The mobile app development process begins with an idea- and then includes stages and steps such as requirement gathering, research and planning, UI/UX design, application development, QA testing, and finally deployment on platforms such as Android and iOS. The app launch is usually followed by maintenance and support to improve the user experience and keep the application up to date. While the app development process consists of the stages mentioned above, the mobile apps in effect are made with tools such as Buildfire.js, Ionic, Xamarin, software development kits such as Flutter, React Native, and programming languages such as Swift, Java and Kotlin etc.
The mobile app market is skyrocketing, and with the offerings for smartphones and tablets constantly increasing, consumer spending in app marketplaces is also reaching its peaks.
Apps can generate billions of dollars in revenue worldwide via app stores and in-app advertising, which is one of the significant reasons businesses wish to enter the app market. There are several statistics supporting it, like the ones below.
Apple’s App Store currently has over 1.5 million apps, and Google Play Store has over 2.5 million. Moreover, worldwide consumer spending on apps is expected to reach $156.5 billion by 2022 and $270 billion by 2025 out of which, the market has earned over $65 billion from Apple’s App Store, and Google Play combined in 2022.
Regardless of the industry, businesses now understand that to stay relevant and thrive in today’s highly competitive market, they will need to leverage the power of mobile applications. With built-in features of smartphones, apps offer enhanced user experience and get you an edge over the competition if you are well prepared in advance and come with a sound mobile app development process.
Mobile application development is the process of designing and developing an app that runs on smartphones or tablets that are specifically written with a specific audience in mind. Examples include social media, health, fitness, games, entertainment, education, mobile banking apps, etc.
Now that you have a brief idea of how mobile apps are made, let’s read all the things you need to know that go into the step-by-step mobile app development and creation process including various stages.
But before we get to the process of developing an app, let’s first see why investing in mobile app development is still relevant.
Why Invest in Mobile App Development
Mobile apps are taking over, and as a business owner, it’s essential to develop a mobile offering to reach your target audience and grow your business. Let’s look at some significant reasons to invest in mobile apps.
Reach Global Audience
Mobile apps help you to reach a global audience and connect with customers all over the globe. Also, it promotes market expansion and increases opportunities for business growth.
Better User Accessibility
Having an app gives customers a place to learn about the company and allows them to access all they need in one tap, anywhere and anytime, make purchases, and more. In short, it virtually puts your business in its pocket.
Increased Customer Retention and Engagement
Businesses can attract new customers and retain existing customers by building an app for them and offering exclusive, engaging content in the app that keeps them coming back from time to time.
Increased Revenue and Conversion
E-businesses are growing like never before. Adopting a mobile-focused marketing approach can result in 80% of sales, as nearly 40% of sales come from applications. Developing a mobile app is essential to expand and growing your business.
Boosts Brand Reputation and Networking
A mobile app can help you make a good brand reputation. A good reputation can also help you market your brand internationally because users can download your app from anywhere in the world and quickly discover your app over the app stores.
Now that you know why you should invest in app development, let’s look at the different types of mobile app development.
Types of Mobile App Development
When businesses start the mobile app development process, they focus on only the design aspects and how the app will look, but one of the most important things is what type of app they wish to build.
Businesses face a wide range of options, and choosing the right type and technology is crucial in bringing your app idea to life. There are four broad types of Mobile App Development.
To help you decide which one to choose, let us discuss them below.
Native Mobile Apps
These apps are built using integrated development environments and software development kits that help developers create an app for specific platforms. Languages for mobile OS include Apple iOS and Google Android Kotlin, Java, Swift, and C++. They give development teams complete access to the device’s hardware and functionality. As a result, they are fast and work better than other types of applications.
Typically, businesses choose them when they don’t need a high-forming, full-device access app.
Progressive Web Apps
Progressive web apps (PWAs) look like website extensions that can be saved on your device. They use web browser APIs that can give users a native app-like experience across devices. They are simple web pages that act like apps, work on insufficient data, and need no installation or manual updation.
