As the world moves towards its inevitable digital future, there are nearly 5 million apps across both Android and iOS, and the best direction for businesses is to get their own app developed.
But before you initiate your app development project, it’s vital for you to understand how a company that develops a mobile application works, and the key phases of the mobile app development process.
These are the 7 key phases of Mobile App development and what they contribute to the overall project.
Planning & Research
At the beginning of the app development process, research and planning is a crucial phase. This phase guides your app development idea and gives it a solid shape.
This planning and research include understanding your target audience, their problems, and the industry-standard that your product will match or outperform.
This is also the phase where you identify the limitations of your app development team and plan out the strategy that helps you overcome those limitations to produce the best possible end-product.
Once you have a solid plan with regards to how you’re going to execute the development of the application and the factors that you have to keep in mind during that process, you’re ready to start developing the app.
Documentation and Wireframing
Once you’re done with research, it is important to create a Scope of Work (SOW) document that highlights all the specific details about the project.
This includes the feature list, the execution strategy, the development timeline, the flow of the app, the tools and APIs that you will require, and so on.
This helps you establish the boundaries of your project.
Once that’s done, you start creating the wireframes for the app. Wireframes are rough sketches of your app screens that are used to determine the design of the app.
This is where you refine all your design components and helps you identify how each feature will synergize within the app and figure out their best arrangement. Creating a storyboard or a roadmap will allow you to focus on creating wireframes that are user-experience driven and determine the relationship and flow between different app screens
During the design phase, your UI architect or designer takes over the look and feel of the User-Interface of the app, while the UX architect designs the interaction between different design elements.
These two individuals or teams work together to execute the design of the app based on the wireframes, the creative brief, and any and all visual direction for the product.
They follow the information they receive regarding the look and feel and the flow of the mobile app and create the final visual design of the app.
This process can take a couple of hours to a few days depending on the project and its scope. The goal is simple during the process. It is to play with the design elements and the layout to determine the placement of those elements on the screen that delivers the best user-experience and an impeccable User-Interface.
If you’ve worked with a company that develops a mobile application, or if you’ve looked into possible options, you’ll know that for some prototyping comes before the design phase, will others prefer to prototype after the design has been reviewed and given the go-ahead.
Prototyping is basically a bare-bones version of your app with no back-end functionality. A prototype is usually just the front-end of the app used to provide clients a feel of the app before the development process.
While some companies use rough wireframes for their prototypes, a lot of companies use their design screens for it. In either case, the purpose is to confirm if the app is heading in the right direction in terms of its flow, navigation, and the feel.
It helps you gather feedback that can help you improve your product and validate the information based on which you’re developing the app.
The development phase of a mobile application is two-tiered.
- Alpha development
- Beta Development
During the alpha phase, the developers start coding and completing the app without any third-party functionalities. This means that you can process payments using a payment merchant, but you can see how the system works. During this phase, only the core functionalities are implemented.
In the beta phase, all the APIs and systems are developed and connected to the app, and the none-core functionalities are added to the app.
The team works to ensure that there are no glitches, bugs, or crashes in the application and conduct light-testing to ensure that every part of the app is fully functional.
Ideally, you should be constantly testing your app for bugs and fixing them on the run-time. Although, once the development is complete, there is a two-step testing process that app development companies follow.
First is the in-house testing process in which QA engineers and the operations team run test cases to ensure that there are no more bugs in the app. They test for compatibility, usability, security, stress, and performance.
Once that’s done, the second phase is initiated, which involves User-Acceptance Testing and Beta Testing.
In UAT. You give your app to a select few members of your target audience and gather their feedback. Base on that, you make changes, and then your app is ready for beta testing. In Beta testing, you provide your app to a pre-identified group or volunteers to use your app and provide their feedback.
Once again, based on that feedback, you make the necessary changes(if any), and once reviewed, your app is ready and fully functional.
The last phase is to deploy your app and submit it on either Google Play Store, The App Store, or both, depending on the project.
Once your application is live, you will receive massive feedback from users, which you can use to further update your app and makes changes to future versions.
Remember, it’s important to set a date for the release and market it the right way to ensure that people know of the product you’re releasing.