People constructing mobile applications

What It Takes to Create a Mobile App

15 June, 2021

If you have come up with an idea for a mobile app, now is the time to bring it to fruition. Designing and launching an app is a smart way to open up new opportunities, grow your online presence, and get closer to your target audience.

A well-designed mobile app has become a necessity for businesses that are eager to hit the market and be on the same wavelength as their customers. With the present-day economy and our lifestyles increasingly centered around mobile technology, the need for sophisticated, avant-garde mobile apps is constantly growing.

According to the statistics, mobile applications are forecasted to yield revenue of over $935 billion by 2023, and in 2020 alone consumers downloaded 218 billion mobile apps to their connected devices. Based on this information, it’s clear that mobile apps are of core importance to all businesses and a crucial element for their future success.

Still, the process of crafting a mobile app can be fraught with difficulties and lots of essential details needed to be attended to. In addition, before getting down to the development stage, you have to carefully consider several marketing and business criteria.

But we have you covered!

Here is our step-by-step guide “How to develop a mobile app”:

  1. 1. Set out your goals
  2. 2. Carry out market research
  3. 3. Examine monetization options
  4. 4. Choose an app name and icon
  5. 5. Create an app wireframe
  6. 6. Work on mockups
  7. 7. Customize app design
  8. 8. Prepare technical specifications
  9. 9. Create an MVP
  10. 10. Test the app
  11. 11. Deploy the app
  12. 12. Come up with marketing strategies
  13. 13. Keep track of KPIs
  14. 14. Collect user feedback
  15. 15. Maintain and support the app

Check it out for more details!

Getting to grips with the pre-app development stage

Developing a mobile app is not only about coding. It involves a number of vital elements that you should take into account before actually making a start. The pre-app development stage is by rights considered to be the foundation of the triumphant launch. If thoroughly thought-out and well-planned, your app will definitely hit it off with the target audience.

Now let’s delve into what steps pre-app development consists of.

Set out your goals and requirements and choose a strategy

As simple as it sounds, this step turns out to be one of the most challenging ones.

Every project starts with clearly defined goals and requirements — it’s as simple as that. The objectives that you establish in the beginning well help you move along with your development process further down the line.

Figure out what purpose your Android, iOS or cross-platform app will be serving and whether it’ll meet both users’ needs and your own business goals. A well-developed mobile application can bring a lot of substantial benefits, including increased ROI, greater brand awareness, and social presence, which can be achieved only with the help of an elaborate, pre-defined strategy.

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Carry out in-depth market research

A person combining the elements of modern mobile application

Once you’ve dealt with the goals and objectives, you’ll have to ensure that there’s a market need for your app-to-be.

One of the most essential elements to consider is market competition. Assess the success of your potential competitors and how they’ve managed to make it to the top. Or, if you have relevant data, try to examine in detail what pitfalls they stumbled upon during their mobile app development and launch stages. Apply the analysis results to your own development process and try to learn from their mistakes.

Furthermore, mind that it’s a risky venture to enter an extremely competitive, saturated market, as you may stand a chance of falling through the cracks or becoming sidelined.

On the other hand, if your app is going to provide unique and extraordinary features, be sure that your audience will like them, and you’ll become a game-changer.

Still and all, if a market is too welcoming, you’d be wise to fathom out why that’s the case and understand whether it’s worth entering it.

Examine how to monetize your app

Before designing your mobile app, it’s also advisable to review the existing monetization methods. Given that apps normally involve high development costs, effective and elaborate monetization can help you get your investment back. These days there’s a variety of monetization options to choose from, with advertising, subscription, and in-app purchases being the most popular.

In the third quarter of 2020, gross app revenue in the Google Play store reached $10.3 billion, whereas the Apple App Store generated $19 billion in consumer spending via in-app purchases and subscriptions.

Advertising

Advertising is by far the most common method of mobile app monetization. You can add this functionality to your app with comparative ease and start making money from it even if the app itself is free to download.

Subscription

With subscription, you’ll be able to provide a free trial that will automatically convert into a paid subscription plan after a set period has expired. Another approach that you can take is introducing a subscription version of your app that grants access to “pro” features.

In-app purchases

In-app purchases have gained traction in gaming apps. You can offer your users several in-app purchases that will unlock extra in-game features and some valuable content. If your game takes off and there’s a myriad of downloads, this will ensure that your earning opportunities are utterly limitless.

Think of the app name and icon

As simple as it sounds, choosing an appropriate name for your app can prove to be a challenge. Yet, it’s of primary importance to give a lot of thought to this aspect, since the name of any application will be one of the determining factors of how your users perceive both you and your business/services.

The key criteria that you’re advised to keep in mind are as follows:

  • The name should reflect your brand specifics and provide an idea of the purpose it serves
  • Be original and unique: come up with an extraordinary name that will stand out yet also be easy to pronounce
  • Avoid any jargon or ambiguities

As for an app icon, it’s the same idea — it should be easily recognizable in different marketplaces and convey the specifics of your app. Team up with designers to create the color palette that you’ll use for the icon. Don’t forget to include some features and/or branding elements in the icon as well.

