Mobile App Development Cycle- The Ideal Method


Mobile App Development Cycle

Every day, about thousands of mobile apps are released on Google Play Apple App Store. These apps may be for gaming, dating, ecommerce, social media etc. These apps might be built under big brands or very small, local, and unfamiliar brand names. If all these are professionally built, then they must follow a proper Mobile App Development Cycle, which is famously known as SDLC, i.e., Software Development Life Cycle.

In today’s evolving world, building a mobile application doesn’t require any rocket science learning. But, a successful mobile application requires to follow a proper procedure of SDLC and extensive pre-planning. Building an application could be quite easy such that, in a week, you can complete your app development and submit it to Google or Apple Play Store. On the other hand, it could be extremely tedious and involves rigorous research, designing, testing, a full beta life cycle, and then deploying it in different ways.

Mobile App Development Cycle is similar to conventional SDLC. Mobile App Development is a smooth process only when the Mobile App Development Cycle phases are taken care of and followed appropriately.

Mobile App Development Cycle

Source: BuildFire Website

As every app is different from another, and technological trends are also evolving rapidly. But, SDLC is fairly considered the standard process when it comes to Mobile App Development Cycle. The Mobile App Development Cycle typically follows 6 following steps;

  1. Ideation,
  2. Strategy,
  3. Designing,
  4. Development,
  5. Deployment, and
  6. Post-Launch.

Now, let’s take each step in depth.

1. Ideation

Every great product, service, or application begins with a great idea. If you don’t have an app idea, then the best time is to start now. For a unique idea generation, train yourself to think in terms of problems and look out for its potential solutions. You have to make your brain instinctively ask “Why do we have to do things this way?” or “Is there any better way to solve the problem?”

If you can identify a problem, you are halfway to your idea generation for mobile app development. Only Idea generation will not be effective; you need to refine your idea by doing proper research over it. Make sure your research for idea validation includes actual demographics, goals of your buyers, behavior, motivation, and buying pattern of customers. While doing so, always keep the end-user in mind.

In the Ideation phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle, you need to be very specific about the following points and find the answers to these questions.

  • Define the aim of Mobile App Development.
  • How is your app different from the existing apps in the market?
  • Is there a requirement for such an app?
  • Distinguish the kind of audience your app will target.
  • Analyze the time required to develop the app.
  • Define the platform on which the app will be developed.
  • How will your app solve the existing problem?

While answering these questions, you will get a clear picture of your aim and idea. Make sure the app is user-friendly and targets the appropriate audience. Thorough ideation and research at the initial phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle will minimize the risk associated with your project.

2. Strategy

After the Ideation phase, the second phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle defines Strategies to evolve your idea into a successful app. As each app’s objective differs from another; therefore, a proper strategy is required for applications. The strategy can be formed based on different perspectives.

a. Competition

Once you are done with the Ideation phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle, it’s time to plan for apps success. So, the best step would be to identify your competition first. Just find, if there is any app working on the same thing and providing the service you are planning with and look for the following;

  • See the number of downloads of the application.
  • Look for the Ratings and Reviews of the app and analyze the customer feedback/comments. It will help you to learn about the likes and dislikes of the application users.
  • Look for the application and the company’s history. Take a look over how the application has evolved and what challenges it faced during the course of time. As well as, do analyze their marketing strategies and how did they grow their user base.

To beat your competitor and get informed about it in advance would be a great strategy. So, learn as much as you can about your existing competitors. Apart from that, never think you can beat the competition easily without getting into the competition. So, make sure to understand how hard it will be to compete in the marketplace.

b. Monetization

Well, it is a known fact that if you are entering the market, you will definitely look for the options to monetize your business opportunity as much as possible. There are several methods of monetization that works effectively are as follows;

  • In-app Purchases,
  • Premium Features,
  • Subscription Payments,
  • Ad-revenue,
  • Traditional Paid Apps, and
  • Selling User Data.

To analyze the best strategy among these, you need to learn what the market expects to pay and how to pay for such similar available services. You also need to look for what time is best for the new business to introduce the monetizing feature in your app or do it when you introduce the app in the market. Skipping or delaying strategizing the Monetization step in the Mobile App Development Cycle will give your business a hard time later turning on profit.

c. Marketing

To strategize the marketing tactics in Mobile App Development Cycle is solely for identifying the challenges you are going to face while marketing your app. Suppose you have successfully built and designed your app with quality features. Still, the biggest hurdle exists is to drive the customer or users for your application. So, you need to learn about your marketing budget and approach you are going to follow to attract users.

d. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

The final stage of strategizing is to define your app’s roadmap. In this step of the Mobile App Development Cycle, you will define the goal, what your app will become one day and what it requires to succeed. Initially, you can also go with the version of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Along with that, define all the things you require in your app and prioritize it as well. This priority will help you to build an MVP easily and, in minimum time you can introduce your working app in the market. As you gain users with your MVP, then based on user feedback, you can timely introduce new features in the app.

