Currently, the number of apps available is enormous. The Apple App Store has 1.96 million apps available for download, and there are 2.87 million apps available for download on the Google Play Store. Moreover, if you compare that to the time spent using your phone, 88% of mobile time is spent on apps. As so many applications go public every day, one can think that launching an app can’t be that hard, and the things needed to succeed are just a brilliant idea and a software developer. Nevertheless, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that, especially if you want your app not only to be created but to be successful. That is why it is crucial to verify the idea initially and plan individual actions properly.
An idea – the first stage of mobile app development
It all starts with… a problem. We often hear that the most important thing is the idea. However, the concept for the application would probably never have appeared in your head if it wasn’t for the problem you encountered. The situation inspired you to come up with a solution that you now want to share with others. What problem can you solve with launching a new mobile app? We can’t figure that out for you, but we can help with all the other aspects of product analysis and app development.
Once you have an idea, fill out our brief and send it to us. This will not only be the first step allowing us to establish cooperation, but we believe that it will also allow you to reflect one the most important information related to the planned application. As we all know, an appropriate plan and organization are essential in the context of achieving success. Before you proceed to the project realization, it is worth thinking about:
- business objectives
- industry competitors
- target group
- monetization method
- platform selection
- available budget
- implementation date.
You don’t need to know the detailed answers to all of the above right away. If identifying any of them gives you trouble, no need to worry. Our experienced team will be happy to advise you during the workshop sessions. It’s time to catch some tips!
It is a good idea to clearly define your own business goals, i.e., what you want to achieve. You can use the SMART method here. Think about what specific problem you want to solve (or maybe several issues?) and how you want to do it. More questions to solve generates more features to code for developers. This, in turn, translates into more application design complexity and higher costs.
When creating an app, you have to reckon that your idea may not be the only one present on the market. It is very likely that somewhere in the world, someone has already come up with something similar. Does it mean that you should abandon your plans? Absolutely not. On the contrary – it means that not only have you encountered the same problem, and thus for sure there will be people willing to use your solution. However, before you take any further steps, it’s worth taking a look at your competitors, wondering if they also have a mobile application, and if so, how yours could be better.
For an app to be successful, it must have users. Consider whether your product is aimed at individual customers or more at companies. Think not only about who will be using your app – think about your future consumers’ age, location, interests and their financial status or education, and what they will be using your product for and in what circumstances.
Many people often forget about this aspect, and yet it is a vital element of any business. Once you know what problem you want your app to solve, it’s worth considering how exactly you would like to monetize it. Ads? Subscriptions? Micropayments? Premium accounts? Commissions? In-app product sales? Or maybe customization of the app and selling the know-how? There are quite a few possibilities, and it’s up to you which one you decide on.
In the mobile app development process, the critical question will be iOS or Android? Or maybe both? This will determine whether it is better to write the application natively or, for example, in the recently increasingly popular tech stack – Flutter. This choice will significantly impact the implementation costs, time and the team needed to develop the application.
Budget and implementation date
How much does a mobile app cost? It’s a bit like wanting to answer the question of how much a car costs. You can buy a used 30-year-old Volkswagen Beetle, and you can buy the newest Bentley straight from the showroom. In applications, the budget question looks similar; everything depends on what you want to create, what specific functions the product will contain, and on which platforms it will be running. That is why we organize a series of workshops to match the final product to your financial possibilities optimally. The situation is similar to deadlines, although the deadlines can engage several developers who will simultaneously work on the project.
Workshops are a critical stage in planning the next steps. During them, you have the opportunity to meet the people with whom you will be working on the application over the following weeks or months. But workshops are not only the social aspect; it is, above all, work on creating the concept of a product that will best meet your expectations and, perhaps more importantly, the target group’s expectations. During the workshop, together with a team consisting of a UI/UX Designer, programmer and Project Manageryou will choose which functions and elements of the application are the most important for you. It is worth remembering to start this kind of work from MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Thanks to this, you will test your idea on the first users, check the product’s success, and plan to develop it further. What’s more, you will save money and time, and who knows, maybe thanks to the prototype, you will gain an investor for further stages. You can read more about the workshops in our Process Book. In this article, we will focus on the workshop’s effects and use them to create a mobile application. After the workshop, you will receive:
- technical documentation
Wireframes is a visual representation of a user interface that specifically focuses on space allocation and prioritization of content, functionalities available, and intended behaviors. Thanks to them, you will be able to see your product’s structure and make sure that you haven’t forgotten about any vital element. What is more, they will serve as a basis for the design created by a graphic designer.
