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STEP-BY-STEP MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

The mobile app development process is feared by many.

No matter how amazing the idea, big the opportunity, or strong the potential is, most people succumb to the thought of building a mobile app from scratch — even if they’re not the ones developing it. 

What most people don’t realize is there are a wide variety of ways to develop an app. Furthermore, the amount of time and effort spent on developing the app varies, with some apps taking no longer than a month to develop and others taking six months to a full year. 

Much like anything else in life, preparation is critical to ensuring the success of the process from start to finish. It eliminates any fear you have going into the process, minimizes the amount of mistakes made throughout the process, and maximizes the quality of the end product. 

Since most people are unaware of the steps involved in the mobile app development process, let’s break it down for you step-by-step — starting with the birth of your idea. 

STEP ONE: CONFIRM THE IDEA WITH MARKET RESEARCH

You just had an amazing new idea for a mobile app, but that idea is nothing unless it means something to potential users. After all, they’re the ones downloading it, using it, providing feedback for it, and finding value in it. 

It doesn’t matter what you intend the app to do, who the app is intended for, or why you came up with the idea — you must first confirm your new app idea with market research. The last thing you need is to spend months developing an app that’s already available to app users. 

Believe it or not, this is an extremely common issue when developing an app today, especially since there are over two million apps in Apple’s App Store and nearly three million apps included in Google’s Play Store. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF DURING THIS STEP:

  • Is there a demand for my mobile app?
  • Are there any similar apps already on the market?
  • Is my app unique compared to the competition?
  • How does my app help the user?
  • How can I monetize the app for future revenue?

When developing an app that both appeals to the user and blows away the competition, market research is essential. It’s important you understand what the user wants, what they need, what they’re currently getting from other apps, and what they’re currently not getting from other apps. 

Once you’re confident in your new idea for a mobile app, time-to-market becomes extremely important. Not only are there a wide range of apps you’re already competing with, but new apps are added to the App Store and Play Store every single day. 

STEP TWO: TEAMING UP WITH THE RIGHT DEVELOPER

You’ve now confirmed your app idea with quality market research, which means you’re one step closer to developing a mobile app. The next step in the process is finding a mobile app developer capable of bringing your new app to life. 

Searching for the right app developer is a daunting task to many, but it’s a task that requires your full attention and maximum effort. In fact, it plays a much larger role in the success of your app than the actual development itself — so it’s essential you get this process right the first time.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR POTENTIAL APP DEVELOPER DURING THIS STEP:

  • Do you have any experience building similar apps and can I see samples?
  • How often do you communicate with your clients?
  • Do you have a team of developers or do you work alone?
  • How long will it take you to complete the app?
  • Do you fully understand what we need to accomplish?

Once you’ve teamed up with a quality app developer, they’ll start to prepare you for the process ahead. They’ll discuss the next steps with you to ensure everyone’s on the same page and ready to go. This is where your developer becomes an integral part of your team. 

Many developers today utilize workflow diagrams when laying out their process. If this is the case with your developer, having access to the workflow diagram and receiving daily updates regarding the progress on the workflow diagram is essential for any app owner. 

STEP THREE: DESIGNING WIREFRAMES & MOCKUPS

Now that you’ve hired your developer, the real fun begins. During this step, a majority of the design is completed as app owners get their first visual look of their idea in motion. It’s an exciting time, but it requires a large amount of collaboration between the developer and owner.

Most mobile app developers utilize two major design elements during this stage of the process — wireframes and mockups. A wireframe focuses more on the structure of your app, while a mockup represents the app’s visual appearance. 

Mockups and wireframes are extremely important because they’re extremely easy to make changes to. They allow you to constantly test new ideas without having to change the actual app, which is often a costly move. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF DURING THIS STEP:

  • What are the core features of my app? 
  • How do I make the app appealing to the user?
  • How will the user navigate through the app?
  • What colors, logos, fonts, and other visuals should I use in the app?

When designing an app, nothing is more important than UI/UX design. Most people have seen this term blasted all over social media, but many don’t understand what it means. 

UI stands for user interface, while UX stands for user experience. Together, they form the two most crucial factors to the design process. Without a visually-appealing user interface and unforgettable user experience, it’s difficult to gain any traction with users anywhere in the world.

