In the past few years, mobile app usage and popularity has skyrocketed and the number of mobile app downloads will exceed 250 billion in 2022. Nowadays, there are apps for just about anything, and no matter your needs and preferences, you can surely find an app that is perfect for you.
Looking from a business point of view, creating a mobile app can be a very profitable venture, so it’s no surprise that more and more people are getting into the game of app development. If you’re wondering how to develop an app, this guide is for you.
Define your goals and conduct market research
Even though it’s probably tempting to start building your app right away, that’s not a smart idea. If you don’t know what exactly you want to build and if there’s not even a market for that kind of app, you’ll just end up wasting a lot of time and resources.
Think of what you’re setting out to achieve and set measurable goals. These goals will establish your entire development process, so they need to be well-defined from the start. When setting these goals, you need to consider your business as well as your end-user. Set KPIs (key performance indicators) for all of those goals so you can keep track of whether your app is meeting your expectations.
Once that’s complete, it’s time to conduct market research. Even though the idea for your app sounds good in theory, you need to validate it before you start the development process. As the number of available apps is 2.87 million on the Google Play Store and 1.96 million apps on the Apple App store, how can you make sure your app will be noticed?
You can conduct interviews, create surveys, and run a focus group to find out what your target audience wants from your app and what kind of features they would be interested in.
Create a wireframe and technical specifications
A wireframe is a rough layout of what your mobile app will look like. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated, and you can use a digital wire framing tool to do this, but you can also use a piece of paper just to make a simple sketch.
The purpose of your wireframe is to illustrate the core components your app will have. In this part of the development process, you should focus on structure and flow to map out how the user journey will look like. Answer the questions such as what will happen on the screen if the user clicks on one option or on the other.
The next step is to use your wireframe to create technical specifications, which will give you an insight into the inner workings of your future app. Developers can use wireframes to assess both visual and technical challenges and find ways to avoid issues before they even arise.
Set measurable milestones
The process of developing an app is massive and if you don’t separate it into smaller chunks, it is easy to get lost in the pile of tasks. By setting measurable milestones, it will be much easier to look at your project from start to finish and make sure you’re always on the right track.
Don’t forget to set a specific timeframe for each of your smaller projects. This timeframe can range from a few days to a few weeks or months, depending on how complex the project is. Create a timeline of milestones to ensure you’re keeping up with all of your deadlines.
It’s important to have a way to track your progress. If you’re managing this project by yourself, you should learn a project development system such as agile development or scrum development. On the other hand, if you hire a project manager, they will implement their own management methodology.
Create an MVP
MVP stands for minimum viable product, and the reason why you need your own MVP is to focus on the most essential features your app needs to work. These are the features you need to build first before you even start thinking about anything else.
Look at your MVP as the bare bones of your app, the core features that are required to complete simple functionalities that are the essence of the app. Don’t concern yourself with design and cool features at this point, just think about the bare necessities.
It’s easy to think about all the interesting features you want to add to your app, but keep those on the back burner for now. After all, they will be useless if your app can’t perform its basic functionalities.
Once you finish your MVP and possibly add some other features and components that make your app interesting and unique, your app will be functional. But before you rush to deploy it, you need to test the app on actual mobile platforms for quality assurance.
As there are so many devices people can use to download your app, you have to ensure the app will be fully functional on all of them. You also need to check things such as if the app works fine offline and online and whether it looks good and is functional on screens of all sizes.
You can hire a quality assurance specialist to test out your app and find any problems it might have before you send it to the market.
Deploy the app
Finally, it’s time to deploy your app on your preferred app store and get people to download it. This is the time when you need to focus on the app’s visibility and uptime and use the best marketing tactics to promote your new app.
To get your app to the market, you need to submit it to the Google Play Store and/or the Apple App Store. Before you do that, make sure to read all the different submission guidelines, as both of these stores have various requirements an app has to meet before it’s accepted.
Mobile app development is a long and often strenuous process, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong along the way. If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing and have a clear plan from the start, your ambitions of developing a business app will never come to fruition.
However, now that you’ve learned how to create a mobile app, you’re one step closer to achieving your goals and building a successful mobile app.