Before getting into details about mobile app development, it’s important to understand what exactly an app is? An app can be defined as a piece of software or self-contained program designed to perform a certain function or fulfill a certain purpose. Although apps can be used on virtually any device, they are most popular in mobile devices. There are apps for doing virtually anything today. Apps have made mobile devices more functional by allowing mobile device users to play games, get news, receive weather updates, find their way home, connect with others etc.
Considering most people access the internet via mobile devices, it’s understandable why apps are the most popular online programs today. Furthermore, it’s easy to make your own app that performs a specific function or offers a specific service to those using it. In case you have a creative app idea, but you don’t know how to proceed, look no further. You can find mobile app developers in many cities.
With that said, let’s shift our focus to app development which has a huge potential. It’s important to understand the process first before you proceed and hire a professional. Below is a detailed discussion on the mobile app development process to help you understand everything you need to know.
1: Define your goal/s: App development starts as an idea and every idea has an underlying goal. In simple terms, you have to define your reason/s for wanting to develop an app before you begin the actual process. You should ask yourself questions like; what will my app do? What concrete problem do I intend to solve with my app? Defining your app development goals will give you clarity and fasten the process.
2. Sketch your interface: After defining your app’s goal/s, you need to proceed and put your vision on paper. All apps have their main features and structure/layout. Your goal/s should guide you when sketching an interface. If you don’t know where to start with your interface, proceed to the next step which is the research phase.
3. Research: App development research has 4 main aims, i.e. finding out if there are similar apps, getting a design inspiration, finding out the technical requirements of your app and lastly, finding out ways of marketing as well as monetizing your app. If you don’t seek app development services, you will have to do all this on your own.
It shouldn’t, however be a problem because there are millions of apps for all kinds of mobile devices already so it’s easy to get inspiration and learn from others. There are very many mobile app design marketplaces online. You just need to conduct a simple search. The main aim of this step is to be able to determine how your app will look like, function and make you money.
This step should also cover legal aspects of having an app. In regards to monetization, there are many ways to make money with your app. For instance, you can charge users to download it, run ads on the app, but offer it for free, charge a monthly subscription/membership fee, etc. It’s really up to you to decide which monetization process works for you.
4. Create a wireframe: After researching, you can proceed and fuse your ideas and app features together. Wire framing is simply the process of creating a prototype or mockup for your app. There are many app prototyping tools online today. You just need to conduct a simple Google search. The tools are so easy to use, all you need to do is drag and drop placeholders as well as representative graphics in place to get a final prototype. It is also advisable to create a roadmap during this step to enable you understand how users will navigate your app.
5. Define your app’s back end: Once you have your wireframe and roadmap, you can shift your focus to drawing sketches of your data diagrams, APIs and servers. This step is important for reference and future modifications if needed.
6. Test your prototype: This is the last step of any app development process. Once your back end is in place, you are ready to test your prototype. Testing involves giving your test subject wireframe access and having them test the app’s features. During this step, you will get feedback on possible flaws surrounding everything from usability to features. This step also gives you an opportunity to monitor the app’s responsiveness among other important factors. If the prototype works perfectly, you can proceed and finish the app development process.
Summary: The above information summarizes the basics of mobile app development. Before seeking app development services anywhere, it’s important to understand the basics. After going through the above information, you shouldn’t expect to have problems understanding and going through the app development process on your own if you don’t want to hire a professional. It is however important to note that there is more to app development that what is discussed above. It is therefore important to use this information as a basis for further research, as was recommended to me by Brian Kimmit from Terraform, a company that does mobile app development in Calgary, Canada.