Over the past few years, mobile has overtaken desktop in terms of usage. As a result, for businesses, the focus has shifted to developing mobile apps. The idea is to engage users, and only companies that do so can survive in a highly competitive environment that exists today. Mobile app design is an extremely complex process that involves a significant investment, months of development and complex project management.
Whether one decides to build an app in-house or outsource it to a mobile app development company, it’s crucial to ensure that the work is carried out by an expert or a team who knows how to build an app that is secure, robust and scalable.
Of course, this is easier said than done. When looking for app development there are several factors that need to be assessed to ensure that the project goes as per plan. We have outlined a step-by-step approach that can be used for reference:
Step 1: Clearly define the objective
The first step is to define what the app intends to achieve. Will it focus on enhancing customer experience or is it being developed with the intention of generating additional sales? Once the main objective is defined, it becomes easier to proceed with the finer details of what is expected from the app.
For example, if the app is focused on improving customer engagement, once the objective is defined, you might need to ask questions such as how the app can achieve it, and what features need to be incorporated for the expected result.
Step 2: Define the scope of the app
At this stage, it’s time to decide on how to make an app functional and to select the features it should include. The most efficient way one can achieve this is by jotting down answers to questions such as:
- Will the app have e-commerce integration?
- How can users get questions answered (chat feature/contact us/FAQs)?
- How will the user share information with his social networks?
- How can the company inform the user about new products?
- How will it help a user to be more productive?
Step 3: How to build an app that is better than the competitors’ apps
Whether it’s to enhance customer experience or improve business performance, for the app to be successful, it should be better than the competition. Analyze competitors’ apps to see what can be done better or if there are any additional features or functionality that your app can offer.
Step 4: Create Wireframes and Use Cases to develop an app
Now, it’s time to get started with creating a skeleton framework that lays down the visual guide to the flow between various functionalities and features. Start by defining each goal and understand the use cases or user’s thought processes for each task performed on the app.
Step 5: Testing the wireframes
Before the actual build begins, it’s vital to test the wireframes to verify the flow and ascertain whether there are any hindrances to the user experience. During the process of app development, reputable development companies employ software to assist with the testing, and the flow is shared with all the team members to test the ease of use as well as the intuitiveness of the app.
Step 6: Revision and retest
Based on the feedback from the initial testing the wireframes should be updated to eliminate redundancies. Additional testing is recommended to ensure that the flow is smooth and error-free. The process of revision and testing might require a few iterations until the app is ready for development.
Step 7: Decide on the development
Before the actual build process commences, it’s essential to map out the path for developing the app. Scalability is an important factor to include at this stage so that it becomes easier to add functionality or features at a later stage without having to go back to rebuild from scratch. The two major decisions one needs to take are:
- What language to use for coding?
- What mobile app development platform to use for creating the app?
When deciding how to make an app, the decision about coding will depend on whether to build for a specific operating system. In the case of native app development, separate development paths will be needed for making the app available on the Apple and Google Play stores. If a hybrid framework is used, the same code can be used for different operating systems.
The app development cost will also influence the decision regarding the development path. Native development creates more robust and stable apps, but it can take more time to develop. A reputable mobile app development company will usually outline the pros and cons of each development path to make it easier to make a decision that has a long-term impact.
Step 8: Building the app
This stage involves the actual building of the app, which is a collaborative effort between the developers and designers. A template needs to be chosen to enhance the display of the app. Besides this, plugins need to be added to improve the features of the app and to make it more user-friendly. The most significant element in this stage is the design of the home screen to ensure that the app is easy to navigate.
Step 9: Check the app in a real-world scenario
Once the development of the app is complete, it’s time to test it once again to see how it performs in a real-world situation. It’s important to go through this process, even if the app has gone through several retests during wireframing to ensure that it is free from bugs that can deter a pleasant user experience.
Most of the reliable mobile app development companies insist on at least ten rounds of testing, which includes internal tests among the design and development team as well as external tests among an unbiased sample set. The latter is especially important as it can help to pinpoint user experience issues that the developers or the team are unable to detect due to their familiarity with the development steps.
Step 10: Launching the app on the store
Once the testing is complete, the mobile app is ready to be submitted to the chosen app stores. Before this, it’s essential to ensure that all the necessary compliances are in place, whether it is related to security protocols or GDPR regulations. The launch of the app also requires publicity in the form of email marketing to existing customers, updating the information on the website and promoting the app through social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
How to develop an app - why it’s crucial to work with a reputable mobile app development company
Building an app involves the investment of time and money. Therefore, it’s vital to get the design right the first time around to prevent delays for redevelopment or if you need to change companies in the event that you are not satisfied with the services on the developer you hire. The advantage of working with a development company that has years of experience is that they know how to make an app that is scalable, robust and secure. Scalability is important as you can add features seamlessly without having to go back to developing from scratch.
Since the focus of an app is to improve customer experience or business processes, the performance of the app is another crucial element in the development process. An experienced and reliable app development team knows how to develop an app that assures intuitiveness and user-friendliness as it is tested several times to make sure it’s free from bugs or any other factor that takes away from the user experience.
Last, but not least, is the decision regarding app architecture. One of the key decisions when deciding how to build an app is regarding the architecture that is best suited for the company’s budget and requirements. While hybrid apps have the advantage of saving build time as the same code can be used to deploy the app on iOS or Android platforms, their performance is not as reliable as native apps. Similarly, for a company with a limited budget or a quick turnaround time, a native app might not be suitable. A reputable app developer will help by advising you of the pros and cons of the different types of app architecture so that you can make an informed decision on the ideal platform for your app.
TechAhead has extensive experience in developing apps for diverse clients, ranging from Fortune 50 companies to startups. Our team has skilled experts who can develop and deploy apps that are robust, secure and user-friendly. If you have questions on how to build an app, you can get in touch with us to explore our range of app development services!