Mobile App Development Process: Step-by-Step Guide [2021]

Mobile-App-Development

Mobile App Development Process have been one of the most significant sources of revenue generation, especially during the years 2019 and 2020. The growth trends show that these mobile apps and associated businesses generate substantial profit.

That’s why startups, enterprise-level organizations, individual professionals, and self-employed online entrepreneurs are opting for mobile app development, considering it an ideal way to scale their business operations digitally.

If you are up on the same subject, here is a 6-step mobile app development guide from ideation to launching the app.

1.Idea evaluation

Idea generation and valuation are the first part of the pre-development process. To make a successful and profitable app, you need a robust and unique idea that fills one or the other gap in society.

However, suppose you already have a brand that sells products or services or solves a specific problem in your target ecosystem. In that case, you might only have to come up with the core objectives behind developing a mobile app.

There are several ways to get ideas for your new mobile app. Go to the community forums and see what problems you can solve. Similarly, conduct a quick survey or poll to discover people’s primary pain points in a specific industry.

First, choose a specific niche, like apparel, skincare, or fitness. Then write down your goals behind mobile app development and check how many people are looking for a solution that you have to offer.

2.Strategy and Planning

After you have a robust app idea, it’s time for research, planning, and creating a strategy to carry out the process efficiently.

In this step, do thorough market research for your mobile app. Google Play Store and Apple Store are two major platforms for apps. This step is relevant and primary for new entrepreneurs and established businesses.

After research, conduct a feasibility study and create a business plan for your app. Put the cost of mobile app development, the profit your app will generate, the marketing efforts you’d have to make, and other key members who would be involved in the app development project.

Check whether your suggested app development idea is affordable, legal, and technically doable for the feasibility study.

Moving on from research, it’s time to decide what platforms you’ll host your application on. For some background, Android and iOS are major operating systems, and you can choose to develop an app for either or both of these.

Android is the biggest mobile market, yet Apple is growing in the competition too. Though, I suggest you opt for cross-platform mobile app development to get a broader user base, more downloads, and ultimately better conversion rates.

Once you have decided on the platform for your mobile app, It is time to practically start with the app development process. To initiate, you can hire an in-house team of developers or outsource your app development project to an agency that has been doing it for years and has a solid portfolio.

Hiring an in-house development team will give you maximum control over your project. Still, recruitment costs, time, and efforts associated with the process can hurt you in the long run.

As for hiring an app development company, clients are usually assigned dedicated project managers and developers. The key benefits of outsourcing such projects include effective communication, fast deliverables, quality apps, and quick improvement processes.

3.UI and UX Designs

A critical element that makes any app successful is mobile app development process visual appeal. Before developing an app, designers shape the initial diagrams that represent the future user interfaces of the applications. These rough sketches and screen diagrams are called wireframes and describe how the app pages will look on different screens.

After the wireframing process, designers create prototypes for mobile applications. These dynamic, high-fidelity motion graphics represent how a product would work. Apps need intuitive user interfaces and unified user experiences, both possible when wireframing and prototyping are done right.

There are software programs that help with wireframing and prototyping processes. Adobe XD, Balsamiq, JustInMind, Axure, and LucidChart are famous examples of premium – yet best wireframing tools. These wireframing programs cost between $5 – 19 and are best at what they are made for.

If you have intermediate knowledge of app development and user interfaces, you can wireframe your app on free wireframe tools like Lunacy, Figma, and Canva.

Wireframing and prototyping usually take one to two weeks, depending on the app idea’s originality and the features’ complexity.

4.Main App Development

We can break the technical side of mobile app development into three essential factors: front-end, back-end, and APIs.

Back-end development:

This is the server hosting part where a developer defines and codes the primary functionality of a mobile app. Now there are two options that developers usually have. They either code an application from scratch or replicate the code of an existing app, then modify it to meet the specific functional requirements.

This part of the app stores, manages, processes, and exchanges data with defined access points. For example, if you have an eCommerce app where your user feeds the login details, this is where those login credentials are saved. If your app supports offline mode, the mobile app will use local data storage for saving and managing data.

Developers use Java or Kotlin programming to code the back end in Android. For iOS, developers use Objective-C and Swift. For cross-platform or hybrid mobile app development, technologies like Flutter allow a single codebase for app development for both digital channels.

Front-end development:

As the name suggests, this is the front face of the mobile application that the user interacts with. On the front end, the user sees the predesigned UI and UX graphics, combines them with related technology, and ensures the smooth functioning of the app.

API development:

The application Programming Interface (API) is an intermediary that allows communication between the mobile app’s front and back ends. Further, it will enable a mobile app to exchange data with other third-party apps.

After these three technical aspects are done and deliver, developers forward the app project to the following milestones: testing, maintenance, and updates.

Complete technical app development (coding from scratch) can take about three to twelve months. However, the timeline can stretch up to eighteen months for enterprise-level apps, games, eCommerce stores, and marketplaces.

  1. Testing

Testing and quality checks are highly critical aspects of the post-app development stage.

Many app development agencies now involve their QA personnel in the mobile app development process from the planning and design stage. This is done to ensure the app is error-free right from the beginning, and any issues identifi during the design and development stages are usually improv in real time.

Another, more conventional way of app testing involves testers and quality assurance personnel after the complete technical development.

During this stage, testers make concrete measures to examine a mobile app for its:

  • Performance
  • Functionality and features
  • User interface and experience
  • Errors and bugs
  • Security and data leaks

With these performance benchmarks, app development companies have additional quality standards that ensure their resulting digital product is top-notch and error-free.

There is an added step of device and platform testing for cross-platform mobile applications. As the name suggests, the testers assess whether the hybrid app performs similarly on major operating systems. If not, they move ahead to add more features. If not, the developers improve the program and make the app more adaptive for other platforms.

One good way to independently test the app is to distribute it in your circle for feedback. While this step can’t replace professional testing, this is one good way to collect improvement opinions for a more robust user experience.

Most development companies provide app testing, support, and maintenance as part of their contracts.

App testing usually takes six to twelve weeks, depending on the complexity of the mobile app.

  1. Deployment

After technical mobile app development, testing, and quality assurance, it’s time to deploy the application on the app store.

Android apps are launch on the Google Play Store, while iOS apps go to the Apple Store. Hybrid mobile applications can be found in both of the stores.

Before the app can go live for download, you must submit it for review and publication. During this approval process, the app store usually tests the mobile app for viruses and bugs, information transparency, security, category accuracy, etc.

You need a developer account on the respective store to launch an application. Developer accounts on Google Play are 25 USD, while Apple store fees are 99 USD for individual developers and 299 USD for enterprise-level membership.

For your app idea to become successful, you’ll have to market your app in social and professional circles depending on the purpose of your app.

It is also necessary to keep your mobile app upgraded and highly adaptive to market trends and consumer needs. Keep introducing an update or two and balancing the budget, and consider integrating with advanced technologies like VR and blockchain.

Wrapping Up…

It is a continuous cycle that requires regular maintenance, support, testing, and updates.

Also, for your app to become profitable, you’ll have to respond to customer reviews on app stores, improve your customer experience, ensure performance and security features, and boost your marketing efforts. 

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