Just like Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), there is mobile app development lifecycle and adhering to the lifecycle and its various processes improve the overall quality of the app. There are five main phases involved in mobile development: planning, designing, coding, testing and deployment. Before commencing development work, businesses and developers should create a foolproof strategy to make the app development lifecycle efficient and lay the groundwork.
Right from selecting a unique app concept to successful execution – a mobile development company needs to understand the latest trends, technology, tools and influences that will make the app stand out from the rest. Let’s take a look at all the phases and what they entail:
Pre-development research and planning
The research phase is most crucial because this is where you decide the goal of the app, its target audience, the primary platform, whether it will be a native app or a cross-platform app. If it is a cross-platform app that you intend to develop then you need to identify the framework – that is Xamarin, PhoneGap etc. You will need to find a professional Xamarin mobile development firm with expertise in your app category.
The research phase is also important to analyze the competition and evaluate the features they offer. Read their app reviews to understand user pain points and ensure your app fills the gaps and offers the missing features. Now create an estimated timeline and budget for the app with contingency planning.
You need to create a detailed scope of work and prototypes once you have finalized the research and budget. Begin by doing a mental prototyping of your app and draw the initial ideas in the form of sketches on a whiteboard. This helps you identify usability issues easily.
Take feedback from relevant authorities to get their views on your idea. Discussion and brainstorming on the prototypes are valuable and helps you find the loopholes in the early phase allowing you to fix things proactively.
Prototype and Coding
Once designs are finalized, you must undertake a feasibility exercise to check if your back-end and front-end are compatible. The UX designer can then design the interaction architecture of the various elements whereas the UI designer creates the final look and feel. This is a process involving multiple steps and results in the visual direction and blueprint that govern the entire product.
For mobile app development, the Agile methodology is quite popular because it allows you to make incremental changes as you go and is a nimble approach to development. With agile, you can keep adding new features as you go and testing happens parallelly to support the concept of continuous development.
User experience testing is when you finally get your mobile app beta tested and vetted by development experts to find UAT bugs or other usability issues that can hamper the user’s overall journey. The feedback from beta users helps you decide if the app works as desired in the real environment.
Once you have fixed the minor/major issues found during UAT Testing, your app is now ready to be deployed. That is, it is ready for app store submission. There are several criteria for getting approval and ensure you study those in-depth before you ship your apps to the App stores.
Deployment doesn’t signal the end of your application development; mobile apps evolve continuously and you need to keep updating the apps and adding new features or fixing user problems. Have you built a mobile app recently? Do share your experience regarding the various phases of app development in the comments area below.