Mobile apps are expected to produce $693 billion in income through app stores and in-app advertising by 2022. Furthermore, in 2022, workplace mobility is expected to be valued at $510.39 billion.
While many businesses are attempting to capitalize on this trend, many do not understand how to properly design an app. These growth expectations can become a reality for your organization is backed by a carefully managed mobile app development process.
An efficient app development process flow includes six important stages. In this article, we’ll go over each of them in detail.
Regardless of the size and breadth of your project, adhering to this development method will ensure the success of any enterprise mobile app development venture.
The first step in the mobile app development process is to define your plan for turning your idea into a successful app. You may incorporate a larger portion of this into your entire enterprise mobility plan. Although the objectives of one app may differ from those of another, there is still an app-specific impact on the mobility strategy that must be addressed during the development process.
During this stage, you will:
- Determine the app’s users.
- Investigate the competition.
- Set the app’s goals and objectives.
- Choose a mobile platform for your application.
Mobile apps typically cost between $150,000 and $200,000 and might take four to six months to develop. Your approach assists in focusing your vision on a clear picture of your app concept. With this in mind, you can forward to the following stage of the mobile app development process.
2. Analysis and Planning
At this stage, your app idea starts taking shape and turns into an actual project. Analysis and planning begin with defining use cases and capturing detailed functional requirements.
After you have identified the requirements for your app, prepare a product roadmap. This includes prioritizing the mobile app requirements and grouping them into delivery milestones. If time, resources, or costs are a concern, then define your minimum-viable-product (MVP) and prioritize this for the initial launch.
Part of the planning phase includes identifying the skills needed for your app development initiative. For example, iOS and Android mobile platforms use different development technology stacks. If your goals are to build a mobile app for both iOS and Android mobile platforms then, your mobile development team should include iOS developers and Android developers.
Have you selected the name of your app yet? Mobile app names are like domain names and have to be unique within each app store. Research each app store ensuring your app’s name isn’t already in use!
3. UI / UX Design
The goal of app design is to provide seamless and effortless user experiences with a professional appearance.
The success of a mobile app is evaluated by how successfully users accept and utilize all of its features. The purpose of mobile app UI / UX design is to provide exceptional user experiences that make your app interesting, intuitive, and easy to use. While beautiful UI designs will aid in early adoption, your app must also provide straightforward user experiences to keep users interested.
Information Architecture & Workflows
The first phase in your mobile app design process is to decide what data your app will display to users, what data it will collect, how users will interact with the end product, and how they will navigate within the app.
Enterprise mobile solutions for businesses include users with varied responsibilities and rights, and it is critical to include these rules as part of your app’s information architecture. Workflow diagrams aid in the identification of every possible interaction a user has with the app as well as the app’s navigation structure.
Sketches on paper are a common starting point for mobile app designers. Wireframes are digitized versions of sketches. Wireframes are conceptual layouts, often known as low-fidelity mockups, that provide visual structure to the functional requirements of a program.
The emphasis with wireframes is on aesthetics and user experience rather than color schemes and styles. Creating wireframes is a rapid and low-cost method for designing app layouts and iterating through them during the design review process. When building wireframes, keep the device-specific design in mind. So, regardless of whether your app is used on an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or tablet, it provides straightforward and device-specific user experiences.
Style guides are “dynamic papers” that document an app’s design guidelines, from your company’s branding regulations to the navigation symbols.
Style guides include the following:
- What font family will the text in your app be?
- What color scheme will be used?
- How will the app design represent your company’s brand?
Style guides add to the design strategy of an app. Creating a style guide early in the mobile app development process increases the efficiency of your mobile app developers. Simultaneously, adhering to a style guide can assist keep your app’s look and feel consistent. App design guidelines from Apple for iOS apps and Google for Android apps should be considered as part of your app design.
Mockups, also known as high-fidelity designs, are the ultimate visual depictions of your software. Mockups are made by slapping your style guide onto the app wireframes. As the design of your app nears completion, expect more changes to its information architecture, workflow, and aesthetics. Adobe Photoshop is the most widely used software for making high-fidelity mockups.
