Today, more than half of online activities take place on mobile devices. Mobile apps also have an important place in this huge online volume, and so does app development. This data is enough to reveal the future importance of mobile apps in the online world. On the other hand, Forbes, one of the good-standing publications of the world economy, has also made observations confirming this.
According to the observations of Forbes, mobile apps will be at the center of the economic world of the future. How true this observation of Forbes is becoming clearer day by day. Mobile apps are already very effective in almost every stage of life, from the health sector to the business world. We do not even need to mention the prevalence of mobile apps in the gaming industry. When this is the case, everyone dreams of getting rich by developing a mobile app. So, we’ve prepared a guide for app development for those who want it.
What Is Mobile App Development?
Let’s look at which devices mobile apps are suitable for first. Mobile apps are available for wearables, tablets, and smartphones. Mobile application development is the process of writing software for these devices. In fact, it would be more accurate to call this process mobile software development. Because this is only the first step of a long process. That only covers software processes such as HTML5, hybrid apps, and native coding. Mobile app development refers to a process that includes many more strategic processes. This process covers an effective design, building, and finally, launching the mobile product. Long story short, building a mobile app is a long process that requires hard-working. Let’s list the stages in this long process one by one. Then, we may begin to explain these processes.
- Idea generation for mobile app
- Market validation to observe how effective the idea will be in the market
- Creating persona definition
- Developing an effective and stylish design for your mobile app
- Creating a robust development architecture
- Finally, writing clean code
- Now your mobile app is ready for Google Play or App Store
As you can see from the stages we’ve listed above, developing a mobile app is not cheap. It is a process that requires an investor or your personal investment. So, if your mobile app fails, there will be a significant financial loss. If you don’t want to fall into this, make sure to take advantage of the guide we’ve prepared for you. In this article, we will talk about every stage of a successful mobile app development process. We will also explain common mistakes investors and developers make in the process. So, let’s get started now.
Reasons to Develop a Mobile App
Let’s get into some numbers and statistics now. Over the past few years, the number of unique mobile device users around the world has hovered over five billion. The massive five billion unique mobile users weren’t enough to impress you? Then, it will be enough to surprise you to learn something else. This figure is more than 90% of all internet users in the world.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the State of Mobile 2019 report by App Annie. This report indicates that global app downloads reached almost 200 billion in 2018. However, there is an even more striking figure in this report. According to this report, the total amount of money users paid for this massive 200 billion download is more than 100 billion dollars.
This $100 billion market is a very strong reason to develop mobile apps. But if you’re still not convinced, get ready to hear more. In the current year, this $100 billion market is expected to grow almost twice as much. It’s not twice as much exactly, but experts are certain that 90% growth will occur. In other words, this $100 billion market in 2018 will provide app developers with $190 billion in revenue this year. At the same time, this year, the entire mobile app economy worldwide will reach a total of $6.3 billion.
Numbers and statistics never lie. Plus, these numbers scream the reasons you need to develop mobile apps very loudly. So, now is the time to develop a successful mobile app. For this, you will need to be clear about the strategy. Also, you should prepare your plan carefully. Do you want the resources, money, and time you will spend on this business to be wasted? So, keep reading.
Mobile App Development: Ultimate Guide
To build an impeccable mobile app, you need to be planned and go step by step. We listed all the steps to help you with an ultimate guide.
Develop Your Idea
You want to develop a mobile app. However, for your application to be successful, you must start with a very solid idea. So, how can you tell if an idea is solid? Understanding this is actually very simple but requires extensive research. One of the most common motivations underlying people’s purchasing activities is the need drive. So, first, you might consider developing an app idea that may help to solve people’s problems.
Have you succeeded in developing such an idea? So, now check whether your idea has a place in the current market. There may be other successful mobile apps based on this idea. You should know that your idea will face fierce competition in the market in this case. Then, the chances of your idea being successful in the market will be very low. More precisely, the more successful competitors in the market, the less chance your app will have of success. However, let’s assume that there is no successful app in the market based on your idea. That means that your developed idea will find a response in the market. That is, it will be in demand.
So, don’t just have a good idea to develop a successful mobile app. Do extensive research to make sure that your great idea will be in demand in the market. Remember, a good idea is like tree seeds. It is entirely up to you to plant these seeds on cliffs or fertile soils.
