After the initial research and analysis of market and apps’ competitors, you can move forward into the actual development stage. This article will guide you through the process and development stages of mobile app creation.
It doesn’t matter if you are going to build the app yourself or with an internal team or hire remote mobile development company for that – you should understand basics of the process to have a clear vision of the results to expect and create proper requirements for your team.
List of features
Write down all features you want to include in the app. Consider that you don’t need to put every function that you have in a web version into a smartphone. If the list looks huge, you can range the functions by their importance to a user. It would be perfect if the ranking is based on analytics from a website or customers’ surveys/interviews.
You need to understand that for mobile, functionality should be simplified to make the UX smooth and don’t overload the screen.
You should decide on platforms your app will be launched. The most popular are Android with more than 80.7% global market share and iOS with 17.7% of the pie. However, to choose the operating system(s) for your app, you need to conduct your own research on potential users, define markets where you want to be represented and analyse their mobile behavior.
If you want to build an app across multiple platforms, you can consider two ways:
Native app for each platform developed using specific programming languages (Java for Android and Objective-C / Swift for iOS). This variant is more complicated and requires additional time for development (and obviously more expensive one).
However, this way leads to the smooth, native experience for a user. Native apps work faster and access wider features of a smartphone.
Hybrid apps are easier to develop and maintain with less time required. However, it’s much harder to get to the point of “native” look and feel and those efforts can be equal to developing a native app.
It’s a smart move to start with rough wireframes / mock-ups on the first stage to get a structured picture of what should be placed in your app.
Next step in the mobile development process will be designing your app. If you already have an established brand and website, you need to be consistent in identity. That will help users to recognize and associate a new app with your company, not only on the App Store but also on the phone’s screen.
Pay attention to an icon design. It should match your company logo and be related to what the app does.
Design for a mobile app needs to be complied with platforms’ guidelines to reach the high-level of mobile UX.
What services do you want to integrate with your app? It can be payment solutions, social networks (for easy registration in the app, for example), mapping or geo-location functions etc. APIs of third-party services make your app more powerful.
Analytics. One of the important integrations for your app is tracking and in-app analytics. There are plenty of mobile analytics solutions from free Google Analytics or Flurry to paid software like AppsFlyer or Mixpanel. The best choice is to have free GA and one paid solution integrated with your app to get a comprehensive picture of user actions in the application. Make sure that your development team build-in the SDK of one of those systems in the code. You should advise on app’s goals and important events you want to be aware of.
After the development stage is passed, you should make sure that the app is bug-free and functions the way it should. Let your QA team to play with it and test it out before it goes live. In such a competitive market, users will not give a buggy app a second chance.
When you are pretty confident that the app is ready-to-go, involve external beta testers to make sure the app is delivering good results in UX and meet users’ expectations. It’s better to invite people from your target audience so that way you get relevant feedback. Also, you can get some recommendations and suggestions about additional functions you can consider for a next version.
Prepare the content for apps market including app’s name, title, description, keywords, category along with graphics and video. Send the app to app store’s revision. After your app is approved it becomes available and searchable for public.
To build the app with your own resources or using an outsourcing company, you need to be sure you have gone through the stages from creation of lists of required functions to proper testing and deployment.