How The APP Solutions works: cooperation models & development phases

So you want to hire a development team to build your mobile or web app? The main thing to consider is that the development team’s approach has a significant impact on the final result. Thus, before hiring an IT team for app development, you should learn more about the methodology they use for project development. At The App Solutions, we use the Agile methodology for developing software, since it has proved to be effective in delivering projects of different types. 

To learn more about the essential steps of project development at The App Solutions, read the article to the end. 

After you get in touch with us via the contact form of the app cost calculator, we start the  initiation phase. 

  • Firstly, our business development manager contacts you via phone or email to clarify more details about your project to create the project brief, receive a ready-made design, and a detailed description of your business idea. At this stage, we sign an NDA with you so you can be assured your business idea is protected. 

We understand that working with someone located in another country may present issues of trust. That is why, in some cases, we suggest an alternative project iniciation process to our clients to have a workshop in our office in Kyiv, Ukraine, and find out more about each other.  Such a workshop is a great option for shaping your business idea or to receive technical insights on how to implement your project in the best way. At the end of the workshop, you will receive meeting notes with a project vision, a list of tech solutions, tips on marketing strategy, and other information depending on your business needs.   

  • Secondly, based on the project details you clarified in brief, our business analyst, project manager, and technical lead make an overall, rough estimation for your project.

If you agree with this estimation, we clarify other project details and prepare a function decomposition with all the features and modules to integrate, estimate all the scope, and send you a preliminary estimate. 

  • Thirdly, after you agree on the preliminary estimate cost, we send you a  commercial offer, which includes an additional NDA and estimation cost of the inception phase cost. 

Why do we estimate the Inception phase separately from the project estimate total? The main reasons are:

  • The inception phase is an additional service we provide for our clients. It includes the development of technical documentation and other documents related to your project  
  • The inception phase requires significant effort from us and might take from two weeks to two months 

What are we going to do during the inception phase?  

Inception phase 

During the inception phase, our team, including a project manager, business analyst, and solution architect, schedule a kick-off meeting to introduce you to our team. During this stage, our business analyst and Solution Architect will: 

  • Identify your business processes and project value
  • Validate all the SDKs, APIs, and third-party integrations 
  • Create technical documentation for your project
  • Visualize server architecture 
  • Describe the working logic of how the project server, back-end, and front-end 

To write project technical documentation in the best way, we break project features into smaller parts, i.e., user stories or use cases, depending on your project requirements. If you need a team to create a design for your project, our business analyst will build project mock-ups with use cases while the designer will create an interactive mobile app prototype. 

[An example of an interactive mobile app prototype made by us. Try this mobile app prototype on the link]

Since we have more detailed information about your project, including features, use cases, technological solutions, and the project roadmap, we make the final estimate and send it to you. 

When inception phase deliverables and the final project estimate are agreed with you, we send you an additional agreement to sign, which includes:

  • Project iterations (we implement one user story per each iteration) 
  • Team composition required to deliver your project
  • Number of man-hours necessary to fulfill your project

The scope of the project may vary depending on your project requirements, i.e., whether we are going to create a project MVP or implement additional features to a ready-made project.

If you want to know more about the inception (discovery) phase read our article.

Now it is time to start the development stage.     

Development-Testing-Bug fixing-Production 

Instead of developing a massive part of the project and conducting comprehensive testing, we develop a small part of your project functionality during one iteration (from 1 to 2 weeks). Then, our team performs testing, bug-fixing, and shows you the result during a demo call. Our next step is uploading a small part of the project to the production environment. 

During the development stage, our team creates: 

  • Definition of ready, stated by your project manager and a business analyst in the task for a developer 
  • Definition of done, created by the quality assurance engineer, to ensure that the user story works properly and bug-free
  • Acceptance criteria, i.e., how one or another function should work to be accepted by you

Iteration by iteration, we ensure that all the code is bug-free and operates appropriately. 

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Product release

When all user stories are ready, we conduct the final project demo during a Skype call to show you the results of our work. 

If you are satisfied with the results, i.e., accepted the project, we provide you with all the accesses, databases, and other project-related data. 

Project monitoring 

After the final project demo, we provide support during the first two weeks to fix the project if anything is not working correctly. We also offer our clients additional service packages for project support. Such a package includes the team members required, the duration of the support, and the response time. 

