Mobile apps play a very big role in everyday life. People use mobile apps for work, education, sports, communication, shopping, and more. And the number of available apps has only increased by leaps and bounds. Apps have almost become a part of our lives. According to the latest estimates, there are approximately 3 million apps that are available in Google Play Store. Daily, there are more than 250 million app downloads.
The goal of any mobile app is to make people’s lives easier, not harder. This means that the app should work seamlessly. And your main goal when developing a mobile application is to create a quality product that will meet the expectations of the users.
So before you start working on the app, it is important to clearly define which stages of app development you need to consider. It is also important to understand what you need to pay special attention to at each stage.
Therefore to develop excellent quality apps we will discuss the 5 most essential stages of application development. So without further delay, we will begin with the first stages.
If you look at the whole project, there is always project ideation at the beginning, requirements analysis, or Discovery phase. When you want to develop an app you will need to determine the objective and the vision of the product. To help you with these stages you will need to go through the Ideation and Research phase.
The idea is a force behind everything. Everything begins with an idea, and so are apps. An idea is a seed from which the foundations of an app are built. Ideas are supported by in-depth research and planning. The must-ask fundamental questions are needed to develop relevant and suitable apps because they will build the very base of the app. Questions such as the ones below are generally the ones that you should be asking yourself.
- What is the main function of this app?
- Why should the user download this app?
- What solutions will this app be able to provide to the end user?
- Have I established what my users want?
- What’s the main objective of the project?
- Do I know what technologies are best to use?
This stage of the formation of ideas and discovery involves research. You should not only concentrate on your ideas but evaluate the products offered by your competitors.
- Are they offering a better solution?
- Are they more feasible?
- Are they paid or free to use?
A careful evaluation will provide you with a deep insight and open up several other aspects of app development that you overlooked. It will give you some insight into the budget, resources, and funds that will be needed to implement the app.
What to know before starting pre-design
So to develop the DIscovery phase you just need to know what you’re hoping to achieve with the project.
Ideally, your brief should have isolated what the problem is, and what they think mobile could do to help and worked out a rough idea of the objective – but the bare minimum is simply knowing what the issue you want to solve with mobile.
This is often something you could write down in a single paragraph. For example, “I need an app to help my customer book a flight ticket online”
It’s time to give your web project a unique appearance. The designers work in three different processes to make your app stand out.
After you have decided on the app that you want to develop, and done all the primary research, the next stage is to shape the first visuals of the app. You can do some sketching of what the app will look like, or identify the key features of this app. You can create a storyboard, or a workflow chart, as it will give a visual picture of your app. This is the stage where the key functions of the app begin to appear in greater detail, and all your mobile app ideas take the shape of a visual. You begin to visualize aspects of the app like:
- Various screens will come when the user clicks on a button.
- Which design elements to incorporate in your app.
- What functions/buttons/content should be on the homepage of the app?
- Navigation buttons, text, and pages to design in the app.
- Backend and frontend processes of the app.
You will have to create a rough manual of this app, and perhaps take the help of a technical writer at this stage. It will give you an insight into the functionality of your app, or you will come to know of possible loopholes, gaps, or errors that you may have overlooked. Documenting the various aspects of the app you are developing will help not only you but also create a wireframe of the final app, as it would appear on the mobile.
The initial step of designing is sketching. Application concepts are prepared at this point by the designer. There are several great programs that you can use for this. For example, there is Paper. Not only does it look like actual paper but it also allows you to convert your sketch to a digital format with relative ease. Check out our list of the best programs to help develop an application, including prototyping tools.
The second phase is wireframe and license.
Sketching is considerably more than simply recording movement. It has the potential to be a powerful tool for collaboration and participation. After you’ve completed your sketches, wireframing will help you develop your ideas and appropriately organize all of the design’s aspects.
You can solve any technical challenges in the context of backend development at this phase. Consider how a functional app may include the offered designs and ideas. You may also design a roadmap or a template to show the link between each screen and how users can traverse the program. Look for methods to include the brand, prioritize the user experience, and evaluate how people use a mobile phone app and a mobile browser differently.
Prototyping is the last phase of the design stage. The prototype will have a visual depiction of the end product, yet the back end is still constructed. The goal is not to make the product to be usable but to review what the end product may look like in the future.
