Without a shadow of a doubt, there has been an exponential rise in the number of apps available in the App market. Millions of apps are getting developed and readily available in the two prominent App Stores. Adding to this fact, the number of app users and the data consumed seems to be accelerating like never before. As such it is natural for any enterprise to make use of mobile app development and expand their business, especially in this digital age.
The numbers of users going the mobile app way has only seen an increase and by all accounts, the competition in the app universe will get tough and fierce. Developing an app for your enterprise or business is not something which can be done in a quick afternoon. There are certain processes involved in app development and then there are decisions involved in choosing the apps. To understand all of these, it is imperative to look and analyze each phase of the mobile app development lifecycle so that all the stakeholders involved could get to know better about building a great app.
Phase 1: Preplanning of the App
This is the most important phase among all while creating a mobile app. It is important to research whether your idea already has been implemented or if implemented are there any drawbacks and so on. The research could later help in providing use cases or important features that need to be incorporated. It is crucial that we have a clear picture of what app needs to do, how the users will benefit, how the user-interface will behave, what features it will have, what the optional features and scalability of features in future etc. In short, you should be able to visualize your app before it is actually implemented.
Phase 2: Establish the idea
This is the first major step in bringing the idea into reality. The feasibility of the concept is evaluated with the help of stakeholders especially the technical team. The cost estimates, timelines, the different strategies all come into the big picture .If the feasibility looks positive then the data obtained from phase 1 is used to understand usability issues, potential drawbacks, much-needed features and if possible a rough sketch of the interface.
Phase 3: Conduct the feasibility from technical perspective
After phase 2, most would be having the easy-to-grasp visual, interactions, a rough sketch on the app’s expected functionality. With this information, we assess the technical feasibility of the app. First and foremost, we determine how the app could make use of usable data. This could be either with help of self-constructed abstract layer or with help of a public API. Next, we focus on the platforms and devices on which app needs to be executed. By end of this phase, we should be able to have a clear project definition and have a minimum marketing strategy available.
Phase 4 : Creation of the App Prototype
We would never know how an app works unless we have the actual one. So, create a prototype making use of common use cases and with minimum functionalities anticipated in the app. The aim of this phase is to allow all the stakeholders to see and feel the prototype so that feedbacks can be gathered before going to the next stage.
Phase 5: Start the Design of the App
As in the case with all software lifecycle, the design has to be initiated before the actual development takes place. In this stage, both UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) designers come into the picture. While UX designer would be designing the interaction architecture involving design elements, UI designer would be focusing on the actual interface, especially its look and feel. All the design related activities are carried out in this phase including design reviews. The design blueprint would be created by end of this phase. The blueprint provides the necessary directions for the developers to start their developmental areas in order to envision the final product.
Phase 6: Actual App Development
The development can be initiated once the app design is available. Considering the advantages, an agile development approach would be welcome in developing the mob apps. There is better transparency, collaboration, less redundancy when the agile methodology is followed and is often one of the recommended techniques for the best fast-to-market approach for the products.
Phase 7: App Testing Stage
Once the product is completely built, the next stage would be to test the app. Apart from the usual white/black testing and integration testing, a stricter UAT Testing is required. UAT Testing would allow the target audience to have a feel of your app and could provide feedbacks to improve the product. Some apps also incorporate a BETA stage, which allows users from an open solicitation or from selected groups to test the app. The feedbacks are collected to understand the different facets of the app and improve wherever necessary.
Phase 8: App Launching
Once the testing phase is over, the app is ready to face the real world environment. Before launching, it is often recommended to have some sort of marketing as well as buzz around the product, so that more users look into the app. From articles to write-ups in social media, anything that helps to create momentum would help in the early acceptance or success of the app.
With this, we hope you do understand the lifecycle of app development and would do whatever necessary to have the best app development strategies.