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A Guide To The Mobile App Development Process

You may be shocked to hear that, in the UK alone, there are almost 2 million apps available on the Apply iStore and over 3 million in the Google Play Store, and these numbers are rising by the day. 

But, when you consider the benefits that apps offer users, such as convenience and access to information, products and services, it’s easy to see why there are so many mobile applications on offer. From a business perspective, apps also provide the opportunity to deepen customer relations, resulting in stronger brand loyalty. 

If your business needs an app or it is considering developing a mobile app, then you’re either going to need to build the app yourself or enlist the help of a mobile app development team to do it for you. Either way, it’s important to have a good understanding of the process so that you can take your app idea from a concept and turn it into a well-functioning application. Keep reading to learn more about the mobile app development process. 

What is mobile app development? 

Mobile app development refers to the process of building software for smartphones, predominantly those with an Android or iOS operating system. Once it has been created, it can be downloaded from a mobile app store, such as Google Play or the Apple App store. Alternatively, the app can be preinstalled on a device or accessed through mobile web browsers. 

What programming language is used for mobile app development?

When it comes to app development, there are various programming languages that can be used to write a software application. However, some of the most prominent programming languages used in mobile app development include Java, C#, Swift, Javascript and PHP. The language chosen to develop a mobile app will depend on the operating system (such as iOS or Android) that the app will be used on. 

A Guide To Mobile App Development

From ideation through to app release, developing a mobile app is a detailed process that requires a significant amount of time and effort. 

1. Ideation

Before you can even start building an app, you need to take the time to develop an idea about the app you want to build. Then, as with any product, you need to conduct research to determine whether it’s a viable thing to create. There’s no point in creating an app that your customers won’t use or pay for. For this, you’ll need to do a deep dive into the mobile app space and conduct research on your target audience, competitors and overall market feasibility. 

2. Document project specifications 

Once you’ve formulated a solid idea of the app you want to create and have also determined that it would be feasible to move forward with the project, it’s time to fine-tune the details of the project. 

Such a document should include information like: 

  • All information gathered in the ideation stage, such as target audience and competitor analysis. 

  • The operating system you plan to use (i.e. Android or iOS) as this will affect the type of mobile app you develop. 

  • Any APIs or third-party tools you want to incorporate into the mobile app. 

  • Whether you plan to use any front- or backend technologies during app development. 

  • Lastly, your project document should include a timeline and resource allocation. 

3. Wireframing & Design

At this stage, there are some essential aspects to consider, such as the data architecture and processes you want in your app, as this will affect the user experience (UX) and also how the app's data is seen and accessed. Additionally, you’ll want to provide your UI designers with a style guide, as this will have an impact on the visual design aspects. 

Once this has been determined, it’s time to create a digital blueprint for your app. This is what wireframing achieves; it also represents the app’s usability, functionality and other elements. 

4. Prototyping

A prototype is an interactive model that is dynamic and clickable. This replica will look very similar to your future mobile app. The prototype will allow you to engage with the app to see if you’re happy with the design elements and whether there are any issues that need to be solved before the app is fully developed. 

5. Mobile app development 

By now, you’ll begin to see your idea materialise into a tangible product; how exciting! However, you’ll still be quite far from the finish line as the mobile app development phase is perhaps the busiest and most crucial. 

During this phase, developers will spend a significant amount of time doing front- and back-end coding. The front-end coding will create what the user sees and interacts with (also known as the User Interface), whilst the backend coding is what enables the application and database to communicate. The backend is also where application maintenance takes place. APIs(Application Programming Interfaces) will also be coded in at this point, which simply ties everything together. 

6. Conduct testing 

Once your app has been developed, you will need to conduct quality analysis (QA) testing and code reviews. The purpose of these two procedures is to ensure that your mobile application is free from faults or bugs. 

In terms of QA testing, the primary tests conducted include: 

  • Documentation testing

  • Performance testing 

  • Functional testing 

  • Business-specific functions

  • Usability testing 

  • UI testing 

  • Compatibility testing 

  • Performance testing 

  • Security testing 

  • Certification testing

7. Mobile app deployment 

Now we come to the part that you’ve been waiting for. You’ve done your research, defined your scope, created prototypes and developed a perfect app - it’s now time to introduce your mobile application to the world. 

Before sending your application to the app store(s), you need to determine the name of your app, create a short and long description explaining the app and choose some images. You will also need a developer account to submit your app to the Apple iStore or Google Play Store. Once uploaded, you can expect your app to be reviewed within a day. 

Now all that’s left to do is promote your mobile application, get users to start downloading and using your product and conduct app maintenance to ensure that it runs smoothly.