Now that you know the types of mobile apps and once you select the type, we can now move on to the next step, which is steps on how to create an app/ mobile app development process. The mobile app development stages are similar for all types.
How Apps are Made – Stages and Steps in Mobile App Development Process
Now that you have decided on developing an application for your idea or business, it’s important to know the process of how apps are made and what different steps are followed. The steps and stages that fall under the mobile app development process, which forms the lifecycle of your mobile application, are detailed below.
The above is the flowchart for app development.
The best way to understand how an app is made is to take a close look at the step-by-step process of how to create one, which is described below.
Step 1: Ideation and Requirement Gathering
When you first begin a project, the primary step is to work on an idea. Then, you need to gather requirements for the project to ensure your vision is worth investing time, money, and effort in. Every project should begin with detailed client interactions to understand what they expect from the mobile application.
> Objective of the App: Why do you need the mobile app? Is your idea a great fit for the company’s or target audience’s needs?
> Target Audience: Know who your target audience is and potential users.
> USP of the app: Important features and core appeal of the app. Why should your audience use your app and how are they better than competitors?
> Competitor Analysis: Who are your competitors, and do they have a similar app? Any issues that customers face? If yes, Will your app solve the problems they have?
> App Investment and Marketing: Mobile app development requires time, money, and effort. Are you willing to spend so much, or do you have a defined budget for the same? What will be your promotional strategies to avail new customers?
If you are ready for the questions above, you can move on to the next step in the app development stages.
Step 2: Market Research and Planning
Proper planning is essential to your app journey as your app idea is finally taking shape and turning into an actual project. Market research can help you know if your product has demand in the market which you can then work on to modify or have better requirements that you can focus on.
The following is the market research process.
> Define the objective and determine the customer persona
> Prepare research survey questions and get them answered
> Speak to the target customer of your business journey
> Keep the survey informative and do competitor surveys.
Market research helps you gain a proper understanding of customers, get a clear idea of competitors, assess products before launch, identify business opportunities, and discover feature lists and demands of users.
Once you have identified the requirements, prepare a roadmap, select a name for the app and domain name, prioritize the requirements, and group them into delivery milestones. Lastly, you can identify the skills needed for app development, the type of app, and the scope.
Step 3: UI/UX Design
The success of your mobile app depends on how well your users adopt and benefit from the features. The goal of the mobile UI/UX design is to create an app that is interactive, user-friendly, and makes an excellent user experience.
The first step is User Interface (UI) Design, which determines the data to display on your mobile app, how users will interact with the finished product, and the user journey within the app. On that front, workflow diagrams help identify the user’s possible interaction with the app and the navigation structure. Here are other elements you will have to work around.
> Wireframes: They are conceptual layouts that give you an understanding of the app’s functional requirements. A wireframe is a quick and cost-effective approach to mobile app design.
> Style Guides: They document your app’s design standards, including color schemes, typefaces, and graphics, per the company’s branding guidelines. Following a style guide ensures consistency across the apps’ look and feel.
> Mock-ups: They are final renderings of the app’s visual designs. They are also called high-fidelity designs, as they can be created with the help of popular tools such as Figma, Invision, and Adobe XD. They also ensure seamless collaboration across the app’s design and engineering team.
> Prototype: They simulate user experience and how they would work with your app as a finished product. Prototype development can be time-consuming, but they are well worth it as it tests your app’s design and functionality.
Also read: Difference Between Wireframe, App Prototype & Mockup
Step 4: App Development
The most integral part of the mobile app development process, this phase is where you have to define the technical architecture, code, and milestones in the app development stages.
Firstly, make the right decisions for choosing mobile application development platforms. Choose from either Native, Cross-platform, or web apps as listed above.
