The process of building a mobile application

A step-by-step explanation of building a mobile application

  • Design
  • Development
  • Digital Agency
  • Mobile application

Many questions such as, “How do I start?" "What do processes look like?” "Who do I need?" fill the minds of entrepreneurs who want to build a mobile application. If you are facing this problem, don’t worry. This article will help you to figure out what you need.

What ideas do you have?

Before you think about the design or development of your app, let's start with the very first thing - your idea. This might be a problem you would like to solve or you just have a great app idea the world has never seen before.

If you have no idea just keep in mind that useful applications solve the user's problem in a way he never thought before. So what you can do now is to write down your daily life problems and think about a way to solve them.

After you identified your idea it is highly recommendable to check the need for it. It might be that you have the best idea but the world is not ready for it yet. Hence, validate your idea by research. In this stage identify your target audience as well as your competitors and afterwards your goals and objectives. Here are some questions for guidance:

  1. What alternative apps and competitors are already existing? Analyse the market carefully to know if you are a first mover or if the market is already saturated.
  2. How does your target audience look like? What do they need? What do they desire? How do you add value for them? Use the Google Trends and Keyword Planner to evaluate the demand for your application and start talking to your potential customers.
  3. How does your business model look like? How do you want to earn money? Keep in mind that the App Stores will receive a percentage share for every In-App purchase made in your app.

Pro tip: Try to identify what mistakes your competitors do. How and what can you do better than they?

What features have to be included?

Now you define features that have to be included and features that would be nice to have included. You will speed up the entire process if you focus on the most important features to build an MVP (minimum viable product). It might help to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What features are vital for my target user?
  2. What features are nice to have but not necessarily needed?
  3. What features are my USPs (Unique selling proposition) or money-generators?

Think about the following example: A gaming app is entertaining people, no more no less.

Design process

Now that you did the first steps the next logical step is to start with the design of the app screens. This is also the point in time it might make sense to hire a digital agency to support you.

The usual way begins with the branding to create a recognition factor for your application. You decide on a name, logo, typography, corporate identity and the overall style that is part of the UI. Let's see together what is needed for a consistent design language to make the user feel more comfortable in your app:

  1. Name: The name of the application should consist of only a few syllables.
  2. Logo: The logo should be recognizable and easy to understand. This is achieved by using simple shapes and not too many colours.
  3. Typography: Do you decide on a system font for better accessibility or do you want to create your own font that has a stand-alone characteristic?
  4. Corporate Identity: What colours underline your message? For example, if you are building a finance app, dark blue or green are colours that underline trustworthiness.
  5. Overall Style: How does the overall style of your app look like? Is a clean style preferable or rather a playful style?

When you found an answer to all these questions you can continue working on the UX of the app screens.

In the beginning, you will set up the information architecture. As you have already decided what functionalities have to be included you now think about how they need to be arranged. Then you move on to the user flows. What flows and paths can the user take within your app? Keep everything in mind you want your user to be able to do. How many clicks does it take? Is there a way to make his journey smoother? Maybe it makes sense to re-arrange some functionalities. In order to test this properly, you should keep all various use cases and edge cases in mind.

Execute this step carefully because it is always less time-consuming and more cost-effective to change something in the design than something that is already developed or at least in the development process.

Development process

After all these steps you can jump into the development process. The first thing to decide on is if you want to develop a native or hybrid application. There are some quick wins for each way. Thus, let's have a look at them first before you make a decision.

Native application - quick wins

  1. Well ranked in the app stores
  2. Easy accessibility to hardware/software of the respective device (location, GPS, etc.)

Hybrid application - quick wins

  1. One codebase, multiple platforms → fewer origination costs
  2. Faster market launch

This decision is really depending on your timeline and your budget. However, a consultation from an expert might make sense at this point in time. When you have made a decision the actual development process can start. This means all development work is broken down, the developers plan the backlog, you have prioritised and they estimate the duration for each feature. Then each feature is going to be developed step by step. After the testing phase and after every bug has been removed your application should be ready to be released.

Before you launch your app in the app stores you need a developer account. After you have created it and provided all information required you can upload your application. Then it takes a few days until it is reviewed and hopefully directly released. Sometimes they request you to change something before they are willing to release your app. So if you have a fixed date announced and planned marketing campaigns, keep this in mind.

Launch

When your app is released you will probably receive customer feedback that you should incorporate. You can also start to develop new features or try to fix bugs that came up in the meanwhile.

Moreover, it is highly recommended to evaluate your app analytics to see what users use most, where they bounce, what paths they use to navigate through your app, etc. These data are also highly valuable to improve the user journey as well as your money generation.

To market your app properly you have various possibilities. It is recommendable to have a landing page to promote your application. You can link the user into the app stores to download your app while informing them about your USPs and the features your application has.

Now we went through the entire process really high level. If you are looking for a reliable partner to design and/or develop a mobile application, feel free to contact us. Together we can have a look at how we can support you best.

Chris Krüger

COO

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