STEP FOUR: DEVELOPING THE MOBILE APP

Designing the app is exciting because it’s your first real look at the app, but it’s nothing compared to watching the developer actually build the app — little by little. While this is the most daunting part of the process, it’s primarily handled by the developers.

That means the app owners get to sit back and watch the amazing progress as the developers bring the app to life. Of course, that also means the developers must communicate with you often. Otherwise, you’ll have no idea how far along the developers are. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF DURING THIS STEP:

  • Is my developer giving me updates frequently enough?
  • Are there any ways we can improve the app?
  • Are my developers staying on track with the schedule?
  • How happy am I with the effort being put into my app?

As you watch your developers work, don’t hesitate to let them know of any new ideas you have for the app. That includes any changes, fixes, or updates you have to the design. The sooner you let them know, the sooner they can add it to their growing list of daily tasks. 

Other than that, it’s crucial you ensure the app developers are maintaining the integrity of your idea. They need to prove how passionate and talented they are — and this is their moment to do that. If at any point you aren’t happy with the progress, don’t be afraid to voice your concern.

STEP FIVE: TESTING & QUALITY ASSURANCE

With the development stage complete, you’re now the proud new owner of an app! While this is an exciting time for anyone, it’s not the end of the road. For many, it’s actually the beginning of the road because this is where things get real. 

Before your app is ready for release, it’s highly critical you put your app through an intense and rigorous testing process. Ideally, this is something your app developer can do for you, but it’s the app owner’s responsibility to make sure it gets done. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF DURING THIS STEP:

  • Have I tested this app in every possible setting? 
  • Is this an app that’ll impress users around the world?
  • How fast is the app and how easy is it to navigate? 
  • Are there any bugs, errors, fixes, or last-minute changes you need?
  • Has the app been tested on every device and screen size available?

When you release an app full of errors and bugs, users grow extremely frustrated with your app from the get-go. It makes it difficult to gain customer loyalty and often leads to users uninstalling the app immediately after downloading it. 

Quality assurance and a rigorous testing process are your key to avoiding this from happening. It’s your opportunity to test the app on any device, any screen size, and in any setting (low battery, receiving a phone call, etc.). 

STEP SIX: APP RELEASE & APP MARKETING

When you invest in quality assurance and testing, you gain an extreme amount of confidence when releasing the app to users around the world. This confidence is important and it often translates to a more satisfied user when it’s all said and done. 

Before releasing your app, you should connect with your developer to go over any last-minute tips or strategies they have. They should have a clear idea of how to get your app approved in an app store and should be able to help you complete the process properly. 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF DURING THIS STEP:

  • Where can I connect with my target audience?
  • Does my developer know how to release an app in the app store?
  • How can we monetize the app to make a future gain?
  • Do I have a quality description with a feature list and screenshots?
  • Do I have a video to show off to potential users as a teaser?

In order to grab the attention of potential users, your app needs to be marketed correctly. That means providing quality screenshots, descriptions, video teasers, and frequently asked questions. It’s always appreciated by the user and leads to more quality installs. 

You should also have a variety of ways to monetize your app. Whether you require the user to purchase the app, offer in-app purchases, or make money off ads, your developer should have the experience to give you the best recommendations when monetizing the app. 

When done correctly, your app is set up for sustained success and has the potential of earning back everything it cost to develop it — plus some!

STEP SEVEN: APP MAINTENANCE & APP IMPROVEMENTS

You could build the most perfect and flawless app ever created, but that doesn’t guarantee the app remains that way in the future. There are a wide range of challenges, difficulties, bugs, and errors that might arise once an app is released to the app store. Your developers are crucial to the app’s continued maintenance and support

Ensuring your development team is prepared to stick around for future updates is essential to the app’s sustained success. With the proper protocols in place, your users receive a quality experience no matter what technological issues are thrown your way.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF DURING THIS STEP:

  • Are my users satisfied with the app?
  • How are users rating my app on the app store? 
  • How can we make the app better for users?
  • Is there any new technology that might take the app to the next level?
  • Have user demands or behaviors changed since we released the app?

App owners also need to prepare themselves for changes in user behavior and user demands. What the user wants today might differ tomorrow and your app needs to accommodate those changes. That’s where the relationship with your development team comes in handy down the road. 

