Steps to Understand the Mobile App Development Life Cycle!
Mobile App Development is quite similar to the black box, especially in the absence of coding knowledge.
If you are looking to develop a mobile app for your business, you must have the right knowledge to execute it.
Mobile usage statistics tell a very compelling story for businesses that are still on the fence:
- Mobile apps account for half the time that is being spent consuming digital media
- Smartphone users are spending over 90% of their time on apps while using their cell phones.
- About 85% of the users prefer using native mobile apps
- The average consumer has installed about 35 apps on their cell phone and consumes about 35 hours a month using them
Even when all facts and figures are in favor of building an app, the decision of moving forward can’t be taken lightly. There are about 1.5 million apps each in Google Play and Apple’s App Store. It is really important to understand the entire mobile app development process and how your app will match your marketing goals and market niche.
Let us have a look at the app development lifecycle and the objectives and challenges we have to come along the way.
Discovery, Market Research Along With Mobile App Development Tech-Stack
Realising the importance of having a Mobile App for your business and it’s potential would be a good way to start. Before entering into the designing and development phase, as a first step, you should research extensively about your business and target audience along with that of your competitors. Try to find the answer to these questions:
What are you looking to accomplish through your mobile app? Does it fit your mobile marketing plans?
- Do you know your target audience?
- What framework and Mobile App Development language would you be adopting?
- What is your budget?
- When are you planning to launch your app?
- What is your marketing plan for the app?
If you have not done that so far, ask your App Development team to coordinate with the relevant departments (marketing, sales, product development, IT etc.) and discuss the information gathered after the research. Mutual discussion and collaboration among different departments will ensure a smoother development process.
Establish Your Objectives and Mobile App Goals
It is one of the most significant steps during the planning phase of your mobile app. Once you have determined the app that will be fulfilling your most important goals in your mobile marketing strategy, it is essential to map out how your app will take you there.
- What problems will this app be solving for the customers?
- What will be the main features of the app?
- What is the core appeal of your mobile app?
In most cases, determining the Mobile App benefits and features acts as a balance between the budget for overall app development and in-house capabilities.
Storyboards and Wire Frames
Upon reaching this stage, you will have a pretty good idea of the overall look of your app and its features. By this time, you must have developed a scope of work, which work will be completed in-house, and for which portion of the process you need to contract out. It’s time to sketch your app and create a storyboard for your mobile app.
Wireframing can be carried out through several online tools; at this point, you must aim to develop a clear picture of fusing your ideas and proposed features into a functional app. You must create a roadmap or storyboard to demonstrate the connection between each screen along with specifying the navigation process through the app.
Define Your Mobile App Backend
Your storyboard and wireframes will act as a guide to structure your backend that will be needed to support your app like APIs, data diagrams, data integration, servers, and push notifications. In most cases, SMEs choose mobile backend as a service platform, as it easily solves common issues, including the lack of in-house talent and scalability.
Test Your Prototype & Finalize Your Wireframe
At this stage, nail down any changes that you have identified in the wireframe during the backend planning process. After the team has successfully agreed upon the storyboard and wireframe, it is the right time to build an interactive prototype.
Prototyping is one of the most significant steps during the mobile app development process. It provides you the opportunity to evaluate your design concepts, collect feedback, and find dead links along with the flaws in the usability of your app.
Your ultimate goal must be to finalize the design concept for your app through the creation of a high fidelity prototype, ultimately guiding you through the entire app development process.
App development involves several steps. If you are not using an app development platform or mobile BaaS provider, your developer will need to set up storage solutions databases and servers for your backend app.
For mobile apps development, you need to go through the app store guidelines to minimize the chances of getting rejected during the review process.
Now you are ready to enter into the programming and coding phase. Make sure to establish a timeline for deliverables. During this stage, the designer will be creating the app “skins” or actual screen that would be sued in your app. Make sure that your design incorporates all ideas and reviews gathered during the initial testing phase.
Test the App Repeatedly
It can be categorized as the most exciting phases in the lifecycle of app development. At this stage, you should have a complete app concept with exciting graphics and perfectly aligned text. Now it’s the right time to test your app rigorously in several real-world scenarios for identifying and correcting any technical flaws.
While testing the app, make sure to observe other users too, as they may raise questions and insights that were not very obvious to you during the app development phase. You can also make use of an online mobile UX testing tool to get real-time feedback and analytics. Do not forget to test the compatibility of the images, graphics, and user experience for the cross-platform.
Once you are confident that your app is functioning properly and you are satisfied with the overall appearance and usability of the interface, now it’s the right time to move ahead for the final preparation to officially launch your mobile application.
The steps adopted while getting prepared for your app launch will greatly affect its success. It is really important to involve your marketing department during the early process. Marketing will greatly help you with keyword research, which is very important for app store optimization (ASO) and SEO.
Marketing and keyword research will guide you about the choices you have for the titles and descriptions of your application to different marketplaces. A website or at least a landing page is also very important for the support and promotion of your app. It not only helps with branding and awareness but also significantly facilitates the search and discover-ability. The landing page and website must include:
- Name and icon of your app
- Names and badges of the stores from where your app can be downloaded
- Promotions videos and screenshots
- Subscription form and download link
- Your social media account links
- User reviews and testimonials
Make use of your business website and social media accounts to promote your app. If you have a company blog, regularly update the development process to develop an interest and anticipation among the readers. Another great idea could be launching an email campaign.
Release Your App Officially
The official release date must indicate the climax of your marketing efforts for your app. Consider announcing to those who have shown interest in your app ahead of launch. As part of your promotion, send an email blast mentioning links to your social media profiles. The idea is to generate a few downloads and ratings for your app to build some momentum.
This would be a good time to use a push notification announcing a special promotion or offer so that users can open your app. Offer incentives like a one-time discount or a free service for a certain amount of time, for those downloading your app. However, you must keep in mind that app marketing is an on-going process, and the release date work and efforts are just the beginning of that process.
As a final step, adopt a clear channel to receive the feedback and make sure to respond to comments promptly. Pay proper attention to your analytics and keep track of the KPIs that are defining success for your marketing objectives.
Once you have clearly understood the steps and key processes involved in the life cycle of mobile app development, you would be able to prepare yourself better for developing an app with your required features and functions, while remaining within your budget and comfortable timeline.