3. Designing

A. User-Experience Designing

Mobile App Development Cycle

Source: Appinventive Website

Building a prototype or MVP requires excellent design. The Designing phase in Mobile App Development Cycle aims to deliver seamless and effortless user experience with a refined appearance. The goal of mobile app UI/UX Design is to provide excellent user experience by making your app user-friendly, interactive, and intuitive. The Designing of app will be based on the following features;

a. Information Architecture

In the Mobile App Development Cycle, the Information Architecture process allows you to decide what data and functionalities should be presented and how it should be organized in your app. For this, just list down the features separately, what you want the app to perform and what should be displayed. This list will help to build the wireframes.

b. Wireframes

Wireframes are used to design screens and assign data and functions. These wireframes are digital forms of sketches and conceptual layouts. It provides the visual representation of the functional requirements of the app. Wireframes are more focused on highlighting the aesthetics and user experience instead of apps styling and color combinations.

Wireframes are quick and cost-effective for designing apps layout and reviewing the designing process. Make sure to create device-specific wireframes, so that it can provide a device-specific and intuitive user experience.

c. Workflows

Workflows are the guidelines for users to travel within the app. It contributes to the app’s design strategy. Presenting workflow early on will help the Mobile App Development Cycle process and improve the developer’s productivity. As the predefined guidelines will also make your app look and feel consistent.

If you find any problem with your workflow, then update your wireframes and try again. Make sure to follow each step after any update or changes to confirm that you didn’t increase any difficulty of one action while attempting to improve another.

B. User-Interface Designing

The aim of user-interface designing while following SDLC to achieve the accuracy and quality of product development. In the Mobile App Development Cycle, building an interactive and user-friendly user-interface is very important to make the best and introduce the best in the market.

a. Style Guides

It is considered as the building block of your Mobile App Development Cycle. Having a decent styling guideline will help your app to look good and attract users. Having a consistent app design will make users more likely comfortable within the app. Style guides include:

  • What font family will your app’s text use?
  • What should be the color scheme for your app?
  • How does your company’s brand get reflected in the app design?

Try to keep the cluster aside and put forward the main points. The experienced design team can render all your requirements and deliver the app that would be an excellent fit for you and the end-users.

b. Rendered Designs

Rendering high-fidelity design under Mobile App Development Cycle is to replace the greyscale elements of wireframes with your style guide. Make sure to provide a dedicated screen for each wireframe screen. If you want to make yourself stand out from the existing app market crowd, then maintain the new style and feel free to update or amend your style guides. In the end, make sure these changes don’t affect your design, so be consistent.

c. Rendering Click-through Models

After rendering all the screens, return to the click-through model application and test your app again. This is the step in the Mobile App Development Cycle, which requires your time. Make sure to implement and verify all the changes and updates because, after this, changes will become increasingly very costly for your app development.

4. Development

The Development phase in SDLC generally starts once an idea gains some maturation in the conceptual stage. The development of a working prototype facilitates and validates functionality and assumptions, and provides an overview and understanding of the scope of work.

Planning remains an integral part of the Mobile App Development Cycle. So, before implementing the actual development process, define the following points first;

  • Define Technical Architecture.
  • Define Development milestones.
  • Choose a Technology Stack for your app development.

Generally, a mobile application is built over three integral parts: Back-End Server/Database Technology, Front-End Technology, and API(s).

a. Back-End Server/Database Technology

The back-end is majorly responsible for your app’s performance and scalability. The technologies used for app development are similar to those used to power web-based applications. So, before writing codes, decide the following things first;

Source: EdSurge Website

  • Language- There are numerous programming languages that can be used to build the API. The most common languages used are C#, Golang, Java, JavaScript, PHP, and Python. These languages have numerous frameworks also that can be utilized appropriately.
  • Database/Server- There are two types of modern databases used nowadays, i.e., SQL and NoSQL. In the majority of cases, SQL has been the best and first choice. SQL implementation commonly includes MYSQL, MSSQL, and PostgreSQL. Proceed with a well-thought decision as having a reliable and well-organized database is important for success in the course of the long-term.
  • Hosting Environment (Infrastructure)- In a hosting environment, you have to decide how and where your API and database will be hosted. This decision will help you determine the budget for hosting, performance, scalability, and reliability of your final product development. You can have dedicated hosting or cloud-based hosting, based on your preference and convenience.

b. API

Application Programming Interface (API) is a method of establishing communication between the app and the back-end server or database.

c. Front-End Technology

Front-end technology basically follows 3 approaches and is Platform-Specific Native, Cross-Platform Native, and Hybrid.

