We are living in an exciting time, where consumers are getting the relishing experience with the help of Technology. We are witnessing innovative marketing strategies coupled with mobile applications, which can help us perform almost any work possible.
Mobile apps have become a strategic tool for enterprises to provide the necessary utility to their consumers, and that’s the reason why application developers must follow a strategic development approach to develop suitable and successful solutions.
Before going any further, we need to understand what is a Successful Application? A successful application is one that is an outcome of a tried and tested mobile app development process. You need to follow a robust mobile app development lifecycle to understand how to create an app.
Arka Softwares is an ace custom mobile app development company, which has already delivered hundreds of successful mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms. Our developed apps have been regularly featured on TechCrunch, CB Insights, and Business Insider with an overwhelmingly positive response.
We know the crux of the mobile app process, and in this article, we are going to summarize 10 steps to build a successful mobile application, and we are pretty much sure that this will help you.
Table of Content
It all starts with an app idea and a Problem statement. A person can observe a Problem and then devise an Idea to solve it with the help of Technology.
You will come across a lot of questions, such as :
- What problem can be solved with the mobile app?
- What aspects we must know before building a mobile app?
- What mobile app development methodology we must follow?
- What steps we must follow to develop an app?
- How to build an app from scratch?
- How much time it may take to build an app?
- How much cost was incurred to develop a full-fledged mobile app?
These are some fundamental questions, that usually crop up while discussing a potential mobile application. We will try our best to provide you best answers and justifications for the same.
Key Mobile App Statistics
- Mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023.
- The Apple App Store has 1.96 million apps available for download.
- There are 2.87 million apps available for download on the Google Play Store.
- 21% of Millennials open an app 50+ times per day.
- 49% of people open an app 11+ times each day.
- 69% of all US digital media time comes from mobile apps.
- The average smartphone owner uses 10 apps per day and 30 apps each month.
11 Steps to Develop a Successful Mobile App
Step 1: Start with an Idea
As we said, it all starts with an Idea, which must be coupled with a real-world Problem statement, and a vision to solve it with the use of Technology. In order to create a mobile app, we must keep the following in mind :
- What real-world problem could be solved by the app
- How Technology can assist us
- What features our app can offer to the consumers
It is important for an app to provide tangible benefits to consumers. These benefits include better customer experience, problem-solving ability, cost reduction via productivity improvement, or a new revenue generation model.
Step 2: Identification and Clarification
To develop a successful mobile app, we must identify the following aspects with an adequate level of clarity :
Target users of Application–
An app is always developed to serve target users. It is important to design the app accordingly to gain user traction, which ultimately decides the success of an app.
For example, if we are developing an application for college-going youth, then we must design the interface and incorporate the features that can strike a chord with the youth.
Mobile platforms and Supported Devices–
It’s extremely important to identify the Mobile platforms and supported Devices the app may function on. It helps us to assess the hardware requirements, battery life, performance constraints, required peripherals, and ruggedness of the mobile application.
We must assess the application coverage, device support, important features, and performance constraints to avoid any issues later.
Technology Stacks to be used-
We must perform a thorough analysis and decide the Technology stack, Tools, and Frameworks to be used for app development. These factors influence the app development cost, technological constraints, features, and functionality of the app. For example, we can use the open-source components to keep the cost low, but it comes with its own set of challenges as well. Hence, we must pay more attention to this step to prevent any technology-related issues later.
We are developing a mobile app to generate some revenue. It is extremely important to choose an appropriate revenue approach to engage users and generate revenue to keep the operations afloat. We can use Paid application model, subscription model, in-app purchase model, advertisements, or pay per download model. It is important for app owners to attract the user so that they can spend money on several aspects of the application.
Finance and Budget–
Well, money is the most important aspect of application development, as it decides the success of an app up to a certain extent. We must pay more attention to the following aspects-
- How much budget is required for app development?
- How much we should spend on app marketing
- The budget allocated for app release
Step 3: Signing NDA
Once the budget estimation has been completed, it is time to sign the NDA agreement. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legally binding contract that establishes a confidential relationship between the Client and the Service Provider. An NDA agreement helps us to keep your idea safe and prevent any sort of miscommunication or misunderstandings between us.
