Quick Guide to the Stages of App Development

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Let’s see if the following statistics from Mobile Apps Usage – Statistics and Trends

By Stacey Rudolph convinces you of the rising power of apps in an individual’s life!

“Mobile apps account for over half of all time spent consuming digital media.

Smartphone users spend about 90 percent of their mobile time on apps.

85 percent of consumers prefer native mobile apps over a mobile website.

Mobile apps account for 42 percent of all mobile sales for Fortune 500 companies.

Revenue from mobile apps is expected to reach nearly $60 billion in the U.S. in 2016.

The average consumer has about 30 apps installed on his device and spends about 35 hours a month using them.” With millions of apps already successful in the app market, let’s discuss how they got there and why are they successful. In this article, we will go through the complete life cycle of an app development – from its inception to final release. Once you are familiar with these steps, you will be able to approach a reliable app development team with your next app idea!

App Idea Inception

Dig deep into research. Look around you, Listen to the market. What gaps in products and services exist? If you are an established business, play with current apps to see what else can be provided. Observe the life style of the digital consumer. What features in a given app makes them a lifestyle habit of the consumer? Also, look at the behaviors of your target audience. How are they unique from the regular consumers? What can be done to help them realize their potentials?

In short, what value can you add to their daily lives? How do you want your target audience to use your app? How will your app provide value to your business in terms of brand and revenue? What platform do you prefer to use? Better yet, what platform are your target audiences using? Who are your competitors? What apps do they have? How successful are these apps? How much time do you have before you need your app up and running? What kind of budget can you afford for your app? How will you market your app?

A great app idea stems from answers to these questions. Do your homework well before you approach the app development professionals.

 Establish App Goals

Work with your in-house team. Talk to your business strategists and partners. Involve all stakeholders and share with them your researched notes. Getting feedback in early helps minimize future disasters and visualize realistic expectations. Once you have covered all aspects of the app – idea to marketing scheme with your organization, create a list of clear objectives and goals of the app. Remember these goals should be measurable. They should be able to translate to tangible results. For example, an app designed to improve customer relationship should visibly improve the area through rating numbers, polls etc. If it is designed to improve purchase transactions, the goals should reflect an increase from n number of sales to z. Creating app goals that are measureable will lead to better ROI on the app.

Storyboards

At this stage, you need to stop and take a hard look at your in-house app development capabilities. Is your organization cut out for the task? Can they really build a professional app that will deliver all goals you set-forth in the previous step? Another thing you need to do is to create a good replica of the app with the aid of storyboarding techniques. For this purpose, you are free to engage your current in-house teams to come up with a good screen-by-screen wireframe design. After all, the app belongs to your organization. You know what you need and you need to be able to express through storyboards!

Create a clear picture in terms of aesthetics and functionality for your app. There are many storyboarding and wire framing tools available online. These are easy to learn and use. Demonstrate links and connections between each screen. Determine how the app will utilize native data and what external information it will provide. Be conscious of your brand at all times. Incorporate all the unique features in your storyboard – the ones you determined through your research. Don’t worry, you are completely forgiven for not getting into the nitty technical details behind the app.

Approach an App development Team

Your storyboard and wire frames are now ready to be shared with a qualified software house. In the previous articles, we discussed how to choose the right software house and the type of questions you need to ask before finalizing one. Now is the time to make use of that information! The right software house will enlighten you with the back-end details. Make sure you have your in-house IT personnel who can help you understand the technical details behind running an app. Learn about the data transfer, database size, server support and programming language your app will need. Once you have these details covered, you will be able to work on more changes with your organization. Remember, involving all stakeholders at key stages of the app development life cycle will ensure a safer development process.

Budgeting and Payment 

Determine how much your organization can afford to pay for the app. Budget the payment in terms of the hourly payments required by the teams, the launching and the future support for the app. Also talk about how often you will meet the app development team to ensure steady and desirable progress.

Another important step in this stage is to set up developer accounts for the app stores where you will market your app. It will save you time when you are ready to launch and distribute your app. Submit a rough idea of your app to the store so that you have better chances of approval at a later stage.

Develop Your App

Having all the nuances and formalities out of the way, you are now ready to press the green light. Your software house will begin coding and programming. Based on the timelines you have received on specific milestones, you will be able to contact the team and review the progress. Make sure you are responsive and involved through the coding phase to rule out any unpleasant or undesired developments. Now is a good time to determine if you want to keep the development team for the entirety of the project or you want to look somewhere else.

Test Your App

Finally, you have the complete app with all interfaces ready for interaction. Compare the original design with the final product. What differences exist? Why were they essential? Are all features working well? Test and test again. Have a sample from the target audience test the app. Any feedback at this stage is extremely helpful.

Launch Your App

SEO and ASO (app store optimization) are the main activities completed before the launch. Promotions and marketing strategies are implemented using high-quality screen shots. Try to launch a website that talks more about your app. Make sure the website has your app’s name and icon, app stores from where your app can be downloaded, promotional video, links to social media, press kit, testimonials and links for downloading. Consider offering discounts and other incentives as a promotion.

Monitor the KPI’s and measure your apps objectives as planned.

Understanding the life cycle stages of an app development is the key to building a successful app. Good luck!

 

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