A 9 Step Process to Develop a Custom Mobile App
Operating a business is now more challenging than ever before in the face of growing competition from ever expanding mega-corporations and foreign imports. You have to be ahead of the trends, otherwise you will be swept away into oblivion. One of the directions that business practises are clearly headed are mobile. IOS and Android apps development has sky-rocketed in popularity in recent years, especially among owners of traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.
It is clear what the future holds: companies must have apps developed in order to stay relevant and not be rendered obsolete. More and more business owners are awakening to this new reality, but many still remain sceptical about the whole endeavour due to a lack of understanding. This article will enlighten you on the nine steps it takes to produce a successful app. Know what you have to do in order to get an app for your business so you can adapt it for the future.
Explore the existing landscape
Before you can decide what the objective behind your app will be, you should conduct research. You need to be informed so you can make good decisions and can communicate effectively with your app developer. Aside from reading through articles, you should also visit the two premier app marketplaces: the iOS Store and Google Play.
See what other apps, which are similar to what you have in mind, are offering. You should also see which ones are more popular than others, and figure out why users like them in order to understand what would drive interest for your app.
Circle your targets
Decide what your destination is before you can start thinking about how to get there. Your developer needs consistency from you so that he or she knows exactly what they are supposed to produce. Otherwise, your capricious instructions will cause them to constantly revise the app, which will ultimately only be costlier for you due to lost productivity. Hence, brainstorm on what it is that you expect your app to have, and convey it clearly without any abstractions.
We strongly suggest that you use a pen and paper to markdown your ideas, as keyboards severely limit people's creativity. Visual representations are especially potent at stirring one's aesthetic prowess. Make sketches of what you want your user interface (UI) to look like, and how it would function.
You should also decide the purpose behind your app, and who it is intended for. Will it strictly be for B2B exchanges? Is the app an essential part of your business operations, or just something to supplement it? Do you expect to solidify loyalty with it, or attract new clients? These are all important questions whose answers you should finalise.
Additionally, there are three lists that you should draft to so that the function of your app is absolutely clear:
- The items your app absolutely must have, as they form the basis of its purpose.
- The items your app should ideally have, but can afford to lose for any legitimate reason.
- The items your app cannot have as they would be contrary to your vision.
With this clarity, it is easier for you and your developer to work on your mobile app as there are no ambiguities about what the finished product will look like.
Find a developer
After you have properly concluded what you want your app to do, and how it should look, you have to find someone who can bring your vision to fruition. There are numerous organisations that will promise to develop your app for you at an economical rate, but it is important that you conduct some research into them before hiring them.
See what other customers are saying about their services. Any organisation that has excellent features and positive reviews is one that you can rely on.
Related article: How to Find an App Developer for Your Project
Construct a wireframe
A wireframe is basically a story board of what your app will do. You show what screens you expect to be in your app, how they will look, and what you expect them to do. Take your ideas and sketches to the next level by integrating them with a wireframe prototype.
Thanks to this, there will be no confusion about how you expect your app to look. There are a number of easy-to-use wireframe apps and websites available online whose resources you can use in this regard. You can also consult your iPhone app developer, as they would be aware of the best sources for them.
Start building it
Once you have all of the initial planning and researching done, it is time that you start putting them all together so that they take the form of an app. There is very little you need to do in this step, as this is where the expertise of your developer will come in. They will bring your ideas together into a prototype.
The only thing you need to do is ensure that they understand your instructions. More importantly, make sure that the aesthetic design of your app is as you imagined it. Describing complicated visuals can be difficult, so it might take a few tries before you get something that looks right.
Get it revised
After you have received the first iteration of your app, give it a personal try. Besides judging its visual finesse, you should also make sure that it is functioning flawlessly. Get others opinion on it too; consult with them for what the app needs, and what it could lose. You can ask the app development company you have in employ for what their experts' opinions are.
If you think any of all this feedback is relevant, or you yourself thought of some improvements, for the user interface and the user experience, then have the development team revise the app to adjust it according to your conclusions.
Test the app
Now it is time that you beta test the app to see exactly how it will behave in a real environment. How you go about this for an Android app is different from an iOS app; the former is more simplistic than the latter. For Android, just upload the app onto any Android device and see how it functions in a live setting. For iOS apps, there are specialised programs you have to use, like Test Flight, via which you can determine its effectiveness.
Use the results of these tests to conclude what further adjustments and fine-tuning your app requires.
Create a release plan
Now is the ideal time for you to put together a marketing and release plan for your app because now you have all the essential information. You know the design scheme, the functionality of your app, and the final completion deadline. While the developers implement the last changes after the beta testing, you should think of how you will release your app, and what marketing plan you will follow for it.
For most standard custom business apps, a standard package is simply uploading the apps onto iOS and Android stores with a feature that allows customers to share it with friends. This lets users to download your app, rate it, and share it with their contact list. Some of the larger app releases, on the other hand, need complete marketing plans.
It is your prerogative to decide whether your app needs extensive online marketing, or just a quiet release. You can always solicit the professional opinion of your developer in this regard.
A plan for the future
If you have released your app, however you decided to, do not assume that your work is done. There will inevitably be problems that will have escaped your purview. Keep a close eye on customer reviews to determine remaining problems within the app. Take strong note of any issues that are appearing frequently or appear to be exceptionally serious.
Have these glitches and faults corrected with the power of updates. You should also check the statistics behind your app's success to ensure that it is being marketed successfully and according to your release plan.
Once you have progressed through these nine stages, you will have a complete app that is ready to work in conjunction with your business to maximise profits. While it may seem like a lot of effort and investment, the returns are well-worth it.
This is a guest post by Emma Alex. Emma is a freelance writer, experienced blogger, and a professional social media coach. Currently, she's working with Khaleej Apps which provides professional app development services.