An NDA agreement contains Project objectives, Deliverables, Legal clauses, Project Milestones, and Annexures/References.
Step 4: Wireframing of App
It could be considered as a pillar for any application or website. Wireframe helps us to understand the flow of the system and gives a fair idea of how the proposed system will function, how a specific feature or module will behave in real-time.
The wireframe activity helps developers to have a precise estimate of the application development timeline. It also enables the software designer to build accurate and immaculate designs.
Application Wireframing is usually performed by the Business Analyst, who uses tools such as AdobeXD or Balsamiq to complete this activity.
Step 5: Design the Mobile application
App design is another significant factor, which is highly responsible for the app’s success in the market. Always remember that a nice UI/UX design will result in better app discoverability, along with an instant impact on the mind of target consumers.
You may ask the following questions to your client :
- Which color scheme is preferred for the app?
- What type of Fonts and Navigation method is required?
- Do we need any Transition and Animation to improve UI?
The designing team must concentrate on the UI/UX design, platform-specific design standards, multi-touch gestures for touch-enabled devices. We can start with a sample, that may contain an app icon, the home page, splash screen, and log-in page. Please prepare multiple UI/UX designs for your client and based on their feedback and preference, we can start working on the final UI/UX design.
We must prepare an up-front design for the mobile app, and then employ a structured mobile application development process to build a user-centric design.
Step 6: Identify App Development approach- Web, Native, or Hybrid
It is critical to select the right mobile app development approach to ensure success. The app platform, type of app, the methodology must be decided well in advance. Few organizations employ conventional development methods like Waterfall, whereas most of the developers nowadays prefer Agile methodology to deliver app rapidly.
We can start the process with the decision of the development approach among the following :
These apps offer the best user experience, fantastic performance, but also require significant skills and time to be built. Native apps are platform-specific, and it requires platform expertise to develop such apps. This makes Native app development a costly and more time taking affair, but users can experience amazing experience and usability.
Step 7: Develop a Mobile App
Once the design is completed, the mobile app developers can get down to bring everything into action. A Project Manager can be assigned, who is responsible for defining the tasks and delegating them to the developers.
Under the direction of a Project Manager, the development process executes and achieves the set milestones.
Develop a Prototype –
In this stage, we develop a Prototype for the application. A Prototype is a basic version of the app, which may have similar look and feel with some basic functionalities incorporated. It makes it quite easier for you to sell your application to potential buyers. They can view the tangible advantages of the app, instead of visualization.
It also helps an enterprise to attract investors, secure funding, finding licenses and 3rd party manufacturers and OEM vendors. An app prototype could be handed over to testers for functional testing, and improvements could be made based on their feedback.
Here it is important to note that, even when you are developing a Prototype, you must ensure you take adequate measures to keep your app data secured against unauthorized access or security threat.
Full-fledged Mobile App Development Process–
You can work on application development by utilizing suitable technologies, tools, and frameworks.
For Android app development, you must use the following technologies
- Programming language: Kotlin, Java
- IDE: Android Studio
- Database: Realm, SQLite, MongoDB
- Tools: Android NDK, Android SDK
For iOS app development, you can utilize the following technologies
- Language: Objective C, Swift
- IDE: XCode
- Database: CoreData, Realm, SQLite
For Frontend development, you must use the following technologies
- Angular JS
- React JS
For Backend development, you must use the following technologies
- Ruby on Rails
- GO Lang
- Node JS
- .Net Core
Step 8: Software Testing and Quality Assurance
It is important to test the application and remove the bugs and errors before publishing it to the world. The process of Mobile app development can’t be successful until we have robust Software Testing and Quality Assurance process in place.
This process is being handled by the Software Testers and Quality Assurance team. These professionals run several types of tests to make sure that the application works flawlessly in the real world. Basically, we have two types of tests (Functional and Non-functional) involved in the process of mobile app development.
These tests are used to benchmark an application against the functional specification and requirements of the client. This method allows developers to key in input and expects a suitable output. In other words, we can say that functional tests are used to test all the user requirements specified by the business.
