Only a few years ago, there were only a handful of mobile apps and websites. Currently, businesses run their entire customer cycle through apps and websites. According to research, the global smartphone users are more than 6 billion, which continues to grow. Most users prefer accessing whatever they need through smartphones.
Adding users of other mobile devices such as tablets and wearables has further increased the need for businesses to have mobile applications alongside their websites. They can be consumer or enterprise apps. They’ve become the go-to option for interacting with businesses and customers.
Basic Steps in Building Mobile Apps
Building a mobile app is a complex process depending on the type of app and features you need. It takes a competent developer to come up with an app that can serve your customers effectively. It needs to be functional, reflects the brand, matches your website offering, and encourages consumers to interact with your business.
Consulting with a software development company before you embark on the journey to build an app is the best way to learn how to create an app step by step tailored for your explicit business needs. Otherwise, here’s a basic guide to help you get started.
A mobile app, like a website, connects you to your customers virtually. So before you start the app development process, it’s essential to have a concept and objective. You need to know what you’re looking to achieve and how the app will enable you to reach your goal. Look at all the challenges you’re facing in your business and the different ways having an app can remedy them.
Also, what type of app do you need, consumer or enterprise? This helps you to get a clear vision of the importance of the project and help you make an informed decision from the get-go. It also determines the design and functionalities you need in the app that helps meet your business needs. For instance, features in a shopping list app will be different from those in an eCommerce app.
Identify Your Target Audience
When there’s a problem, you need to know who needs the solution to tailor the solution to that specific group. You need to imagine the app’s future users. Ask yourself the questions below:
- Who will benefit from the app? Is it a specific gender, people in a particular location, income range, occupation?
- Why will they be using the application, and how?
- What will make them choose your app over the others in the market?
The best way to do this is by carrying market research. Build online questionnaires or polls and get the correct information from the target audience. Don’t forget to collect their data. It will help you in developing user profiles for personalized services and offers.
Build a Business Strategy
Once you’ve identified the target audience and the problem you need to solve, you need to plan how your custom app will generate revenue carefully. How you go about building your strategy will determine customer satisfaction and how fast you’ll meet your business objectives. But first, you need to know how your target audience will learn about your app, how much it will cost you to acquire a user, ad how much you need to gain a reasonable market share.
Which platform do most of your target audience use? Are they on Android, iOS, or across the platforms? You also need to think about how your app will make money right from the start. Your app needs to benefit your business financially, and you need to have a good strategy on how that will happen. Here are the common ways to make money with apps.
- Through upgrades and in-app purchases
- In-app ads from third party businesses
- Paid app download
Specify Core Functionalities
One of the fatal mistakes businesses make in developing custom mobile applications is trying to have all features, especially in your first version. Understand that app development is an evolving process that changes with time and audience needs. Ensure you only get the features that you deem necessary and let the others be guided by user feedback to help you improve the other versions.
Users are the best guide to what’s needed and what’s not and the features you need to include to meet their needs effectively. So don’t rush into having all features at once. Here are a few things that help with building core functionalities:
- Create a list of features and how you want them to perform.
- Plan for any integrations with things like banking systems, YouTube, etc.
- Create a user journey and the functions they need to perform to reach the end goal
- Consider the target user’s probable preferences as per your target market
While there’s no right or wrong way to do this, this information determines the kind of app you eventually release to the market.
Design the User Interface
After determining the features you need in the app, your software developer will design your design user interface. They’ll incorporate colors, graphics, and other things that make the app appealing and usable. The developers build a prototype of the app for evaluation on functionality and general look and feel.
This step is essential as it allows you to know what needs improvement, especially in appearance and functionality.
The design development signals the beginning of the main app development or the coding process. This is where front-end development, the app section that your users will interact with, and back-end development is done, which allows you to manage your app content. This should be done in a test environment so that the entire process is tested at each stage.
The app needs to go through thorough testing for quality assurance to check all the features and work as intended. Bugs are easier to fix at this stage more than after the app has been released to the market. You want to create a good impression with the users.
Make the App Available for Download
Avail your app to the users on your chosen platform on which you built your app. Fortunately, app stores help market apps by allowing you to input content that can help catch the attention of your target audience. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t market the app otherwise. The business strategy you created will guide you.
Mobile app development doesn’t end at the launch. You need to constantly review user feedback and reviews in developing updated and improving features.