Here is a review from one of our clients, Allen Day, Science Advocate at Google.

How The App Solutions ensures the project visibility

To achieve the most predictable results of delivering web and mobile apps, The App Solutions takes the following actions:   

Instant communication. From initiation to the final project demo, we connect with you to show you the result of each iteration and receive feedback on whether the project meets your expectations. 

Transparent process. All our team members use Jira, a project management software for tracking time spent for each iteration or task to complete. 

Clear project scope. We pay extra attention to the project scope, functional decomposition, and development of user stories to deliver your software within time and budget. 

The APP Solutions models of co-operations

All our clients have their own needs. Therefore, to cooperate with us in the most effective way, we offer the following models:

The app Solutiuons models of cooperation

Time and material for projects that take from 1 week to implement.  As for project management, APP Solutions is responsible for project delivery and quality. Thus, you can focus on your product and making it desirable for the market. We do the rest.

A dedicated team for a project which takes from 2 months. For this model, you can use your own project manager. If the PM is from the APP Solutions’ side, we are responsible for project delivery. Together with the client, we mutually agree on the workload and project requirements for a specified amount of time. 

Extended team/Outstaff suits you if your project takes from 6 months to develop.  Outstaffing is a perfect option when you have a team of developers and would like to add more members.

The app solutions cooperation models

The Detailed Guide on Developing Apps Like TikTok

We have Spotify for music, Snapchat for photo editing, and Twitch for live streams. But, there is always a place for innovations. An example is TikTok, which has become an excellent entertainment source, keeping millions of users glued to it.

How to transform a business idea into profitable apps like TikTok? In this article, we’ll guide you through a step-by-step guide on how to develop and grow the best TikTok alternatives.

What is the TikTok App?

what is a ticktok mobile app

TikTok is a video sharing application for broadcasting live video streams, recording short video clips, adding filters or favorite music, and sharing the results on social networks.

The idea to combine music, video sharing, and social networking in one mobile application came to Alex Zhu, a TikTok creator. He saw that teenagers used different apps to listen to music, take selfies and record short videos, and share them with friends. 

He thought that the new generation needs a music app to create short videos, which was an innovative app’ format.

Now, let us take a closer look at how Tik Tok works and why this video-sharing app has become so popular.

tiktok-statistics-revenue

READ ALSO:

HOW TO CREATE A MUSIC APP LIKE SPOTIFY

HOW TO BUILD A DATING APP LIKE TINDER

HOW TO MAKE A LIVE STREAM WEBSITE LIKE TWITCH

HOW TO DEVELOP AN APP LIKE NETFLIX

The most notable features for apps like TikTok

TikTok provides its users with social media functionality, including following, sending likes, and re-sharing content. But the app also provides users with advanced features apps like TikTok must include for delivering a similar user experience. 

Thus, the best TikTok alternatives must include the following feature list:

Video uploading. As a user, you can upload ready-made video content (up to 15 seconds) to your TikTok account, rotate or crop it, change the playback speed, and share your videos with friends.

tiktok video uploading tool

Video editing tools. Just like Snapchat, TikTok allows users to edit their videos applying an impressive toolset of video effects for changing the color of the eyes, and even lip-syncing videos. There are also many stickers, animations, slow-motion effects, and masks.

tiktok video editing tools

Live streaming. Using this premium TikTok feature, video creators can make live streams and receive virtual goods from their fans purchased with TikTok Coins.

tiktok live brodcasts

Reactions. TikTokers use the app to create videos with their response to music videos made by others and publish them in the feed.

Social sharing. TikTokers share all their videos edited in TikTok on their Instagram, YouTube, and FaceBook profiles.

tiktok social sharing

Sounds. Allows TikTokers to create short videos by adding favorite songs as background music from the built-in TikTok library and apply a lip-syncing feature.

QR code scanner. Users can subscribe to other music video app users by scanning a unique QR code.

qr tiktok scanner

Duet Option. TikTok users, or TikTokers, can create music videos with lip-sync, add a #duetwithme hashtag, and ask other users to duet with them.

duet tiktok fucntionality

Geolocation. Using geolocation, the app displays active bloggers nearby, who create short videos and broadcast streams.

