With an ever-increasing mobile-savvy user base, one can hardly deny that this is the era of mobile applications. Regardless of whether you are launching a mobile app start-up or looking for ways to promote your existing venture’s products and services across multiple communication platforms, you can’t afford to not jump into the mobile app bandwagon.
While no two businesses are exactly similar, yet the fundamentals of mobile app development remain the same for all. If you are planning to build a mobile app from scratch and wondering what exactly goes into the making of one, this step-by-step guide from one of Mumbai’s leading mobile app development company will help you develop an app that is not only purposeful but also impactful.
Stage 1: Lay the groundwork with ideation, research, analysis and validation
Creating a successful mobile app is easier said than done. The process entails a significant investment of time, money and effort and you can’t dive into it with a half-baked plan or a half-hearted mentality.
First and foremost, you have to have a great idea to get started and your idea must address a pressing need or problem. It is also crucial that you dig deeper to understand the cause of the problem and how you can solve it with your app. Accurate identification of a burning need or issue will help you boost the probability of achieving success with your app by way of a tailored offering that satisfies an unfulfilled demand in your chosen product category.
Second, make sure your idea has a unique selling point (USP) that enables your app to add value and perform well within its niche. Considering that there are millions of apps already on Google Play and the App Store, it is imperative that you come up with an innovative idea that differentiates your app from others. Analysing existing solutions can help you identify what competitor apps are missing, during the conceptualisation stage itself.
Third, be clear about your motivation behind building an app. Are you planning to use the app solely to spread awareness about your company’s offerings or do you also intend to monetise your app? If it is the latter, you must explore early on whether your idea has the potential to get you financial returns in the long run.
Fourth, ask yourself or get an expert opinion on whether a native, web or hybrid app will be best suited to your intended solution. Accordingly, reach out to an experienced mobile app development company to get a cost estimate for the app development process. This will help you keep your finances in check during the course of app development.
Fifth, not every idea will resonate with every end user. Thus, you must analyse and define your target audience at the start so that you do not waste your resources on executing an idea that is not the right offering for its intended demographic.
The last step in this stage is to validate your concept. Thorough research of the market can help you understand how viable your idea is and whether it has adequate demand within your target group. Assess the validity of your idea with tools such as Google Keyword Planner and leverage platforms such as Dribbble to solicit unbiased feedback from fellow designers. Once you have ascertained that there is indeed a demand for your idea, you can consult a domain/industry expert to evaluate your idea’s technical feasibility before you proceed with the next stage of prototype creation.
Stage 2: Create a prototype and fine-tune it for the Design & Development phase
This stage entails giving shape to your idea through sketches and refining your prototype by doing away with all non-core features. The first step in this stage is wireframing – a process that allows you to conceptualise your app through the creation of a prototype. You can choose to demonstrate your idea on paper or opt for prototyping tools, such as InVision, Proto and Sketch, to present your idea in a pictorial form (using design elements and features such as drag and drop, nested symbols and advanced vector editing).
While sketching your app’s skeletal framework, remember to be as detailed as possible with your app’s layout, including its backend structure, interface, functional elements and navigation flow. This will come in handy when you hire a mobile app developer or engage your company’s in-house dev team, who will find a helpful reference in the detailed and self-explanatory diagrams.
Finally, examine your app’s prototype at length to differentiate between “good to have” and “non-negotiables”. Knowing how time-consuming and effort-intensive the entire process of the app development can be, it will be wise of you to park all bells and whistles for future upgrades and proceed with core app functionalities only. That will also help you curb the initial app development costs, which can go through the roof in no time if you don’t keep them in check from the beginning.
Step 3: Perform tests on the prototype to identify gaps and flaws
Now that you have created a mock-up design of your app, it’s time to put your prototype to test and seek end-user feedback on its UX design, which includes its functionality, usability and navigability. InVision is one of the prototyping tools that you can use to test your design mock-ups for visible defects such as surface flaws. Plus, you can conduct beta testing on your wireframes by involving a test group to share their perspective on the look and feel of your app. The idea is to identify major design flaws and make all the necessary big changes before the prototype makes a transition to the actual design & development phase.
Step 4: Test the final product before deployment
After the product is built according to the specs shared with the design & development team, you need to test the final output for its performance, functionality, and usability. Assuming there are no showstoppers in this phase, your app is ready for deployment in the hosting environment (the app stores in this case).
Step 5: Register for developer accounts with app stores
Depending on whether you have created an Android app, an iPhone app or an app that is compatible with both Android and iOS, you need a Play Store ID and/or Apple ID to sell your app through Google Play and/or the App Store. An annual fee applies to register for a developer account with these app stores. Both Google Play and the Apple App Store have their own review processes to verify all apps before their launch. Once your app is submitted, it will be made live after it successfully undergoes a manual review process.
Step 6: Use analytics to monitor user engagement
Don’t forget to integrate analytics into your mobile app before it is launched on the app stores. Exploit analytics to gain a clear insight into your app’s performance with regards to user engagement, downloads, and retention. Utilise these insights to incorporate valuable end-user feedback into subsequent updates of your app.
Step 7: Enhance your app continually with periodic iterations
Last but not least, make the most of user insights and competitor research to keep your mobile app current with regular updates. Add all the good-to-have features that were de-prioritised in the preliminary version and constantly upgrade your app with new and relevant offerings. Remember, there is always room for improvement and changes are constant. So, keep complacency at bay and explore innovative ways to keep your app fresh and up-to-date with periodic enhancements.
As you may have realised by now, there’s a lot that goes into the building of a successful mobile app. Besides meticulous planning and execution in the design, development and deployment stages, you also need to prepare yourself for regular maintenance, upgrade and marketing activities, once your app is launched on the app stores. Engaging the services of an experienced and reliable mobile app development company can save you time, money and the stress of developing an app from scratch. Such a company will have its own portfolio of apps to showcase – beneficial when you are looking for a tangible demonstration of the company’s capability and expertise in the arena of mobile app design & development. Hire one today and use its result-oriented and industry-focused apps to maximise your outreach and take your business to the next level.