Mobile App Development Workflow: 15 Steps to Success
Whether your app idea is based on some existing market or you plan on creating something brand new, this checklist will help you get started and give you insights on where to focus first.
The mobile app development workflow is a bit more complex than designing a website. You need to go through multiple stages to complete the process. The goal is to keep your app users engaged. Once they have downloaded your app, you must keep them on your site so they can continue to use the app. This requires you to add some extra steps to your workflow to ensure that you can retain your user base. Here is an overview of how you can build an engaging app that keeps its users on your site.
This article outlines a step-by-step process for creating a mobile app.
15-Step Mobile App Development Workflow
The mobile app development workflow is generally divided into three main phases: planning, development, and testing. While each phase requires unique skills, the process is most effective when the right people work together.
Step 1: Define the Project Goals
Mobile apps are the best way to introduce your brand to your customers. A well-designed mobile app can boost your business growth and increase customer satisfaction.
This section will discuss the project goals, design strategy and what we should keep in mind while creating a great mobile app.
The most common mobile apps are native or mobile applications developed for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.
Native apps are developed using specific programming languages and APIs. They can perform every feature of the device, like making calls, sending messages and playing games. But, developing native apps requires specialised skills and knowledge many developers don’t possess.
App Design Strategy
We need to define the purpose of the mobile app first. Are we looking to generate more sales, improve our customer service, reduce marketing costs, etc.? Once we understand the goal of the mobile app, we can decide which features are essential and which can be optional.
The next step is to think of the platform we plan to target. It could be iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, etc. The features required to meet the target market’s expectations will differ. We can decide whether we need to build a native app or a cross-platform app (like a hybrid).
We can start brainstorming the features we require for the mobile app.
User Interface Design
The user interface is the graphical design of the mobile app. The design must include all critical elements like navigation menu, icons, text, buttons, images, video, etc.
There are two main types of user interfaces:
- Traditional UI (User Interface)
- Material Design UI
A traditional UI contains all the information on one screen. It includes static and dynamic data. However, a material UI uses multiple screens to display the information. The user can navigate between the screens using tabs.
You must continuously revisit your ideas and design concepts until you get the desired results.
Step 2: Create a Blueprint
You have an excellent idea for a mobile app and know exactly what it will be. So, what’s next? Like most entrepreneurs, you probably start by creating a basic business plan or a rough idea of how you’ll develop your app.
But if you think about it, a business plan for an app usually boils down to two things: a description of the app itself and the marketing strategy you’ll use to get users.
The first step to creating a blueprint for your app is to decide what your app is going to be. You’ll need to develop a name for your app and a vision for the app. This process is usually easier said than done, but here’s a checklist to help you get started.
- Ask yourself why you’re making the app. Think about whom you want to target and why they would be interested in your app. Are you trying to make a game? Or do you want to provide a new way for people to connect?
- Write down a description of your app. Be as specific as possible – you can always go back and edit later, but don’t overthink it. Describe the app’s purpose, features, and benefits, along with any limitations.
- Consider the types of devices your app will run on. Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and so on have different hardware, operating system, and programming language. But some apps are better suited to one platform than another.
- Think about the features of the app. What will it look like, and how will it work? Make sure that the app functions correctly on both Android and iOS devices.
- Figure out how the app works. Do you want to build your app from scratch or use an existing app template? Also, figure out whether your app will be free or paid.
- Decide what the app’s brand will be. Will it have a unique logo, colour palette, or sound?
- Write down the main features of your app. If you’re planning to make a game, it might include in-game purchases, leaderboards, achievements, and other features.
Now that you’ve written down a description of your app, it’s time to decide on a name. Your app’s name should be catchy, easy to remember, and descriptive.
Step 3: The Scope of Work
The scope of work is a plan showing the developer what they must do and how much it will cost. You must consider several things when planning the scope of work for designing a mobile app.
The first thing you should consider is the purpose of your mobile app. What kind of business model are you planning to use? Are you planning to offer a free service? Or are you planning to charge money for using the app?
Based on this information, you can determine the number of features you need to design in the mobile app.
You should also decide what you will use the app for. Is it going to be used by business owners? Or by regular users? And how much money does a business owner make per year?
Next, you need to determine the type of app you want to create. Is it a game? Or is it a utility app? Or is it something else? You can determine the functions you need to include in the app based on the answers.
The mobile app scope of work must include all the details affecting the entire app.
Features of a mobile app scope of work
As the scope of work for designing a mobile app is created, you should ensure that you include all the essential details.