Mockups, which use static designs to demonstrate the functionality of your mobile app, can be transformed into click-through prototypes utilizing tools such as Invision and Figma. Prototypes are extremely beneficial for replicating the user experience and app operations that will be delivered in the final product. While prototype creation might be time-consuming, the work is well worth it because it allows you to test the design and operation of your app at an early stage. Prototypes frequently aid in the identification of changes to the app’s projected functionality.
Some firms prefer to create prototypes during the wireframing stage, especially when the functional requirements of an app are not thoroughly thought out. Alternatively, a focus group may be required to examine the app’s planned functionality.
4. App Development
Planning is still an important element of the mobile app development process at this stage. Before you begin any development/programming work, you must:
- establish the technical architecture,
- Choose a technology stack and
- Establish development milestones.
Back-end/server technologies, API(s), and the mobile app front-end are all essential components of a typical mobile app project.
This section contains database and server-side objects required for your mobile app’s supporting functions. If you’re using an existing back-end platform, you may need to make some changes to enable the desired mobile functionality.
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a way for the app to communicate with a back-end server/database.
Mobile App Front-End
The native mobile app that an end-user will utilize is the front-end. Most mobile apps are interactive user experiences that employ an API and a back-end to manage data. When an app has to allow users to work without internet access in some instances, the program may employ local data storage.
For the backend, you can use practically any web programming language and database. You must select a technology stack required by each mobile OS platform when developing native mobile apps. Objective-C or Swift programming languages can be used to create iOS apps. Android apps are often written in Java or Kotlin.
There is more than one programming language and technology stack for developing mobile apps; the key is to select the technology stack that is best suited for your mobile app.
With new versions of mobile platforms, mobile technologies advance significantly faster. Furthermore, every few months, new mobile gadgets are released. With platforms and devices continuously evolving, agility is critical for developing mobile apps on time and within budget. Use an agile development method if time-to-market is a top priority. This method allows for frequent software releases with complete functionality. Defining development milestones as part of an agile development plan facilitates the iterative development of your mobile application.
Each development milestone is completed and sent to the app testing team for confirmation.
Thorough quality assurance (QA) testing during the mobile app development process ensures that the applications are stable, usable, and secure. To achieve thorough QA testing of your app, you must first build test cases that cover all elements of app testing.
Test cases drive mobile app testing in the same way that use cases drive the development process. Test cases are used to carry out test procedures, record testing results for software quality evaluation, and track fixes for retesting. Involving your QA team in the Analysis and Design stages is a best practice technique. Knowing your app’s functional requirements and objectives will aid in the creation of accurate test cases.
To provide a high-quality mobility solution, your app should go through the following testing procedures.
User Experience Testing
The final implementation must match the user experience defined by the app design team, which is a vital phase in mobile app testing. Your app’s visuals, workflow, and interactivity will give your end consumers a first-hand impression of your app. Make sure your app uses consistent fonts, style treatments, color schemes, data padding, icon design, and navigation. Making sure your app adheres to the original design principles will have a direct impact on its user adoption!
The precision with which your mobile app functions is vital to its success. Predicting every end user’s behavior and usage scenario is tough.
Your app’s functionality should be tested by as many users as feasible in order to cover as many potential testing circumstances as possible. When two separate users try the same functionality but get different results, you may be startled to find issues. For example, two users can complete the same form, but they may submit different data, which may lead to the discovery of a flaw.
The goal of functional testing is to ensure that your app’s features and functioning are usable by users without any problems. It is further subdivided into system testing (how the software works as a whole) and unit testing (individual functions of the app operating correctly).
If you’re developing an app for both the iOS and Android platforms, your functional testing should include a feature comparison of both versions of your mobile app.
There are numerous quantitative metrics that may be used to assess the performance of your app.
- How well does your software respond to user input?
- How quickly do the app’s displays load?
- Is your software generating memory leaks or draining the phone’s battery?
- Is your software making good use of network bandwidth?
