set of data available at Google Play as well as iOS App Store for market research. Both the platforms are currently offering a significant amount of data on an app’s performance to the developers.
Phase #2: Establishment of Application Goals and its Objectives
Once through with the market research, it’s time to focus on your app goals and objectives. This is indeed a crucial phase in the app development lifecycle as this will help you to achieve your other business goals. Start by considering the following:
- There should be a hook that will make your app stand apart from the competition.
- Narrow down and measure the results for your users, along with the features that will constitute the application.
- Instead of feature-heavy application, a lean one with the right use of market insights will deliver focused results.
- Keep the latest application development trends in mind before you dive into the design phase of app development.
Phase #3: Design
The design phase should begin with working on the look and feel of the application. If you have already selected the mobile application development company of your choice, try describing user interaction of your application in terms of various functions as well as screens. You also need to map out user journeys in minute detail. This is where wireframes and storyboards will come into action. They will help you recreate the layout of each and every screen in a great detail.
Wireframe: Wireframing is more like using pen and paper to create an outline of how your app screens will appear post development. This is how you can approach it:
- Try adding buttons, placeholder copies, icons and similar visual elements so that designers can get a good idea of the app appearance.
- While laying out the screens, make sure that the primary objective of the application is maintained. For instance, the essential difference between Snapchat and Instagram lies in the designing of their User Interface, which makes the former a video and photo sharing app and the latter a social networking site.
- Include more variations for the same screen while doing the wireframes. This will ensure that your UX will stay original.
Storyboard: It is a roadmap through which you can represent the how the app screens will be connected. This will help you define the navigation channels in the app. Focus on introducing your brand wherever possible and work toward enhancing the User Experience.
Once the wireframe gets finalized, it’s time to create an interactive and accurate prototype. Thus, the stakeholders will get the first look followed by potential user testing. You can sit with the design team and fix any UI/ UX issue at this stage. This prototype will form the basis of the actual development.
Phase #4: Development
The development stage consists of a number of steps. Your app is likely to run through some phases to be market ready:
Alpha Phase: In this phase, your app will showcase its core functionality, which is not tested. Mobile app development companies choose to run the app through several iterative stages to make sure it is free from screens.
Beta Phase: Your app will contain its proposed functionality after a going through several bug-fixing and testing cycles by now. The app might be tested repeatedly with several external users so as to keep it fully functional.
Release Candidate Phase: Before this phase comes, make sure that you have set up developer accounts at the app stores where you plan to launch your app. Go through the app store guidelines carefully to avail rejection. Take into consideration several factors, such as OS fragmentation, device compatibility, forms factor etc. It’s important for you to ensure that the UI details are specific to the preferences of the targeted user group. This will create a lot of difference when it comes to user engagement.
Phase #5: Testing
Testing is another crucial phase in the app lifecycle. You are now ready for a complete app concept. This is time to get into rigorous testing in real time scenarios to wipe out any flaws before the final launch.
Try to take as much user feedback as possible as you might overlook certain aspects since you were involved in the development process right from the beginning. Check whether your app is cross-platform compatible in terms of images, graphics, and UI. Once you are confident about the smooth functioning of your app, you can start preparing for the final launch.
Phase #6: Final Launch
The steps leading to the launch of your application will have a huge effect on its success or failure. Give an email invite to beta testers who will test your app for the last time before it hits the app store. It’s also important to categorize your app and decide on the right affiliation channels. You can also use your company blogs to publish relevant updates on your blog.
Remember that app development process does not end after the launch, it rather starts a new journey. Take into account what your users have to say about the app and introduce new features in partnership with your mobile app development company. This will keep your app market relevant and boost up your business results.