Here are the three mobile app development stages:
> Frontend Development: This is client-side, where the user interacts with the mobile app. The user can decide whether the application is good based on the client-server interaction and the intuitive experience they get. It is essential to consider mobile application development technologies that ensure interactive screens, good communication, and ease of use.
> Backend Development: A rugged and robust backend is equally important; it provides a smooth touch and movement. The backend development plays a significant role in deciding and enhancing the app’s functionality.
> Integration and Database Management: Data movement from the frontend to the backend and vice versa is essential. The choice of API integration and database management can determine the speed of the app owing to integration with the app and the type of device.
On average, an app development timeline can take between 2 to 12 months, depending on the complexity of the app and the structure of your project, excluding other stages.
|App Development Type||Tech Stack/Mobile app development frameworks|
|Native Android App Development||IDE: Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA|
Programming Language: Java, Kotlin
|Native iOS App Development||IDE: XCode|
Programming Language: Objective-C, Swift
|Cross-platform||Flutter, React Native, PhoneGap|
Backend: Node.js, .Net, PHP
Step 5: QA Testing
After development, you must run a code review process to ensure that there are no significant bugs to solve. Also, it is time to conduct a final usability test to have a visually appealing, fully functional app. Finally, you can identify the bugs you may have overlooked and apply the last changes to the product.
The following are the various mobile app testing stages after and during development. Here it goes.
> Documentation Testing: The first testing stage is where strategy begins with layouts, navigational charts, and other essential aspects. Check for the wanted features and make them high-performing before app development begins.
> Functional Testing: It helps you test your mobile app’s industry requirements. Keep in mind the following components –
- Business functionality: Usable for net banking, social networks, education, e-commerce, ticketing, etc.
- Target audience: Age, location, app usage, etc.
- Distribution challenge: Google Play, App Store, direct hosting on the software or legacy system
> Usability Testing: This testing of the app is done to check user convenience, efficiency, and effectiveness when using the app.
> UI (User Interface) testing: This testing ensures that the app’s GUI meets all the specifications.
> Compatibility testing: This testing ensures the optimal performance of the mobile app as per the device size, hardware, version, screen resolution, etc, and its respective configurations are checked too.
> Performance testing: This tests your mobile app’s consistency under a specific workload. It consists of various types
- Stability Testing
- Load Testing
- Stress Testing
- Concurrency Testing
- Volume Testing
> Security testing: It helps validate the security and risk aspects of your application from hackers, viruses, protection, and unauthorized access to sensitive data.
Some top mobile app development tools for testing include Xamarin UITest, Appium, Kobiton, Robotium, Test IO, Play Console, etc.
Step 6: Mobile App Deployment
A beta version of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) can be launched first to attract early adopters, which can help mainstream your app. After that, users can provide a lot of beneficial feedback about the app, and it can be launched fully after testing it.
Once done, it is time to launch it in Google Play Store or Apple Store. Optimizing the application as per the respective app store is very important. Ensure that your app has the following before it goes live.
> Title and description
> Features list and explanation
> Category of the app
> Appropriate keywords and phrases that are the best fit
> Icon in respective resolutions
> Screenshots of the app in good resolution
Follow proper app store quality guidelines before you launch the mobile app and optimize it accordingly.
Step 7: Feedback, Support & Maintenance
This is the final step, where the developer will need some intervention as the public will begin to use the app and share views. For the initial few months, the mobile app development company must ensure that support is included in the application development services list.
At this stage, businesses must take in feedback, perform frequent iterations, incorporate feedback going forward, and keep building on the app idea over time to ensure success.
Now that you know the mobile app development process including all stages and steps, let us see some mistakes you can avoid when developing an app for your business.
Mistakes to Avoid when Developing A Mobile App for Your Business
Now how to ensure that your mobile app stands out from the crowd and provides a natural competitive edge to your business? Here are some mistakes you can avoid when developing a mobile app.
Setting Unrealistic Budgets
One of the most common mistakes business owners make is underestimating and mismanaging the budget for building a custom app. The development process may vary in terms of timeline. Depending on the app’s features, functionalities, and overall complexity, it can take weeks or months, so businesses need to vary their expectations.
