Coming up with a good idea for an app is not a very hard thing to do. However, developing a successful app involves extensive planning and coding. It requires upfront design, testing, QA analysis on hundreds of devices, and a complete and improved lifecycle and deployment in a number of different ways. It also requires an engaged and communicating app development company to be in constant touch with you and in full control of the changing needs of the project.
In the last few years, there has been an explosion of apps in the App market, with millions of mobile apps competing for attention in the two popular App stores. In such intense competition, you need to be really thorough even with the primary concepts of your App. You also need to make it stand out in terms of function, use, and design to attract the attention of consumers.
To achieve success with your app, you need to get it right the very first time. Any app, no matter what its function, needs to be spot-on the first time, which is why developers need to follow a systematic, step-by-step process when building their App. In this article, we’re going to look at the 5 phases of Mobile App Development Lifecycle that every developer needs to follow. Here we go.
- Pre-Planning Phase
It’s quite tempting to jump right into the development phase on the very first chance of a beautiful morning when that app idea hits your mind. However, you honestly need to conduct a great deal of research, a considerable amount of market analysis and probably ask yourself tons of questions before implementing your idea.
The idea is to build an App that covers a sufficiently large market, but is specific enough to relate to particular users. And for this, you need to understand why you’re building the app, your main goals, and objectives, how the app will benefit users, how it will improve your business and what sets it apart from the competitor apps. An approach that would lead to success is compiling a go to market strategy for your app which would include all the important aspects of the pre planning phase.
The bottom line here is your app needs to target a specific niche and solve a problem that users are experiencing or improve user’s life. Market research in this phase is aimed at validating your idea before heading into the design phase. At the end of this phase, you should have the project scope mapped out. Write everything down, including sketches of your idea and cost/budget estimates.
- Design Phase
Your App design can be either completed in an afternoon or take thousands of hours depending on your project scope and budget. Some of the steps you need to implement in this phase include:
- Wireframes and storyboarding
This step involves working on the feel and look of your app, considering you already know the objectives and features of your app. Start by defining user roles and how they interact with your app, creating a detailed user journey across your app. Outline the layout sketch of each screen of your app, making it as detailed as possible.
The storyboards and wireframes will offer some insights into the kind of backend required to support your app’s functionality. Based on the desired features, your objectives might narrow down to push notification services, APIs, user engagement platform, analytics tools and the type of database the app will need.
- Prototype design and testing
After finalizing your wireframe, it’s time to build a high fidelity and interactive prototype. The prototype usually gives different stallholders a sneak peek of what your app will look like and can help you further validate your idea and the information you’ve collected.
Allow your prototype to be tested by test users and address any UX/UI concerns or flaws raised by them. If correctly done, the prototype will serve as the basis for your developers to start developing the actual app.
- Development Phase
The development phase goes through a number of stages, these include;
- Alpha phase: Here, the core functions have been developed, but not yet tested. The non-core functions are not yet developed and the app is usually very buggy.
- Beta phase: The developers have developed most of the proposed functions, and the app has also undergone light bug fixing and testing. Some bugs are still present.
- Release candidate: All functionalities are completed and tested at this stage, and the bugs fixed. The app is ready to be released. The developer should be well aware of the resource limitation on mobile devices and write a code which doesn’t burden the memory or processor.
You need to test your mobile app as early and as often as possible. Testing earlier allows you to keep the cost of fixing bugs low. Always base your test cases on your original planning and design documents. Some of the test you should perform include:
- Compatibility testing
- Usability testing
- Interface testing
- Resource testing
- Services testing
- Performance testing
- Security testing
- Operational testing
Manually test your application on as many mobile devices as possible.
After winding up the above four phases, it’s time to launch your app. You have to submit your application to App stores and wait for approval. Some of the most popular app stores include Google App store, Apple App store, AppBrain and Amazon App Store for Android.
Once your App has been approved, your work is far from done – you need to monitor your app on a regular basis providing updates and adding new features as and when necessary. You also need to have the capacity to respond productively and rapidly to coding issues in order to maintain a loyal buyer base. When releasing a new update, be sure to notify your users of the new changes and how they make the app better for the user.
If you already have a promotion strategy in place and have started implementing it, make sure to avoid the most common app marketing mistakes which you can make while you are so busy managing the technical part. Keep in mind that the marketing strategy should be compiled much earlier than the launching time, but it certainly doesn’t end after the app release as well.