5 Simple Steps to a successful Mobile App Development Process and launch
So you have a mobile app idea that can be life changing? Your business is growing and you want an app for your employees or customers? Do you want an app for your e-commerce store? We have put together a set of easy steps for your Mobile App development process to run smoother.
Why do you need to understand the mobile app development process?
Our objective is to correct some misnomers and help you to keep tabs on the overall app development process. Use it at the end of each phase (design, development, validation) to course correct and not diverge from mobile application development business goals.
Don’t panic! Yes, we’re talking about mobile development, and there’s a technical component to it. However, believe it or not, there’s a lot of prep work to do and understanding you need prior to you writing or hiring someone for the first line of code. So understanding Mobile Application Development Process and making sure you have the pre-steps straight in your head is very necessary.
Think of it this way: the more planning and preparation done before the actual app development starts, the more you’ll get the mobile application you want. Not only that, but the better your budgets will be as you don’t need to keep changing the overall scope of the development phase.
It also helps to realize and manage expectations to make sure that the dreams of a super app aren’t trying to be built, but the most beneficial and right app is built for whatever the user base is.
Below are the 5 key steps, there is an Infographic towards the end to help summarize the key aspects of the app development process.
1. Know what your Target Market and Business Strategy is to start your Mobile App Development Process
You don’t want to or need to build an app to have a mobile app. If there’s no one to use it, then it will be a waste of resources. Taking a step back to identify how you will use the application and finding its purpose goes a long way in the app development process.
Who is the application for? Who is the target audience? Is it for internal usage for the company? Do employees use it to support their day-to-day activities? Is it for external customers to try to access your goods or sign up for information? You need to establish this on day one.
It needs to also align with the current business strategy. That could be anything from trying to optimize and automate operations to trying to expand and grow sales or user engagement.
You will commit your entire app to supporting this business strategy. Therefore you want to make sure that it covers all the necessary functionalities. If you are confused then consult the experts at no cost Top Mobile App Development Company
2. Create the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
You want to build out a roadmap of what your mobile app will look like on day one – year one, and year five.
Start backwards. See where the app will be when it’s mainstream and in the market (internal or external) for quite some time. Imagine what the development team will look like and what additional new features you’d be working on. These are your nice-to-haves.
Then you want to see what your application will be like within a year. What functionality you must implement that first year, and which ones you can do sooner than later. This type of prioritization will help you with the actual development of your MVP. Regardless, everything in your one-year plan will be your must-haves. The MVP simply is the critical demand items.
Your Day one will be the MVP, which should be a robust, standalone product. It will help to grow the initial users and test the product in the market, even if the market is internally at your company. You use this to see where the pain points are and gain feedback to work on improving the application in the future.
In this phase, you can also do some high-level movement flows of how the application would function as an MVP. But, again, this is commonly just drawings of a mobile device and placeholders for the functionality.
3. Return on Investment
It isn’t a small investment that you would be making and there better be a good return. So step one, you need to define metrics to measure success. Essentially, it does not have to be exactly in direct revenue generation. It can also be time savings, better work-life balance, increased customer or employee retention or satisfaction.
For example, if you are looking to improve business productivity through this mobile app. Your return could be calculated as the number of hours/resources you would have spent doing it manually which now can be utilized elsewhere. Or the stress that it saves you where a manual system would fail.
And step two, make sure your requirements capture a way to measure metrics. It can simply be the number of active users, number of downloads, time spent on the app in each session, number of interactions etc.
These metrics will help you take your MVP to next level and understand what your users want. In general, mobile apps get classified as free, freemium or paid. You will need to make a decision on your revenue generation model. Our team can help you make an informed decision and discuss pros and cons of each approach.
4. Establish the Technical Requirements for your Mobile App Development Process
Here you’re going to need to lay down the entire functionality list and decide what makes it into the application through its various stages. This can seem a bit iterative, but you need to write every single section of the application down here.