Now let us see how to create a music video app and make it profitable.

WHAT TECH STACK TO CHOOSE FOR YOUR PROJECT

Five steps to developing an app like TikTok

Below we share steps on turning your business idea into a video editing app like TikTok.

Step 1. Research the target market

To bring an idea for a  social media app with music videos, you need to conduct research and find out more about your target market. As a result, you will receive a clear picture of the market dynamics, how customers interact with brands, leading players, and trends to be aware of. Then, you need to validate your initial assumptions and adjust your project for the business objectives.

But the critical element of which require a thorough understanding is your target audience. The first step to your goal is to receive more insights into your target audience. For that, you should research:

  • Demographic profile. You need to learn your users’ average age, their location, types of their devices, and the financial situation. It would be great to find out how often they have access to a reliable internet connection. 
  • Behavioral trends. While every app is unique, you can still spot a couple of trends you can apply to your future app. Such trends include decreasing users’ desire to download something, rapidly decreasing patience for slow loading times, low tolerance for lack of security, high value on the app utility, and so on.

To create a better product that will respond to your users’ wants and needs, we recommend creating a buyer persona, a concrete portrait of your ideal users.

What solutions can we offer?

Step 2. Choose the monetization model 

When you know who is your potential users, it is time to select your future business model for one of the best TikTok alternatives. Below we share several monetization strategies you can adopt for your video editing music app like TikTok.

Fundraising. At the initial stage of your project, you can attract investment with fundraising since fundraising is the process of collecting money as donations from individuals and businesses. Even for TikTok, fundraising is one of the earning premium modes. Recently, high-class investors funded the app with $3 billion.

In-app purchases. TikTok allows its users to support live broadcasters with in-app purchases of coins, bought for real money. Followers exchange coins for gifts and bestow them to others during their live streams. Coins are available in bundles from 100 to 10,000, ranging in price from 99 cents to $99.99. According to Sensor Tower data, the 100 coin bundle is the most popular among users, followed by the 500 coin bundle priced at $4.99. You can use the same monetization strategy for your future app.

Advertising is another option for the app monetization that includes several types of in-app advertising, such as:

  • Cost Per Click. Advertisers pay each time users to interact with the ads in their app. 
  • Cost Per Mille. The app owner charges advertisers for every 1,000 impressions of their ad inside the mobile app. 
  • Cost Per Action. Advertisers pay only for clicks that lead to a specified action, such as an app install, a form submission, website registration, or newsletter signup.

Now, when you know your future business model, let us dive into the app development process.

HOW TO MAKE AN APP: LIFE CYCLE OF MOBILE DEVELOPMENT

Step 3. Hire an app development team

With the target audience research and business model in hand, you need to contact the development team and start the project discovery phase.

The first phase of a software project is the Discovery Phase that involves business analysis and requirements elicitation, technology stack choice, cost estimation, and project planning.

During the Discovery(Inception) Phase, we usually conduct the following activities, which might vary more or less depending on requirements:

  • Define the project scope, main features of the future software, and business priorities
  • Create an app development workflow, taking into account the monetization strategy
  • Identify main app features and user roles
  • Design a future app concept

Next, the team will prioritize the app’s features, create project milestones, and develop the project’s MVP.

Step 4. Create an MVP for a TikTok alternative

The social video application development is a complex project. Thus, instead of building a fully-functional and costly app, we recommend launching a TikTok alternative as an MVP or a minimum viable product. In this way, you can determine how users like your alternative to TikTok and consider their feedback for further project improvement.

Below we have put together a feature list required for developing the MVP of the best TikTok alternatives and estimation in hours.

MVP feature

Description

Estimation in hours

Basic UI

 

The design includes only main screen elements.

From 60+ hours

 

User login

  • Social network accounts
  • Email and password

From 60 + hours

 

User profile

The app user can modify 

  • Profile picture 
  • Password
  • Contact details 
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Phone number

From 60+ hours

 

Geolocation features

Users can share the location where users took video content or photos.

