There are over 7 million mobile applications on the web. And as of 2021, the number of mobile application downloads stands at 100 billion. This gigantic number is expected to grow to 200 billion by 2025.
These numbers clearly state the popularity and usage of mobile applications. Studies have also shown that users prefer applications over websites.
Thus, if you are brainstorming an idea or trying to make your business more accessible to your users, a mobile application is an ideal choice with assured success. In this article, we are going to discuss the mobile app development process.
Building an ideal mobile application that portrays your business in a true essence, demands extreme planning, efforts, and skills. Here’s a step-by-step procedure to get it done right without any blockers.
A successful mobile application is backed by a great idea that solves a bigger problem for the people or society. To evaluate your idea, here are some questions you can answer to understand the big picture.
This will help you understand your preparation level for mobile app development.
Once your idea is finalized and all the second thoughts are out of your mind, it's time to identify all the elements involved in the actual planning. You need to plan your idea around its use cases and functional requirements that will help in turning it into an actual project. Start with market research and run a feasibility study that will help your idea to take a shape.
Research what unique features you can offer in your mobile application as it is obvious that an app similar to your idea already exists on the web. Once you acknowledge it, look for the concrete benefits you can offer your target audience. This is where you start putting together the interface of your application to get a visual of the same. Do put all the details on the document for ease during the entire process.
Also, consider the platforms you will be launching your app on. If you are planning to develop the app for more than one platform, consider a hybrid approach or develop the application separately for each platform.
Don’t be afraid to spend ample amounts of time during this stage of the mobile app development process because this is where your confidence will improve in the process and your efforts won’t go in vain.
Wireframe is the pillar for a mobile application that gives us an idea of how the complete system would work. It gives you the development timeline by considering all the project requirements thoroughly.
You can view the functionalities and design of your app in a wireframe. It bridges the gap between your idea and the final product by offering you a blueprint of your application.
To summarize here’s everything a wireframe of the app has to offer you.
Note: AdobeXD and Balsamiq are some of the best wireframe design tools to create your app’s wireframe.
The primary goal while designing the UX and UI of an application is to make it highly usable by the users. It should be able to deliver a seamless experience and attract clients so as to convert them into loyal customers at the end of the conversion funnel.
It determines the success rate of your mobile application by considering the factors like user experience, user-friendliness, and others. So, to ensure that you do it the right way, you can also choose to hire professionals via posting for mobile app developers jobs on various platforms. Here is a simple procedure to follow while designing your application if you are doing it on your own.
- Workflow: The first step in the mobile app development process is to finalize a proper workflow. It is influenced by factors like how the data will be displayed to your users, user interaction with the finished product, user journey on your app, and how you will collect data on your mobile application.
- Information architecture: Once you finalize the workflow of your mobile application, it’s important to structure the information within it. Since every solution offered in your mobile application will be linked to different roles and privileges, it’s important that you also link them with your app's information architecture.
- Style guides: Decide on the navigation symbols, color scheme, typefaces, graphics, and app design standards according to your company branding guidelines. It will help you stick to the essence of your brand and improve the productivity of the developer of your mobile application.
Here are some more elements you should consider for your mobile app design development.
Note: For the mobile application that will go live for iOS and Android users, simplify the design and have native design patterns for both users.
With the following step, you can achieve a consistent look across your application and see the user interaction touching new heights.
- Mockups: A mockup is a visual representation of the application that combines the wireframe and style guide. It is a milestone for a developer in the mobile app development process between a working prototype and a wireframe.
It offers an excellent demonstration, design evaluation, and other purposes of the mobile application to the UI designers. They can acquire feedback from the users, team members, and stakeholders with it to ensure that the overall design strategy aligns well with your business goals. Designers can also leverage various tools to create the best and high-fidelity mockups to render the app visuals of the final product.
- Prototyping: Under prototyping, you transform the low-fidelity wireframes into ready-to-use designs for your mobile application. It can be further shared with the team to attain relevant feedback for improvement. It is a crucial element in the mobile app development process that also finds its application in convincing investors to put some funding into it.
The actual mobile app development stage starts here after all the above things are finalized. Before you begin this process, it’s important to brainstorm on a few important factors like the technology stack to be used, the technical architecture of the application, and likewise. We can divide the app development process into three important categories as listed below:
Let’s discuss them in detail to understand the development process in brief.
- Backend/Server technology
The mobile app backend is responsible for the database and server-side objects that support the functionalities of the app. In case you are utilizing an existing back-end platform, it would need some configurations and changes to support mobile app functionality.
