App development process: A step-by-step guide

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App Development Process

Gone are the days when mobile phones were used to make a call or for the morning wake-up alarms. Today, the usage of mobile has changed completely with the launch and growing popularity of mobile applications. These apps in our phones have surrounded us and there is no way we can look away from the convenience that they offer us. 

As the number of app downloads, mobile users, and mobile devices worldwide is projected to substantially increase in 2022, it’s clear how integral mobile devices are to our lives. According to FinancesOnline, experts have predicted a 25% increase in global mobile app downloads between 2018 and 2022. 

In our daily lives, we rely on and admire so many apps, but the process of making those apps is not that simple. It takes loads of hard work and effort from developers, designers, testers, etc to create a single mobile application. Have you ever wondered about what a mobile app development process looks like? If not, this blog will surely be a think tank for it. So without much further ado, let’s get started. 

5 Phases of App Development Process

If you already have a mobile app idea in mind, take this blog as a guide for the next steps in your journey. An effective app development process consists of five phases which are discussed below.

1. Strategy

Strategy

The very first stage while developing a mobile app is to build its strategy that is a complete guide map of the whole process of development. And sometimes even beyond that.

The strategy depends and varies from one business to another. This stage is basically the research work you do before starting an app development process. This research is based on the basis of the following parameters:

  • Who are the end-users of the app?
  • Who are the competitors of the app in the market?
  • On which platform will the app be launched?

The development of mobile applications is a time-consuming process. The average duration of building an app is between three to nine months, depending on the complexity of the app and the structure of your project.

The strategy involves the following

In order to avoid complexities during the process, it is important to have a clear picture in mind for the app. Once you have penned down the strategy, you are good to go ahead to the next step.

a) Requirement determination

A lot of planning goes by while making an app. The detailing of the process starts from the analysis and planning. A mobile app development agency needs to do the planning and analysis keeping in mind each and every detail of it. This is the stage before you list down all the requirements for the app. 

It involves studying the requirements of the client and gathering the details. It may include the experience from the previous app and what new can be added to make it a success. The analysis is important in the app development process because it further acts as a database while making the app.

b) Analysis and planning

After listing down the requirements of the app one needs to prepare the roadmap for the app. A part of the planning process includes identifying the skill set for making the app. If the app is being made which will be both for IOS and Android platforms then the app development team should have both the Android and IOS developers.

Looking forward to developing mobile apps for Android and iOS operating systems? Applify is your one-stop-shop for mobile app development services.

One very important aspect of the planning phase includes deciding a name for the app. You need to make sure that the name which will be the domain name for your app should be unique and distinct from others. The mobile app development agency needs to analyze and find out that the name they select for your app shouldn’t be pre-existing.

2. UI/ UX design

UI/ UX Design

The next step in the mobile app creation process is the design of the app. Mobile app design encompasses both the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). The purpose of any design should be to deliver the end-users an effortless and seamless experience.

The design of any product is made keeping in mind the user’s behavior. In fact, it is very rare that a product is not designed based on the reflection of our behavior with the service. 

Design aspects to consider for building a mobile app

It is very important to make the user experience intuitive, interactive, and user-friendly for the success of an app. A good UI design will help in making the user experience good and will keep the users engaged. 

a) Wireframe

Usually, the designer starts with rough sketching of the app. To present it digitally is wireframing or we can say wireframes are the digital presentation of the sketch. Wireframes are basically made to give the visual structure to the app design.

Creating a wireframe for the design is the go-to process for designing the app layout and using the wireframe while developing the app. A wireframe should be device-specific so whether it is used for Android or IOS it should give a device-specific experience to the users.

b) Style guide

Every company has its own style guide and app design standards that it follows. These are basically the rules and regulations which are documented. It is the digital rule book that specifies every aspect of the feel and looks of the app. Style guide includes:

  • Font
  • Colour Scheme
  • Logo

Any mobile app agency be it an android application development company or IOS application development company makes the mobile app keeping the style guide in mind and using this style guide in the app development process. An important aspect of using a style guide is that it gives consistency to your design.

c) Mockups

Mockups are the final renderings of your app design. They are usually prepared by applying the style guide to the wireframes. Usually, the designer creates the mockups when the design of the app starts getting finalized. 

