Most of the time, the difference between a successful app development process and an unsuccessful one is in the way things get done. A winning project is characterized by efficient phases and best practices right from the start to the finish line, while an unfruitful one lacks these.
In light of that, for you to always achieve better results from your app development process, you must infuse efficiency as well as adopt some proactive strategies when taking all the necessary steps. So, how exactly do you do that? Check out the 10 tips for enhancing your app development right below. But before that, let us clear out what app development process is.
What Is App Development Process?
The app development process is the act of creating applications for different devices. It entails an array of phases, for instance, coding, testing, and deployment to relevant platforms. To get the best results, developers have to adopt useful tips during the different stages of app development.
10 Tips for Enhancing Your App Development Process
Here are some essential things to do to ensure that your app development process is a success.
1. Discuss Project Requirements in Depth
Before beginning work on any application, there should be a thorough discussion of all specifics regarding the project. As a client, you would want to offer the developer any useful details, for example, your budget, the type of app that you want, and the timeframe. If there is an app out there that is similar to what you have in mind, you can use it as a prototype for your project developer. Note, in this case, the more info you avail, the better.
On the other side, as a developer, it is essential to offer consultations to all of your clients. Sales representatives can come in handy on such occasions by scheduling phone calls or emails to prospective customers. During their communication, they can gather any necessary information from the customers. And, with that done, they can create proposals for the clients as well as breakdowns of the development process.
2. Gather Business Insights and Provide Estimates
After discussing project requirements, it is time to hold the first team meeting. This gathering is essential when it comes to identifying the personnel to work on the project. Moreover, it helps the different players to get a chance to provide their opinion on a specific application. Typically, one of the first things to be done during such meetings is to bring the QA team on board and determination of the test case availability. By getting the QA involved early on, it enables them to comprehend the specifications of the customer way better. At this meeting, any issues regarding the flow of activities clear out.
After that, the QA will move straight to the development of test cases. When making these estimations, it is best to consider as many positive and negative test scenarios as possible. That said, there is also a need to make a test plan document to solidify the objectives and sketch the scope. This way, better cost estimations can be made while also getting an excellent idea of the project.
3. Always Sign an NDA
App development is a vital issue and should be taken as seriously as possible. Therefore, upon the completion of the steps above, it is time to make your app development official by signing an NDA agreement. This way, you can be sure that whatever information or idea you have provided to the developers is safeguarded.
Most of the time, real work on your application begins upon signing this agreement. It is understandable since this binding document is what details the methods of correspondence to be used, project requirements, file sharing modes, the forecasted milestones after specific durations, among other essential things.
4. Remember to Wireframe
Wireframing is the designing of an application at a structural level. Usually, a wireframe is used for laying out content and functionality while considering the needs of users. Wireframes are created early in the development process ahead of adding visual representations and content. With one, you can quickly get an idea regarding the development of timeframe while also refining and rearranging your strategies to allow smooth sailing during the development.
In this phase, ensure that you have an excellent comprehension of how your planned features, and development ideas will fit onto one another to create a functioning system. Moreover, it is essential to make a storyboard of sorts to lay out the connections between different screens and how users will maneuver while using your application. Be on the alert to ensure that you identify any opportunities to integrate your brand. And if nothing else, pay attention to user experience, taking into consideration different ways in which people will interact with your application.
5. Pay Attention to the UI/UX Design
The user interface (UX) expert is responsible for developing the interaction among the various design elements, on the one hand. On the other, the user interface (UI) professional’s task is creating the overall look and feel of an application.
Consider creating a questionnaire to assist with laying out ideas on the UX/UI design, for instance:
- The colors on the application.
- Functional font scheme.
- What already existing applications should be copied?
Designers can leverage app design tools such as Adobe XD and Sketch to create sample screens. Often, the screens will have the application’s icon, sign up forms, login areas, and a home page. Then no matter what is the number of UI/UX designs being presented, you can pick your favorite and go on with the rest of the development process.
Note, just like other aspects of the app development process, handling UI/UX issues requires you to have a proper understanding of the functional and non-functional requirements of the same. This way, you can provide a working application that delivers the right features without having to compromise the outlook or usability.
6. Break Down Your Application Development into Sprints
After coming up with proper designs for the app, the actual building of the app, otherwise known as the coding process, begins. Every development team must have a project manager. And it is his or her job to define the process. That is, break it down into smaller tasks.
