As mobile app revenue nears the 1 trillion annual revenue mark, more businesses are looking to develop and launch their own enterprise app. Business apps increase the productivity of employees, by reducing paperwork and improving internal communication. They also enable workers to access important functionalities from a central place. When apps are built for customers, they improve the customers’ experience of the brand’s services. They can quickly request a service, follow up on progress, and request support in case of an issue.
The mobile development landscape, however, can prove quite a challenge for many businesses. The budget can be quite a constraint. Determining what constitutes the Minimum Viable Product requires an exhaustive analysis of organizational workflow. Another challenge lies in getting together the right development team. Before getting started, it’s important to understand the mobile app development steps. This step-by-step guide can help understand why most apps take at least four months to develop and launch.
1. Business Strategy Discussion
All app development processes begin with ideation. This is a discussion of why the business needs to develop an app. The users must be identified. If there are other apps already in the market, the business must identify how the new app will differentiate itself from the others. If the app is expected to bring in revenue, the business model should be discussed. The business has a chance to differentiate itself from the competition by charging different prices by applying a freemium model. The first step is important in deciding whether a gap exists in the market. If not, there is no need to commit resources to the project.
2. Analysis and Discussion of MVP
If indeed a gap exists in the market, a discussion about the Minimum Viable Product will happen. What should the app be able to do? How many users should it support? What should the User Interface look like? Some of these requirements can be pegged against competitor apps. At this point, the business must have an internal lead for the project.
If the business has brand colors used on other company assets (business cards, books, websites), then these should be used to develop a style guide for the app. Does the company have fonts? If yes, then these also go into the app.
3. Estimate Cost and Time
The third step in mobile app development is getting an estimation of how much the project will cost and the time to complete. A business consultant familiar with the app development landscape can help with this process. The business can invite several software developments teams to put together proposals based on the requirements agreed in step 2. Costs will vary depending mainly on the location of the software development team. Software developers in North America charge five times what developers in Asia do. The time will depend on the complexity of the project.
4. UI/UX Design
The first thing the development team will seek to understand is how users of the app will interact with it. What will the app display to users? What data will users provide? This will inform the different screens the mobile app will have. All these are then drawn on paper as sketches then digitally as wireframes. Wireframes should include styling from the style guide given so that they are as realistic as possible.
The design team can also prepare clickable mockups on Figma or Invision to simulate the user experience. The business’s project team can then provide better feedback.
5. App Development
Software developers will now begin to code the functionality of the app. The architecture of the app includes a server, APIs, and the front-end. Developers will pick an appropriate technology stack depending on the different platforms the app will launch on (iOS, Android, Windows). The coding process can take weeks or months. Therefore, there should be milestones where meetings will occur for updates purposes. It’s important that the business’s internal lead can understand the significance of these milestones. If not, the business might need an external project manager.
6. Functional and Performance Testing
Once the coding is done, testing begins. The first tests will mostly be visual to find whether the app looks like what was in the mockups. The workflow should match clickable wireframes on Figma of Invisio. The app should use the style guide fonts and colors consistently. The navigation should also work properly. The next step should be functional testing, to ensure users can access all the app’s functions. Testing should happen on all operating systems.
Once all features are tested, the app’s performance should also be tested. Performance testing involves checking screen load times, bandwidth consumption, app size, effects on phone battery, incidences of memory leaks, and so on.
7. Quality Assurance and Security Testing
The next step will be testing the ability of the app to withstand security threats. The development team will most likely have standard security testing procedures for the app. For instance, the app should be able to terminate user sessions if a user stays too long without activity. In some cases, the app will require to store user credentials for easy login. Data leaks should not happen in such instances.
8. Deployment of the Mobile App
Once issues detected in the testing phase have been fixed, the app is now ready for launch. The app will be submitted to the major stores and subjected to a review process. Clearance might take a few days or weeks. It’s important to write the app’s metadata correctly during the submission process. This metadata includes the app’s name, description, category, icon, and screenshots. Make sure to include the important keywords in the description for App Store Optimization.
Apps are either meant for the mass market or a certain specific niche. Businesses, therefore, need to get word out to their target market that their app is available. One way to do so is to invite journalists and industry thought leaders to try out the app and review it for their audiences. This will help to not only get feedback but also publicity. The company should also use its other avenues such as social media to generate a buzz for the app. In most cases, they will release trailers, explainer videos, and a blog forum for discussion.
10 . Feedback and Improvement
As people download the app and start using it, it’s important to keep track of certain metrics. The most obvious will be the app’s average rating on the different stores. Are the specific issues that people are complaining about? Is there a feature that’s not working? There are deeper and more indicative metrics, though, such as the retention rate- the number of users using the app after their first experience. It’s indicative of the fact that they find the app useful. The company will also want to see how the Daily Active Users number is growing over time.
Getting Mobile App Development Right
The best way to approach mobile app development is to understand the intricacies of every step. The right software development partner will explain each step in detail. The business must not rush. The business model must be clear. The app must offer something different from the competition. Only when this happens should the actual app development proceed.
If your organization needs help with mobile app development, get in touch with NS804 for a comprehensive package. We help businesses build apps for both iOS and Android platforms. Get in touch with us today.