Here are some of the most important things that you should include in the scope of work:
- User stories
- User flow
- Design requirements
- User flow template
- Design requirements template
Step 4: Prepare Your Software Development Team
A mobile app development team is composed of members who work together to create the app. Mobile app development requires skills in programming, design, testing, and many other areas. The key to mobile app development success is ensuring the team is adequately trained and has the necessary skills. If you don’t have a trained team, then you’ll have to invest in hiring them.
Now let’s look at some of the most important aspects of a mobile app development team.
Project management is one of the most important aspects of a mobile app. Without it, the project will be unsuccessful.
Designing a successful mobile app is a challenging job. If you have never designed a mobile app before, you should hire someone with experience. A designer must have excellent communication skills to work well with a programmer.
Programmers are responsible for writing the code for the app. They should have extensive knowledge of coding languages like Java, Swift, Objective-C, etc.
Quality assurance is a process of ensuring that a product has good quality. It involves checking the final product against specifications, creating test cases, and testing them.
These are some of the most important aspects of a software development team. Make sure you hire people with these skills and give them proper training. Once you’re done, the next step is to choose the type of app you want to develop.
Step 5: Plan, Schedule, and Organise
Once you have defined the requirements and goals, it’s time to start designing. But before you start designing, you need to plan the steps you will take to create your app. This will help you to avoid wasting time and to complete your work in the right way. You can use various tools and methods to plan your app. One of them is to draw a flow chart.
If you have a clear idea about what your app should look like and what it should do, you can simply sketch out the flow chart using Microsoft PowerPoint. Then you can rearrange the boxes and lines in the chart per your needs. You can also use the Gantt chart.
Once you have a flow chart, you can start building the app.
Schedule your work
It will help if you plan your workflow so that it’s easy for you to complete each task on time. You should set time slots for each activity and avoid overlapping tasks. This will ensure that you do not get delayed. Moreover, you should ensure that the number of steps involved in the app does not exceed the deadline.
For example, if your app is ready in two weeks, you should not start coding in the first week. You should allocate time to design, write, and test your app before starting to code.
Organise your work
You should also organise your work. You can use project management tools like Trello to organise your tasks. You can use the tools to assign and track the progress of your team members. You can also share files with your team members and use a version control tool to record all code changes.
Another critical aspect of working in the cloud is ensuring you have a backup plan for your data. In case something goes wrong, you need to be able to access your data. The cloud storage space is enormous, so it is unlikely that you will ever lose your data, but you still need a backup plan.
Step 6: Build a Test Plan
Designing the test plan is essential in the mobile app development process. But it is equally important to create a test plan for a desktop application. If you are not using a test plan, you won’t be able to identify problems arising during the development process.
A test plan is an organised documentation of testing. It helps to define test cases crucial for the project’s successful completion. A test plan is a document that helps you record all the bugs and errors that could occur during the testing of the app. It helps the developer identify and fix all the bugs which might arise.
Developing a test plan for a mobile app involves creating test scenarios. Test scenarios are the different tests you should conduct while developing a mobile app.
Before you start writing the test cases, you must know about the following points:
- What are the functionalities of the app?
- Are you developing an iOS or Android app?
- Is the app an enterprise app or a consumer app?
- How many users would you like to have in the app?
Once you have an idea about all these points, you can start to write the test cases.
In the case of a web application, it is better to start writing the test cases first. You must keep the user interface in mind. It is better to start with the end in mind rather than starting from the beginning.
After that, you must write the test cases for the basic functionalities of the app. If the app has complex features, then you need to write more test cases for those features.
You can use tools such as the User Interface and Wireframing tools to design a test plan. The best way to start is by writing a test plan manually. You need to make sure that your test plan is well-structured. If it is well-organised, it will be easy for you to identify problems.
Step 7: Create User Stories
User stories are used to describe the user’s goal. User stories are usually written in the context of a specific problem and the solution. They also contain the scope, time, cost and quality requirements.
Use cases are typically used to develop a new feature. It is used to specify how a user will achieve a goal. They are often used to review how a user will use a software application or a system.
These stories are often referred to as scenarios or use case stories. For example, the use case might be “A user wants to sign in to their account” or “A user wants to log in to the system”. We can also use a use case to specify a user’s goal concerning a business process.
This type of story is often used when deciding if it makes sense to develop a feature.
You should use user stories to define what a user wants to achieve and why. Writing user stories for mobile apps can be difficult because there are no standard specifications. The problem with writing user stories is that they can be too detailed. So, you need to keep them simple and concise.
Step 8: Plan and Build a Development Environment
Today’s development environment has become so easy that almost anybody can build and launch a project. However, there is no doubt that if you want to create a high-quality product that users will love, then you need a development environment. And, building a development environment doesn’t come cheap.