- API or application programming interface
API is a way of establishing communication between a backend server or database and the application. It allows the integration between data, applications, and devices to make sure that a specific system functions properly.
It utilizes a set of tools, protocols, and practices for developing software applications and specifies how each component interacts. It is recommended to utilize microservice-based architecture with proper encryption standards to build a secure and scalable interface for data exchange between the back-end and front-end of mobile applications.
Integration with external APIs will also be needed to incorporate the most common capabilities into the mobile application. Some of these are
- Front-end app development
An interactive UI of the mobile application is the responsibility of the front-end developers. It’s a crucial aspect of the mobile app development process as it decides how well the user will interact and engage on your app's platform.
There should be an equal balance between the front-end and back-end to make it usable and interactive. Also, it would be the native mobile app that a user will install on their mobile devices and would sometimes be required to work offline. Mostly, it will rely on real-time data and will demand network connectivity to ensure an interactive user experience to dispatch things between apps front-end and back-end.
Apart from this, you will also have to think about the type of app platform you are building for. These are
Native apps: Such applications are designed specifically for a particular platform and deliver the best user experience. However, they require a higher skill level to build them.
Hybrid apps: Such applications leverage pre-built native containers and utilize them in tandem with the fly web coding to build them. They are a new introduction in the mobile app development block and can be downloaded from any app store like the native applications.
Another thing to keep in mind is that new mobile devices are launched every few months into the market. With so many frequent introductions, it’s important to have an agile development plan that considers time to market as a priority.
The developers should use version control solutions like GitHub to manage and share the source code with fellow developers on the team. It will be easier for the team to generate an app development phase called app QA testing. The mobile app can then be passed on to the app testing team after each development milestone to check for validation including log reporting and crash tracking. It will help in eliminating any technical errors that are encountered while using the app.
Testing your mobile application offers you a report on all the hard work you have put into building your mobile application. It is a crucial aspect of the mobile app development process that validates whether all the functions are working properly or not. There are various test phases of the app that are listed below.
Functional testing: It helps you in testing how your mobile app responds to the requirements fed into it. Keep your target audience, distribution channels, and business functionality like the purpose of your mobile app in mind while performing functional testing of your mobile app.
Performance testing: Under this kind of testing, the performance of the mobile application is analyzed under a specific workload. It includes concurrency testing, volume testing, stability testing, stress testing, and load testing.
Device and platform testing: This testing is done to optimize the performance of the mobile application for various device sizes, screen resolutions, hardware, OS versions, and more. It also takes care of database configuration, network configuration, device configuration, browser configuration, and operating system configuration.
Security testing: This testing ensures the security concern is taken care of in the application. It also analyzes and resolves the risk of hackers, viruses, unauthorized access, and protection of the sensitive data of the mobile app.
User experience testing: This testing ensures that the application's graphical user interface aligns well with the brand guidelines and specifications.
In some cases, testing is done simultaneously in the development stage to keep the post-release cost low. Many would argue that this increases the time spent in the development stage. Still, it reduces the time as well as the monetary cost of maintenance and support in the long run dramatically.
Usability testing: Convenient browsing and intuitive interface as per the industry standards years checked under usability testing of a mobile application. It’s judged on three criteria namely effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction.
With all set, it's time to launch the beta version of your mobile application that will attract early adopters. You can attain a lot of beneficial feedback about the pros and cons of your application with it. Moreover, the rating and experience can help you understand how widely your application will be accepted and how much it would be in demand. Ensure that word-of-mouth marketing never dies for your mobile application and boost its reputation among your potential users.
However, there are some preparations that need to be done, prior to an app's release in the App Store. Here’s a complete checklist for you.
Once the beta version is successfully tested for everything, it’s time to launch it on the Apple Store or the Google play store. Here’s how you can do it for both platforms.
Apple Store submission
Google play store submission
Start by uploading the mobile app bundle files or APK for your application. Set the content rating of your mobile application, app pricing, and a distribution plan. Next, publish your application and your request will be submitted to the Google play store.
Note: For the mobile applications that require login information from the users, keep in mind to submit a test user account during the submission process.
Wait for a few days once you submit your mobile app to the App Store. You will be notified of the acceptance as well as the rejection of your mobile application along with the reason. Don’t let your efforts go in vain if your app gets rejected. We recommend you correct those issues and resubmit the app until it gets approved and published on the App Store. Post-launch tips to make your mobile app a roaring success - market your app well with attractive and informative videos.
Srishti is a competent content writer and marketer with expertise in niches like cloud tech, big data, web development, and digital marketing. She looks forward to grow her tech knowledge and skills.
Tell us the skills you need and we'll find the best developer for you in days, not weeks.