Without a shadow of a doubt, there has been an exponential rise in the number of apps available in the App market. Millions of apps are getting developed and readily available in the two prominent App Stores. Adding to this fact, the number of app users and the data consumed seems to be accelerating like never before. As such it is natural for any enterprise to make use of mobile app development and expand their business, especially in this digital age.
The numbers of users going the mobile app way has only seen an increase and by all accounts, the competition in the app universe will get tough and fierce. Developing an app for your enterprise or business is not something which can be done in a quick afternoon. There are certain processes involved in app development and then there are decisions involved in choosing the apps. To understand all of these, it is imperative to look and analyze each phase of the mobile app development life cycle so that all the stakeholders involved could get to know better about building a great app.
PHASE 1: PRE-PLANNING FOR HOW TO BUILD AN APP
The first phase of any project is often the most important. When building a mobile app, it’s critical to take the time to go through the necessary planning steps.Step 1: Define the project and create use cases. Create a written definition of your app idea that clearly spells out what it will do, who the users are and why they will care about it. Make sure you can answer the question “why does this app need to exist?” What unique problem does it solve? Will the app simplify payment transactions for customers? Will it increase productivity for field agents? What is the business case? Use this information to create use cases to guide the project.
Step 2: Do your research. Is there already an app on the market similar to the one you are thinking to build? If so, how can you do it better?
PHASE 2: MENTAL PROTOTYPING / DISCOVERY
It’s not enough to have cool interactions and an understanding of the visuals. You need to consider whether the back-end systems will actually support the app’s functionality. For basic assessment of technical feasibility, you must do the following:Step 5: Get access to the data. Your mobile app needs to access usable data.
Step 6: Determine what devices you are building your app for. An app will have different requirements depending on its platform (iOS, Android, etc.) as well as the format (smartphone, tablet, wearables, etc.).
Step 7: Refine project definition and establish go-to-market strategy.
By the end of this phase, the team may have new ideas for the app or have determined that some of the initial functionality isn’t feasible. At this point, take some time to brainstorm, ask questions and review the status.
PHASE 4: TACTILE REFINEMENT OF USE CASES
It’s very difficult to define the touch experience without being able to touch the app and experience how it works and flows. Phase 4 is about just that.Step 8: Build a rapid prototype. “Rapid” is the operative word – build a prototype that gets the app concept into a user’s hands as quickly as possible so you can see how it works for the most common use case.
PHASE 5: DESIGN YOUR APP AND PREPARE FOR DEVELOPMENT
Now is when the real work begins:Step 9: Design for the user experience. Before you dive into code, you must design. A User Experience (UX) Designer can create the interaction architecture of the design elements. A User Interface (UI) Designer for mobile solutions can create the look and feel of your app. This is a multistep process with its own review stages. The end result is visual direction and blueprints that inform your engineers of the envisioned final product and how interaction should feel, move and flow.
PHASE 6: BUILD YOUR MOBILE APP WITH AGILE PRACTICESThe strategy is complete, the stage is set, and you have your design. It is now time to build an app!
Step 10: Agile Development. Agile is the preferred approach for mobile development due the importance of collaboration, transparency, and rapid iteration to adapt to change. These practices of adapting to change are critical to finding success in the ever-evolving mobile channel.
PHASE 7: TEST YOUR MOBILE APP
Congratulations! You have built an app. Now it’s time to get some of your target users to help you test it.
PHASE 8: LAUNCH – YOU BUILT AN APP!
Your app is complete and ready to submit. Pick a day and key up a formal launch. Congratulations! You have learned how to build an app!Keep in mind, this is not the end. Every app requires updates and new features during the mobile application development life cycle.