Clarify Your Strategy
By now, you have developed your idea. Then, you have confirmed whether it may find a response in the market. Now, you have to evolve this great idea into a good mobile app. First of all, you will need an effective strategy to achieve this. This strategy will also be an important element of your overall enterprise mobility strategy. So, how to define that kind of strategy? There is a significant app-specific effect on your mobility strategy. You should deal with it while developing your mobile app. There is also an important point to consider when determining this strategy. The objectives of each app may differ from the others. That is, at the stage of determining your strategy, you should also determine the objectives of your app. There are a few steps you can take to get this right. Let’s talk about them now.
First of all, you should identify the app users conclusively. Which mobile needs does your app solve? Or, will your app be in the gaming category? So, who will be using your app? Define the answers to these questions clearly before you get started. Your answers to these questions will be effective in determining your strategy. It is also important to conduct competitive research while determining your strategy. So, continue the competition research you have done during the idea development phase. Now it’s time to set the goals for the mobile app you will develop. If you have completed all these, there is only one more thing to do left. Now, you should determine the platform where you will launch your app in the final stage of strategy determination. Now, you are ready to move on to the next stage.
Pay attention to UI and UX design
What does app design do? Its primary objective is to provide an effortless user experience. Users should have no problems using the app. App design is also perfect for giving your app an eye-catching look. There is no perfect app. However, the closer your app design is to perfection, the easier it will be for users to adopt your app’s features. That is the most important factor that determines the success of your app. The more users benefit from your app more useful your app will be. There is literally a mutual interest here.
You produce an app that will benefit people, and they will make your app successful. That is where UX and UI designs come into play. First of all, these designs make your app more interactive with users. They also provide a more intuitive user experience. Thus, your app will become more user-friendly. UI design, on the other hand, also provides a more polished interface to your app. In this way, it will take less time for users to adopt your app. Besides, the intuitive user experience will encourage users to stay engaged.
So, what will be the first step of your mobile app design process? In the first step of this process, data comes first. How data will be used in mobile apps is an important issue. In this case, you must first determine the data that users will encounter in your app. Also, at this stage, you must determine what data the app will collect from users. Then, you should identify user interactions with the app. Finally, set the user journeys within your mobile app. When determining user interactions, keep in mind that this will affect the user experience directly.
Analysis and Planning
Your mobile app, which was just an idea until this stage, will now take shape. You must now treat it as an actual project. You can do this in the best way with accurate analysis and effective planning. In order to achieve success at this stage, first, define the use cases. Afterward, you should capture detailed functional requirements. So far, you have determined the requirements of your app. Now arrange a clear product roadmap to address these needs.
You can prioritize your mobile app needs on this product map. Then, classify them according to delivery milestones correctly. You may also edit this product map according to issues such as cost, resources, and time. If you have certain restrictions on these issues, define your minimum viable product first in your product map. Then, just prioritize it for your initial launch. Now, let’s move on to the next part of the planning phase.
Developing a mobile app is a process that requires certain skills. At this stage, determine the skills that you will need according to the objectives and goals of your app. The best example would be the Android and iOS platforms. Both of them use distinct app development technology stacks. So, you should create your developer team according to the platform on which you will launch your mobile app. If your app is for Android phones, you should hire Android app developers.
At this stage, finally, determine the name of your mobile app. However, you should remember that they are similar to domain names. So, you must select a unique name for your app within each app store. That means intense research waits for you. Do not avoid it. If you have completed it, there is still more work to be done.
Develop with Patience
You are now in the programming phase to develop your mobile app actively. These three elements will determine the fate of your app during its development phase. The first of these three important elements is to define the technical architecture of your app. Then, identify the technology stack you will use to develop your app. To start programming your app, set development milestones finally.
Three integral components combine to form a typical mobile app project. These components are API(s), back-end/server tech, and the mobile app front-end. Let’s talk about these three components in a little more detail now.
Mobile apps need server-side objects and databases to support their functionality. So, the back-end/server tech component meets these requirements of mobile apps. You may have an existing back-end platform already. In this case, you have to perform some retouches to support the mobile functionality you need. So, what is API, which is the other important component? API stands for App Programming Interface. It is an app communication method. Basically, its job in a mobile app is to provide communication between the app and the back-end server/database. However, the Mobile App Front End is much more complex than either of these components. Let’s try to explain it in short. The Mobile App Front End is the native mobile app, actually. What we see on the screen is the Mobile App Front End when we log into an app. The app uses local data storage to allow users to use apps offline.
