7 Stages of the Mobile App Development: From Idea to Launch
It’s hard to believe that one of the first mobile apps was a version of the finger-breaking game of “Snake” for the Nokia 3310 since the evolution of mobile apps has been astounding.
Almost anything you can think of today can come to life. Mobile apps are now powered by various technologies, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things, making the wildest dreams come true.
The mobile application market is getting bigger and bigger every year, and it’s expected to reach $613 million by 2025. And as you may guess, behind those big numbers hides a huge amount of work.
The development process of a mobile app is complex, but it isn’t so hard to digest. Once you understand every aspect of it, it will be easier to fuel your inspiring ideas into amazing solutions.
Why Is Mobile App Development So Important?
Nowadays, we use our smartphones for the majority of daily tasks and carry them with us wherever we go. There are apps available today for almost anything you can think of, from online banking, food delivery, and fitness tracking all the way to finding your true love.
But mobile app development can help businesses in more ways than just meeting user needs.
1. Gaining a Digital Presence
Constructing a mobile app is a great way to leave your mark on the digital world and boost your return on investment. Mobile apps make it easy and safe to have a digital presence all over the world.
2. Increasing Brand Visibility
Your mobile app has the potential to serve as an ID of your company by serving as a platform from which you can promote your brand and spread the word.
3. Extending User Network
Access to your service is global, allowing customers worldwide to make use of it. With smart advertising, mobile apps make it easier to get new customers and grow your business in ways you never thought possible.
4. Enhancing Customer Engagement
Resolving customer issues immediately will leave a good impression of your business. With the help of a well-designed mobile app, you may help people with their difficulties whenever and wherever they happen to be.
Mobile App Development Stages: 7 Steps to a Successful Product
Whatever mobile app idea you have, even though every single one is unique in its own way, the development process will practically be the same every single time.
It’s like a tried-and-true recipe for chocolate brownies: once you understand what every ingredient does to your recipe, you have the knowledge and skills to bake a perfect batch every time you crave them. But if you don’t follow the recipe, you can easily end up with a disaster in a pan.
That is why mobile app developers always stick to a time-tested and reliable pipeline of work. You can only imagine how many apps in the past met an untimely demise. But as time passed, a clear step-by-step playbook was created.
Let’s see what the process looks like!
Stage #1: Conceptualization
Generating An Idea
Every great solution starts with an idea. Once you have an idea, you need to figure out what you want to accomplish with it. You can use the information you get from this analysis to figure out which features and functions are most important for reaching your goals.
The ideation phase can sometimes be tricky as our imagination can go from one point to another very quickly, so here are some questions to ask yourself when you feel stuck in the brainstorming process:
- In what ways is the primary goal of your app different compared to other similar apps?
- Which demographic do you hope to attract?
- Which issues does your app plan to address?
- Do you plan for your app to stand out from the crowd?
- Why should people download your app?
Once you have clear answers to all five of these questions, you can advance to the next step, market research.
Market Research and Analysis
Finding out who you’re trying to sell to, learning about their desires and requirements, and analyzing the competition are all part of this process. Let’s say you want to build an app for journaling. What kinds of apps are already on the market, and what do they offer? What makes your idea more unique?
If you want to succeed with your app, you need to pay close attention to the current state of the industry and the issues that users are having. So, it’s important that your app solves a problem and gives users a good reason to use it.
Analyzing and figuring out the advantages your mobile app will have for you and the end-users is the most important step in the mobile development life cycle. The general idea is to figure out how to distinguish yourself from the competition and identify your most lucrative market niche.
Step #2: Planning
As you’ve laid the groundwork for what you’re going to make, it’s time to understand the timeframes and the project’s roadmap, as well as target all the requirements for a useful product.
Features and Functionalities
Investigate the core features that will attract the attention of your target audience. And if you don’t think you can handle the technology stack on your own, you should invest in top-notch Denver app development services. Use a solid and up-to-date set of technologies to make sure your app works well.
Depending on how the app is supposed to be used, its features and abilities may be very different. These are some examples of the kinds of features and capabilities that mobile apps often have:
- User profiles
- Push notifications
- In-app purchases
- Social media integration
- Multimedia content
- Location-based services
- Chat and messaging
- Analytics and reporting
- E-commerce functionality
Of course, you may not need all of them, but understanding what you exactly need at this point will relieve you of potential stress later.
Have you thought about the app’s sales model and how it will make money? To address this, you need a business model. This is a chance for you to put your plan into action. There are many different ways to generate revenue. Some of them are subscriptions, freemiums, advertising, and two-sided marketplaces.
Building a Minimum Viable Product
Once your product road map is done, you can focus on the four parts of your minimum viable product: how easy it is to read (readability), how it works (functionality), how it looks (design), and how it can be used (usability).
To what end, though, should you create a minimum viable product? Well, here are a few examples:
- Try out your product in the wild and see if it lives up to your expectations.
- Make sure your company plan works.
- Collect user reviews to improve your software.
- Find out how far the changes can go.
- Assess the app’s success and make any necessary adjustments before releasing the final product.