Plan for unexpected app development costs, complete research, and make a detailed budget before initiating the mobile app development process. Understanding the target audience, app features list, design elements, and intended app monetization strategy will play a significant role here.
No matter how detailed and extensive your budget is, make room for miscellaneous expenses and unforeseen circumstances that will always arise in the process of developing an app.
Ignoring User Needs and Feedback when Developing A Mobile App
What does your user need? How can you serve your customer better? It can be a mistake to ignore these questions. Understanding your target audience is the key, as every successful app is made on intense user research.
Your business can be a substantial financial burden if no one uses your app. Understand what the competition is already doing and set clear goals and targets for creating a unique solution. Make sure the app design is fluid and straightforward, allowing users to navigate smoothly.
Poor Communication with Developers
You work closely with developers to reach a common goal: which is to develop an amazing app. Thus, communication is essential for every successful app development project. Getting your developers to see your entire vision may seem like an uphill task, but you must commit to it.
The best way to avoid confusion is to communicate with developers. Explain the features you want within the app with visuals. Create diagrams and sample sketches of screens so that the designers and developers get an idea. It also gives the developers what needs to be done on a realistic budget.
Adding too many Features when Developing the App
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is thinking that adding multiple features will make users appreciate the app more. But, unfortunately, sometimes more is never better, and being quality-rich does not mean it is better than others or can serve the users better.
Having too many features can confuse the users, especially when you launch your app, and this is one of the main reasons why many apps fail when they hit the stores. To eliminate this risk, you need to identify the essential features to make your application stand out and not overcrowd it with useless features. Then, focus on a few and improve them over time.
Adding Many Mobile Platforms Initially
One of the biggest mistakes when developing an app is to build an app for all possible platforms. They can be highly counter-productive for your vision as they skyrocket your initial cost for mobile app development.
The best way to go about this is to do market research, decide on one platform initially, and launch the app on that platform. Then, receive customer feedback and work on them. Finally, once you are sure of the app’s success on one platform, go for the development of the next platform.
If you wish to release the app on multiple platforms, plan the process of developing an app well in advance with a clear idea of your strategies.
Mobile app development can be overwhelming but rewarding. We hope this guide gives you extensive information about the mobile app development process and helps you understand everything involved.
If you want to discuss your project or ideas, look no further. We at Ailoitte are a trusted Mobile app development & digital transformation company specializing in developing applications for the Android, Web, and iPhone platforms across the globe. We have an expert team of experienced mobile app developers who deliver featured-packed and interactive app development services for startups and enterprises.
Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions to help make the right decisions.
To develop an app for Android, you need to get an idea of the brand and start doing competitive market research. Then choose a name for your app and features for the app. Next, make design mockups and choose the best technology stack. Once you have done this, follow the process and mobile app development best practices. Lastly, carry out proper testing of the app and submit it to Google Play Store once it is done, improve and update your app continuously.
The following is the app development steps to develop an app for iOS. Finalize an app idea and do competitive market research. Decide the app’s features and make design mock-ups of the app. Build the app using React Native/Xamarin/Swift/Objective-C and submit the app to the App Store. Lastly, improve your app with user feedback.
A simple app needs about a month, and a mid-sized app can take anywhere between 6-7 weeks, and 9-10 weeks for a more extensive app. Usually, the average time to develop an app varies from one to three months to launch an MVP and six to twelve months to scale it into a great product.
There are three main types of mobile apps. Native Apps are built specifically for each platform: iOS and Android. Web-based apps that can be accessed through a web browser and Cross platform App development built for Android and iOS devices.
The app development processes start with the idea that can solve real-life’s problems. It is like the aim of your app and what features would make it stand out for the users.
The 4 phases of mobile app workflow are ideation and market research, design and development, testing, and providing maintenance/support.