To ensure your users are met with the quality experience they deserve, you should keep a stern eye on your user reviews and feedback. These are the key to understanding how satisfied the user is, what they’d like to see in future updates, and ultimately how to improve your app. 

The mobile app development process might seem like a long and daunting process, but it’s an extremely rewarding one that’s met with a ton of excitement. If you’re ready to bring your new app idea to life, you’ve come to the right place. 

The Demski Group is a team of quality, passionate, and proven developers ready to extend their services to you. We can’t wait to hear the scope of your project and prove to you we’re the best developers for the job. Contact us today to learn more about our development services.

Categories
Business

HOW MUCH DOES MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT COST?

In today’s digital world, there’s nothing more exciting to a business or brand than a mobile app.

It not only makes everything easier and more appealing for the customer, but also adds a new and effective way of making money. 

Unfortunately, most companies shy away from or procrastinate building a mobile app — especially in their startup years — due to fear over the cost. Many believe it costs an arm and a leg, but that’s not always the case. 

In fact, there are plenty of different strategies that can help you properly budget your mobile app and phase out the development. This makes it possible for any business to offer a mobile app solution to their customers without having to break the bank.

HOW MUCH DOES MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT COST?

As you can likely imagine, the cost of mobile app development largely depends on the mobile app being developed and who’s developing it. Most developers charge an hourly rate and the amount of hours spent on the mobile app depends on the features and specifications involved. 

Bag of Money and Gold Coins

Even if you’re working on a fixed-price contract, the developer will likely itemize each feature and task to determine the cost of development. 

With that being said, most businesses and brands can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000-$250,000+. Where you fall on that spectrum can be generalized by the fast-good-cheap analogy, which explains: 

  1. Mobile apps that are fast and good, aren’t cheap. 
  2. Mobile apps that are fast and cheap, aren’t good. 
  3. Mobile apps that are cheap and good, aren’t fast. 

You’ll get to decide which type of app you want, but this allows you to provide customers with a cheap solution that you can eventually build on, update, and upgrade. It gives you a good start, which is a point most companies and brands won’t get to.

BUDGETING FOR MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT

Every business or brand is going to have a budget when building a mobile app and it’s extremely important to respect that budget throughout the development process. It’s also important to leave yourself additional funds to support any changes made during the process. 

Like we mentioned above, there are a wide range of factors that determine how much your mobile app costs to develop. Understanding these factors ahead of time helps you budget out your project and determine which areas you’re willing to invest your time and money into.

An accurate and documented budget is essential before you can start searching for the right app developer. That’s why it’s best not to pursue building a mobile app until you have a budget laid out. 

To help you better prepare for the cost of mobile app development, we’re going to detail the most significant factors and how you can minimize the total cost with each factor. 

NATIVE VS. WEB VS. HYBRID APPS

Deciding between building a native app, web app, or hybrid app is one of the first major decisions that affect the overall cost of the mobile app. More specifically, it will affect the amount of time that goes into the development, as well as the experience and knowledge required by the developer. 

When looking at cost, a web app is going to cost less to develop than the other two — followed by a hybrid app, then a native app. A web app, however, is only available via a web browser and won’t show up in the app store. 

A hybrid app is generally your cheapest option when releasing an app on an app store, largely because you’re building an app that’s compatible on multiple platforms — whereas a native app is only available on one platform. Unfortunately, hybrid apps don’t deliver the user experience, user interface, or overall quality that a native app provides. 

If you’re looking for an app that looks and acts like a professional app, go with a native app. If you’re on a tight budget, a web app or hybrid app can help you keep the cost of mobile app development down. You can always switch to a native app at a later time when you have a deeper budget.

Your decision here will not only affect the cost, but it will also affect the type of developer you need. Different platforms and operating systems require different skills and experience, so you won’t be able to pick a developer until you know what type of app you need. 

APP FUNCTION

Once you determine the type of app you want to develop, the next major decision that factors into the cost of your app are the functions and features. Each feature you add to the plate will add to the overall cost, so it’s important to choose these features wisely. 

As far as the function is concerned, mobile apps can be categorized into nine different categories: basic app (games), data-driven app (calendar), authentication app (user logins), social networking app (Instagram), ecommerce app (Amazon), on-demand app (Uber), marketplace app (both ecommerce and on-demand), and a hardware app (Beacons). 