These tests usually focus on the quality of the application, especially the non-functional aspects such as security, scalability, performance, response time, and usability. We can say that it covers all the tests that are not in the scope of Functional testing.
Let’s find out some important differences between both types of Test approaches to get better clarity about them.
|Functional Testing||Non-Functional Testing|
|This is performed based on functional specifications by the client, and it verifies the application against the given functional requirements.||This method checks the security, performance, scalability, reliability, and other non-functional aspects of an application.|
|Functional tests are performed first during the mobile app development process.||Non-Functional tests could be performed after Functional testing.|
|Both Manual testing and Automated testing tools could be used for functional testing.||Automated tools are preferred for this testing|
|The Business requirements act as input functional testing.||Security, Scalability, Speed, and other performance indicators act as inputs for non-functional testing.|
|It validates what the product does.||It validates how good the product is.|
|Can be performed easily with Manual testing||Need Automation Testing approach, as it is difficult to perform using for manual testing.|
The mobile application is tested for both Functional and Non-functional requirements. Apart from that, it must be tested on various iOS and Android devices to check, identify, and fix potential UI issues.
The app must be tested on different screen sizes, OS versions, hardware configurations, and dimensions. Such rigorous testing will ensure that no bugs or functional issues in the application when it goes live for use.
The QA sends a release note with every app build release to keep a track of the mobile testing phase. You can employ the Parallel testing approach to test the modules as soon as they are developed, or any milestone is achieved.
Step 9: Deployment, Release, and Launching the App
App Release and Deployment requires rigorous planning, scheduling, and controlled movement of release packages in the Test and Live environments. The primary objective of App Deployment Management is to ensure adequate integrity of the live environment is preserved, while components are released incorrect order.
We can have the following type of App Deployments-
- Commercial Deployments
- Hosted Service Deployments
- Single User Deployments
- Cloud Deployments
- Multi-User Deployments
- Internal Deployments
- Concurrent Deployments
- Server Deployments
Publish an App on Play Store and Appstore–
Both the application marketplaces have strong policies to make the application live. You should follow the given policies and guidelines to publish your app on these marketplaces.
One must provide the following information while listing the app on the marketplace :
- App title
- App Description
- App Category
- Appropriate Keywords
- App Launch Icon
- App Store screenshots
Once the application is submitted, it goes through a robust review process, that may take a few days. Depending on the app quality, and its adherence with both iOS and Android marketplace, it is approved and allowed to be listed, so that users can download and use it.
Once your app is deployed, you can monitor several usage parameters via mobile analytics platforms, which help you to measure the usage and success of your mobile app. You can also check the user-reported issues and crash reports to provide suitable resolutions to the users.
Step 10: Post-production support
As the application has been launched, feedback is pouring in, you will need to incorporate the necessary changes in the application to cater the requirements of the users. Every application needs regular updates and additional features; hence, this could be considered as the last step of the mobile application development lifecycle.
We offer post-production support for a few months (depending on the agreement), and during this phase, we fix any issue or error reported by the user instantly. Once the free-support duration is completed, we offer our customers an extended support period.
We always prefer to sign an annual maintenance contract (AMC), that provides adequate protection to our Client against any production-linked issue.
Step 11: Capture the Metrics
We have seen an exponential rise in mobile app users in recent decades. This has forced the app owners to capture the important user-specific metrics so that they can observe the trends, understand the user requirements and concerns. Unfortunately, most of the mobile app metric methods are taken from web analytics.
We must keep in mind the following input metrics :
It shows why the user is unable to complete the desired action, such as closing the app abruptly, closing the app while doing in-app purchases, or no action after clicking on an advertisement.
Social Share Measuring–
Most of the users are utilizing Social Media, and this metric helps us to understand the aspects of the application capturing the attention of potential users.
Correlating Demographic data–
It is important to capture the User behavior correlating the demographic data, as it helps app owners to provide a customized experience to the target users.
Time and Location Tracking–
This metric gives an in-depth insight into the contexts in which the application is used.
