Mobile applications have become the lifeline of Smart phones. They have become so popular that a number of successful businesses are based on mobile apps alone. Lots of such applications generate insane revenue. Instagram, Whatsapp and Snapchat are some of the examples.
If you look at the Indian scenario, Snapdeal has shunned their website completely and is going to be exclusively as an app.
In spite of their popularity and revenue opportunity, a lot of businesses are apprehensive about going mobile. Why? Because, they are lost when it comes to actual mobile app development. But mobile application development is not that complex. Let’s take a look at the steps necessary to develop a mobile app and decide.
1. Define the Objective
Before we start app development, these questions have to be answered –
- What will your mobile application do?
- What purpose it will fulfill?
- How is it going benefit others?
A clear objective is important to begin any task. The objective will keep you focused towards achieving the goal.
2. Understand the Market
One needs to understand the target market segment for the mobile application. One needs to research the market to determine the scope.
- Are similar applications available in the market?
- How will your application be different?
- Can it attract the customers?
- What will be the age group of the customers using the app?
- Is motive of the application revenue generation?
- How can revenue be maximized?
Answers to these questions will help in determining the usability and the functionality that need to be offered through application.
For example, picture editing apps can serve different purpose. For a casual user, the functionality required will be basic. On the other hand, professional users will expect advance functionality. Hence, understanding the market and the target customer segment can help you decide on:
- What features to be provided?
- Whether app should be free?
- What should be the price?
3. Decide the Platform
Before designing on a mobile application, you need to determine the platform for app development. The development platforms are different for Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry OS. Based on the chosen OS, development platform has to be configured.
6. Sketch it down
Once you are clear with the objective and completed the market research, designing starts. The developer has to design the structure and the layout. Data flow and screens are determined. The drawing can be drawn for each component. This will act as a reference to start designing the prototype in the next stage.
5. What technology
Next stage is to determine the backend technology and interfaces. The developer needs to set up servers, determine APIs, identify storage mechanism and think of backup solutions. Also, they have to decide on:
- If database is used to push information then which database to use?
- Which APIs to be used to interface with other applications? etc.
6. Create Prototype
A prototype is designed using the software development toolkit provided by Google, iOS, Microsoft or Blackberry to design the app. In this stage, you give shape to your idea. The screens and flow are designed during this stage.
7. Test The prototype
The prototype needs to be tested before final shape can be given. The app is tested for functionality, usability and security. Any bug is noted down and has to be resolved before it can be published.
8. Give the Final Shape
The final touch up is given to the app. All the identified bugs are resolved. It is to make sure that the app is bug-free when published.
9. Test the same
Testing is an ongoing activity. The final testing is done to verify that previous bugs are resolved and to be sure that there are no new bugs.
10. Release it
The app is finally ready to be released and published in the app store. The app is now available to users to download the app.
11. Promote it
Promotion is an important aspect for the success of any app. Appropriate marketing tools should be used to promote your app so that people come to know about it.
12. Provide updates
Providing updates is as important as development or marketing. Updates are required to resolve newly identified issues. It can also be provided to introduce new features which help in staying competitive. Users look forward for apps which constantly get updates and incorporate new features.
Mobile app development is not as simple as mentioned in the above steps. But, these 12 points can help you understand how to begin with mobile app development.