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Create a mobile app wireframe

A person creating page schematic for a mobile application

Building a sophisticated mobile application is impossible without creating a thorough wireframe in advance.

Naturally, a wireframe is viewed as a rough layout of your mobile app-to-be. Its core purpose is to illustrate the key components of an app and outline the schemes. With a wireframe you can acquire a visual structure of your app’s functionality and get a clear picture of its design features.

Wireframing is widely regarded as a vital component of mobile app development since it acts as a visual aid that grants an opportunity to view the overall app design. As well as this, it displays different functionalities and outlines key steps in the user’s journey.

A mobile app wireframe serves as a bridge between the initial idea and finished product. It allows all participants to concentrate on a number of important aspects such as navigation, design, and functionality.

It goes without saying that excellent user experience is a cornerstone of a successful mobile app; by using a wireframe template, you’ll be able to display the customer journey steps within the app as well as getting rid of potential pitfalls and complications that might arise along the way.

Work on the mockups of your app

A mockup, which is also referred to as a high-fidelity visual design draft, is the final rendering of the app’s visual design that represents the entire structure of information, visualizes the content, and illustrates the basic functionality of the app.

Compared to wireframes, mockups come with various visual details, including colors and typography, and provide the viewer with a more realistic impression of the end product. Mockups bring a greater visual richness to the foundation outlined in the wireframe. They help you introduce your future mobile app in a more favourable light to stakeholders and investors.

Produce a cool app design

Of course, a great app design is not just about a good color scheme. Your main objective is to create a mobile app that looks absolutely amazing and compares favourably with others.

First of all, think about the way that the elements in your app will be laid out. This stretches far beyond the aesthetics — the way that the various functionalities, sections, and blocks are organized and distributed will have a major impact on your users. If everything has been positioned nicely, conveniently, and logically, you can be sure that you’ll retain your target audience.

Just as importantly, given that your mobile application is there to communicate your services/offerings to the app users, you should create engaging and easy-to-read content and captions. Try to be specific and refrain from any ambiguity so that users will be able to navigate smoothly through the app.

It’s worth devoting time to defining what colors you’ll use in each section of your app, including the header, layout, and page itself. The color palette and fonts that you use will determine the readability of the app content.

Finally, don’t forget about the app splash screen — the screen that comes up when the app is launched. Ensure that it’s captivating but not annoying, and reflects your brand specifics.

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The constituents of the mobile app development stage

A person with a wrench building basic template of a mobile application

Once you’ve paved the way for the development stage and have grasped which aspects to bear in mind, it’s time to get going!

Prepare elaborate technical specifications

Technical specifications are enormously important for making sure everything runs smoothly during the development process.

With properly written specifications, you’ll facilitate the work of developers, structure all the information, and ensure that you haven’t missed out on any important details. It’s essential to devote enough time and effort to drafting tech specs, since having each feature documented will allow you to introduce changes in either the software or the team without any hassle. As well as this, they’ll help you reduce errors and misinterpretations and implement any new functionality at short notice.

Create a Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

An MVP is a software solution that has minimum functionality and aims to draw early-adopter customers to the product and validate the general idea in the development cycle. Initially, you introduce some features of the application and then continue extending the functionality based on user feedback.

A well-designed minimal viable product will put you in an advantageous position. It’ll help you reduce operational costs, effectively analyze user reaction, gain an understanding of how to create a mobile app, and check the project concept viability.

By creating a minimal viable product, you’ll have the information at hand, which will empower you to develop a mobile app that fully matches or even surpasses your and users’ expectations.

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Devote enough time to quality assurance

First and foremost — don’t underestimate the importance of quality assurance.

Once you’ve finished with your MVP and your app is up and running, you have to test it before deployment. A quality assurance specialist will help you detect issues with the mobile app before it enters the market. It’s critical that you eliminate all bugs beforehand instead of having to tackle them in real life, since if a customer experiences any troubles, they’ll end up being immensely disappointed with the app and may even delete it.

Apart from simply being tested by a QA specialist, your mobile app should also undergo usability testing with actual test users (they can be your friends, colleagues, and family members).

For sure, your app won’t be bug-free when you launch it — but the fewer issues users will have to deal with, the better for you.

Leaping ahead, it’s worth noting that after the app has been launched and you’ve decided to update it, don’t forget about regression testing. The introduction of new features or updates may bring about new bugs. Whenever you are set to make changes to your app, take the trouble to go back and follow the quality assurance procedure fully. This is by far the most reliable way to make sure that the regression hasn’t caused any failures in the app.

Get ready for deploying your app

And finally — you’re ready to deploy your mobile app and receive millions of downloads! It’s time to get it live and put it into the hands of actual users.

