The increased popularity of mobile devices has resulted in a meteoric increase in apps in app stores. The convenience of using a mobile device has forced businesses and brands to use apps to reach and engage their target audience.
If you are also planning to build an application for your audience, having an understanding of the Mobile App Development Process will help you know how to proceed to get it right the first time. It will also help you know what you need and what to expect throughout the development process. MADLC is not very different from Software Development Lifecycle. Here are the main phases of an App Development Lifecycle.
1. Defining your objectives and market research
Before the commencement of the development, you need to have a clear strategy with well-defined goals. The first step involves gathering information that will help inform the nature and function of your application.
What do you want to achieve with the app? What trends in the market are informing your decision to build an app for your brand/business? How will the app benefit your engagement with your target audience? What segment of the market are you targeting? Be clear and objective when answering these questions as they form the foundation of your app development process.
Once you have defined what you need and why you need them, settle on a set of features for your app that needs to make it a Minimum Viable Product. Essentially, these core features that will help you realize your objectives. Also, identify the tools you would need to bring the features together into a functional app.
While in the initial phase you would have defined your objective and listed all essential features for your app, you need to develop a unique app concept that will arouse the interest of your target group. A good practice you can adopt is checking out some of the top apps in the play store. Analyze how they function and what they are getting right. Additionally, your idea should be clear on:
Additionally, your concept should be reasonable and easy to execute.
3. App design
This phase is where the creation begins. Here, you can make initial sketches and designs for the different screens and functions. You should have an eye for detail while doing this. The visual elements of the various app components should be harmonious and feed to the overall user experience.
It is also at this phase that you will explore your hosting options and amend the app wireframe depending on the technical limitations you are working with.
With these figured out, you can then proceed to create a prototype app. Ideally, this is a complete app that materializes your concept. There are plenty of tools developers can use in developing the prototype. These include InVision, Origami, Marvel, Proto.io, etc.
With a prototype, you can get insights from other developers, your client and target group on the functionality of the app, the limitations and the adjustments and improvements to be made to improve the app.
4. App Development
The development phase mainly focuses on building a robust backend that connects various elements of the app to your servers, databases, storage solutions and APIs. The standard development process has three stages, including:
The client needs to be actively engaged through all the stages of development to get it right the first time. Additionally, developers should have the guidelines for developing native apps at the back of their mind to avoid any hitches during deployment.
5. App testing
With a fully functional app, it is time to put your app through a rigorous testing process by subjecting it to a wide range of relevant real-world scenarios. The purpose is to identify any faults missed through the initial stages.
The key elements to test include usability, compatibility with various devices, performance, the interface, low-level resource testing, service, accessibility and security. Tools such as Bugsee, Appium and Testflight can be helpful during this stage.
The insights gathered from the testing should then inform the final adjustments on the app.
6. Deployment and support
The final step is deploying the app. This phase involves getting the word out to as many people as possible. Some of the key focus areas in this phase include:
Post-deployment, developers provide support in case there are fixes or adjustments to be made. It also comes in handy when there is a need to update the app.
The longest of these phases is the last. App development is a never-ending process as long as the app is functional. As the app gets more users and reviews, you gain more insights on what you can do to improve the features and what to include or exclude in future updates. User preferences are always evolving and your task through development is ensuring your app conforms to their changing needs and preferences.
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