Through all the app projects we've done, we know exactly what it takes to execute. According to a recent study, mobile use statistics tell a very compelling story for businesses still on the fence: Mobile apps account for over half of all time spent consuming digital media. 85 percent of consumers prefer native mobile apps over a mobile website.
Of course, even with all the evidence in favor of building an app, the decision to move forward isn't one to be taken lightly. It's important to understand the cellular application development process and how your app will fit with both your market niche and your marketing goals. With that said, here's a look at the application development lifecycle and the objectives and challenges along the way.
DISCOVERY & MARKET RESEARCH
You may already have a few good mobile phone app ideas for your business, and that's a good place to start. But before you move into the design and advancement phase, your first step should be a deep dive into research-into your own business and target audience, as well as that of your competitors. You'll need answers to the following questions:
- What do you want your portable application to accomplish?
- Where does it fit in your mobile advertising plans?
- Who is your market?
- How do you want your customers to use your app?
- What platform (or platforms) will you use?
- Which mobile app expansion language and framework should you use?
- What are your competitors doing? What features do they offer?
- What is your overall application development budget?
- When do you want to launch the app?
Put together your app development team with members from relevant departments (executive leadership) and hash out the information you gathered during the research and discovery phases.
WIREFRAMES & STORYBOARDS
At this stage, now it's time to start sketching out your application and creating a storyboard.
There are many online tools for wireframing your app; your goal at this point is to develop a clear picture of how your ideas and proposed features will fuse together into a functional application. You should also create a storyboard, or roadmap, to demonstrate the connections between each screen and exactly how users will navigate through the app. Keep these pointers in mind as you sketch:
- Look for opportunities to incorporate your brand.
- Focus on the user experience.
- Consider the differences in the way people use a mobile app versus a mobile website.
- Defining the Backend of Your Portable App
- Data diagrams, servers, and push notification services. Oftentimes, since they solve common challenges such as scalability and lack of in-house talent.
The take-away: stay flexible in your early stages.
FINALIZING YOUR WIREFRAME & TESTING YOUR PROTOTYPE
At this point, it's time to build a great interactive prototype.
Prototyping is an essential step in the application development process, because it gives you an opportunity to really evaluate design concepts, gather feedback.
It is a good idea to bring in people who are not part of the mobile app team to test and evaluate your prototype. Observe them as they interact with the software and ask for honest opinions on the app's overall features and ease of use. Adapt the UI/UX to correct for any shortcomings identified during this stage.
DEVELOPING THE APPLICATION
Actually developing the application involves a number of steps and processes. If you aren't using an app creation system or perhaps mobile BaaS provider, your developer will have to set up the actual storage solutions, databases, APIs.
If you don't currently have them; this step can take several days to complete and is easy to overlook.
You're now ready to transfer to the programming and coding stage. If you've hired outside talent to develop the app, be sure to get a signed nondisclosure agreement and establish a timeline intended for deliverables. Keep in mind the "hire slow".
At this time, your designer will create the app "skins" or actual screens used in your mobile iphone app. So make sure your designs incorporate all the ideas and responses collected through the earlier testing phase. After all, you are creating an application you want your visitors and target audience to actually enjoy using.
TEST & TEST AGAIN
Now you need to rigorously test your app in a variety of real-world scenarios to sniff out and correct any technical flaws.
Don't assume something works in the final concept just because it worked during the production phase.
Again, Be sure to test for cross platform compatibility of images, graphics, and user encounter.
It's period to make the final preparations to release the mobile app.
PREPARING FOR LAUNCH
The steps you take to prepare for your application start may have the greatest effect on its ultimate success, and getting your marketing department involved early on in the process is one of the most important. Marketing will help you with keyword research, which is essential to get SEO and application store optimization (ASO), both of which are key pertaining to discoverability.
This is important for branding and awareness, key components of your app's landing page or perhaps website should include:
- Your app's name and icon.
- Badges and names of the stores where your app can be downloaded.
- Screenshots as well as your promotional video.
- A mailing list/subscription form (pre-launch) and download links (post launch ).
- Contact and support information.
- Links to your social media accounts.
- A press kit.
- Testimonials and user reviews (post release ).
If you have a company blog, publish updates throughout the development process to create interest and anticipation. It may be also smart to launch an email campaign. Depending on your market niche and the type of application you are building.
As you walk through your app promotion checklist, don't forget to include application analytics to help you optimize the app and increase the charm to your market. Google Analytics is a good spot to begin.
Now is also a good time to consider alternative app marketplaces, another option to consider through the pre-launch phase is submitting your application to PreApps, an app marketplace that connects developers with early adopters, for some pre-release feedback.
Your official release date should represent the climax of your application marketing efforts up to this point. It's time for you to create some buzz with write-ups and articles by influential bloggers and journalists-and to make an announcement to everyone who showed interest in your app prior to start. Promote your release with a contact blast and mentions (with links) on all your social media profiles. The idea is to generate downloads and ratings, and build some momentum.
You want to keep your new users engaged. That is a great time to use push notifications to announce a special offer or advertising so users will open your software. Remember that advertising your app is an ongoing process, and your release-date efforts are just the beginning.
Finally, a timely update or fix can work wonders for retaining your customers. Pay attention to your analytics and track those KPIs that define achievement for your promoting objectives.