To promote your application on the market, you’ll have to submit it to various app stores, including the Google Play Store (which as of the first quarter of 2021 houses over 3.48 million mobile apps) and the Apple App Store (with around 2.22 million mobile apps available so far).

Remember that each of them has different submission guidelines, so you need to be attentive and careful when following them. Otherwise, your mobile app runs the risk of being rejected.

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Lowdown on the mobile app post-development stage

A person demonstrating statistics on mobile device screen

When you have finally deployed your mobile app, it doesn’t mean that you can put your feet up. Quite the opposite: there’s still a lot of work to be done. During the post-development stage, you have overall responsibility for maintaining the app and equipping it with new features.

Let’s check out what phases post-development consists of.

Come up with efficient marketing strategies

Even if your app has been properly developed and seems to serve its intended purpose, very few people will know about it until you start to market it properly.

Ensure that you’re digitally present on multiple marketing platforms and conduct extensive research into where your target user spends most of their time. In addition, it’s highly advisable to promote the app on different social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Plus, if you want the app to hit it off with a younger audience, you should also pay attention to the roaring social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat, as Gen Z, for example, needs a visual engagement.

You can also drive more app downloads by launching PPC (pay-per-click) and CPI (cost-per-install) campaigns, blogging, and creating video promotions.

Don’t forget about app store optimization either. It’ll help you increase the chances that users will be able to find the app organically when browsing in the app store.

Always keep track of your key performance indicators (KPIs)

To assess the success of your mobile app, you have to establish its key performance indicators.

It’s essential to be in the know about how many people download your app, whether they keep it or uninstall it after some time, how much time they spend in the app, etc. Without having these metrics at hand, it’s practically impossible to estimate the success of your app.

By keeping track of your KPIs, you’ll be fully aware of which components and features of the app produce the best results, and which ones need enhancement.

Collect user feedback

You shouldn’t be afraid of gathering user feedback — be it either positive or negative. According to the statistics, a user spends approximately 88% of their mobile time on applications — so they have the right to share their experience.

By absorbing as many opinions as possible, you’ll be able to fine-tune the app for a wider audience.

With users’ responses, you’ll manage to define which direction you should be moving in. It’ll also give you some food for thought in terms of what other features you can introduce to the app.

Constantly maintain and support your app

It goes without saying that after your app has been launched, it’ll require constant maintenance and support. When you upgrade your app to a newer version, ensure that it complies with the relevant software versions.

Furthermore, you’ll have to provide top customer support at all levels. If your users experience issues with the mobile app, your team will be required to address them straight away.

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How much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

A person next to a mobile app constructor pointing to watches

Generally, it tends to be quite difficult to determine how much a mobile app costs to develop from ground zero, since the pricing depends on a host of factors, including the timeline of the deliverables, the number of features and functionalities included, long-term support, and so on.

Normally, organizations may pay from $30,000 up to several hundred thousand dollars for a fully-fledged, feature-rich, and properly functioning mobile application. More complex solutions, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) alongside IoT advances, may skyrocket to even higher figures.

However, if you’re pressed for time and budget and don’t need a super-advanced mobile app with a bunch of features, consider low-code and no-code app development platforms as a credible alternative. They will allow you to create a mobile app yourself or with minimal hand-coding. The popularity of low- and no-code has been on the rise, and this may be the solution for you.

The duration of mobile app development

The duration of the development process is also hard to predict, as it depends on specific business needs and requirements.

As a rule, the development process lasts from 9 to 12 months but the factors that we are going to touch upon below can have a substantial impact on how long it takes to develop an app. Check them out.

Different app versions and features

Lots of mobile apps may have multiple versions throughout their lifecycle. If you wish to cut down on the number of features in the initial version and add them in a subsequent version instead, this will substantially speed up the development process. And vice versa: if you’ve decided to supply your app with a myriad of features straight away, then of course the development process will take more time.

Budget

The bigger the budget, the more designers, developers, and hours a mobile development company will be able to devote to the mobile app. It’s as simple as that: money talks and streamlines the development process.

Final thoughts

Developing a mobile app is an ongoing, and almost never-ending process, as even after the initial launch you’ll have to deal with numerous issues to ensure the success and wide adoption of your app.

Considering that these days the mobile app market is expanding rapidly and becoming more and more competitive, you need to maximize the visibility of your app, make it stand out among others, and be particular about the approach being followed during pre-, post-, and development stages.

It’s incredibly important to take into consideration lots of factors when developing your mobile app, including user-friendly design, decent quality assurance, viable marketing strategies, exhaustive technical specifications, and so on and so forth.

If everything outlined above seems a tall order for you, a wise idea would be to reach out to a professional mobile application development company that will see about the entire app creation process and deliver a top-notch, fully-fledged, cutting-edge mobile app that will fully comply with all your requirements.

Happy app making!

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