Mobile apps have helped many businesses grow single-handedly. In the third quarter of 2020, Statista claimed that there were 6% more applications on Google Play than there were in the previous quarter.
Having a mobile app does not remain a business strategy to lure more customers rather it has become a vital need of most businesses that interact with their customers directly or indirectly.
A mobile app keeps updating your customer about your business. You can directly communicate with them without having a third-party medium to set up any channel of communication between you and your customers.
Getting a competent mobile app development company or individual developer might be a challenging task for many as it requires smart planning to utilize your budget in the best way possible.
So, how are you going to do that?
This comprehensive guide will help you do so.
How to Develop a Mobile App, Steps to Follow
The first question that comes to anyone’s mind who is seeking to develop a mobile app is, where to get started from? So, here it is. You can follow a set of steps to get ahead in the direction of hiring an app developer.
- What’s the Plan
Even if you do not know much about the technicalities of mobile app development services, you should be clear when it comes to letting your developers understand the mobile app of your imagination.
Before you go to identifying the technical needs and planning your budget for your app, you should ask yourself a few questions;
- Why do I need an app?
- What changes an app can bring to my business?
- How do I want my app to look alike?
- What features should I include in my app?
- How do I make my app more advanced than my competitors in the market?
- How much is my budget?
Answers to all these questions will help your developers to visualize your imagination rightly. It increases the chances to get the app of your need faster. Also, it strengthens your interaction with developers which is important when you are planning to create a transformative app for your business.
- Type of Application You Need
When we say type of application, what ‘type’ we are referring to?
You would probably know whether you need an eCommerce app, healthcare app, wearable app, e-learning app, video streaming app or an app to manage your business operations on your mobile phone.
So, of course, we do not mean ‘type of industry’ rather we define the types as per the development approach you wish to choose for developing your app.
There are three development approaches to develop mobile apps, native, hybrid, or cross-platform app development.
- Native apps are the applications that are developed specifically for an operating system like Android, iOS or Windows. These apps are coded in native programming languages dedicated for that operating system such as Android apps are codes in Java or Kotlin and iOS apps are coded in Swift or Objective C.
- Cross platform apps are generally confused with the Hybrid apps because of both supporting code shareability. However, cross platform apps are developed for being used across different apps. Such apps are developed using frameworks like Google Flutter, Facebook’s React Native and Microsoft’s Xamarin.
- Plan Your Budget
There are several important factors that drive the cost of a mobile app. Thus, every business administrator should consider these factors before they look for hiring app developers.
Based on the type of app development approach, you can choose a platform. Native app development platforms are comparatively costlier than other two types.
- Development Costs
Native apps are more efficient and developed specifically for different operating systems. So, it takes more efforts to develop these apps.
Prioritize adding basic or mandatory features like user registration, database administration, portal to sell your product or service, payment system integration, search bar, filter, etc. Asking to include add-on features to your app may increase the cost of your mobile app.
- Distribution Costs
If your app has to be deployed at end-users’ end, distribution is another crucial challenge in the process. However, your website can be a good source of distribution but it may be time-consuming at times. If you are taking help from third-party channels such as app stores, social media platforms, email marketing, etc.
Being a responsible business leader, you would want to monitor your growth through mobile apps. What if there are some bugs or errors in between. You should test and maintain your app’s security sustain. It may increase the costs but provides you results in the long-run and secure your apps from any unwanted discrepancy.
- Hiring a Developer
Once you are done with estimating your budget and defining your requirements, you can start exploring an ideal app development company for your application. You can take help of market research and analytical websites like GoodFirms and Clutch to review the profiles of companies. If you wish to hire freelance app developers, you can review people’s profiles on LinkedIn or Upwork.
Make sure you review these things about an app development company before you hire them;
- Technologies they use to develop apps
- Clients’ reviews
- Budget flexibility
- Wireframing an app
After an app development company gets a requirement for developing an app, the first thing they do after discussing the budget is to wireframe the application. Wireframing stands for creating a blueprint of your application consisting of basic layouts at low fidelity.
Wireframe helps both client and development company to discuss the size and scope of their app in essence using structure.
- Create an app prototype
After the wireframe of an app is finalized, a prototype of the application is presented to the clients where they can review the visualization of their app. Prototype is a high-fidelity model of the UI model to be used on your app in real-time or as a final product.
This is an opportunity for the client to understand the real-time view of their app and ask developers for adding, eliminating or modifying any specific parts.
- App Design
A competent app designer does not only understand the clients’ requirements but also speculates the end-user’s reaction on different components of your app’s design. Designing the user interface (UI) of a mobile app is a crucial task. On the other hand, user experience (UX) helps to complement the efforts put in designing the view of different pages of an application.
There are several things to consider while designing an app such as;
- Reduced Cognitive Load to enable a simplistic functionality
- Decluttering to eliminate any unnecessary load on an app
- Show visual and functional consistency in app design
There are people that would confuse between app designing and development. Development is the next step to app designing where we shall work on defining the technical architecture, events, APIs, database, server, and other process segments that provide your users a medium to interact with your application.
To establish an uninterrupted and smooth connection between the design, server and database. It provides the technological existence that makes it real, working and interacting mobile application. Make sure you choose the right platforms to develop your apps.
If you are not aware of the technicalities, the least you can do is to realize your requirements in terms of features and budget respective to what available platforms have to offer you.
- Testing & Maintenance
To sustain your app’s usability and security in the long run, there are three things to do; Testing, Testing and Testing. Even the development company developing your app would test your app once or more to make sure everything works well and also look for any vulnerabilities.
However, no one can guarantee that cannot be any bugs or errors in your app in future. The reason for that is technology upgrades with time. The OS compatible with your app will upgrade tomorrow and you never know what new it may have for mobile apps. So, make sure you keep space for testing in your budget.
- Launch & Deploy
Done with all the above mentioned steps? Now is the turn to release your app to the end-users. If you have developed for your internal usage, you may probably want to share it through an internal medium restricted to your team members, but if that is not the case, you can try a lot more than that.
There are app stores dedicated for different app platforms such as Google Play for Androids, App Store for iOS apps and Microsoft Store for Window apps.
Developing a mobile app would take multilateral efforts so it is considered the best for any customers to identify their needs and what is already available in the market. Such an approach is the key to develop a hit mobile app so you do not complain later.
I wish you have gained adequate information from this mobile app development guide before kickstarting your mobile app development project. However, I would also suggest to keep yourself updated with new technologies in the market so you can ask for better than the best.
Brian Comel is a Sr. App Developer who has been part of several key projects of a leading mobile app development company. He has a keen interest in writing about the technology & his experiences in the industry through blogs and journals.