Today smartphones serve as the template for every basic function that we carry out everyday. We refer to our smart devices for almost everything – to get our morning coffee, news, shopping, conveyance. So much so, that even a minute without it paralyses you.
The meteoric rise of the mobile app market is certainly astounding; according to Flurry Analytics, approximately eight apps are launched daily for iOS and Android devices. As of June 2014, there were 1.2 million mobile apps in Apple’s App Store alone.
But, have you ever thought of what really goes on behind the creation of something that has made your life simple and easier. A successful mobile App is a process which involves quite an extensive pre-planning. Since, it is so important for an App to be spot-on the first time hence it is necessary for developers to follow a step by step process to building an App.
Different Stages of Mobile App Development
To understand it further – Mobile App Development Lifecycle is just a representation of the conventional Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) but from the perspective of a mobile device. Well, here we take a look at all the stages in mobile app development.
Phase I: Pre-planning and Research
Before starting off with a project, it is essential to lay down a basic foundation of what will be done, how it will be implemented and who it is going to target.
- Start with a basic idea, one that is not only different but will be of great utility.
Create an outline of what your app will do, the users it will target, its business case et al. look at the potential sources that could fund your business and accordingly create a budget that will be easy on your pocket and also enable completion of the project.
- Research about all the apps similar to yours and look at their working model, shortcomings, reviews to improve your app-experience. Try to figure out the features which are absent in their App so that you can include it in your App, to make it stand out.
Phase II: Mental Prototyping
This phase involves the visual representation of ideas that you created in the first phase. It’s the first opportunity to see how the app might evolve.
- Mental prototyping of your App means draw your ideas in the form of sketches on a whiteboard. This also involves bringing the development team on-board to start implenting your ideas.
- This step involves taking feedback from relevant people on the your app- its loopholes and drawbacks – and thus implement it in your blueprint.
Phase III: Technical Feasibility
Preliminary understanding of technical features isn’t enough, one must analyse whether the back-end systems will support the functionality of the app.
- Thing big – think APIs, data diagrams, servers, data integration, and push notification services. In many cases, SMEs find choosing a mobile backend as a service (BaaS) makes sense, since they solve common challenges such as scalability and lack of in-house talent.
- Staying flexible at this early stage is very important.
Phase IV: build a prototype
With wireframes and storyboard agreed upon, next comes forming an interactive prototype.
- This step gives gives you an opportunity to really evaluate design concepts, gather feedback, and identify dead links and flaws in the flow and usability of your mobile app.
- Asking people to come and test your app gives you an idea of how users interact with the app’s prototype and what changes can be brought in to it.
The final goal is to create a high-design concept that will simplify your designing stage.
Phase V: Design
Now comes the stage when high-resolution renderings of your wireframes represent the interface your users will eventually use to interact with your app.
- UI – the UI designers will determine how your users will finally interact with your app. This will create the look and feel of your app.
- UX – this will help to optimize your product for enjoyable and effective use. Basically, a UX designer creates the interaction architecture for your app.
What’s most important here is to consider the feedback taken in the previous steps and incorporate them in your design. The result will be a blueprint will give you a rough idea of the user-experience.
Phase VI: Building though Agile Methodology
Agile methodology is a practice that promotes continuous iteration of development and testing throughout the software development lifecycle of the project.
- This method helps you to take feedback as well as implement it at every step of development.
- Agile methodology is the best approach for mobile application development as it allows you to make changes, add new features and keep evolving with the changing trends.
This methodology helps you to rigously test your app while maintaining transparency, and correct any flaws.
Phase VII: App-Testing
Before going out into the outside world, your app needs to be tested to rule out any minor flaws or to implement features to enhance its functioning. This can be done by using two techniques:
- User Acceptance Testing (UAT) – this test is performed by the targeted users. If given a ‘go-ahead’ be sure that your app is ready and it works.
- Beta Testing – performed by the client (product owner) at the client location. Feedback from beta users will help you determine whether or not the app’s functions are operating well in a real-world environment.
Phase VIII: The Final Launch!
Having worked so hard to create a near-perfect product for your customers, it’s time for the reveal finally!
- Some smart marketing strategies can go a long way in widening the reach of your app. with the mobile app development complete, it’s time to let your audiences know what you have been upto and one way of that happening is to create a social media presence.
- You will want to think of a name for your app and an icon to go along with it. Create a website – a landing page – to support your page.
Phew! The process is finally over. No, it is not. Even after creating the app and launching it, you need to keep a track of the feedback received from your users. What’s more important is to implement the same swiftly and immediately. Every App requires regular updates and new features to be added to it during the mobile application development lifecycle. With each passing year and times changing quickly, you need to keep up with the pace thus the lifecycle renews all over again. If, at any point of time you start losing customers, consider offering incentives such as a one-time discount or free product or service for customers or engage with them at various levels such as the e-mail or in-app notifications.
Fluper has recently ventured into the mobile application development field and is quickly gained quite a reputation for building for both iOS and Android apps.