From 120+ hours

Image and video creation

 

Users can post 

  • Images 
  • Videos

Users can apply editing tools

  • Effects (lip-syncing, stickers, and text)
  • Filters
  • Smileys 
  • Emoticons

Up to 320 hours: 

  • applying filters 120+ hours
  • creating custom filters 120+ hours
  • cropping and rotating photos 80+ hours

Search

 

Embedding custom search via 

  • Username 
  • Hashtag 

From 60+ hours

Social sharing

 

Users can share their videos and photos on

  • Instagram
  • Facebook 
  • Twitter

From 120+ hours

 

Total

 

From 800 + hours

Want to develop your TikTok App?

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The final price for a video creation application depends on many factors, including developers’ regions and hourly rates:

  • Developers from the US, England, and Australia charge from $100 per hour.
  • In Eastern Europe, the average developer rate starts from $50 per hour.
  • Indian developer’s average rate is $20 per hour.

HOW TO OUTSOURCE MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT

Step 5. Grow your app

Below we have gathered the most effective ways to make TikTok alternatives as popular as the original app.

App Store Optimization (ASO). With over 561 million daily application downloads, application marketplaces remain the #1 driver of application discovery. You can use app marketplaces, such as Google Play and App Store, to bring new customers to your app. But to improve application marketplace search ranking, you need to optimize your application.  

The following application marketplace optimization tips are effective for driving a significant amount of high-quality traffic to TikTok alternatives:

  • Adding relevant keywords in the title tag
  • Posting a mix of eye-catching screenshots
  • Creating a recognizable icon
  • Writing an engaging description

Organic Mobile User Acquisition. To increase user acquisition in TikTok alternatives, you can retarget traffic from organic channels as website and social media profiles to the application marketplace’s page.

For this purpose, you can use:

  • Smart banners. Such banners will lead mobile website visitors to your mobile application or the page in the marketplace.
  • Content marketing. For this strategy, you need to create high-quality content, including infographics, blog posts, or videos, around topics popular among your target audience.

Paid Advertising. By running paid ads in social media, PPC campaigns via Google Adwords, and cross-promotions with partner apps, you can boost installs of your alternative to TikTok by 150%.*. You can create different ads and call to action to nurture potential customers from the awareness stage to the application downloading.

The App Solution experience with social media platforms

One of our clients built a mobile social app with public chat that will connect professionals from different industries. That is how the QuePro mobile application appeared. To meet the goals of the client’s business, we have implemented the following features:

  • Creating two types of profiles – for service providers and clients 
  • Posting queries or questions and receiving answers from specialists 
  • Detecting the user location via Google Maps SDK to show relevant professionals nearby
  • Sending notifications using Google Cloud Messaging 

To develop the project under strict deadlines, we implemented EventBus, an open-source event library that simplifies communication between components and improves UI artifacts’ performance. As a result, we build the project with essential features in just three months. 

The APP Solutions – Success Story

CASE STUDY: VIDEO STREAMING APP PROOF OF CONCEPT

At The APP Solutions, we often receive requests from potential clients for video streaming app development. Clients, who consider The APP Solutions as a tech partner, are looking for evidence that we have expertise in video streaming and social media app development. 

We decided to build a proof of concept of a video streaming application to ensure the ownership of the tech expertise. We also gave a detailed description of the overall architecture, feature list, and technologies we applied. 

video streaming app proof of concept
video streaming app high level architecture vision

The development of the video streaming app proof of concept gave us the following expertise:

  • We integrated video streaming functionality to the POC using Agora.IO SaaS.
  • We implemented the authentication and authorization by Firebase Authentication.
  • We worked with Firebase Realtime Database, which supports direct connectivity with end-users applications (like mobile, web, etc.) server-side applications.
  • We optimized the development process by applying ready-to-use Firebase functionality.

As a result, we showcased our expertise in video streaming app development. 

FUNCTIONAL VS NON-FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS: MAIN DIFFERENCES & EXAMPLES

Developing alternatives to TikTok: The final thought

Since social video apps are top-rated among teenagers, you can use some of TikTok’s mechanics for your video creation mobile software and make it profitable. For that, you can adopt business models, as described above.

But, to build a social media app, you need to go through the discovery phase. This phase requires defining the project goals, functional and non-functional requirements, and a project roadmap. As we have said, to create complex projects, such as TikTok alternatives, we recommend developing an MVP with a set of basic features and simple design. The MVP will help you to attract new customers to your app via app marketplaces, organic acquisition, and paid advertising. 

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