Developing a Mobile App: The Process Explained

By Donald Kim
24 Oct '16

webilize, blog image, developing a mobile app the process explained

 

We’ve all seen mobile apps that hit the critical mass and exploded with massive downloads in the iTunes and the Google Play App Stores. Who could forget Pokémon GO and Flappy Bird. Have you ever had an amazing app idea that you know would crush it, but didn’t act on designing and developing it, because you just didn’t know how to go about it? Ever wondered what the mobile app development process looks like? What we found at Webilize, was that there were many businesses and entrepreneurs that could significantly benefit from having a mobile app designed specifically for their businesses, however, they’re in the dark with respect to where to begin.

 

In this article, we simplify the process by breaking down the general steps in the mobile app development process. Please be sure to also read our other related Blog Posts for App Development: “Best Practices in Developing Apps for Large Android Devices” and ”Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps.” At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials) we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development Team.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what a typical engagement with an app development agency looks like, below is a summary snapshot of the process. This can give you a better sense of what to consider if you’re just about ready to move forward with your brilliant app idea!

 

These are a few things that you should consider before reaching out to an Agency:

  • Know thy target market. This will enable you to strategize how to position your app idea from not only the UX design aspect, but also at the marketing level.
  • Storyboarding and functionalities. It’s good practice before coming up with the design to storyboard your idea, and have a strong sense of what functionalities you want to offer the users of your app. Have a strong understanding of your deliverables, objectives, and goals.
  • Preliminary wireframes or hand drawn design. This will enable you to better visualize what the end product may look like.
  • Operating System. Which Operating System do you want your app to be developed in? iOS or Android? Or Both? iOS apps are placed on the market via iTunes, and Android apps are placed in the Google Play Store.
  • Type of App. Do you require a native app? A web app? Or a hybrid? Learn more about the differences: Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps.
  • Budget/Capital. Ensure that you either have a budget or you have raised capital. Most development agency’s charge an hourly fee, and the overall cost will depend on your requirements and objectives.
  • Time. Taking your idea to fruition takes time. You’ll need to be quite heavily involved in the design and development process.
  • Selection Criteria. Make note of what factors will be important to you, when selecting an Agency. This can include, experience level, business background (i.e. number of years in business and financial stability), quality, expertise, ability to come through on as many of your stated deliverables as possible.

 

Below is a list of the typical stages in the process flow of engaging with an Agency:

  1. Initial Consultation. It’s important early on to try and engage with the design and development team, either in person or on the phone), to get an idea of their skill sets, if they are able to come through with delivering on your project idea, as well as if there is a good fit for the project. A scoping session to determine your goals, objectives, and deliverables typically occur at this stage.
  2. Proposal/Quote. Based on the initial consultation and scoping session, the Agency will draft a Proposal/Quote that details the estimated project details, timelines and budget costs.
  3. Negotiations/Signing. Once you have chosen an Agency to work with, or narrowed down the options, you’ll typically get into the Negotiations stage with the Agency to determine which firm offers you the best options. Sometimes a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is required, to protect your idea. The contract may be time-based or a fixed fee model. If the contract type is time-based, ensure that your deliverables are clearly stated.
  4. Wireframing. Once you’ve signed a contract, the next stage usually entails Wireframing. A wireframe is essentially a screen blueprint that makes up the framework of the app, and it typically lacks the colors, typographic style, or graphics.
  5. Designing. After the wireframes have been completed, the next stage is the designing phase. Here, the designer will present the client with mock ups in .psd files, and the client will be given the opportunity to confirm on the logo, colors, fonts, and styling. Once the design has been confirmed, it gets passed onto the developers/programmers in the development phase.
  6. Development. It is important that the design and development phases follow good Project Management processes to ensure that the project is kept on time and budget. This is the stage where the coding and programming takes place.
  7. QA Testing. This step is important to ensure that adequate beta testing and QA testing is performed to ensure that there are no bugs and that the app functions the way that it should on different mobile devices and versions.
  8. Launch. It’s come to that exciting time to launch your iOS app onto iTunes or Android app onto Google Play Store. Here is a great article that from Mashable that provides 15 Tips for Launching a Successful Mobile App. Here’s an article of How to put your Android app in Google Play.
  9. Post-launch. It’s important at this stage to receive feedback from your users of how to improve the app for future updates.

 

Need a Mobile App? Webilize specializes in iOS, Android, and Web Apps. Email or call us. www.webilize.com

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