More and more businesses nowadays are shifting to mobile. And that’s absolutely reasonable choice:
- More than 50 percent of digital media consumption accounts for mobile apps;
- Ninety percent of the time smartphone users spend on their mobiles goes to mobile apps;
- A typical user has about 30 apps installed on his mobile and spends more than 35 hours a month using them;
- Forty-two percent of the mobile purchases were completed from mobile apps;
- Eighty-five percent of consumers prefer native mobile apps over a mobile website.
When deciding on developing a mobile app, it’s important to picture the entire range of stages and procedures to go through.
According to the mobile app projects approach by The App Solutions, here is the life cycle of a typical development project, no matter the complexity:
- Planning stage (project manager, marketer, and business analyst are involved) – carrying out the business analysis and crafting mobile strategy.
- Technical documentation (covered by the technical writer) – describing all tech requirements and details.
- Prototyping (usually made by a UX/UI designer) – creating the sketch, wireframes, prototype and final app skins upon approval.
- Development (performed by the developers) – front-end and back-end segments of coding.
- Quality Assurance (usually performed continuously after each agile sprint is completed; followed by bug fixing) – testing tech requirements, device compatibility, interface, security aspects, etc.
- Publishing & Maintenance (covered by DevOps) – publishing to the app store, updates releases, infrastructure, and entire app maintenance.
When creating a mobile app, it is crucial to take time to go through the necessary research and planning steps.
- Idea evaluation – a preliminary stage, when experts investigate the idea, correct it, give their advice and create a rough logics for it.
- Competition analysis – study of activities of other players in the market.
- SWOT-analysis – evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the product, insights into opportunities and other aspects.
- ROI calculation – assessment of the future app market performance help realize the real value and adjust budget accordingly.
- Requirements scope – summing up requirements for the future product at all levels.
- Market research – this study shows the overall situation on the market to help adjust the concept of the product to current demand.
- Defining user personas – understanding who is your target audience is crucial in crafting advertising approach.
- Technologies & tools assessment – study of specific tools required for the industry and select a set of technologies to meet the objectives of the project.
- Complex promotion strategy – a step-by-step action plan for acquisition and retaining users.
Also known as a technical specification or a software documentation, this paper is a complex manual of your product, outlining requirements, business logic and leading your specialists through all stages of the project:
- Makes your software universally understandable.
- Provides flexibility for future changes.
- Adds value to your app by providing a clear manual.
- Helps to keep control of your own product.
- Allows reusing existing parts of the developed application.
Prototyping is a process of defining a concept in visual terms and evaluating how the app might develop to correct a misconception.
- Creating a sketch – the draft version of your app on paper that sets up the main logic, number of screens and the way they interact with each other.
- Creating wireframes – provides the visualization of the draft structure.
- Creating a clickable prototype – helps to find out and analyze all possible use cases, discover logical breaks and technical inconsistencies in the original idea.
- Designing app skins – collecting all wireframes and put them together to get the final design.
This segment usually consists of two main parts:
- Front-end development – client-side development, creating a presentation layer of the software for a direct user interaction with it.
- Back-end development – a server/database part of development, connecting a front-end part of the mobile app with the data access layer.
In the agile development, it’s usually a continuous process following every sprint of development:
- Compatibility testing – running the app on different devices and screen sizes.
- Interface testing – checking the navigation, menu and buttons performance.
- Device compatibility testing – checking how the app looks and performs on various screen sizes.
- Low-level resources testing – examination of the app in conditions of low battery, slow internet connection, etc.
- Security testing – provides quality assurance of users data safety.
- Beta testing – giving users access to the app to get feedback.
Publishing & Maintenance:
- Publishing of the app and following updated versions to a chosen app store.
- Infrastructure support – either you have admin panel to post on or cloud service attached, you’ll need to make sure it functions fully.
- App store optimization – helping your app move onto the tops of search lists and this way gain more users.
Making the Most of Your App Development Project
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your own app development project:
- Mind what’s trendy + study the market and your target audience. It is a crucial preliminary stage that will impact literally every side of the project and every decision to make.
- Specify as particularly as possible the product you expect to see at the end of the project. Defining the smallest features and functions of the software at the planning and prototyping points of the project will help find areas to save money on the actual development.
- Negotiate your idea with various development teams (study the profile of the app development company and find evidence for their credibility, debate the best price). Make sure they hear you and understand what you mean—simply put, that you’re on the same page.
About the Author / Charlie Shabe
Charlie Shabe is a professional Digital Marketing Strategist. He has over 20 years Digital Marketing experience in helping global organizations use the Internet to drive their online visibility and generate leads. In addition to his PR and online marketing experience, Charlie is an expert in writing. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.