A development environment is a place where you will work on your project. You can use the development environment to build your project from scratch, or you can use it to make changes and enhancements to your existing project.
If you don’t plan, you won’t know what resources will be required for the project, and therefore, it will be difficult for you to decide whether or not the resources you have will meet the project’s needs.
To plan and build a development environment, you should first decide on the programming language you want to use and which operating system you will use. If you don’t have any experience building an environment, you can get help from someone who does.
Once you have decided on the programming language and the operating system you want to use, you can begin creating the development environment. The most important thing to remember is that, at this stage, the entire development environment is not yet complete.
It will be completed when all the necessary software is installed on the computer. You will then need to ensure that you have the software to build your app. And once you have the software, you will need to make sure you have the necessary hardware, including the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and networking device.
It may be tempting to try and create a development environment yourself. However, that’s not always possible. There are several reasons you can’t build a development environment, including the fact that you don’t have the necessary skills.
So, if you want to create a development environment, you can hire someone with the necessary skills.
Or, you can use a cloud platform to build your development environment. But, if you choose to do that, you should understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Creating a development environment isn’t something you can do quickly; it certainly won’t be free. And because of this, you will need to invest significantly to build a development environment.
Step 9: Write Requirements Documents
Requirements documents are the most crucial step towards successful mobile app development. These documents help the developer understand the client’s requirements, which will help them create the best possible solution for the client.
Requirements documents play a vital role in understanding the design approach, user experience (UX) and how the app will work. If you are new to requirements documents, read our previous post on how to write requirements documents.
Writing requirements documents is one of the critical stages in the mobile app development process. These documents help define what kind of technology needs to be used to develop the app.
It helps understand the client’s requirements and helps in getting an idea about the app’s user interface. A well-written requirements document will help the client make better app decisions.
A clear and straightforward requirements document makes it easy for the client to understand the app and helps make decisions.
Step 10: Perform Risk Analysis
Mobile app development is considered an essential part of the IT industry today. Many companies are focusing on developing their mobile apps so that they can make sure that they can keep up with the competition.
But, there are many other factors that you need to consider while building the mobile app. One of these factors is risk analysis. Here, we will show you the different types of risks that you need to identify when you are developing a mobile app.
Risk analysis is the process of identifying the risks in the project. If you do not perform risk analysis correctly, you will miss out on many things.
There are several different types of risks that you need to consider while performing risk analysis for designing a mobile app.
1: Technical risks
The first type of risk you need to consider is a technical risk. This includes the risk associated with the technology that you use. For instance, you may find that your technology is incompatible with the environment in which you want to develop the mobile app.
So, if you are working on a mobile app that needs to run on iOS and Android operating systems, then you need to make sure that you test the app using both of them. You can test the app using the simulator provided by Apple or the emulator provided by Android.
2: Financial risks
The second type of risk that you need to consider is financial risk. This includes the risks associated with your money on mobile app development.
For instance, if you have a limited budget, you must make sure that you allocate the required amount for the project to complete the mobile app development successfully.
3: Human resource risks
The third type of risk you need to consider is human resource risk. This includes the risks associated with the people you hire for the project.
For example, if you have hired new mobile app development employees, you must ensure they have the skills to work efficiently and effectively on the project.
Step 11: Choose a Development Method
Mobile app development is not new, but there are different ways to do so. You can choose the development method based on your requirement.
There are several types of mobile app development methods that you can use for designing a mobile app. Below, we have discussed each development method’s pros and cons.
Here are the mobile app development methods:
1: Native Mobile App Development
A native mobile app refers to a mobile application that runs on a particular platform and uses the programming language of that platform. A native app uses the operating system’s APIs and data structures to provide platform-specific functionality.
- You can use your programming language and develop the application using the best technologies available.
- You don’t need to learn the API; the user interface is better.
- The performance of the app is good.
- The app size can be larger than a hybrid or web app.
- It consumes many resources like RAM and CPU.
2: Hybrid Mobile App Development
- You can get your app on multiple platforms at once.
- The app size is smaller than a native app.
- You need to learn a new programming language to design the app.
- It has a slower performance than a native app.
3: Web App Development
- It is easy to implement and create an app.
- It is fast.
- It has a smaller size.
- You can’t use native APIs and data structures.
- You can’t run the app on multiple platforms.
4: Native iOS App Development
In this case, you can develop the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the Apple Watch app.
- You can develop the app using your programming language.
- The app size is smaller than a hybrid or web app.
- It has lower performance than a hybrid app.
- The app doesn’t run on multiple platforms.
The pros and cons of the mobile app development method you choose can decide the final decision about the method.