There are a number of programming language options to use to develop a mobile app. The same is true for tech stacks. So, you have a lot of options while building a mobile app. All you have to do is decide what will be the best for your mobile app.
How to Test Your Mobile App to Ensure Its Success
There’s only one way to find out if you have programmed your mobile app successfully. Test it to see if you have managed to program your mobile app successfully. However, do not test it from just one angle. You should test it from every angle. There are many criteria by which you can perform these tests. Make sure you use all of these while testing your app. Extensive testing of your mobile app will increase its chances of success. These tests help you get results that will make your app safer, more usable, and more stable. The most important of these tests is called the QA test. QA stands for Quality Assurance. So, how can you be sure of these test results? First of all, you should arrange test cases that will address all aspects of the mobile app testing process. Let’s talk a little bit about these important tests.
Testing Your App’s Performance
There are a lot of quantitative metrics you can use at this stage. You should take advantage of it. So, you should first test the performance of your app in terms of some basic criteria. Your app may perform well for these key criteria. However, these results are not sufficient for performance testing. So, you should also test your app for API and back-end for the load. To test it correctly, you should simulate the maximum number of circumstantial users. So, you will get the best results for your app, whether it can handle the load. Also, you will see whether it performs great even when usage spikes. Speaking of this, let’s also sort out the basic criteria by which you should test your mobile app. These basic criteria are as follows:
- Your app should be able to respond well to users’ requests.
- The app’s screens should load fast enough.
- Your app should have the infrastructure to make efficient use of leverage network bandwidth.
- Your app should not occupy the memory of the user’s device unnecessarily. So, make sure your app’s size is not larger than it should be.
- Your app should not cause memory leaks.
- Your app should not consume the phone’s battery unnecessarily and excessively.
Functionality Testing of Your App
Do you want your mobile app to be successful? Then, make sure your mobile app functionality is correct. That is one of the most important requirements for success. However, ensuring the accuracy of this functionality for every end-user is just as difficult. Because it is not easy to predict every use case, which includes the behavior of all of them within your app.
To ensure your tests cover most of the potential test criteria, you need to arrange them carefully. Therefore, in functionality tests, you should have your app tested by as many users as possible. That allows you to run your tests by ensuring that conditions. Testing your app with a large number of users will provide much more accurate results. Thanks to these results, you will get more strong ideas in terms of the accuracy of your app’s functionality. Let’s make this situation clearer with an example.
More than one user should test the functionality of the same feature in your app. In this case, keep in mind that each of these users may always get different results. That’s what makes it useful. In this case, you will get results related to every scenario where the functionality of your app doesn’t work correctly. Thus, you will have the opportunity to fix these issues. You may now perform the necessary improvements to ensure that every end-user will get the most out of your app’s functionality.
You may divide the functionality tests of your app into two main parts. One of the main parts of these tests is system testing. It tests how your app’s functionality operates as a whole. The other main part is unit testing. It also tests whether the separate functions of your app are working correctly.
Security Testing: How Secure Is Your App?
App security is one of the most important criteria on both an individual and corporate scale. The lack of security is, of course, important at the individual level. Although, it may create risks on a much wider scale at the institutional level. The security vulnerabilities of the apps may result in important data about the institutions falling into the hands of malicious people. That’s why every institution has its apps tested specifically to detect all potential security vulnerabilities. Therefore, you should make sure that the app you have developed for institutions doesn’t have security vulnerabilities. It is possible to take measures against potential security vulnerabilities while developing your app. These measures consist of a few simple implements. Let’s list these simple measures that your app’s developer teams should implement in this process.
- Some apps require users to log in in-app. So, your app has to allow these log-in sessions to be tracked on the back end and the device.
- Some users log into apps. Then, after they’re done with the app, they leave it running in the background. So, to not cause any security risks, the app should terminate the session automatically after being idle for a few minutes.
- Some apps aim to provide convenience to their users. To provide this, it stores user login information in order not to cause difficulties in re-logins. It stores this important data on the device usually. That may pose major security risks, especially if it involves users’ credentials. So, make sure that you are using a reliable service to store this data securely.
- Similarly, you should make sure that no data leaks occur from your mobile app. For this, test the data entry forms in your app specifically.
