The mobile applications market is white hot. Over the last few years, mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have totally changed the way people get the information and interact with it. Gartner predicts over 310 billion downloaded apps by the year of 2016 with the total revenue of $74 billion.
You can find more than 900,000 apps in Apple app store and about 750,000 items in Google Play. For Blackberry and Windows 8.2, there are 120,000 and 80,000 respectively.
According to Flurry Analytics (powered by Yahoo!), the global app usage increased to 58% in 2015 compared to 76% for a previous year. The chart bellow illustrates this tendency by categories:
So, if you are thinking about creating an app, you won`t have more opportune moment than now: the demand is very high. This article will guide you through all steps that you need to pass on the way to your mobile application.
Step 1. Planning & Business Analysis
It is very hard to overrate this phase of a development process. Thorough planning helps to understand where are you now and how to get to desired point. The perfect situation is when you connect your app development team or at least share your research with them before the actual start.
For the first input, you need to study the market and check if there is any demand for your idea. This step will help you understand trends and probably to fine-tune the features. Even if you haven`t found anything that looks like your idea, don`t worry. Probably you have just invented a new unicorn. At The App Solutions, we also provide our clients with experts in specific industries in case if their business dwell in a rare or difficult field.
After you have decided on idea, you need to check your competitors carefully. Use the SWOT-analysis to underline their strengths and weaknesses and adjust your strategy.
At this stage, you also need to make user personas analysis and set up KPI`s.
By the way, don`t forget to sign a non-disclosure agreement with your developer's team. NDA helps to protect your idea from being stolen.
Step 2. Technical Feasibility Assessment
It is possible to conduct the first step without your development team, but for the step 2 and further you definitely need them to be on your assistance.
Detailed technical documentation can help you determine all project features and set up milestones. Being at this step you are to decide for what kind of operation systems and devices you want to build an app. Each platform has its different specifications and requirements as well as a types of gadgets (smartphone, tablet, wearables).
Step 3. Prototyping & Design
How to create your own app and not to screw it up? Prototype it! It seems to be obvious, though many clients are trying to skip this phase. The working model of your future app helps “to translate” the idea from your language to the one that your development team understands.
Both for iOS and Android operating systems, the professional UI/UX designer is required. Our experts base their work on material design (usability principles of every particular OS) and UI-guides.
We divide process into following steps:
- Creating a sketch
The very first and draft version of your app on paper that sets up the main logic, number of screens and the way they interact with each other.
- Creating wireframes
Provides the visualization of the draft app structure.
- Creating a clickable prototype
Helps to find out and analyze all possible use cases. Generally, after this stage, the customer together with your team discover a significant amount of logical breaks and technical inconsistencies in the idea. But this fact shouldn`t upset you. The more issues you find and solve before coding, the more time and money you save.
- Designing app skins
At this stage, we collect all wireframes and put them together to improve the design.
READ ALSO: Tools for Android and iOS Prototyping
Step 4. App Development
Congratulations! We have reached the most exciting and challenging phase. The first thing you are to decide is to stick to the native app or to develop a cross-platform one. At The App Solutions, we develop native applications, which means that at the end you have the custom app for every operating system. This type of development allows reaching faster performance, provides better security and helps ensure users with better experience.
Also in many cases, it makes sense to start with MVP or minimum viable product. This is the very first version of your application with all essential features. It allows to make a quit start with release and to test the viability of your idea. MVP helps to reduce time for development and to occupy the market niche before your competitors.
In general, here is how the MVP model looks like:
The approach that will make the development process even more flexible is to implement an Agile method due to the importance of rapid interaction, collaboration, and transparency between your team members.
The questions “How to create an Android app” or “How to create an app for iPhone” always entail the other one: “How long does it take to build an app?” To answer this question, there is a dedicated blog article.
Step 5. Quality Testing
It is common to test every part of the product manually and automatically while developing. The type of QA method depends on of the project, but here are the most common types:
- Requirements testing
Validates the requirements with technical capabilities.
- Compatibility testing
Running the app on different devices and screen sizes.
- Interface testing
Checks the navigation, menu, and buttons performance.
- Low-level resources testing
Tests such resources of the device as a battery, memory consumption, and temporary files storage.
- Performance testing
Checks the app performance with and without and internet connection and running on low battery.
- Security testing
Provides quality assurance of users data safety.
- User acceptance testing
Involves the user partaking to check the usability and the general impression about the app.
- Beta testing
The beta trial gives users access to the app with the application stores to get feedback from the larger audience.
After your application is ready, the QA team starts to test whether all code parts of the app work correctly together. It is important to check all security issues carefully to protect the privacy of your users. Our team also pays a lot of attention to the app performance and the stable operation of the system under the influence of various external factors. Quality technical documentation that you have created at step 2 will be very useful here.
Step 6. Publishing & Maintenance of your App
Finally, your app is released and it's time to show it to the world. You can do it by yourself, or you can ask your mobile app development team to help you. In both cases, the app store optimization is highly desirable. It helps users find your product in the endless ocean of options. The high quality of promotional materials will make your app also desirable.
To track users activity and endorse acquisition and retention you may also need some tools. The marketing team of The App Solutions helps clients choose tools and set up analytics if needed. A general list of the major marketing metrics is as follows:
- Average revenue per user
- Cost per install
- Cost per loyal user
- Love ratio
- Retention for a given period
For more information, please check our blog article “5 Key Mobile Marketing Metrics”
Even now it's too early to relax. After the release and publishing, there still remain bugs to be eliminated. Our team ensures all projects with three months of free bug fixing. Also, don`t forget that technologies evolve faster than the light speed. It would be perfect if the same team takes care of every next version of your application.
It is quite normal to face the difficulties during such hard and labor-intensive work as developing an application for mobile. Many factors are affecting on how you create an app. The key ingredient to your success is the professional developers team, who will share the passion of your idea, help extrapolate latest trends on your projects and will make every effort to create the app that will only compliment your business goals.