In the Very Beginning
In the very beginning, there lies an idea beneath all the commerce, and all the potential profit. Now in today’s world, there also comes a mobile app supplementing the idea (more often than not). Thinking of your own business is also thinking of how it can be translated onto a mobile platform, and most people simply grasp at straws when it comes to mobile app development.
The global consumer is no longer static. Even if they are, most of them are now carrying their worlds in their pockets – the ubiquitous smartphone, in addition to other mobile devices like laptops, tablets and what have you – now carry a very high volume of user information. These mobile platforms 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.
Going mobile is more of a technological upgrade than anything – adding seamless code to fit your company’s services into one comprehensive mobile app, while integrating location-based tagging and access over many platforms can only be done via the adoption of tech.
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.
There is also a fad for going mobile, yes, but how can YOUR mobile app cut through the nonsense and surface as a leading competitor, and get a place in their memory cards? This article aims to underline the salient points of mobile app development for your business.
Mobile App Development Step 01: Get a Clue
We start with something that seems simple, but is nowhere close. The reason why there are so many startups in the market that simply tank overnight, or invest wrongly in mobile app development is that of no clear goal, no clear vision.
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?
Studying the consumer is equally important. What kind of mobile app are they expecting from you? Does your mobile app make their life so much easier?
Of course, there will also be 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 – all of these are crucial for beginning the mobile app development process.
Mobile App Development Step 02: The Grand Design
Planning and other design go hand in hand. If you don’t have ANY idea of what your mobile app is going to look like, then approaching a developer, or a platform is going to be a waste of resources – resources not all of us can afford to waste.
So, plan it out. Draw your ideas on a paper if you must. How do you want your mobile app to look, and behave? What comes first? How is the User Interface (UI) going to look?
When you have these rough ideas on display, they will serve as invaluable references for the road ahead – you can also compare these on mobile app-design and other such forums (there are several) for much-needed inspiration, or simply seeing what you DON’T want.
Mobile App Development Step 03: Particulars
Now comes the time to dig into things a little technically, and commercially for getting to the next stage of mobile app development. Apart from finding what niche of the market your mobile app can satisfy, you also need to see what measures you can take to monetize your mobile app. Monetization has several modes – from charging consumers when they download the mobile app to running advertisements on the mobile app, all options need to be considered.
Moreover, finding out the technical specs of your mobile app along with tabulating the costs of making the mobile app in your head real are essential. Here, expert opinion counts for a lot.
Mobile App Development Step 04: Surface-level Prototyping
Here, details are important. From understanding the flow of your mobile app, to seeing how it works on mobile platforms – the prototyping process is crucial for the successful launch of your mobile app. There are a few web-based prototyping tools you can use. These aren’t particularly difficult, and incorporate a lot of options in terms of troubleshooting, design additions and so on.
Some of the good ones are InVision, JustinMind, Marvel and so on – for those who wish to engage in hands-on mobile app development, this is a good place to begin. Quite a lot of these don’t involve lines of code, are interactive and can be very easy to use for the upcoming entrepreneur.
Mobile App Development Step 05: Testing and Markup
Create a markup plan for the developer, now that you have the particulars and the prototyping frames at hand, so that there is no loss of translation between what you want and what you get.
Reaching out to your community and getting them to give you feedback on your mobile app can be a great way to see whether your mobile app development has been hitting the right notes – if you can get a working model. At least, reviews and recommendations can help you gain further insight into your market, keeping in mind your technical capabilities to deliver.
Mobile App Development Step 06: Enter the Developer
All the things discussed in the mobile app development process above have involved surface-level skinny dipping, or the front-end of your mobile app. We need to go beyond that now, and come to the skeleton that will prop your app up – the Back end, and this is where the developer comes in.
Finding an app developer that is reasonable (in terms of pricing, behavior or otherwise), and can understand your vision is a little difficult. Approaching design and tech firms can be heavy on the pocket for most independent operators, but it is always the better option since their services will be targeted, and efficient. Finding firms that keep you in the loop while your back-end is developed is key, as it is ultimately your idea that they now have a stake in.
If you’re technically sound, and are interested in the mobile app development process holistically, then you may even consider one of these options – some of them don’t even require you to sound like a coder’s textbook. A few names for you to look up: AppMakr, GENWI, Mippin, Mopbase and MyAppBuilder are all platforms that you can trust and use.
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: Finishing Touches
Well, this stage of the mobile app development process mainly involves troubleshooting and testing – YET AGAIN. Why? Well, we aren’t perfect at any rate, and quite a few issues only arise when the mobile app is subjected to rigorous testing.
Seeing what your mobile app can handle, how the experience is, and its effectiveness can be an endless process – something you don’t want the user to see once the ‘perfected’ version is on the market. 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 infantile stages of your app launch, you can also test them in ‘safer’ groups (like lead users etc.).
All in all, we hope that this comprehensive overview helped you with getting over the tentativeness and the fear that can arise when stepping into this dense, crowded world of mobile app development. However, rest assured that it doesn’t take much to separate the chaff from the real thing, provided to take these steps to heart, and combine these with enthusiasm, vigor and a clearly defined vision.