Development and Testing
The design is finished, but there is more work to do now. Since the preview of the end product has already been developed, the next thing to do is to turn the design into an actual functional product. The stage will be divided into several phases and iterations, depending on what methodology was used for the project. To reach the desired feature and function of the apps the programmers now will start to enter and code all of the necessary code.
During this phase, you shape your prototypes to create the actual app. Your team of software professionals should involve all the working prototypes, the functionality of the app, sketches, storyboards, and workflow charts into consideration in designing the app.
The development process is split into two segments. It usually involves Frontend Designs and Backend Integration. Frontend design should be connected to backend processes where data is gathered and stored, and how it is processed should be the main thing to do at this stage. Broadly it involves:
A front-end developer’s job is to ensure that the user experience is as smooth as possible. They are several points that frontend developers need to do:
- Develop app screens.
- Clickable buttons.
- Navigation pages.
- Integration with backend processes.
The complex, functional component ensures the overall system’s functionality. The phrase “back end” generally relates to the server side of an application. It’s in charge of all operations, calculations, and, lastly, the app’s dependability. The programmers work on the initial version, often known as the MVP (Minimum Valuable Product). It involves:
- Data retrieval & storing
- Backend server
- Database management
It is always a good idea to test your app after you’ve developed it. Usually, it involves allowing a few target users to test your app themselves. You can then know how others perceive your app, and whether they can use it properly or not. It involves testing an app for its functionality, ease of use, interface design, UX layout, and user experience of utilizing the app.
Bugs and errors are identified and corrected at this stage. The app goes through several tests and quality assurance guidelines. The feasibility of the app is worked out and it is determined whether the app is feasible or not.
Application testing is broad; make sure your team covers all of the necessary features. The usability, functionality, security, interface testing, stress, and performance of the program should all be evaluated. The testing phase is usually divided into two phases which is
UAT (User Acceptance Testing)
During user acceptability testing, you may evaluate if your mobile app works with your target users. Here, a few target consumers are given the app for testing purposes. In this type of testing, the users get to know the typo errors, flaws in the design, ease of use, security loopholes, layout changes, etc. App developers may ask questions or set a questionnaire or poll about what users feel about the app and its performance.
Here, the app is open for all end users, and their testing is of substantial importance. In this testing, the app developers offer a beta version of the app to users. The users provide comprehensive feedback back to developers. The data is then applied to develop the app in light of the feedback received during beta testing.
Deployment and Publishing
After all the testing is done, your app is now finally approved for final launch. Set a date and begin the official rollout. You can publish the app in online mobile app stores like App Store and Google Play Store.
App development does not cease after they are published. When customers use the app, they will provide feedback. You will need to incorporate that feedback into future versions of the product. Any piece of software will require upgrades and the inclusion of new features. When the beta version of the mobile app is published, the development cycle usually resumes. Check that you have the necessary resources to keep your project operating. Aside from the cost of creating a digital presence, keep in mind that this is a long-term investment.
Publishing your app is the culmination of the app development process that you began. It is the ultimate step of app development. You will have to announce a launch date through media campaigns. You will have to employ marketing and advertising teams, plan out social media campaigns, advertise through word of mouth, or launch emails to various people or organizations who took an active interest in your app.
Maintenance & updates
Although publishing is the goal of developing an app, the ultimate end of app development is the maintenance and update of the app. You polish the app and improve it by adding advanced features from the projects. Every self-respecting developer promises technical assistance in any other situation that may arise.
You have to be proactive in this step and align user involvement with regular app updates. Feedback from users has to be applied. The app has to be regularly updated with software features, bug fixes, design implementation, and many other factors. App development then becomes a dynamic process. The true development of an app takes place only after this final step.
In this article, we have described to you the stages of developing a mobile app. But, they may differ depending on the goal and peculiarities of your product. You may need some additional or repeating steps
Remember that app development is not a one-day task. It involves many factors, which have to be envisioned, and put into a workable and functional app, that users can download easily, and use in their lives.
App development is not as tough as it sounds, and all it takes are a few careful steps and planning. Now that you already know about the common stages to develop an app you may check our next topic about the tools that may help to develop mobile apps.