Step #3: Design
This is where creativity, psychology, and experience come into play. Starting with a simple storyboard that illustrates everything inside your app, you are able to begin the design process.
With a storyboard, you can map out the steps a user takes as they interact with your app. If you decide to do this, here are some points to remember:
- Imagine how each screen should be laid out and where items like icons, banners, and buttons should be displayed in your app.
- Create a pleasing user interface, but don’t skimp on functionality.
- Make sure your app’s users never feel lost. Get all of your screens in sync with what they’re supposed to be doing.
- Adjust the size of the buttons or the icons to make your app more aesthetically pleasing and practical.
What does the user see when they first launch your application? In the end, how well your app works for the user and how easy it is to use are more important than what it can do.
Having features in an app that people can’t actually use is worthless. If your mobile app is difficult to use, people will either stop using it or write negative reviews about it.
The outcome of mobile app development is most directly affected by this phase. Here is where you’ll establish the general style for your app. At this point in the process, the following elements receive the most attention:
- Choice of fonts and basic visual elements
- App’s primary branding colors
- Top-rated apps on the market right now
Using all this data as a foundation is a great way to develop a working software mockup. With a strong prototype, you can run tests to get user input and see if the app is working the way you expected.
This can help you identify problems with your final product. Developers will follow your prototype to create your app, so make sure it’s perfect.
Step #4: Development
Once the app’s design is finalized, development can begin. There are a lot of variables to think about, including the app’s technical architecture and the technologies used to build it.
But here are three fundamentals of mobile app development:
- Server/Back-end: The database and server-side objects it relies on are crucial to the scalability and performance of a mobile app. This phase of development provides all of the app’s features, as well as the necessary database and server-side objects.
If you’re going to use an already-existing back-end platform, you may have to make some adjustments to get your app to do what you want it to do. In terms of the database on the back end, you may use just about whatever language you like.
- Application Programming Interface (API): An API is a way for an app to talk to a server or database in the background, as well as other pieces of a software and the operating system itself.
Step #5: Testing
This whole testing process can be divided into three main phases:
- Alpha Phase – At the initial, untested “alpha” the application gets its essential features. This early version of your software will have many bugs and will require extensive maintenance.
- Beta Phase – This is where you start implementing the core features and functionality as well as perform a few simple tests. Developers will eliminate the majority of bugs, but some will always remain. This version of the software can be sent to people outside of the company for testing and feedback.
- Release Phase – At the final stage, you can perform a series of comprehensive tests across your app, as well as pinpoint and fix any remaining issues. After that, it’s all about the finishing touches and polishing so the app is ready for its launch.
Different tests can be run, but the most common ones are:
- Documentation testing
- Functional testing
- Usability testing
- Compatibility testing
- Performance testing
- Security testing
Step #5: Deployment
Congratulations! By now, your software is ready, and it’s time to submit your mobile app to the appropriate app stores for iOS and Android. You’ll need a developer account in both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store before you can start distributing the app.
Metadata like the following is needed to get apps into app stores or to make them go live:
- The app’s name
- Keywords and other key phrases
- App’s description
- App store screenshots
- Launch icon
The time it takes for an app to be approved after being submitted for review to the Apple app store varies according to the app’s quality and how closely it adheres to the iOS app development standards and guidelines. If an app has login requirements, the developer must provide Apple with a test user account.
After an app has been released, its success can be measured by looking at KPIs and tracking usage data with mobile analytics. You should also routinely check for crashes and other issues reported by users.
Getting the Word Out
Now to the fun part: marketing. As there are millions of different pieces of mobile software, it’s important to stand out right away. Here are some tips on how to create the initial spark:
- SEO: Ranking highly in search results is a great way to introduce your app to potential users.
- Website and Landing Page: The developers of your app will include a link to your app’s website into the app store description. An app’s landing page should serve as the hub of all promotional efforts, so having a website ready to follow the launch is equally important.
- Paid Promotion: Organic marketing can be successful sometimes, but the initial release should be followed with paid ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform your target audience is spending their time on.
- Influencer Marketing: A newer form of digital marketing known as influencer marketing is already replacing traditional public relations methods of spreading the word about apps. You may increase your app’s exposure by forming partnerships with influential people who you know will use it, as well as talk about with their online audience.
The main objective of this stage is to get a good number of downloads and spark interest from your target demographic in order to get traction.
Step #7: Maintenance
Once your app is in the hands of users, their thoughts and ideas will guide future changes. Be ready to update the app regularly with new features and fixes for bugs, as well as to use suggestions to make the app run better.
As soon as your app is available to the public, a new mobile development life cycle starts. When problems come up during or after the development of a mobile app, the developers must fix them right away and stay in touch with you until the app works the way you (and your users) want it to.
As you can see, making a mobile app is a complicated process that involves a lot of planning, designing, programming, testing, releasing, and keeping up with the app. The success of your app depends on each individual phase, so it’s good to be prepared for all the stages beforehand.
All app developers should follow these 7 steps to make sure that their mobile apps are the best they can be and meet all of their clients’ needs. Once they perfect the recipe, there will be no bad batches coming out of their oven.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.