In simple words, we can say they are basically the black and white design for the final product in color. It gives the client the idea of how will the app look like when it will be designed.

Example: Adobe Photoshop is the most popular tool for creating high-quality mockups.

You can also opt for prototype development before investing in the full-fledged development process. To learn more, check out this detailed article on building a clickable prototype.

3. App Development

App Development

After all, the planning, analysis, and designing are finalized the role of developers comes into play. A lot of coding goes into making an app which is all included in the backend process of the app.

A typical mobile app development process consists of three aspects

a) Backend/ Server technology

When we talk about backend/ server technology, in day-to-day software projects, backend technology is paramount in development. If a developer chooses the backend technology right, it can guarantee scalability, functionality speed and instantly respond to customers’ needs.

Some of the backend technologies used in famous mobile apps are:
  • Java Script – Netflix, Candy Crush, and Facebook
  • Python –  Instagram, Google, and Spotify
  • Ruby, PHP, and Java are some of the other examples of backend technologies 
b) API

API  shortened for (Application Programming Interface) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. Every time you use an application like Facebook, send an instant message or check the weather on the phone you are using API. 

In short, when you interact with the website to access its database, The API is the interface that helps to provide you the information back.

c) Mobile app front end

The front end of the mobile app is basically what the users experience. To explain it in simple words it is basically everything that the user sees on the screen in the mobile application including the design of the application.

The mobile application development process includes cooperation between the front end and the back end developers in order to finish a complete application.

4. Testing

Testing

Before making an app live it is important to test the app based on certain parameters. Testing is an important part of the mobile app development process. Once the app is built the QA team test the app recording the test result and then the errors are resolved by the developers to make the app a success. To test the apps various test cases are prepared and then tested by QA testers. It is possible that even if the two testers put the same value the result may differ.

a) UX testing

This is related to the user experience as the end-user of the application is its users. The design should be consistent in regards to fonts, color scheme, logo designing, etc. It is important that the application must look aesthetically pleasing to the user and must also be user-friendly

b) Functional testing

No matter how aesthetically pleasing your application look but if any bug or error is found while using the application then obviously there is no dearth of applications on the play store. The user may shift to some other application. Therefore it is important that the application is high functioning.

A dummy application is tested on different users as the users of the application may vary demographically and psychologically. Therefore pre-testing is done before making an application fully functional

c) Performance testing

The performance of an application is evaluated based on some quantitative criteria. To mention some these include

  • The loading time of the application screen
  • Network bandwidth
  • Size of the application
  • The response rate to the users

It becomes important to evaluate the performance of the application in terms of whether it can handle the load and perform well.

d) Security testing 

In the app development process, a  lot of coding goes by while making a mobile application. The codes need to be further very tightly secured and thus are of utmost importance. The QA and development team need to take some measures to keep the app secured.

All the data entries and login credentials need to be tracked on the device and the backend, tracked on user sessions, etc.

5. Deployment and support 

The final and important step in the mobile app development process includes the deployment of the app i.e. when an application is prepared it needs to be submitted to the play store. IOS apps are submitted on the Apple App Store and Android Apps on the Google Play store. People can install the applications on their phones from these platforms.

A developer must have an account for submitting the apps on the Play Store. They are submitted on the play store based on certain parameters which are:

  • App Title
  • Description
  • Category
  • App Store Screenshot
  • Keywords

This process takes a few hours to update on the store and become available on the app store after it. The process of mobile app development does not stop here.

After-sale or you may call these the maintenance services are equally important. Some companies do provide a 1-month free consultation if there are any errors or bugs in the app. For more understanding take a look at  Applify’s app maintenance services here.

Conclusion

The mobile app development process is an ongoing one. Well-planned chalked-out steps for mobile application development can lead to the success of your business. The mobile application development stages are quite overwhelming and tedious too but it is also a rewarding process if you do it in the right manner.

A leading app development company can deliver businesses of any vertical or sector with quality apps. Are you looking forward to making a mobile app for your business but still in dilemma? Connect with us and get you a free quote today.