Emergent Behavior of User–
It is a critical success factor for any application to capture the emergent behavior of the user base. It helps the app owner to make the strategies and course corrections if there is any change in the user behavior.
Integrate an appropriate analytics tool
It is important to know the usage statistics of an app, so that course correction could be made, or improvements could be incorporated. For this purpose, we incorporate a suitable Analytics tool, which can provide you a clear picture of the number of users for your app, type of feedback, their feedback, and weaknesses in the app.
We have a few Mobile Analytics tools, which can certainly help in this process:
- Google Analytics
With the help of Data Analytics, Data Science, and predictive analytics coming, you can devise the strategies to make your app highly marketable.
Step 12: Upgrading App Features
Once we have captured the important app metrics, it becomes critical to upgrade your applications with innovative features and improvements to address user’s concerns. A mobile app without functionalities and innovative features is going to miss its usability and popularity in long run. Whereas if we upgrade the app frequently and incorporate innovative features, then it will enhance the app visibility and popularity among the users.
It is also important to keep an eye on frequent updates on various platforms where your application is functioning. For example, if Apple launches a new operating System for Mobile, then we must upgrade our application to avail the benefits of new OS and its features.
Step 13: Market your Mobile App
This is the last but not the least step to develop a successful mobile app. Unfortunately, most people don’t pay much attention on this aspect, but let us assure you, this step can be a make-or-break point for the success of your mobile app. If you made a good app but don’t market it well, then it is going to be doomed.
We have millions of applications available on App Marketplaces, and if you don’t market it effectively, then there is a fair chance of it being lost in the multitude of apps available. It is highly recommended to make good marketing strategies, use Social media, implement innovative marketing campaigns to enhance the visibility of your mobile app, and attract potential users to download your application.
Challenges for Create your First Mobile App
We have covered the nitty-gritty of the mobile app development process, but we may face certain challenges while developing an effective app. Here we have listed few emerging challenges for mobile app development :
This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge for any application, as security threats are on the constant rise amid massive digitalization drives. We must factor in the risks of data loss, data leakage, insecure third-party usage, hacking, exposure to malicious apps, and illegal jailbreaking while developing an application. We must use robust security policies and tools to equip the application with an adequate level of security to protect User’s sensitive data.
Effective Policy Enforcement–
Effective policy implementation is crucial for the success of an enterprise mobile application. With the rise of work from home culture and round-the-clock access to the enterprise network, it is important for a mobile app to ensure robust policy enforcement on the device so that it remains compliant with corporate policies.
Keeping Up with Technology–
Information Technology is changing its paradigm frequently, and it is important to keep up with these changes to help users to avail the benefits of emerging technology. Mobile phone manufacturers are frequently releasing new iterations of their proprietary operating systems, mobile models, platforms, and hardware configurations. We must invest in research to accommodate the advanced technologies like IoT, AI, Machine learning in our mobile application to make it relevant in years to come.
Seamless Access to Company Data–
Mobile app helps the remote workforce to take the office environment with them and perform various tasks just like their desk-based counterparts. However, the challenge crop-ups when a user faces challenges while accessing the data in real-time. A mobile data or Wi-Fi hotspot can serve a just purpose, but they are not quick and reliable if we compare it with broadband or corporate leased line. We may continue to face this disparity for a while, though 5G’s launch will reduce this gap drastically.
We are pretty much sure that the above information about the mobile application development process will give you the utmost clarity of the process, app development standards, frameworks, and challenges it attracts.
It is important to understand that mobile app development is an ongoing process and doesn’t stop after the initial launch, we must capture the user feedback and provide the required features and functionalities to the users to keep them hooked up.
A successful application is that which fulfills the requirements specifications and user’s aspiration. We are quite sure, that if you follow the given process, you will be able to develop a successful mobile application, which will not only lure your customers but give you an extra edge to outclass your competitors.
Satyam Chaturvedi is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Arka Softwares, a leading mobile app development company dealing in modern and futuristic web and mobile app solutions. He loves to spend his time in studying the market trends and helping startups and enterprises in achieving their business goals.