So, you’ve decided to build an app. Either to earn money or just to implement your cool idea and see how it goes. Of course, if you are not an app developer, you will look for an app development company.
But what should you start from? What do you need to think of, prepare, plan in advance? To what extent should you be involved in each stage of mobile app development?
We will try to help by sharing the answers to key questions, based on our almost 10-years’ experience in mobile app development.
1. Background information
The more information you provide, the better the chances that your app will be something you imagined and really expected. So, make sure to write down clear requirements and expectations, then transfer the document to your team. Specify the purpose of your future app and the problem it’s going to solve. Include target operating systems (iOS and/or Android), audience and design preferences. It’s a good idea to find some referral apps that have something in common with your app idea. Try to describe features and explain how the consumers would use it. To do this, choose your app features properly.
2. How do you prioritize your app features?
1) Start from what will make your app special – think of some unique features that your competitors don’t offer. Maybe your app has a free web version or allows to restore deleted items? Try to define the unique benefit your application will provide to users.
2) Then go down to the lower level – must-have features. For example, for a hotel booking app, the core features would be: search of available rooms, making a reservation and payment.
3) Think of different use cases and remember you can always add more features later, in the form of updates or Premium additions.
4) Then work on secondary features, like User profile and Settings. But keep it simple. Adding more features doesn’t mean your app will become better. In fact, by adding unnecessary features, you risk cluttering your end-users experience or even lose them.
The set of features is different for each app. However, here are some recommendations:
According to AgilOne, more than 70% of users expect personalized experiences, and 28% appreciate automated personal reminders in their apps. In case of hotel booking application, you can recommend rooms based on previously made reservations.
Offline access makes your app work well anytime, anywhere. This increases the loyalty of your users, preventing problems with poor Wi-Fi connection. In some cases, offline access is absolutely necessary, for health monitoring apps, for example.
When first entering your app, your user should already know how to navigate it. So, minimize the fields and steps needed to take a certain action. Avoid at all costs:
- Complicated search or checkout
- Long registration process
- Features that are difficult to access or understand.
Your app should be trusted and safe to use. Discuss with your app development company on early stages how you’re going to make your mobile app secure. Some of the best practices include:
- encrypting all the data that’s exchanged over your app
- storing as little information as possible on the device
- using only authorized APIs
- regular code reviews.
You can also add biometric or two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access.
Through the feedback system, your end-users will be able to share any bugs or system issues. Based on this info, you can make further necessary changes & improvements to your app.
Social networking options – login, integration & share
This feature is useful not only for the entertainment apps. Sign-up & login through Facebook or Google+ is much faster & easier. Or, you can let users share their in-app achievements with others, thus promoting your app. Finally, you can integrate LinkedIn feed directly into a business app. As a result, users will view recent LinkedIn updates and interact with others without leaving the app.
3. On which platform & devices will your app run? Android or iOS?
Keep in mind that target users, development timeline & budget are different for these two platforms. From our own experience, Android app development takes up to 20% more time than iOS development. If the timeframe and costs are your first priority, you may want to go for cross-platform app development.
4. What are your UI design preferences?
Think of the general style by yourself or help the designer understand it. Work on the app icon and the color palette of your app together with your designer tightly. Should the app be consistent with your website style? If so, your mobile app development team should know this.
It’s crucial to participate in every stage of the UX & UI design process: creating mood boards, wireframing and prototyping. That way, you can avoid getting a UI design that misses your expectations. Try to be involved as much as you can in discussing wireframes, as they will set the direction for the whole app style.
5. What are your budget/time expectations?
Make sure your app development company understands the project completely, in every single detail. Because this will be reflected in the estimates and cost that will be provided to you later. If you have some time and money limits, or target budget, let them know – this may help to save time for everyone.
6. How do you make the development productive?
Your app development company will help you choose the right technology stack and set up the team of developers. Typical app development team consist of:
- UX/UI designer
- 2 app developers – 1 for iOS and 1 for Android
- Back-end engineer
- Quality assurance engineer
- Project manager
During the development stage, stay in touch with your team and conduct meetings on a regular basis (at the end of each sprint at least). This way, you can stay updated on the current process and prevent future issues. Also, make sure to receive the in-development versions of your app once or twice a week.
7. How to properly test your app? What do you do after the release?
Your app should be tested for performance, compatibility, usability, functionality and security. Make sure that QA engineers start testing your app on the early development stage. This will help to avoid tons of bug fixes later. You can also run beta tests with a group of potential users. Based on their feedback, make final adjustments before the release. Once your app is published on Google Play or Apple Store, you can add the necessary updates & provide maintenance regularly. Thus, the mobile solution will function properly on the latest OS versions.
When you’re just starting, the whole app development seems a long process full of hidden risks. So many things to plan, stages to pass, competitors to distinguish from… That’s why it’s vital to find an experienced and reliable app development company that will work with you as a consultant and help you build a profitable & widely-used mobile app. Ready to begin?