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The mobile app development process is a daunting task. If you thought building mobile apps is quick and easy like coming up with a few lines of code, quick testing, and submitting to an App Store, well you are sadly mistaken.
Mobile apps development is an arduous process involving the entire lifecycle right from inception, idea validation, research, usability analysis, QA testing on devices of different dimensions & operating system versions, a full beta lifecycle, and deployment in the app store.
In this blog, we will try to gain insights into the basics of mobile application development that will answer fundamental questions about the entire lifecycle.
Here is a quick view of what the mobile app development process looks like and the specialists involved at different stages.
- Project Manager, Marketer, and Business Analyst, Owners
- Conduct business analysis and create a mobile strategy
- Technical documentation (covered by the technical writer) – Describing all tech requirements and details.
- UX/UI designer
- Based on approval, create the sketch, wireframes, prototype, and final app skins upon approval.
- iOS, Android, or cross-platform developers
- Front-end and back-end segments of the coding
- QA Engineers
- Perform continuously after each agile sprint is completed; followed by bug fixing.
- Evaluate device compatibility, interface, security, and more.
Publishing & Maintenance
- Publish to the app store, updates releases, and app maintenance.
Inception, Research & Technical Stack
Mobile apps have opened up a world of possibilities, taking ubiquity to the next level. There is a new way to interact with computing, the web, and connected infrastructure. In the inception stage, it is all about discovering the idea and nurturing and refining the idea. But, it is important to understand that not all ideas can be transformed into mobile applications. Before you take a plunge into the app development process, it is important to introspect and ask few fundamental questions.
- Competitive Edge– Are there similar competitor apps out there? If so, how is your mobile application a cut above the others?
- Value to Users – What value does your app offer to users?
- Form/Mobility – How this app works in different mobile forms leveraging technologies such as location awareness and more.
Equally important is to dive into research —into your own business and target audience, as well as that of your competitors.
- What are the goals of your mobile apps?
- Who is your target audience?
- Are you targeting any particular age group or region?
- How will your mobile app add value to the lives of its users
- How does your audience use your app?
There are also some questions typically associated with technology, frameworks, and platforms that you will target.
- Are you planning to launch iOS or Android or go cross-platform?
- Which mobile app OS, language and framework should you use?
- What is your overall app development budget?
- When do you plan to launch your app?
It is during this stage that you align your team, whether it is expert mobile app developers or app development team to work across the entire lifecycle, as well as your sales, marketing team. A team structure will help you to conduct a smooth development process.
Wireframes and Storyboards
Now with all research and analysis in place, it is time to give your application idea a structure or visual form with wireframes & storyboarding. This stage will allow you to give an idea of what features to include and what to give a miss. Remember, wireframing will save you costly mistakes in the future.
You should also create a roadmap to establish the connections and context between each screen and the way users will navigate through the app. Keep these pointers in mind as you sketch:
- Look for opportunities to incorporate your brand.
- Focus on the user experience.
- Consider the differences in the way people use a mobile app versus a mobile website.
While there are many tools for online wireframing, you need to focus all your energy on features to include launching a functional app. Here, you will get a clear picture of the scope of work, as well as processes that will be performed in-house and tasks which can be outsourced to a mobile app development company.
UI/UX plays an important role in implementing the features and functionality of the app. One of the most defining factors in the success of your application is creating an engaging user experience specific to the platform. It’s crucial to take into account all interface guidelines for the various platforms that the app will target.
The app should give users a specific feel for different platforms. The design guidelines for each platform are very detailed and outlined specifically. Each OS and device has a specific way of switching within applications.
- Apple – Human Interface Guidelines
- Android – Design Guidelines
- UWP – UWP Design basics
Furthermore, devices such as iPad and tablets also influence UX decisions with considerably more space to display more information. Different forms of devices, dimensions, and conflicting operating systems often play a critical role in defining the way information is shown.
It is time to create the UI design based on UX, where elements such as colors, typography, animations graphics are introduced and finalized. Don’t rush through this stage. Most successful apps have the best brand recall with their unique design language for different platforms.
Developing Mobile Application
The development phase kick starts very early. A prototype paves the way for functionality validation, assumptions, and giving a preview of the scope of the work. Mobile app development encompasses several steps and processes such as storage solutions, databases, APIs, and servers.
This phase consists of two main parts:
- Front-end development – Client-side development, creating a front layer of presentation of the software for users to interact with.
- Back-end development – Server/database part of development, combining front-end of the mobile app with the data access part.
If you have partnered with a mobile app development company, establish a timeline for deliverables before the project starts. Always glean through the app store guidelines so your app isn’t rejected during the review process.
QA, Testing & Stabilization
Now that you have done the majority of hard work and have the app ready, it is still not over. You have reached a crucial stage of the app development lifecycle- QA & testing.
Rigorously and meticulously test your application on different devices and different scenarios to iron out any technical bugs.
Stabilization is the process of working out the bugs in your app and is most effective when it starts early within the development process to avoid costly mistakes. Typically, here is the pattern involved: Prototype, Alpha, Beta, and Release.
Launch & Distribution
Once the application has been stabilized, it’s time for launch & distribution on Apple’s AppStore and Google PlayStore.
We hope this blog helps you with the basic outline of the mobile app development process to build winning apps.