When it comes to mobile app development, every step of the process is as vital as the next. Cutting corners anywhere can cost the final product stability and user interest. As mobile app developers, it is important to maintain an understanding of each step of the mobile app development lifecycle. This will provide you with the ability to maintain focus on the task at hand while not missing key aspects of the development process.
Below we list the mobile app development lifecycle for your use while coding and developing your apps. Whether you are developing the app yourself or are hiring a mobile application development company to do it for you, this will help you make a schedule.
Phase 1: Envision
Prior to any wireframing or design, a concept for the app must be created. Take the time to envision the purpose of the app and what need will be met when the user interacts with your product. Rushing through this process will undoubtedly impact the quality of your app in the end. Compile a list of all possible mobile app ideas. Brainstorm and research by looking at other successful mobile apps. Often looking at what other companies have done inspires an idea for an improved product. Begin filtering out lower quality ideas with the desire to end with just one great idea. Complete market research as you focus in on the app you plan to build. Understand the market gaps and what the consumer base is requesting from their products. Do not be surprised if the market research births a new or revised mobile app idea. Be sure to be flexible during this time.
By this point, you will want to have reduced your list of ideas to one. If you have completed the required research and still have two or three, then make a confident choice on one and save the rest for later. The final step in this first stage is to develop a mission plan for the app. Take the time to write out who the app is for, what the app does, and why they need it. This will help your team of mobile app developers navigate the development process, keeping the original idea clear in their minds.
Phase 2: Design
It’s very easy to focus simply on the engineering of the mobile app, but you must think like a user during this stage. It may get the job done, but if it is not user-friendly, the app will struggle to catch on. Keep the UX design crisp and easy to follow. Humans have recently been found to have an attention span of 8 seconds. So if your UX takes more than 8 seconds to understand in any way, then you can make improvements. Also, be sure to fully utilize the features of each operating system. If your target customer base uses Galaxy phones with the split screen feature, then be sure to code that feature into your app. Do not take these features lightly, as they can provide an opportunity to make your app truly great.
Once you have created an acceptable wireframe concept, begin the graphic design step. Take the wireframe and flesh out each page of the app. This is the main aspect of your product that will keep users interested, so do not cut corners on the design. Use tools, such as Adobe Kuler, to create a color palate that is pleasing and sharp to the user.
Phase 3: Test & Stabilization
During this phase, you will be focusing on getting all of the coding bugs out of the app. Call on groups who would use such an app and have them try it out. Ask for their input on the app design, features, and overall usability.
You may be able to add a lot of features to your app, but until consumers actually put your product to full use you will not truly confirm the validity of the app. Use their feedback to improve your final product into something that will last. During this testing phase you will also want to test the app yourself, specifically attempting to make it crash. This is in order to find the inevitable kinks in your coding and fix any issues.
Look for the issues. Use every feature in as many ways as possible with the sole purpose of finding the bugs. If you don’t find them, then your users will. It’s better that the development team finds the issues first.
Phase 4: Product Release
This is the phase of the process where the marketing team enters the picture. They must know as well as you how the app operates and what the desired customer base may be. The product must also be optimized for the app platform in mind. Are you focused on mainstream options, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play? Or is the better option the Amazon App Store? Know your target market and upload appropriately.
Phase 5: Update & Maintain
The final phase takes phases 2 through 4 and puts them on repeat. It is vital to the longevity of your app that you maintain constant monitoring of its appearance and functionality.
No matter how many bugs you found during the initial Test & Stabilization phase, your users will find more bugs. You need to be able to respond to the coding issues quickly and efficiently in order to maintain a loyal consumer base. How many times have your favorite apps changed their look? Sometimes the design of apps changes in subtle ways, and sometimes the change makes it feel like a brand new app. Either way, updates are often necessary to keep the app feeling fresh and up to date. Continue to design and redesign the app; down to the wireframing level.
Also, do not let your updates go unnoticed. With each update be sure to explain clearly how the app has been improved and why. This not only shows the user base that there is active improvement being completed on the app, but that the errors experienced are being noticed by the development team.