Certain apps require more time to develop, while others can be put together rather quickly. As you boil your mobile app down to specific features, you’ll want to write them all down so you don’t forget. It’s best to have a running list that’s always updated. 

If you’re not on a tight budget, you can plan on hashing out a majority of those features right away. If you’re on a tight budget, however, you might have to pick and choose which features are most important to the user right now. 

To keep the cost of development down, you’ll want to only focus on those important features first. The other features can be added as an update later on when you have the funds, which will actually give your users something to look forward to if marketed properly. 

DESIGNING THE APP

Before an app can be developed, there needs to be a design. We know what most of you are thinking, but this doesn’t need to be a professional 3D-like design of your mobile app. In fact, this can be as simple as a drawing on a napkin – if that’s all you have.

The point here, much like the features of the app, you need to have some level of direction for the developer to follow. Without direction, your mobile app can fall off-track in no time. 

When observing the cost of your mobile app, the design process will do one of two things:

  1. If your developer has experience as an app designer (which most do), then it’ll mean more time spent on the app (which means the app will cost more). 
  2. If your developer doesn’t have experience as an app designer, you’ll have to take the time and spend the money on hiring a designer (which adds to the cost of your app).

There is a third option and it’s one most people take when on a tight budget — doing the design yourself and giving your developer some freedom in certain areas. It’ll allow you to have a sense of direction before the developer starts, helping you cut down on the amount of time spent developing the app. 

In a way, developers enjoy it as well. The freedom gives the developer a chance to try new things and polish their own skills. It also shows you have trust in the developer, which adds to their confidence level.

THIRD PARTY INTEGRATIONS & APIS

Third-party integrations can add to the user experience and provide value to the user, but they also add to the cost of app development. Although you might want to go crazy with integrations and APIs, they aren’t always logical when looking at your budget. 

You should always ask yourself whether or not an integration is vital to the app’s initial success when working on a budget. This can be rather difficult, especially considering all the integrations available — such as social media, speech recognition, camera, microphone, maps, calendar, and so much more. 

Adapting your app so it can support the wide range of new technology we’re seeing in the app community should also be considered. Integrating your app to support things like smart technology, apps for cars, apps for video game consoles, wearable technology, and foldable technology can help boost its value — but also increase the cost. 

TIME TO MARKET

Every project needs a deadline. Of course, when that deadline is will have an affect on the overall cost of the project. As a general rule of thumb, the more you rush the developer the more it will cost. Building a mobile app takes precision, which is difficult to do when being rushed. 

If you’re working on a tight budget, avoid setting difficult deadlines and give your developer the time they need. Many developers are working on several projects at once, but they appreciate having projects lined up for when they complete one. 

There’s really two things you want to pay attention to here — the amount of time you give the developer to start it by and the time it takes the developer to complete it once started. 

You have a better chance of finding a developer that’ll give you a small discount if you give them time before starting. Likewise, you can save yourself some money by carefully selecting what features and functions you want the app to provide. 

TESTING & MAINTENANCE

The final factor we want to highlight when determining the cost of mobile app development is testing and maintenance. Testing is something that can’t be ignored before announcing your app as ‘Ready for Release,’ but can also become an app owner’s worst nightmare. 

The testing stage of the development process is where you get to see your app in action. Performance is extremely important in the app community, so avoiding bugs and errors is a must. Of course, this can’t be achieved without testing. 

Having a developer capable of doing the testing will be the cheaper route, opposed to hiring a separate company to do the testing — just make sure your developer is skilled at it before proceeding. 

Keep in mind, a quality developer generally leads to less errors, which leads to less time spent on testing, which reduces the cost of your mobile app. On the other hand, an inexperienced or lazy developer leads to a high amount of errors, which can wreak havoc on your budget.

FINDING THE RIGHT APP DEVELOPER

Developing a mobile app can be a complicated process, but having the right team by your side ensures your mobile app is put in a position to succeed. Although many startups are drawn to freelancers and self-employed developers, they often lead to higher costs and a longer time-to-market.

Since there are so many different stages to the development process — such as design, development, testing, and maintenance — we suggest searching for the best software development companies that provide all of the above. Having these services under one roof eases everything for you and ensures your users are delivered a quality app to enjoy. 

When you’re ready to get started with your project, contact The Demski Group to speak with one of our highly-trained professionals. We’ll guide you through the process and help bring your mobile app idea to life!