How to Turn a Visionary Idea into a Viable App: A 6 Key Steps for Mobile App Development
If you’re running a business in 2022, there are countless ways a custom-built mobile app can positively impact your bottom line. Some apps help customers interact with your products and services directly from their phones while others enable your internal teams to streamline workflows and collaborate more efficiently.
Though the benefits might be fairly self-evident, the process that companies like Concepta take to develop these apps can be a bit more complex. With this article, we’d like to simplify things a bit by highlighting a few of the key steps for successful mobile app development.
The first step to a successful app is simple in theory: you need to determine why you are building the app in the first place. Who are your intended users? What is the intended purpose and functionality of the app? Do you have a revenue target? A development budget? A marketing plan? By considering these factors early in the process, you will save yourself a lot of stress further down the line.
During this stage, you’ll also want to brainstorm ideas for features, perform market research into your intended user base and/or existing competition, define your minimum viable product, and select your application type. Are you looking for an app native to a specific platform like Apple or Google, a cross-platform app, a hybrid app, or a progressive web application? Each development alternative has its own set of strengths and weaknesses – it’s important that you select the right option for your needs.
With the strategy in place, it’s now time to create an actionable roadmap for success and take steps towards bringing the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to fruition and testing your app’s core functionalities with early customers. Before doing that, you need to figure out the best tech stack for your needs.
Your tech stack will vary based on the application type (native, hybrid, or cross-platform) as well as the desired features and functionalities of your app. This, as well as your chosen development style, will inform the specific steps of your plan. At Concepta, we rely on an agile, tech-agnostic development methodology to speed up the end-to-end process, but there are other paths forward too.
Design is one of the most important aspects of mobile app development. The right UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) will keep users engaged with your app, but cumbersome or clunky navigation and unappealing aesthetics can have the opposite effect.
There are several components to this. Wireframes and prototypes help you evaluate the potential UI/UX of your app, while also bringing potential design flaws to your attention. Style guides provide you with hard rules for various aspects of your design (background colors, menu fonts, etc.) – this ensures that nothing gets misinterpreted during development. A mock-up takes the low-fidelity design of your wireframes and prototypes and brings everything to life. You can now readily share the design between different teams and make adjustments as needed.
Mobile app development consists of two components – front-end development and back-end development. Front-end developers focus on the user-facing components of the application while back-end developers are concerned with things going on behind the scenes, like security, sign-on capabilities, and data storage. There are also full-stack developers that handle both front-end and back-end development.
To know more about front-end development and back-end development, check our blog - "What Is the Difference Between Front-End and Back-End Development?"
Another important mobile app development consideration is the Application Programming Interface. The API is how users connect with the app via remote cloud servers. You can purchase and integrate a ready API from major providers like Amazon and Google or you can opt to build your own via a professional mobile development team. The former is easier, but the latter gives you much more freedom to add or modify different features.
You’ve followed the plan and now have a working app – this is an important milestone, but before you start celebrating the achievement and planning your launch, you need to run a complete testing cycle for quality assurance. This can either be done manually or automated depending on the app’s features and functionalities.
Broadly speaking, tests can either be functional or performance-based. Functional testing evaluates whether the specific features work as intended – can the app be properly installed and operated under normal conditions? Performance testing focuses on speed, stability, and battery drain, particularly under adverse conditions – can the app withstand high data volume or concurrent usage? Both testing types are important.
After passing the deployment tests, it’s time to launch the app. During this stage, you want to pay close attention to the app’s performance – things like loading time and responsiveness can impact your usage patterns and retention rates.
Want to increase your market share and keep your users happy? You’ll need to continually monitor the app to provide regular updates and bug fixes. You’ll also want to leverage analytical data and user feedback to routinely add new features and further optimize the app. If you don’t have the in-house resources to handle this, 3rd party mobile app development experts can help.