In the Very Beginning
Mobile apps are only too universal nowadays. Every potential business idea is supplemented with an app of its own, and why not? Given the way in which technological power has only increased at the consumer’s fingertips, it’s understandable as to why businesses would like to go mobile with their business.
In addition, consumer expectations have increased – one can say that they’re spoilt, but well, the demand only came with the supply.
Now despite this universality, converting your business idea into the mobile app form is not as easy – at least, many people grasp at straws and blindly call professionals into the mix, which may or may not be the best-case scenario if you’re not equipped accordingly.
Mobile platforms nowadays are used by the consumer to buy, sell, lease, rent, display, interact, inform, be informed and a thousand other things. The little screen is their gateway to the world, and it is also your gateway into their lives as a brand.
The message is simple. Whatever your company does on-field can be aided, and business can be immensely profitable if these services are made mobile.
Now, making the transition requires a few steps – some of which are overlooked because most people simply consider it to be a technological upgrade, and nothing more. But your brand’s ‘mobile identity’ becomes a separate, and for some people, the only facet through which they can access your brand.
So one needs a fresher perspective than simply translating your website into an app, or something along those sloppy lines.
Given these problems, we decided to be very practical and give you seven no-nonsense steps when it comes to mobile app development.
Mobile App Development Step 01: Know, and know more
Ask these questions to yourself: What does your mobile app aim to do? What structural or other problems does it aim to resolve with its presence on the mobile? What aspects of your service can it provide, and is that enough?
Now, these may seem like questions that are only too obvious, but rarely do people stop and consider this carefully enough. If you don’t have this kind of vision, or clarity about how going mobile is actually helping you, then this could be quite a problem.
Another set of questions to consider are: Is your mobile app making life easier for the consumer? If so, how? Does your service benefit from remote access, or is it more of an add-on to something that should be experienced on site instead?
Another thing to look at: competing mobile apps in the market. Get a clue. Inquire about their operational models, see which mobile apps are doing better on the user spectrum, and what elements are absolutely essential for your mobile app to flourish – these will give you the edge you need when it comes to this.
Mobile App Development Step 02: Looks Matter
It’s not all about the looks? Well sorry guys, but ample research shows that aesthetics matter when it comes to mobile apps. Everything that comprises the UI/UX sphere is extremely crucial, because the consumer needs to leave with a crisp, smooth experience on your mobile app interface. After all, they came here for convenience – tackiness and inefficiency on your app does not make for a promising first impression.
Draw your ideas on a paper if you must. How do you want your mobile app to look, and behave? What frame comes first – you know, from the opening login screen to the thank you and come again message – everything needs some thought, some idea.
This will serve as an invaluable reference for the road ahead – you can compare these on mobile app-design and other such forums (there are several) for much-needed inspiration, or simply also eliminate what you don’t like, or what doesn’t really work.
Mobile App Development Step 03: Technical and Money matters
This gets a little bit technical, and you might need to start involving professionals from here on out, if you don’t have prior experience in these matters.
There are two things to consider here: Monetization, and Tech specs. You need to see what measures you can take to monetize your mobile app, apart from it giving the consumer ready access to your services, as the costs of maintaining the mobile app and its running need to be considered. Business will have its ups and downs, but your app presence is mostly eternal if it has to be of the ‘anywhere, anytime’ nature.
Monetization has several modes – from charging consumers when they download the mobile app to running advertisements on the mobile app itself – but take care to not go overboard, and find ways of non-intrusive, relevant advertising.
Figuring out technical specs of your mobile app along with tabulating the costs of making the mobile app itself is essential. Here, expert opinion counts for a lot, since developers and other industry specialists may vary in their rates. Research also helps, if your app and its type have been discussed amply on the internet.
Mobile App Development Step 04: The Prototype
As we go further down the steps, the technicality increases. Understanding the flow of your mobile app, to seeing how it works on mobile platforms – the prototyping process is crucial for a successful launch. There are a few web-based prototyping tools you can use, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of hiring a firm that does the job for you.
Some of the good ones are InVision, JustinMind, Marvel and so on. These aren’t particularly difficult, and incorporate a lot of options in terms of troubleshooting, design additions and so on. If you’re an avid learner, this should be a fun exercise too. Quite a lot of these don’t involve lines of code, are interactive and can be very easy to use for someone just embarking on this journey.
Mobile App Development Step 05: Making plans
Soon, it is going to be the time to approach that guy these forums keep talking about – the developer! Create a markup plan for the developer, now that you have the particulars and the prototyping frames at hand, to avoid loss of translation between what you want and what you get.
You can also approach your immediate community. Reaching out to your friends and family, and getting them to give you feedback on your mobile app can be a great way to see whether you’ve been doing things right – if you can get a working model.
At least, reviews and recommendations can help you gain further insight into your consumer base. Tell them to be honest and blunt with their feedback, and also keep your technical capabilities to deliver in mind, so that a balance is achieved.
Mobile App Development Step 06: The Developer
All the things discussed in the mobile app development process above largely been on the surface, or the front-end of your mobile app. To design the skeleton that will prop your app up – the Back end, is where the developer comes in.
Finding an app developer that is reasonable (in terms of pricing, behaviour or otherwise), and can understand your vision can be somewhat tasking. Approaching design and tech firms can be pricey for most independent operators, but it is always the better option since their services will be more reliable – you can take a breather as a dedicated team works on your idea.
If you choose this mode, then find firms that keep their process transparent, as it is ultimately your idea that they now have a stake in – and you should see how things go before they go too far.
If you’re technically sound, and don’t mind doing the work yourself, then you may even consider one of these options – some of them don’t even require you to sound like a tech conference. A few names are: AppMakr, GENWI, Mippin, Mopbase and MyAppBuilder.
The developer, or you for that matter, will also have the task of designing all the frames of your mobile app at this stage – they’re called ‘skins’ – and the flow from one frame to another has to be streamlined. The developer also adds servers, API’s and storage based processes to the back-end.
Mobile App Development Step 07: Test and Troubleshoot
There is no excuse for perfection, and that is doubly so for the app development process. This stage of the mobile app development process mainly involves troubleshooting and testing. Why? Quite a few issues only arise when the mobile app is subjected to rigorous testing – this is also why the developer-tester dynamic is always the butt of many jokes in the tech world.
Seeing what your mobile app can handle and the experience it provides can be endless, depending on how fickle or vague you are, or how particular you are. You don’t want a half-baked version of your app going to the shark pit that is the app store environment, because users can be harsh critics. Live testing in iOS and Android environments is very necessary to monitor performance.
While Google Play is very flexible, keep in mind that Apple reserves the right to review and approve your app before it hits the marketplace. To understand user feedback in the initial stages of your app launch, you can also test them in ‘safer’ groups like the ones mentioned in Step 05, or lead groups, which are dedicated to such tasks.
And there you have it. While this is not the densest, most exhaustive article when it comes to mobile app development on the internet, we strive to be as clear, and as thought-provoking as possible. If this motivates you to take a step towards this world with a little more confidence, we’d take solace in that fact.
Wishing your venture a healthy disruption!
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors.All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
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