UX Testing (User Experience)
It is one of the most important steps of your app development process. Your design team designs your app to deliver an amazing experience for users. However, this amazing UX design should match the final version of your mobile app. So, how can you be sure of this? The name of the test that will answer your question is the user experience test. The user experience test ensures that your app matches the original design guidelines. So, do not forget this is the most important factor that will affect user adoption directly. What does this test do exactly?
It tests your app’s workflow, visuals, and interactivity against user experience criteria. Thus, you will witness first-hand whether your app meets these criteria. We may list the other criteria that it tests on your app as follows:
- the color scheme of your app’s design
- your app’s icon design
- whether your app’s fonts are consistent
- your app for style treatments
- your app’s navigation design
- whether the padding between the data is correct
Companies generally tend to develop their institutional mobile apps for a single platform specifically. They also provide uniform mobile devices for these institutional users. In this way, they get rid of the necessity of testing the mobile app on more than one different mobile device. That allows them to reduce ongoing support costs to minimum levels. That also makes mobile device management much easier. In this context, businesses mostly prefer iOS-based institutional apps for the reasons we mentioned in our previous sub-title. If you’re going to develop an enterprise app, you should complete your testing process by considering these factors.
If you want your app to be a successful project, you must develop an effective testing strategy. So, how to accomplish this? At this stage, you should assign your app development builds to testers. There are several effective methods to help you do this easily. Let’s start with Android platform tests first. Over the Air is the most common method for deploying app development build tests for the Android platform. Besides, distribution via e-mail is also one of the effective ways for the Android platform. Let’s explain now how you can distribute app development build tests for the iOS platform. The most common method you can use for this is Testflight.
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Make sure you deploy your app development builds with the right strategy for successful test results. You should set this strategy right, especially when distributing them to Android users. The same test may not give the same results for every device. The variety of devices using the Android platform is causing this. Pay attention to ensure the diversity of devices used by the test groups while distributing your app development builds. If your app has completed these tests successfully, you are now ready to launch it.
The statistics of the mobile device world reveal an important fact. Each mobile device enters the market with a new design, hardware, or software yearly basis. In fact, the operating system of each mobile device is updated on an almost monthly basis. The fact that the Android operating system is an open-source program further complicates these matters. Because many manufacturers using the Android operating system on their devices customize it for their own devices specifically. That allows mobile devices to have different shapes, sizes, and different features. That is actually a good thing that provides flexibility for manufacturers. This feature allows them further apply their improved creativity to the devices. It also allows them to provide the necessary capacity for their devices. Thus, it will be able to meet the needs of the users further.
However, this does not provide the same possibilities for mobile app developers. All it provides them is more different mobile devices they will have to optimize their apps for generally. On the other hand, Apple has much more control over both the operating system and the hardware.
Long story short, this is the phase where you need to devote the most time and resources to test your app. Your app may have passed all the tests we have listed above successfully. At this stage, it also should achieve the same success for all of these different mobile devices. In order for your app to be a successful project, you must complete these tests. So, perform the tests you have done for your app on a large number of different devices or device simulators. Thus, you can develop an app that will serve much wider audiences. That is one of the basic things that will make your app successful.
How Will You Deploy Your App?
The mobile app you have developed as a result of hard work has passed all the tests successfully. Now, you want to release it. So, how will this process work? This process is, in fact, the simplest of all so far. If your app development process has reached this stage successfully, you don’t have much to worry about anymore. You will only need to complete a few steps that anyone can do easily. Let’s see how you can release your native mobile app. To release your native app, you need to submit it to the app store it belongs to first. If it’s an Android app, you need to submit it to the Google Play Store. Likewise, if it’s an iOS app, you’ll need to submit it to the Apple App Store. Let’s take a closer look at this process now.
You must have a developer account to submit and launch your app on these platforms. If you want to release your app on one of these platforms, you must do something else. You will also need to have some metadata prepared before doing this. This important metadata consists of six main categories. The first of this metadata is the title of your app. Another is the app description. You must have determined the category of your app in this process. Another important piece of metadata is your app’s keywords. In order to release your app, the app icon must also be ready. Also lastly, you should have prepared the important app store screenshots as well. While preparing the app screenshots, make sure they are shiny and fancy. Now the process of app stores reviewing your app begins. This process may take a few days or a couple of weeks.