  • Platform-Specific Native- The platform-specific apps are built separately for each platform. The codes for Android or iOS-based apps can’t be reused. But these apps are made in such a manner to be fully optimized for each platform. Platform-specific codes in Mobile App Development Cycle is quite an expensive approach to follow, but is very appropriate and tried, and tested to go with.
  • Cross-Platform Native: The apps built under this approach may have some or all shared code, but can run natively very well. The conventional technologies used for cross-platform native programming are Xamarian, Native Script, and React Native. It is a very cost-effective approach, but can easily optimize and style each platform.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid Apps are built using Web Technologies, i.e., HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, and the app is then installed through a native wrapper. Such apps can be installed through Ionic, Phone Gap, and Cordova. This is the cheapest option among all the three, but it comes with some difficulties as well.

Coding

To perform all the above appropriate steps requires coding to successfully build a mobile app and follow the SDLC to gain the quality at the end. The approach of coding in the development phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle requires developers to implement the app’s style and functionality.

Your coders need to understand the application’s goals as a whole and the individual function too. The developer needs to be in sync with that particular feature and understand the requirement’s intent to get the accurate return result.

After coding is done from the developer side, now it’s time for the Tester to review each module’s functioning.

Testing

The significant amount of app testing is performed by the non-developers, i.e., the people who are not the app’s primary developer. This ensures a more genuine testing experience. To follow the Mobile App Development Cycle, several types of testing can be performed. Typical testing approaches are:

  • Functional Testing- ensures the features are working as described in the requirements. The Quality Assurance team makes sure to test the plan with a list of actions they are provided with and the desired app behavior over each action.
  • Usability Testing: ensures all the features are working correctly, and make sure they are user-friendly and as intuitive as possible.
  • Performance Testing: ensures that the app is working properly along with the timely and quick response or results. Keep an eye on the responsiveness of the app. If it takes too much time to respond or in providing the required result; then, no one will use your application.
  • Fit and Finish Testing: ensure all the designs are done properly and accurately as described in the design. The designers should make sure and re-check their work to attain accuracy and get the finished product as desired.
  • Regression Testing: ensure testing of each module and each modified module as well. After any coding changes, it might be possible that, earlier the things that were working properly might get affected. So, do test the same thing again and again to get the final product.
  • Device-Specific Testing: There are a variety of combinations of operating systems and devices in this tech world. Therefore, while testing, perform testing over numerous devices based on different Operating Systems and screen sizes. There are also tools to accomplish such tasks and automate this step. You can use Google Firebase but always try to do manual testing of the app on a handful of devices.
  • User Acceptance Testing: is usually performed by either the app owner or the app’s end-users. So, always ready to take the feedback from the end-user and make the required improvements in it.

5. Deployment

After following all the above steps of the Mobile App Development Cycle, it’s time to deploy the final product in the market. The proper testing and debugging of the app will make sure to deploy the app, and this can be done by following 2 different ways;

a. Deploy App on Web Server

For the functioning of an app, a back-end server is very necessary because it helps transfer the data between the application and the database. The application will stop performing if the back-end server is not working correctly or is overloaded. To avoid such issues, make sure the server is configured effectively to fulfill all the app requirements and meet the users needs. Some services like Amazon Web Services, RackSpace, etc. are some of the best web services that are efficient in handling the traffic. Such web-based services help you identify the situation where the app can stop working due to a rapid increase in traffic.

b. Deploy App on the Google Play Store or iOS App Store

Once you are sure about the best configuration and features of your app, you can release the app on either or both the app store, i.e., Google Play Store and iOS App Store. To make this possible, you can follow the separate application procedure of Google and Apple. It might be possible that you have to make some changes to your app due to each app store’s guidelines. Apple app store reviews apps manually, so it might ask to make some changes to follow their guidelines and maintain the regulations.

6. Post-Launch

After following all the phases of the Mobile App Development Cycle and the successful launch of the app doesn’t refer to your app will be a hit in the market. It is a crucial stage for your application, so make sure to monitor the app functionality regularly. As well as, keep an eye over its analytics, and continuously update the app for fixing bugs and crashes. Monitor user reviews on social media and app stores and try to respond to them individually and quickly. All these are essential steps of SDLC, that should be followed post-launch of the application.

It is evident that the Mobile App Development Cycle procedure is quite long and exhausting, but in the end, it is quite overwhelming too. Building the full-fledged app and following each phase involved in the SDLC requires substantial investment in terms of money. It also requires a lot of time and resources to achieve quality accurately and follow the Mobile App Development Cycle. But, if you perform every step properly, then, in the end, it will be a very rewarding process.

Source: RawPixel Website

We also follow each phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle properly to get the best results and assist you with your personal preferences. As an ideal company for following all the steps of SDLC, we are always ready to serve you with your specific requirements. At EngineerBabu, we have dedicated and skilled developers who used to follow each phase of the Mobile App Development Cycle with precision based upon your convenience and requirements. For further assistance and detailed information, you can contact us, and we are here to help you.


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