- Is your app using up more space than it should?
Even if your app meets the fundamental performance criteria, simulate the maximum number of concurrent users to test the app, API, and backend for the load. Even when usage surges, your app should be able to handle the load and perform well.
For enterprise mobile apps, security is of the utmost importance. Any conceivable flaw can lead to a hack. Many businesses pay third-party firms to do extensive security testing on their applications. A few basic steps can be taken by your QA and development teams to secure your software.
If your app requires users to log in, log-in sessions should be tracked on both the device and the backend. When a user has been inactive for an extended period of time, the system should terminate the session (typically ten mins or less on a mobile app). If your app saves user credentials on the device to make it easier for them to re-login, you must guarantee that you are using a trusted service. For example, the iOS app development platform includes the Keychain feature, which may be used to store a user’s account information for a single app.
Data entry forms in your mobile app should be checked to guarantee that no data leakage occurs.
Device and Platform Testing
Every 12 months, new mobile devices with new hardware, firmware, and design hit the market. Every few months, mobile operating systems are updated.
Several mobile device makers, including Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola, use the Android platform, but they adapt it for their devices (since Android is open source). The gadgets are available in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Compare that to Apple, which has a far more regulated environment because they control both the hardware and the operating system. However, there are numerous iPhone and iPad (Apple iOS) devices available on the market.
This is where testing throughout the mobile app development process differs dramatically from testing during the web app development process. You can get away with only testing your web app in a Windows environment using the Chrome browser. However, your mobile app must be tested on a variety of mobile devices or device emulators to verify that it works properly for all users.
The complexity of testing mobile apps on all mobile devices, continuous support costs, and the difficulties of mobile device management is the primary reasons why businesses opt to design enterprise mobile apps for a single mobile platform (and often provide mobile devices to their users). In our experience, most businesses construct their enterprise mobile app initially with Apple’s iOS mobile platform and then build an app for the Android platform only when necessary.
Testing is critical to an app’s future success; it accounts for a significant portion of our total mobile app development process. A complete mobile testing plan is required for providing a high-quality mobile app.
There are numerous methods for sharing your app development builds with testers during the testing phase. The most frequent method for iOS apps is to use Testflight, whereas for Android apps, email or Over The Air (OTA) downloads are used.
6. Deployment & Support
To release a native mobile app, you must first submit it to the app stores, which are the Apple App Store for iOS apps and Google Play for Android apps. However, before you can launch your mobile app, you must first create a developer account with the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
The distribution of an app in the app store necessitates the preparation of metadata, which includes:
- The name of your app
- Icon for launching
- Screenshots from the app store
Once uploaded to the Apple App Store, iOS apps undergo a review process that can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the quality of your app and how closely it adheres to Apple’s iOS development criteria. If your app requires users to log in, as part of the release process, you must supply Apple with a test user account.
Android apps do not go through a review procedure, and they are published in the app store within a few hours of being submitted.
After your app is out in app stores, track its usage using mobile analytics systems and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to determine its performance. Check crash reports and other user-reported concerns on a regular basis.
Encourage users to submit feedback and suggestions for your app to your firm. Prompt support for end-users, as well as frequent app updates with enhancements, will be critical to keeping consumers engaged. Unlike online apps, where patch releases are instantaneously available to app users, mobile app updates must go through the same submission and review process as the initial submission. Furthermore, with native mobile apps, you must always remain on top of technological changes and update your app on a regular basis for new mobile devices and OS platforms.
App development is an ongoing process and will continue after the initial launch as you receive user feedback and build additional functionality. Elesier has been a leading mobile app development company in Canada. Over the years, Elesier has provided mobile app development service to companies across finance, healthcare, construction, retail, consumer products, logistics, industrial engineering, and entertainment. We follow this same process for all of the mobile apps that we create. Following this enterprise mobile app development process will ensure a successful launch of your app as well.
After reviewing this mobile app development process, what questions do you have about making your idea into a successful app?
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Contact us if you would like to discuss your mobile app development initiatives.