Businesses today are more tech-reliant and market-oriented as compared to a decade ago. The immense development on the internet leads to companies that deal totally via apps and websites.
There are many apps developed and run on different platforms like Google Play, Apple Store, and many more, but apps that are developed with proper business analysis, marketing strategies, and efficient development process can only survive and lead their segment.
Like other product/services development processes, a mobile app also has its development cycle, which includes different stages and modules that guide developing an efficient, reliable, highly featured, and cost-effective app.
This development cycle is divided into 6 segments:
We will explain and elaborate on these segments and their sub-segments step by step in the following blog.
Idea generates when we have some question or problem in front of us, an idea is a seed source of a solution. Every great product, service, or invention starts from an idea.
If you have the ability to identify the problem correctly, then you are halfway at your problem-solving. The same applies in app development also, you must know, understand and define some of the basic questions in the ideation step of app development:
- You must define the aim of your mobile app development.
- What are the basic requirements for your app?
- Is there any requirement for such an app?
- How much time is required to develop an app?
- How will the app solve the existing problems?
- How is your app distinguished from other similar apps?
Before knowing the answer to the above question and planting a basic idea, you should not move to the next step. In-depth ideation and research at the initial phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle will minimize the risk and cost associated with your project.
After the ideation phase, the second step in mobile development should be to determine your strategies and lay the path for converting an idea into an effective and successful app.
There are different types of strategies in the mobile app development process:
To be a market leader, you must know about your competitors first. In this step, you need to identify and document the app which is working on the same platform and providing the same services as you are going to do. After that, you need to analyze the following points:
- The number of downloads of the app on different platforms.
- Look at the rating and reviews of the app and analyze the complaints and feedback/comments given on different platforms. It will help to understand what users like and dislike about the app and changes to make it more useful and efficient.
- Do check the marketing strategies of your competitors and other peers of the industry. Analyze the change in the competitors, market, and industry over the span of time and look over how the application has progressed and what challenges it faced during the course of time.
To be one step ahead of your competitors and get to know about the market trend in advance, you should follow strategies and think outside the box. Apart from that, never think you can crack the competition easily without facing the competition. So, make sure to understand how difficult it will be to compete in the marketplace.
It is better understood that when you are planning to develop a mobile app, this means you are trying to monetize your business by increasing your customer and sales through the app.
There are several methods of monetization that works effectively are as follows:
- In-app Purchases,
- Premium Features,
- Subscription Payments,
- Traditional Paid Apps, and
- Selling User Data.
You must concentrate on one or more methods given above to earn money, but before that, you need to learn what the market expects to pay and how to pay for such similar available services.
You also need to look for what time is best for the new business to introduce the monetizing feature in your app or do it when you introduce the app in the market. Skipping or delaying the monetization strategies from the mobile app development cycle would be a significant loss for your business and, in many cases, leaves you without any profits.
Suppose you have built a great app with the best design and features in your competitors, but still, the biggest hurdle is to drive the customers and users of the app. To solve this issue, you must plan and implement marketing strategies for your app. So, you need to master your marketing budget and the approach you are going to follow to attract users.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
This is a prototype of your mobile app, which launched with basic features to get the attention of the customer in the initial stages of app launch. You must define the aim and objectives of your app to achieve one day. You should lay down a roadmap to follow your ultimate goal and make your MVP more and more updated in future versions and reach the objectives defined.
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- User-Experience designing
To develop a good prototype, you need to confirm that your app designing should be excellent. The main focus of designing is to provide a refined user experience to the user. The motive of designing the mobile app is to make it user-friendly, interactive, and connected.
The mobile app designing is based on the following features:
IA of any app or web is basically an outline of the information in it. It is the structure of your app content. The Information Architecture of an app permits you to decide the data and functionalities to be present in your app and how it would be organized in your app.
There are two core principles you should stick to while creating the Information Architecture:
- It has to be easy to apprehend and navigate;
- It has to be easily scalable (i.e., it has to be easy to add new features to the app after its launch).
To apply this, you just have to list down the app features, what you want the app to perform and what it would display. This list will help you to build your wireframes also.
Wireframe in the mobile app is a two-dimensional illustration of a screen interface, which shows how people will use the app. It provides a visual representation of the functional requirements of the app. App wireframe includes page elements, object categories, conversion and navigation areas, content prioritization, and possible action. Wireframes are cost-effective and quick for designing app layout and reviewing the designing process.
Wireframes perform the following tasks in the mobile app:
- The pattern through which the app helps the user
- To demonstrate each step of the user’s journey within the app to identify the possible obstacle before the app launch.
- To allocate all essential elements like object categories, conversion, navigation area, etc.
The workflow includes the basic functionalities that the user finds when he is browsing through the app and contributes to the app’s design strategies.
If you face any issues with your workflow, then you need to update your wireframes and try it again. Make sure to follow each step after any changes or update to confirm that you didn’t get any difficulty from one action while attempting to improve another.
- User Interface Designing
It is the way by which users can interact with any mobile app. Mobile app user interface designing aims to make an easy, enjoyable, and interactive relation between user and app.