For example, you need to give consideration to registration forms, as well as the type of security to login after registration is complete. This gets down to a level of detail many don’t have experience with. Including such things as stating that an email confirmation is sent after registration or that you need to implement a notification button somewhere on the home page.
Things we seem to take for granted when using an application need to be written down word for word. For example, if you’re building an inventory app, then you need to define the fields that will have storage in the system from the ground up.
Wireframes help to visualize the app when combined with the requirements. This is akin to building out the skeleton of the application. Whereas we drew some rough sketches in previous phases, now we’re going to place everything where it should be. Each button, image, link, and flow will be in a wireframe. If you press a button, a wireframe will show what the next screen looks like.
This blueprint will help to ensure that everything in the MVP and beyond will have proper inclusion as the application development begins. It’s also about taking the correct type of feedback on what a user journey would look like. For example, the flow a user goes through and their experience needs to be fluid, simple, and logical at the same time. So when someone was to hit “register,” it should flow through registration pages and nothing else. There is only one name you can trust to produce Best Mobile App user experience.
A Crucial Step
We can’t stress enough how vital this part of the user experience is. It’s about getting into the mind of a typical user of this application and how they are able to benefit from it. What will be the most used feature, and how easily can they access it as quickly as possible. That’s why narrowing down the target market and designing a simple interface, and user flow is paramount for success.
Take, for example, a registration process for your application. Users are already aware they may need to register, but how much information is necessary to start? A user will not want to simply fill out pages and pages of data that you need to write. In fact, most users look for a faster option, such as signing in through Google or Facebook, so they don’t need to remember another login/password combination. Each screen needs to be relevant and necessary to make accessibility and usage for the user the priority.
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Will your application only work with iPhones and iOS, or will it work with Android or cross platform? These both have their own technical requirements. The entire application needs to have a hosting somewhere as well, as the apps are simply a gateway to the application.
Common hosting platforms are Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, a cloud-based hosting platform for apps. Yet, there are plenty of options around when it comes to cloud hosting services for your mobile app, and some lesser-known but fully featured offers are Digital Ocean, Dream Host, Name Cheap, ServerHub, and OVH. Utilize these third-party services as they’ll come with their own security infrastructure, and you won’t have to build out so much security when developing the application.
5. Final Step of the Mobile App Development Process is to Develop the Application
Now the application has the right foundation to begin coding. You know the target market, how the app should function, what those functions should be, how those functions will look, and how the overall system architecture will look. As a piece of code and operation has completion, having that tested internally and by the user group will help flush out any bugs before launching the app into the world.
Understand that there will be recurring costs
So there’s a design and development cost when it comes to building the application from the start. Yet after the app is launched, there are also recurring costs to continue running the mobile application as well. The most common recurring cost is your cloud-based storage costs. These are variable costs based on usage, and that means as your user base grows, so will your cost to store the additional data.
Then there’s the additional cost of upgrading your application with new features. Remember we discussed a five-year roadmap? Of course, that doesn’t mean as large of a cost to upgrade, but periodically you’ll want to refresh and enhance the features of your mobile application.
You will, however, need to have a mobile development maintenance team that can work to fix any ongoing bugs or server issues that the mobile app may come across. This commonly happens when iOS or Android updates their operating system to a new version, and your application will also need to receive an update.
In the end
Remember that mobile app development will always work best when extensive planning happens in advance. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and the more time spent in the earlier phases, especially planning and user experience, will end up saving the most cost down the line.
Either way, you will need to budget for the initial phases to launch the MVP and then budget on how much your application will grow if meant for the retail user market and how much your maintenance team budget should be. A good figure for maintenance can be around one-third of the initial development cost but can vary. Hopefully, that you now understand the mobile app development process, you can make informed decisions and make your product better.
Techware Hut is a leading mobile app development company in Toronto, Canada. Our vision is to make technology available at affordable cost to local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Reach out for a free consultation.
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