Have you always been curious as to what the typical mobile development process is like? Read below to learn what it takes to get on the App Store.
You’ve got an idea for an app, or you have an app ready to go. Ever wonder how to make it available for public download?
There are some common pitfalls to avoid, and some beneficial factors to keep in mind when it comes to mobile development for apps. Keep reading to learn what it takes to get your app out there.
Table of Contents
The Mobile App Development Process
Taking your idea from napkin-sketch to a clickable phone icon has many steps. This guide breaks them apart into five main categories that researchers Harleen K. Flora, Xiaofeng Wang, and Swati V. Chande labeled as the four main stages of app development.
We’ve added a few key DO’s and DONT’S to keep in mind. This way, in the mobile app development process, you can roadmap accordingly to avoid potholes down the way.
Don’t let common mistakes block you, and don’t miss out on easy shortcuts!
Requirement Gathering / Analysis
There’s the common expression of “timing matters.”
This is true. The timing of when you submit your app can have a huge impact on its market acceptance and success.
You don’t want to launch an app that already has a lot of market competition. This will only add to oversaturation and in turn, drown out your hard work.
While doing research to see what’s out there, try these practical tips:
- Identify your app audience (what niche group is going to use it)
- Read up on forums and threads pertaining to your idea and audience
- Follow what your audience follows, research what demands are being met and which ones aren’t
The idea process can be loads of fun, but it’s also where most bubbles get popped. If you have a great idea, but no way to reach the audience that will give your app traction it needs, the idea won’t matter.
Avoid relying on your “This is the best app idea ever” gut! Gather information, analyze it, and then move forward with confidence.
The design stage is where ideas meet tangibilities but not in the sense of coding.
This is the classic whiteboard stage.
Here you want to design graphics, white pages, cardstock examples and so on.
The big idea here is to make sure your team HAS A GOAL. Defining the goal for everyone keeps the trajectory of your app in site.
If you’re working on a mobile game like Sims, make sure your team is in agreement of that goal. Make sure in this design stage that everything lines up with what your audience is looking for too before you start building the app.
Multiple goals can get confusing and slow your project down.
Avoiding this crucial phase will mean dozens of hours wasted. Reprogramming because people were not on the same page is painful. Even worse is when your intended audience flat out rejects the presentation of your idea because there was confusion in the design phase!
This is the phase everyone thinks of when they hear about Mobile App Development.
This stage has to do with wireframing, coding, backend diagrams, server integration and so on.
The development stage is where the nitty-gritty computer work gets done to actually bring the app to life.
It’s more than just making sure an app looks the way you want it to, though. This also is about making sure all your hard work is in line with app store requirements.
Depending on the platform(s) you are hoping to get your app on, make sure you have all your T’s crossed and I’s dotted.
We’ve put together a list of articles from Apple of requirements and other tips to keep note off:
- Guidelines: Apple Store Review Guidelines
- Design Schematics: Designing for iPhone
- Apple Pro-Tips: UI Design Do’s and Don’ts
This is the unsung stage of the mobile app development process.
The testing stage is vital, and it’s what makes the idea that’s brilliant in your eyes brilliant in everyone else’s eyes too.
This stage requires a control group of people who have never used your app to experience using it.
But it’s not like you send it to them and they say “cool” or “eh…”
This stage requires someone from your team to sit down with a control subject, and take notes while the person uses the app. Think of it like when your buddy played that single person video game and you had to watch.
The subject will verbally narrate everything they’re doing and thinking while using the app.
This will give data as to what’s working, and what’s not working with your app. Maybe the menu bar is too complicated, maybe the clicking system feels jarring, perhaps people are blown away by the graphics layout, but not impressed by the loading time between layers.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when making sure your sample size is statistically significant for data purposes, check them out beforehand!
Launching / Maintenance
Arguably the most exciting stage of the app process. The app is officially sent off to the App Store, and then available to the public.
As your app begins to increase in downloads, keep an eye on the reviews and feedback you get. Phones are gaming consoles, and all new platform games are updated regularly. Your app should be too.
The maintenance stage is crucial for guaranteeing that people continue to use your app. Don’t forget that! Even if you have a great launch, without maintenance your popularity will decay.
And don’t worry, bug fixes and updates are common for apps (think about Facebook or Snapchat.)
Making sure you stay up to date will help reserve your spot on people’s phones. Something to avoid, though, is updating as soon as you see one small bug. Try not to overwhelm your users with updates. Once a week is a max we recommend — unless there is a major bug of course!
More Mobile Development for Apps
If you’re looking to learn more about mobile development for apps, head on over to our mobile apps blog. We’ve got all sorts of tips and tricks throughout our articles on how to make an app that’s sure to be stellar.
If you see or don’t see something that you want more information on, feel free to reach out and contact us. We’d love to help make your app the best it can be!