To create a successful app, the team must keep with agile development rules. Agile software development includes methodologies where requirements and solutions evolve based on collaboration between the cross-functional team and client or end-user. An agile environment enables communication to flow more smoothly. Features and functionalities will best suit the client’s needs as the customer gets to share their insights during development.
An essential tip for this phase is to set milestones. For a months-long process, you can break it down into two-week sprints. After every step, the team can present the work down thus far to the client and even create a demonstration. This way, you can identify a disconnect between what you are creating and what the customer actually wants early on and make the necessary adjustments. With this strategy, you will also have fewer changes to make once the app is complete. Also, ensure you have a timeline for each sub-development to get an idea about the expected delivery and costs.
7. Perform Thorough Quality Assurance Testing
To err is human. While some of these mistakes are easy to fix, some are serious and even costly in the long run. There have been several cases in the recent history of software bugs being discovered and fixed later on.
Testing is not just necessary to keep the costs low but also helps to ensure the developed app is of high quality. The further you go into the development, the more it will cost to fix a bug. So, testing should go hand in hand with development. Once feature is in the can, it undergoes testing to smoothen the rough edges. There two types of testing: manual testing and automation testing, with each having its own advantages and disadvantages.
The best QA testing keeps the users’ experience in mind. Make it thorough by envisioning all the possible scenarios. How will the end-user use the app? What could the target customers potentially want in an app like the one you have created? Is there anything that they could do that would make the app crash? Design the test to fail. The harder a software test is to pass, the more effective it will be at identifying issues.
8. Build a Buzz around Your Mobile App Launch
Once you are sure that the app is good to go, you can release/ publish it. Successfully launching an app is a lot of work. However, if you spent money and effort developing the app, you should also be ready to invest in marketing as well. A few days before the actual release, you can pitch it to the pres – either do it yourself or hire a good PR person to do so. If the news piece is on a popular blog that can impact the awareness and download rates as well.
You can also create a landing page for the app. It can simply be one page long with an opt-in form. That way, you can collect email addresses from visitors. Use these contacts to start an email marketing campaign and build interest in your app. This step will help you find early adopters that will anticipate the app long before it launches.
9. Have an App Store Optimization Plan
Now, before you submit the app to the store (Google Play or Apple Store), you’ll need to think about the app’s page on the store. Remember, many people discover the apps by searching specific words on the store’s search bar. You will need to find the perfect title, make a product description with the right keywords, and screenshots of the interface. There’s a set amount of characters. So, be wise with the keywords you select. Use a tool to analyze and compare different keywords. Keep SEO rules in mind to get maximum benefits.
Some development companies have in-house marketing departments that can help in creating descriptions and visuals for the app’s store page. Developers have a better knowledge of the Apple Store and Google Play Store policies and publishing regulations. They can also help you publish the application to the target app store. If you hire a development team to build your app, you can agree on this when signing the contract.
10. Gather Feedback for Post-Production Development
The last step of any app development process is maintenance. You need to work on app updates after the development, testing, and product launch. As technologies advance and people’s demands become more complex, your app will need new features. Remember, the moment the app goes into the users’ mobile phones, you’ll start to receive feedback. Take this feedback and utilize it in developing the next version of your app. Post-production development follows the same steps as the initial development process – only that it will be focusing on a specific feature or functionality. You can work out an after-launch plan with your developer.
Summary: Putting It All Together
Every step in the application development process is crucial for the development of the app.
- Requirements elicitation and validation at the inception stage;
- Then goes cost estimation;
- Afterwards, contract and NDA signing.
After that goes wireframes and initial designs that precedes an actual app building. QA testing goes on during and after development. Lastly, the app launches to the market. These tips, combined with an experienced mobile product development team, will help you create an app that meets your requirements and users’ needs.
Angelo has been involved in the creative IT world for over 20 years. He built his first website back in 1998 using Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop. He expanded his knowledge and expertise by learning a wider range of programming skills, such as HTML/CSS, Flash ActionScript and XML.
Angelo completed formal training with the CIW (Certified Internet Webmasters) program in Sydney Australia, learning the core fundamentals of computer networking and how it relates to the infrastructure of the world wide web.
Apart from running Sunlight Media, Angelo enjoys writing informative content related to web & app development, digital marketing and other tech related topics.