The visual aspect is not everything. Apart from how something looks visually and graphically, it is also essential how it works exactly. And this is what the specification, which describes the various functions of the application, will help you in.
Having the full range of features established and the selected platforms on which the mobile app will run, we can accurately price the planned product and determine its implementation timeline. You can read more about app development costs in articles dedicated to iOS, Android, and Flutter.
When you have planned all the features and general layout of the application, it is time to move to the design phase. The visual aspect of a mobile application is next to the functionality, one of the most important aspects of any product, for some users, perhaps the most important. It is an attractive design that will make users move around the application with ease and pleasure. It is also vital that the appearance is properly matched to the platform for which the application is created. This is also the perfect time to share all the inspirations and benchmarks for the product’s visual and usability layer with the designer. It is worth researching the market in this respect and directing your choices to the target group. In the end, an application for children will look very different than one aimed at adults.
Finally, we have reached, it would seem, the heart of application development, namely programming. This stage will go much faster and more efficiently if the previous steps (the appropriate concept, written specification, and prepared design) are carefully implemented. Proper organization will reduce the number of unknowns to a minimum.
Programming, especially in larger projects, should be divided into smaller stages – sprints. This will allow you to supervise the team’s work on an ongoing basis and track the progress and react faster to potential delays. Thanks to this approach, it is also easier to make possible changes or add new features in subsequent sprints while not disorganizing the team. Here an important role is played by the Project Manager, who plans the programmers’ work, is responsible for implementing the project following the schedule and the contact with the customer.
It is worth mentioning that the team usually consists of more than 1 programmer in the mobile applications development process. Of course, apart from the number of platforms and technology in which the application is developed, programming work can be divided into backend and frontend. Backend takes care of servers, databases, API, admin panel, in short, everything that is not directly visible for users. Frontend, in turn, works on the visual aspect and interaction with the user.
Apart from the Project Manager and developers, a significant and often unduly underestimated person is the tester responsible for quality assurance, who checks the operation of particular functions on an ongoing basis during the work on the application and reports necessary corrections to the developers. Thanks to testers, we eliminate the number of errors, which future users can encounter and make sure that the developers did not forget about any element, taking into account all the possible scenarios.
Do you want to find out more about mobile app development process?Talk to our team!
Publication and promotion
The work on creating the app is coming to an end; what’s next? It’s high time to show it to the world! But do you want to show it to everyone right away? It depends on you. Often before releasing the official version of a mobile application, it is worth doing beta-tests.
When it comes to publishing the app itself, this stage is slightly different for Android and iOS. You can read more about the materials that are required to upload your app to the stores, as well as the process itself in our previous blog post, for App Store here, and Google Play here.
There are many ways to promote mobile apps. You can either start with a teaser campaign - create a teaser landing page and social media profiles before the app launches, and collect beta subscribers via an email submission field. After you launch your app, you can then engage users and transform them more easily into your brand’s ambassadors. Another great way to promote your app is to engage with communities that may be interested in your product - show them your interest, research their needs on forums and social media groups and answer their questions on your blog. That is a great way to generate traffic, build your authority, and strengthen your brand through SEO activities.
Application development and maintenance
Congratulations! Your app has been published, and your first users have started downloading and actively using it. However, just like running any other business, mobile applications require constant supervision and development. It is worth using various tools such as Google Analytics to study the app traffic, which allows you to get information about the degree to which your business goals are being met. From a programming point of view, you must not forget to check the libraries’ versions and update them if necessary. Of course, you don’t have to do all this yourself, and for example, as part of the “SLA” contract, you can take advantage of our team’s support.
It is worth checking the bugs reported by users and reading their comments, in which they may suggest changes to existing features or add new ones. Along with the growing number of users and demand, there will surely demand its expansion. Maybe it will turn out that it is worth, for example, implementing the application on another platform, adding more language versions, simplifying the registration process, or maybe it will be necessary to change the way of monetization? Observe and analyze users’ expectations because, de facto, they are your customers, and without them, no application will achieve long-term success.