A decent styling guideline helps the app to make it attractive and good-looking for users. At their core, they:
- Record all of the design elements and interactions that occur within a product
- Listing of critical User Interface elements such as typography, buttons, colour, menus, navigation, etc.
- Document important UX elements like, dropdown, hover states, animations, fills, etc.
- Contain live elements and code snippets for developers to reference and use.
This step in mobile app development is to replace the greyscale elements of wireframes with your style guide. Make sure to provide a dedicated screen for each and every wireframe screen. You can choose a new style for an app to make your app different from others, and feel free to update or amend your style guides
Rendering clicks through models
This is the last step in the designing module. It is to verify the implementation of all the changes done in the designing process and check every segment to end up with no error. It is a time-consuming process as designers have to go through all the details to rectify any unrecorded mistake because any change after this will be very costly for the app development process
So, before implementing the actual development process, define the following points first;
- Define Technical Architecture.
- Define Development milestones.
- Choose a Technology Stack for your app development.
Generally, a mobile application is an amalgamation of three parts: Back-End Server/Database Technology, Front-End Technology, and API(s). Let’s elaborate on these points:
Back-End Server/Database Technology
The back-end also includes the database, which will persistently store all of the data for the web/mobile application. It is majorly responsible for your app’s performance and scalability. The technologies used for app development and web-based development are similar, so before going further, decide the following things first:
- Database/Server: A reliable, efficient, and well-organized database is the requirement of the organization in the long term. There are two popular databases present in the market, and they are SQL and NoSQL. SQL includes MYSQL, MSSQL, and PostgreSQL, which are more commonly used and are the first choice of the organizations.
- Hosting Environment (Infrastructure): It is a place at which your API and database will be hosted. It is your call to choose a hosting environment, and it is determined by the budget for hosting, scalability, performance, and reliability of your final product development. You have your choice and opinion to have dedicated hosting or cloud-based hosting, based on your convenience.
- API (Application Programming Interface)
API is a set of code or in laymen’s terms, it’s a messenger that delivers your request to the provider that you’re requesting it from and then delivers the response back to you. It works as an intermediary between the app and the back-end server or database.
It is based on three approaches, Platform-Specific Native, Cross-Platform Native, and Hybrid.
- Platform-Specific Native: a platform-specific native mobile app development is an expensive approach to follow. In this approach, the codes are written separately for the Android and iOS platforms and can’t be reused.
- Cross-platform native: Cross-platform development points to the process of creating an app that works on several platforms. The Cross-platform apps cannot utilize the native features of the OS because they have limited access to the API.
- Hybrid Apps: it develops with the use of languages like Java, CSS, HTML, and the app is then installed through a native wrapper. Such apps can be installed through Ionic, Phone Gap, and Cordova. This is the cheapest option among all the three, but it comes with some difficulties as well.
To make all the above steps possible, coding is the next step required. It builds a mobile app and follows the SDLC to gain quality at the end. Android apps are developed with the Java coding language and the Android Software Development Kit, which runs on Mac, PC, or Linux. It would help if you also used an IDE such as Eclipse. There are other mobile platforms such as Windows Phone, but iOS and Android are the most popular.
After coding is done from the programmer’s side, the next step is to check and review the functionality of each module of the app. A remarkable amount of app testing is done by non-programmer or the person who is not their developer to ensure a more authentic experience. To verify the mobile app development efficiency, several tests are conducted.
- Functional testing
- Usability testing
- Performance testing
- Fit and finish testing
- Regression testing
- Device-specific testing
- User acceptance testing
The proper debugging and testing of the app makes all the doors open for the deployment of the app.
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The second-last step in the mobile app development cycle is to deploy the app on different platforms in the market. This step is divided into two steps:
- Deploy app on the webserver: The functioning of the back-end server is vital for app deployment because it makes a connection between the app and database on the webserver. If the back-end server is not well connected or overloaded, then it would stop performing. Some of the best web servers are Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, RackSpace, etc. they are capable enough to handle high traffic and other issues with the server and also inform app developers if something is not correct at their end.
- Deployment of the app on Google Play and iOS: Once you are done with testing and confident about the quality, reliability, and efficiency of the app, now it is time to release or launch the app on Google Play and iOS. It is your choice to launch an app on one of the platforms or both, depending upon your app cycle strategies and potential market, etc. it might be possible that you have to change as per the app’s store guideline, so make sure to review and follow the guidelines of stores first to avoid any further trouble.
After following all the mobile app development cycle steps efficiently and launching the app on the web and stores doesn’t give surety to be a hit in the market. Daily or periodically checking and updating are the following two essential steps for making it efficient and useful for the users for a long time.
Following are some significant steps that need to perform after the app launch:
- Monitor the app functionality on a regular basis.
- We need to record and study app’s analytics to make it better and more user-friendly.
- Examine the app and fix bugs, and avoid site/app crashes.
- Look over the reviews and suggestions and questions on app stores, social media, and other platforms to increase interaction with your users/customers and help to resolve their queries and issues. Update your app and strategies to make the app more user-friendly.