One of the most effective ways to grow your business and build a solid customer base is to develop a business mobile application. The number of smartphone users is expansion every year. It has more than 3.6 billion users worldwide in 2020 and is expected to earn 4.3 billion in 2023. This mobile app makes the market very attractive and lucrative. According to Statista, revenue from mobile apps will exceed 35 935.2 billion by 2023.
While these statistics look pretty compelling, the number of mobile apps is also growing rapidly. For example, the Google Play Store placed 2.7 million applications in the second quarter of 2020 alone, surpassing 1 million in 2013. That means there is a lot of competition in the mobile app world. Creating a successful mobile application requires an accurate selection of tools, approaches and platforms. All of these factors are based on product and project requirements as well as the target audience.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know to create an effective mobile application and share our hands-on experience in the field of mobile application development.
Mobile App Development Lifecycle
As businesses consider creating their own mobile app, it is important to keep in mind all the steps, phases and processes that the app will go through before release. Knowing the mobile application development lifecycle steps allows project designers to:
- Understanding the amount of work done at each stage and better mobile application and project planning;
- Allocating project resources more accurately;
- Avoid possible hidden pitfalls in development steps;
- Carefully select development tools, frameworks and other development solutions.
All mobile development projects generally go through the same application development steps regardless of the length, scale and complexity of the project. They can be divided into the following stage.
The planning phase involves the work of project manager, business analyst and technical writer. They conduct market research, business analysis, make decisions about the main features of the future application and develop the specificity of the detailed technical requirements for further development. These activities help determine application value, return on investment (ROI), budget required for development and some others.
This phase is important because it provides answers to the following questions:
- What is the main idea and purpose of the application?
- Who is the target audience of the application?
- How much will it cost to develop it?
- How can this application benefit your business?
App Design and Prototyping
The prototyping stage is to create quick application prototypes and design mockups so that the layout and functionality of the application can better meet the demands of its end users.
In addition, to get a quick response from real developers, the application development team can first create a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) for quick launch in the market and then decide what features should be developed next and what additions or deletions to add .
This phase helps prevent further development hurdles, extended deadlines, or any mid-build change that could affect final product release times or project budgets.
At this stage, the development team performs most of the development tasks. The team develops the app itself, API levels, adjusts the application for different mobile platforms, integrates it with other services online, embeds in different technologies and much more.
This phase is dedicated to full mobile app testing. QA engineers perform a variety of tests to ensure the high quality of the mobile application. This means that the app ready for release has no major flaws, works properly and is beneficial to customers. For this, QA engineers test the mobile app on different devices, check the app at different screen sizes, check if the navigation, menus and buttons work well and do other check-ups.
App Release and Maintenance
At this stage the app stores include the provision of mobile applications, timely release of app updates, infrastructure maintenance, as well as the provision of customer support services.
Mobile App Development Platforms
The choice of mobile development platform is essential for future application. Each platform also defines development tools, practices, devices that run the application, and potential users. Therefore, project designers will have to make a decision on the mobile platform at the planning stage of the mobile application development lifecycle.
There are two most comprehensive mobile application platforms – iOS and Android. The two systems are quite similar in functionality, however, they have different application stores, software development kits (SDK) and tools and others.
Here is the table of the main variation between the two platforms.
Alternatives for Developing Mobile Apps
In addition to choosing the right mobile development platform, project designers should consider mobile application development approaches. They determine which platform the developed application will run on, what application building tools the development application will use, the capabilities of the application and some other specifications.
There are four main approaches to mobile application development:
- Creating native mobile applications;
- Development of cross-platform solutions;
- Creation of hybrid mobile applications;
- Creating progressive web applications
Each of these approaches has its benefits and disadvantages. Therefore, before choosing one, stakeholders should study their development project in detail and consider what suits them best.
Here’s a quick comparison of these mobile app development approaches for your easy and informative choice.