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Complete Overview of the Android Mobile App Development Process

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Android OS (Operating System) can be found running on a plethora of mobile smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy, LG V20, Google Pixel, OnePlus, or the Huawei Mate 9. This makes Android OS a great platform for app developers. However, there are a number of factors that you must consider prior to developing your app. In late January 2017, there were an estimated 2.7 million Android apps in the Google Play App Store. To prevent the app store from being overloaded Google removes low quality apps from its store roughly every quarter. It is of the utmost importance to put the time and effort into getting your app right the first time.

First you need to decide whether you need a native app--one that is designed specifically for a particular OS, such as Android OS--or if you require an app in web based form that can work on both Android or iOS platforms. There are pros and cons to choosing either or, and you can learn more about what the differences are in our blog post: Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps.

Similar to that of the iOS app development process, it takes roughly 18 weeks to complete the Android app development process; with 10 weeks dedicated to building the back-end, and 8 weeks to building the front-end. The average price for North American developers is $150/hr. For simple apps, it can take up to 300 hours to build the app, 400-600 hours to build moderate apps, 600-900 hours to build multifaceted apps, and 900+ hours to build highly multifaceted apps.

Here are the necessary steps you should take in the process of developing a successful Android app:

 

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1. Pre-Planning:

It’s important to define the project in as much detail and as early as possible. You’ll want to be able to answer questions such as: Why does this app exist? What problem am I solving with the app? Will the app help productivity for those that download it? What is the business case? How will I monetize? Conduct thorough market research, and understand your competitors to determine how you can differentiate and position your app in the competitive marketplace.

2. Feasibility Analysis

You’ll want to assess whether the back-end systems will support your app’s functionality. As a basic assessment, you’ll need to understand if you need to gain access to a data source, and if an API (Application program interface) is available. At this stage, you’ll be able to better refine the project definitions, and have a clearer picture of your go-to-market strategy.

3. Prototyping and Discovery

In this phase, it’s important to storyboard how your app will flow and how users can navigate through your app, as it will provide a visual representation of the app itself. Prototyping is typically done with wire-frames, where the User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) designer will make a blue print mock-up structure of the app. The wire-frame should include platform details, specifications, and features. Ensure that your requirements are in sync with the wire-frames.

4. Designing

Before diving into the programming, you’ll need to come up with the overall design, look, and feel of the app. It is a great idea to bring an expert in UX Design into this process to create the interaction architecture of the design, as well as a UI expert to create the look and feel. This is an iterative process before the final design and blueprints are completed.

5. Development

Agile development is ideal, due to the importance in transparency, collaboration, and rapid iteration to adapt to change. The Android app development process will typically require the following four tools:

a. Java JDK5 or JDK6

b. Android SDK

c. Eclipse IDE for Java Developers (optional)

d. Android Development Tools (ADT) Eclipse Plugin (optional)

6. Quality Assurance

Now with the app designed and built, the next phase is to perform QA testing to ensure that the app is bug-free, and that it doesn’t have issues such as crashing. Two forms of testing typically conducted by QA teams are as following: 

UAT testing: User Acceptance Testing to assess usability. Ideally, you’ll want to put your app in the hands of those in your target market.

BETA testing: Have a beta version of your app available on a trial basis either through an open solicitation of participants or enrollment of identified groups. Feedback from the beta users will give you an idea of how the app is functioning for real users.

 

7. Launch

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The next step is to submit your new app into the Android market, so that users are able to download it. Every app will eventually require an update with new features, as well as incorporate feedback on how to improve the app from the actual users. Be sure to have adequate resources to maintain your app.

Below is a summary of Google’s Android app Launch Checklist:

a. Understand the publishing process

b. Understand Google Play’s Policies and Agreements.

c. Test for Quality.

d. Determine your App’s Content Rating.

e. Determine Country Distribution.

f. Confirm the App’s Overall Size.

g. Confirm the App’s Platform and Screen Compatibility Ranges.

h. Decide Whether your App will be Free or Priced.

i. Consider using In-app Billing or Android Pay.

j. Set Prices for your Products.                                                                   

k. Start Localization.

l. Prepare promotional Graphics, Screenshots, and Videos.

m. Build and Upload the Release-ready Android Package File (APK).

n. Plan a Beta Release.

o. Complete the App’s Store Listing.

8. Promotion

Uploading your new app into the app store isn’t the end process. After submitting the app, you’ll want to ensure that you have an effective marketing and PR strategy in place. A strong social media push will also be important so that news about your new app can reach the critical mass.

Here are a few tips for promoting your new app:

a. Create a sense of exclusivity.

b. Optimize the app title and keywords.

c. Prompt the user to rate the app. This should be used only after the user has used your app for an extended period of time.

d. One of the most important locations for your app to be discovered are in Top App Ranking Lists. It’s vital to create and sustain momentum from burst marketing campaigns, which includes social media, PR, and paid advertisements.

e. Identify your target market.

f. Use Facebook mobile install ads, that enable you to specify your target audience.

g. Cross promote your apps.

h. Get featured on at least 3-5 major app review blogs that will review your app at launch. To increase your chances on getting featured, have the right idea and details in check.

i. Create a dynamic and consistent marketing pitch, and showcase your app on as many marketing platforms and channels as possible.

 

Please be sure to also read our other related Blog Post for App Development: “Best Practices in Developing Apps for Large Android Devices”. At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials) we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development Team.

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