Every marketer now has a mobile-first approach. Since most user’s access apps for most of their daily life problems, building a mobile app to market products or services is extremely important for digital presence. A professional mobile app development company provides a digital solution by designing and building your app concept to application development, no matter how complex your business needs are.
There is hardly any wonder in the fact that in a survey conducted by McKinsey, more than 77% of CIOs and CTOs considered the mobile-first approach to be their key prerogative for digital transformation. But the building, deploying, and successfully maintaining a mobile app footprint is not easy if you do not know what it takes to develop a great app and how to manage it over time. This is why a mobile app development company needs to look closely at the app development lifecycle followed by most successful development companies and app projects.
Let's provide here a detailed and step-by-step introduction to the mobile app development lifecycle.
A Detailed Project Requirement Document after Detailed Research
Every app project must ensure that the app idea goes under rigorous market research and evaluation. Any app project should begin with requirement analysis and concept discovery. There should be a detailed project requirement document with key business requirements, app objectives, and the long-term goal for the app. As soon as this phase is over, the app project can further drill down to development requirements.
The discovery phase of an app project is responsible for fine-tuning the app idea so that the final product meets the target user requirements. Instead of rushing things to start developing the app, take time and concentrate on the most important discovery and requirement analysis. Through this phase, only you can ensure how the final app product will address user objectives and goals.
The discovery phase and the project requirement document should cover the following things.
- Give details about the app's principal purpose from the business and the user's point of view.
- Give details about the key business achievements and goals you will pursue through this app project.
- Explain the target user audience as per their demographics and other characteristics.
- Provide a detailed list of the key competitor apps, in what areas your app offers a better solution, and in what areas you need to improve further in the future. Also, mention how your app is meeting user expectations compared to other similar apps in the market.
- Explain your preferred mobile app platform for the app.
- Now, in the next step, mention the required development approach, such as cross-platform, hybrid, or native development.
- Based upon the target platform and the app type, you need to mention now the chosen technology stack for the app product.
- Now figure out an approximate budget for the app project.
- Now mention whether you will opt for in-house hiring or outsourcing a mobile app development company.
- Lastly, mention when you will launch the app and how, before the launch, you will create buzz for the app product in question.
When your research and project analysis have made all these things explicitly clear, and you have made a project requirement document with them, it is time to step ahead for further development.
When the project requirement document is prepared with adequate analysis and research, you can now start building the app product, and the first step will be designing the app. The app design phase is important because it visually establishes the look and feels of the app along with some user experience attributes. This is where the app idea is given a shape.
The first and foremost design step is wireframing. The wireframe refers to the basic UI layout of the app with User Experience (UX) related aspects that describe how the app will work and how the app screens will unfold with the user activities. Wireframes, as the elementary drawings of app screens, are highly effective in kickstarting an app project with something tangible.
The following design step is creating a mock-up of the app. This step takes the wireframes one step ahead and adds more depth to the basic app screen layout by adding colors, fonts, and some gesture elements. The mock-up design is more full-bodied and robust to help all stakeholders to get a clear look and evaluate the design.
The final and concluding design step is dynamic prototyping. It shapes the ultimate look of the app with all detailed attributes, including interactive gesture elements, animated elements, navigation controls, and everything in between. A dynamic prototype is often regarded as a matured proof of concept ready for final evaluation by the investors and stakeholders.
App Development & Iterations
Now we are at the last lifecycle stage called development and iterations. When the app prototype is thoroughly evaluated, and you are completely sanguine about the design and interactions, it's time to move on to the development and iterations.
The app development goes through several evaluations and value additions that we can call the stabilization process. The app development is phased out across multiple stages not just because of ensuring optimum performance but also because of enhanced user experience. The development and stabilization occur through several small iterations and course corrections.
Below, we mention some key stepping stones of this lifecycle stage.
- Prototype: Prototype is the most valid proof-of-concept at the fag end of the design stage. Since a dynamic prototype is mostly focused on perfecting the design concept, it remains full of bugs and errors that must be addressed.
- Alpha Version: When most app functions are coded, but the app is not completely tested, this is called the Alpha version. This version still may have several issues and errors, and all the functions may not be ready for use.
- Beta Version: The next step is the beta version, where features and functionalities are completed and only require testing and addressing flaws.
- Final Release: After working on the beta version by addressing the flaws and thoroughly testing the app, the final release is made ready.
As the app goes through its lifecycle stages, an increasing number of individuals take a closer look at the app, give feedback, test it, make comments, and ultimately give suggestions to improve the app. This is why moving slowly across these lifecycle stages through prototyping, alpha, beta, and final release version is so important. The early versions or proofs-of-concept are mostly for evaluation by the stakeholders, while the beta and final versions are for the actual market release and direct user feedback.
Last but not least, we must mention the importance of the deployment stage at the end of explaining the mobile app development lifecycle. The development lifecycle stages ultimately reach the deployment stage, and it is up to the product owner to adhere to the platform-specific release guidelines and make the app available. After deployment, a solid post-launch marketing strategy should be there to create buzz and make the app discoverable to the target audience.
Juned Ghanchi is the Co-Founder and CMO at IndianAppDevelopers, a mobile app development company that have a specialized team of app developers in India who provides Android and iOS application development for all business domains. Juned is always looking for new mobile technologies ideas and share with others through blogs. Let's connect on Linkedin! about app development.