Step 12: Test
Nowadays, many people are developing apps for both Android and iOS devices. As the number of users increases, the competition is getting more fierce. Many companies are competing with each other for the top spot. This makes it challenging to get your app accepted by app stores. To get your app accepted, it is vital to test whether or not the design is suitable for mobile phones.
Designing a great user experience for mobile phones is not an easy task. You need to know how to test your app before releasing it.
The first thing you need to do is to find out what kind of devices your app will support. Various tools can help you test your app if you don’t know. For example, Xcode, Android Studio and Sketch can help you test the design of your app. After testing, you should adjust the design to ensure it fits perfectly on mobile devices.
How to design a mobile app for iPhone?
iPhone has a unique design. You must ensure that your design matches iPhone’s specific features, such as the screen size. You should design the layout of the app carefully.
The screen is more extensive in the iPhone X than in previous iPhones. Therefore, you must consider the screen’s larger size while designing your app.
How to design a mobile app for Android?
Android phones are designed to be compact and lightweight. Therefore, you have to make sure you design a layout that does not occupy too much space on the screen.
How to design a mobile app for Windows Phone?
Windows Phone comes with a different design compared to Android and iOS. You need to design a layout that is compact and easy to use.
When designing your app, it is crucial to focus on interface design. It is also essential to create a design that is easily accessible. It is always better to make the design confusing than to make it too simple.
Step 13: Code
Designing a mobile app is challenging enough but even harder if it’s a custom app. Not only does it require a certain level of programming skills, but it also requires much patience.
Many platforms are available to help you build a native app, but I’ve devised a solution for those without programming knowledge or skills.
Here are five ways to design a mobile app compatible with Android and iOS devices.
1: Create a website first
This is probably the easiest way to do this. You can create a simple website and convert it into a mobile app. You can use something like WordPress to create a website and use an app builder like Xamarin to make it work on Android and iOS.
3: Use NativeScript
NativeScript is a free cross-platform mobile framework. You can use NativeScript to create a mobile app that looks similar to native apps on Android and iOS.
4: Use React Native
5: Use PhoneGap
The first 3 are probably the easiest and most recommended mobile app development workflow.
Step 14: Deploy
Mobile app deployment services benefit businesses because they can promote their products and services more effectively than ever before. The reason behind this is that most people now use mobile phones for browsing and searching for information on the internet, so companies should also take advantage of this and promote their brand to customers.
Mobile apps are not only used for entertainment but they are also used for business purposes. For instance, if you have a restaurant, you can use the apps to allow your customers to order food and pay for it online.
Similarly, if you are a dentist, you can use the mobile app to show the customers how to floss their teeth and educate them about oral hygiene.
The only drawback of using the mobile app deployment services is that the users need to download the app to their devices, so if the users don’t have an Android device or iPhone, they won’t be able to use the app.
Benefits of using mobile app deployment services:
- You can design your mobile app, and you can use the various features to create a unique app.
- Using the app deployment services, you can easily integrate the app into social media networks and websites.
- You can create an app that the customers can use to make payments.
- You can use the app for marketing and advertising purposes.
- You can create a custom app for a special occasion and can send it to your clients.
Mobile app deployment is one of the most valuable services you can use for your business. It is an excellent opportunity for the users to know about your company and services and helps your company grow.
Step 15: Launch
The iPhone has become the most popular device in the market due to its features and services. Now, iPhone users are looking for the best iOS apps. If you want to launch a new mobile app in the Apple App Store, follow this article to learn how to launch a mobile app on the Appstore.
Choose the right category
You must choose the right category to launch your app. If you choose the wrong category, your app won’t get more attention. Choose the category wisely because it will be the first thing your potential customers will see.
Create a good title
The title is the main thing that will decide whether your app will get more downloads or not. The title of your app should be attractive, memorable and informative. You should write a catchy title and put some keywords in the title, but don’t forget to add some human touch.
Select a great icon
The icon is the most critical part of your app because it will represent your brand image. Your icon should be different from other apps.
Choose a good colour scheme
If you are launching a new app, then you should use a different colour theme for your app. The best colour theme is the one which represents your app.
Write a good description
A well-written description of your app will make it more attractive and will help your potential customers to know about your app.
App store optimisation (ASO)
Nowadays, you will find many apps in the App Store, so you need to optimise your app for better search ranking.
If you follow these steps, you will surely get the best results for your app.
The whole idea of the game is to use the smartphone to capture data, process it, and send alerts when things happen in the field. We want to create a mobile app with a straightforward interface that allows users to take the right actions quickly.
By applying a workflow to this project, we can ensure the app is built in the right way and is tested and ready to release before we launch it. This article describes the basic steps of our mobile app development workflow.
Use this checklist to get organised and on your way to building mobile apps that drive sales.