Every year, the popularity of mobile applications only grows – with a few taps with a finger, we order food and clothes, buy tickets and make an appointment with a doctor. If you are already thinking about a mobile application, now is the time to create one – a convenient, fast and contactless service will come in handy more than ever in the next few years.
In the article, we talk about the main stages and principles of application development – from analytics and testing to market entry.
The main stages of mobile application development
It is important to start any project with detailed planning, studying your own business, audience and competitors. The better the research, the fewer problems and improvements there will be in the future.
During the research, determine the goals of the business, study the audience and communication channels, analyze competitors – this will help determine the correct positioning. Analytics typically include executive and client interviews, focus groups, and peer review.
Such preparation will help to collect all the requirements and package them into understandable visual models: business process diagrams, mind map, user paths, in order to determine the basis for development and go to the prototype.
An app is another way to increase profits, so think about a monetization scheme while on the shore to take it into account when creating an interface.
Leading questions will help you decide on monetization:
- What problem does the service solve?
- What opportunities are people willing to pay for?
- How much time do you have to monetize? Can you wait to build your customer base?
What are the ways of monetization:
- Advertising. The audience uses the product for free, but in return, you show them ads from advertisers.
- Paid features. In addition to the main functions of the application, additional features are implemented that are available only after payment. For example, access to a new location in the game or hide the profile and advertising in the dating service.
- Paid download. In this case, payment is received at the first contact, but first a high demand is created: your offer should be unique and useful. This option is often used by the creators of corporate platforms and programs for photo and video processing.
- Purchases. People pay for real and virtual goods – clothes and equipment for themselves or playable characters, in-game currency or other features.
- Subscription. After exploring the free content, you can subscribe to additional content to receive more information. This approach is used by platforms with podcasts, media and highly specialized materials.
- Reward for actions. A person receives bonuses for a certain activity: watching a video, following the rules or taking a survey. As a result, all parties benefit: the advertiser talks about his brand, the developers get a bonus, and the users get rewards.
Without a marketing strategy, even the most promising project will sink into oblivion. Take care of promotion at the beginning so that by the time of implementation the application is already on the customer wishlist.
You can advertise using targeted advertising, native materials in the media and blogs, affiliate programs, and viral techniques. Describe a portrait of your audience, study ways to promote competitors, create your own strategy and change it depending on the circumstances.
After the analysis and elaboration of the development strategy, the stage begins at which the technical documentation is studied and the terms of reference are prepared.
Usually it is written in:
- Objectives of the project.
- User stories and a person’s journey map – describe what tasks people will solve using the service, and how they will do it.
- Mandatory functions.
- Technical requirements for interface, performance, user roles, security.
- Implementation of functionality: UX and UI design.
- Development stages.
- Time required for all work.
Describing interface requirements helps designers and developers understand exactly what the client wants and how it can be accomplished. The more detailed the TK, the higher the chance of getting what you really need and avoiding endless edits.
Most often, development studios help with the preparation of technical specifications. For example, in AppCraft, we always check the technical specification for compliance with platform requirements and develop it from scratch if you do not have enough time for it or if there are any difficulties.
Usually, a dedicated project team includes: a tester, a UX UI designer, mobile developers – the number depends on the scale of the project – and a project manager who organizes the work of the team.
At AppCraft, we never involve external specialists for work, because we choose to work with time-tested people and closely communicate within the team. This approach has a big plus – each employee is focused on the final product and is interested in doing his job with high quality.
Design and prototype creation
At this stage, the UX / UI designer builds the logic of interaction between the pages of the registration and authorization screens, filling in data, personal account, shopping cart, purchase payment and order tracking. Develops the appearance of the future service in accordance with the terms of reference and corporate identity: selects a color scheme, fonts, renders icons, buttons, push notifications, sliders, etc.
After agreeing on the design, the designer prepares a prototype (if this was not done at the stage of preparing the technical specification) – it reproduces the basic logic, structure and functionality.
Typically, the prototype is created in the form of screens at each stage of the user journey. This is not yet a finished product, but it helps to build the foundation and test its functionality in order to fix bugs and improve the user experience at the initial stage.
More about prototypes in this article…
One of the labor-intensive stages includes coding, architecture development and is divided into Back-end and Front-end development. Mobile developers must know the concept of the project, its uniqueness and be included in all processes in order to assess the viability of the idea and realize the wishes of the customer.
At this stage, Front-end programmers develop a well-thought-out and tested client interface and platform logic.
Back-end developers create a server for storing and exchanging information. Experts choose a programming language for writing code and hosting for the server and API, build a database management system. The better the options are selected, the faster the application will run.
Development can be done in several ways:
- Native. A separate application is being developed for each mobile platform. This method is the most expensive, but reliable: you will receive full support from the stores, and the interface will work quickly and look as organic as possible.
- Cross-platform. Developers use universal code for all platforms, but the operating system still runs it as native code. The most optimal option in terms of “price-quality”.
Read more about the pros and cons of native and cross-platform development in this article…
Some companies set testing as a separate stage and thoroughly check the application only before release.
We think that testing the application should be carried out at every stage of development – when each part of the functionality is ready. It is better to spend more time fixing bugs before release than getting negative reviews on the page every hour after publication in the store. Therefore, we test each page as often as possible.
Before launching, it is important to carefully study the rules of the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and prepare page screenshots, marketing plan and description. After downloading, the stores check all the information, the relevance of the project and give a conclusion: will they publish the application or not. If everything went well, you can download it in a few days.
Publishing can be difficult, so it’s really important to read all of the store policies. At AppCraft, project managers do not leave clients alone with all this: they help with the publication of the application and advise on all issues related to registering accounts in stores, requirements for materials and their formats.
Refinement and technical support
After launch, you will be able to analyze which sections are the most popular and which are not very popular, how many people have completed targeted actions, and which pages should be improved. Carefully study and process all incoming data: they will help to refine the application and remove unnecessary functions. The analytics process is almost endless, so you will need technical support that will fix and promptly solve current problems, optimize the application and refine it.
In Appcraft, the warranty code support is 12 months. We completely transfer the rights to the application to the customer, but we continue to monitor system analytics and promptly fix problems in the application if they suddenly arise.
It might be interesting
Article: The cost of developing a custom mobile app for iOS and Android in 2021…
Article: Checklist for developing and launching a mobile application…
Article: Native or Cross-Platform Development? Side-by-side comparison.
In this article, I wrote about the features of developing android applications from scratch.
The stages described are a classic version of the development process, but we always discuss this process separately with each new client. Because it is important for us to synchronize with the customer and make the development process convenient and understandable.
At AppCraft, we handle all stages of development from analytics (basic primary analytics or deep research) to release and provide prompt technical support. For 10 years, we have created several of our own projects and more than 200 mobile applications for clients – messengers, corporate solutions, banking systems, e-commerce and social networks.
If you decide that you need a mobile app, think again. Will it solve your problems? Is there something in it that is not in any existing product? Are you ready to promote and support it? If you have doubts – write to us. We will share our experience and knowledge. If you are sure of your decision, write too. We will advise on all issues and turn your idea into a full-fledged product that will help maintain communication with customers and increase profits.