How Will Your App Become Available?
The process of making your app available is different on iOS and Android platforms. Let’s take the simpler process, which is Google Play Store for Android apps, first. This process is quite simple for the Android platform. Because there is no process that includes any procedure for your app to be available on the Google Play Store.
Have you completed the processes we’ve listed above successfully? Then, your app will be available as soon as you send it. That may only take a couple of hours. So, will be no review process for apps that you have submitted to the Google Play Store. What about Apple App Store? That may take some time. Let’s find out more closely now.
You’ve made your Apple app this far successfully. Then, you’ve submitted it to the Apple App Store. Now, the Apple App Store will examine your app in detail. So, what happens during this review process? Why is this process taking so long? In fact, the lengthening or shortening of this process depends, first of all, on the quality of your app.
Also, how your app has followed Apple’s iOS development guidelines accurately is another important factor affecting this process. The acceptance period of your app may take from a few days to a couple of weeks. It depends on these factors. In addition to these, let’s mention one more point. The app you’ve developed for the Apple App Store may require users to log in. In this case, you must provide Apple App Store with a test user account. That is also a part of the process of making your app available.
App Development Final Stage
Congratulations, your app is now available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Alright, what now? Isn’t it over yet? Of course, it isn’t over yet. Now, you are an investor. You’ve spent a lot of effort, a lot of money, and so many resources developing your app. The process that will save you money starts now. Now, it’s time to track your investment and earn money. So, how to do that?
First of all, you should track its usage. You can use a few mobile analysis platforms to do this. In this process, you may measure the success of your app regularly. You have to monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to do this as well. If you are asking what is KPI, it is a type of performance measurement. At this stage, track the problems that users encounter while using your app carefully. So, check the crash reports for your app regularly. Likewise, do not forget to check other problems reported by users frequently.
If you think users like your app, persuade them to express it. So, you may encourage them to provide recommendations for your app. Also, ask them gently to provide your corporate with feedback. There are a few things you can do after your app is released to keep users engaged. To ensure this, you should prompt support for your end-users. Also, try to patch your mobile app with the necessary improvements regularly. These optimization studies will make your app more stable. Also, keep in mind that your app update will go through a review process similar to the initial submission process. Do not forget to optimize your app for new operating system platforms and new mobile devices constantly.
What are the Reasons for the Failure of Mobile Apps?
We recommend that you read this part of our article carefully. Especially if you are still committed to developing an app. This section may contain the most important recommendations for the success of your app. Why do apps fail? Before answering this, let’s share some important statistics on the subject.
First of all, let’s say that, on average, only 1 of the 10 thousand apps developed on all platforms is successful. So, know that statistics do not increase the chances of your app being successful. Although it is difficult to say this to entrepreneurs when statistical data are like this, do not be discouraged. The contribution of poorly planned app development projects to this statistical data is enormous. However, I’m sure you don’t want your own app development project to contribute to these statistics either. Then, you will have to learn from their mistakes in order not to join this great convoy of failures.
App Development: List of Errors
- So, before starting your project, first do extensive research on your industry.
- Next, plan your app’s go-to-market strategy down to the last detail. In this case, you should also plan your long-term app marketing activities correctly. Unless you have planned the execution stages well, your mobile app will most likely fail.
- Another important reason why implementation projects join the gigantic convoy of failures is that the goals are not set correctly.
- The fact that apps do not have a careful and stylish design is another important reason for failure.
- Not using good enough technologies while developing your app may also lead to epic failures.
- Rest assured that the lack of proper QA will be enough to ruin your app.
- We have already mentioned the importance of the competitive environment in which your app will enter at the beginning.
- Incompatibilities and problems within your app development team also send your app into an army of failures.
- Do you know how to monetize your app?
- Does your app have a good marketing message?
- Do you have a specific branding and differentiation strategy?
- Having trouble finding financing for the improvements your app will need will lead your app to failure.
- Lack of reviews and ratings for your app is also another major cause of failure.
App Development, In Short
Developing an app and making a lot of money from it is the dream of most people. However, achieving this is not so easy. In any case, a little help might be useful. Based on this, we have prepared a detailed mobile app development guide. We have also explained what aspects you need to test your app from in detail. In this article, we have also included the most critical mistakes that lead app developers to failure. We hope you can benefit from this guide and learn from these mistakes.