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In today’s business landscape, having an online presence is crucial for successful development. However, with a vast number of competitors, it is effortless for a brand to become overshadowed and overlooked.
Hence, businesses are actively seeking effective strategies to enhance the visibility and appeal of their brand to existing and prospective customers. Building a personalized mobile application is one of the choices they consider.
Tailor-made mobile applications assist businesses in delivering a personalized user experience, fostering customer loyalty, and establishing a coherent and comprehensible brand image.
Nevertheless, in the absence of a clear vision regarding the desired appearance and functionality of a company’s mobile application, the development process can lead to inefficiencies and squandering of financial and resource investments.
How to Start Developing a Mobile Application?
This article will offer a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on initiating the development of a mobile application with effectiveness and efficiency in mind.
The inception of every software development process begins with an idea for an application. Typically, when businesses contemplate developing a bespoke mobile solution, they already possess a certain vision of the app’s aesthetics and functionality.
Prior to engaging with a mobile development team, it is advisable to outline the fundamental concepts of the product. This practice facilitates a more precise definition of the product idea and significantly simplifies its presentation to the development team.
The following are key areas of focus:
Mobile app objective: This entails assisting companies in determining the purpose of their mobile solution and how it will enhance their workflow processes. This may encompass improving customer service, optimizing internal business operations, enhancing supplier search and management, and various other objectives.
Target audience: The subsequent crucial aspect to address is identifying the potential users of the digital solution. They may include internal staff, retail customers, B2B clients, and various other individuals or groups.
Mobile App Features: It play a vital role as they define the functionality of the application, impact the budget, and determine the necessary resources for app development.
Market research is closely intertwined with outlining the project idea, making it worthwhile to initiate the research process before scheduling a meeting with the development team.
During this phase, businesses delve into assessing the potential demand for their mobile app in the market and explore the offerings of their competitors. To achieve this, businesses can:
- Conduct comprehensive research of the global market and its existing offerings to identify mobile app solutions that are similar to the one being developed.
- Examine the points of differentiation between the developed product and its competitors, ascertain the target audience needs it addresses more effectively, and evaluate its overall market value.
Market research is an ongoing endeavor that extends beyond a single instance. It can be conducted during the app development process and after the desired solution is built. For instance, while the mobile app is being developed, the company can opt to swiftly construct a minimum viable product (MVP) and gauge the responses of the target audience. Alternatively, in the post-production phase, a SWOT analysis can be performed on competitors’ digital solutions to gain insights into enhancing the existing app and identifying valuable features to incorporate.
In their pursuit of creating highly competitive and high-performing mobile apps, certain businesses may occasionally exceed the optimal threshold by attempting to incorporate an excessive number of features.
While each additional feature incurs an increase in development costs, it does not guarantee an improvement in the overall efficiency of the app.
To determine which features are crucial for the app and which ones can be added later, many companies commonly begin by developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
An MVP embodies a fundamental version of the digital product, encompassing essential functions that can be swiftly launched into the market.
By introducing the product to end-users during the early stages of development, businesses can acquire valuable feedback from their customers.
Consequently, they can promptly incorporate app improvements and more effectively align the developed solution with user requirements.
Here are a few questions that can aid in making better decisions regarding the essential features of an MVP:
- What business objectives will it assist in achieving?
- What functionalities will your mobile app encompass?
- Who will be the users of your app: regular users, administrators, or technical support personnel?
- What are the compelling reasons for people to choose and use your app?
- Who will comprise your target audience?
Prototyping is a crucial component of the app development process, where designers and stakeholders collaborate to create mock-ups and wireframes that illustrate the intended functionality and appearance of the future app.
This enhances the clarity of mobile app design and demonstrates the interconnections between app screens. Prototypes also facilitate an understanding of the simplicity and intuitiveness of app navigation, as well as the clarity and logical structure of the user flow.
During the creation of prototypes, designers meticulously focus on the aesthetics of the app, carefully selecting contemporary color palettes, design elements, and various other visual aspects.
When it comes to UI/UX design for mobile apps, designers adhere to certain general principles to ensure a consistent and seamless user experience.
iOS or Android?
Choosing the platform on which the developed solution will operate is a crucial aspect that should be carefully considered from the outset of mobile app development.
This is because the platform dictates the development stack comprising tools and programming languages that will be utilized to create the app.
The two primary platforms for mobile app development are iOS and Android, both deserving of companies’ attention due to their ability to attract distinct categories of users.
Here are some key points to consider about the iOS and Android platforms:
Android: A dominant platform in the market with over 3 billion active users. The Android app development market offers several advantages, including smartphones available at various price points, extensive customization options, an up-to-date file system, support for over 100 languages, monthly security updates, and more. The Android development stack typically includes tools and programming languages such as Android Studio, Android Debug Bridge, Eclipse, Native Development Kit, Java, Kotlin, Python, C/C++, and many others.
iOS: iOS is the second most popular mobile platform with over 1 billion users worldwide. The iOS app market is known for its emphasis on quality, superior retail support, absence of bloatware, biometric authentication capabilities, and more. The primary iOS development tools and programming languages include Xcode, AppCode, CocoaPods, Transporter, Swift, and others.
Native or Hybrid?
When a company decides to develop a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms, it must choose between two software development approaches: Native or Hybrid.
Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which will significantly impact the subsequent app development and maintenance processes.
The primary distinction between a native and hybrid app lies in the programming languages they utilize, the associated budget, and the project’s objectives.
Hybrid apps offer advantages in terms of a unified codebase, cost-effectiveness, and time efficiency.
Mobile app development always necessitates significant investments. However, if the developed solution can generate revenue, it can assist companies in recouping their costs at a faster pace.
Hence, businesses should determine the most suitable monetization options to incorporate into their mobile apps.
There are various options for monetization to consider:
- Freemium apps (available for free download, but with optional in-app purchases to unlock advanced features);
- Premium apps (require purchasing the app from the store);
- In-app purchases or ads;
- Sponsorships (this option becomes viable once you attain a certain user base volume).
The mobile app launch is a crucial phase wherein the final product’s success is truly tested. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to lay the groundwork for a seamless app release.
During this stage, companies can endeavor to attract the maximum possible audience prior to the app launch.
For instance, they can establish an official app page and consistently share information regarding app features, planned updates, previews, design solutions, and more. This approach aids in gathering user feedback, identifying unnecessary features, and allowing for potential redesign if certain features prove to be confusing.
Additionally, it is essential to bear in mind that the majority of mobile apps are discovered through organic search. Therefore, businesses should proactively plan their app store optimization by providing an informative app description, relevant keywords, compelling screenshots, and a preview video. By taking these steps, the product launch can be executed smoothly in the market.
Developing a customized mobile app is a powerful strategy for businesses to differentiate their brand from competitors, expand their reach to broader audiences, and boost both revenue and market share.
However, the process of app development demands substantial investment, resources, time, and expertise. Therefore, companies must meticulously plan each development step to ensure the initial success of their mobile app and mitigate any unexpected expenses.
If you are also considering the development of a custom mobile solution, we trust that this article will assist you in adequately preparing for your discussion with the development team.
If you are currently in search of mobile software developers, we recommend considering the expertise of SYSTAFF’s mobile development specialists.
Our team of mobile app developers boasts more than 20 years of experience in creating diverse projects for both iOS and Android platforms, as well as developing cross-platform solutions of varying complexities.