When developing a mobile application, there are a number of features and technical aspects that need to be taken into account in the early stages of the project. We will tell you how the development process is built in our company.
By observing these nuances, you will be able not to step on a rake during development and, as a result, successfully launch the application, while investing in the planned budget. In this article, we will tell you what stages of mobile application development exist and what you need to consider at each stage.
Client business analysis
Before you start writing technical documentation, you should study the client’s business in detail. During this phase, we focus on 3 components:
- Dive into the customer’s business. All have their own characteristics: in interactions with customers, in business processes, in the internal kitchen. It is important to find out all the details of the business so that the future mobile application meets the project’s objectives as much as possible.
- We consider the current business pains and goals, the achievement of which stands before the created application. Often after this, the concept of the application changes, as the previously selected IT solution stops working to achieve the designated goals.
- We analyze competitors and their IT solutions. This helps to learn from someone else’s experience and not make mistakes that others have made.Based on the received data, we form scenarios for using the application and its functionality.
Preparation of terms of reference
After a clear picture of the business is obtained, our team proceeds to write the terms of reference. This is a document that will include all the requirements and stages of developing a mobile application: from the very concept of the application to those elements that will need to be tested on the App Store or Play Market platform.
7 main elements to consider:
- Systems within the company. We study software solutions that are implemented in the company, especially those with which we will have to integrate in the future.
- Similar solutions. Our business analyst analyzes applications from your area or from other areas with similar functionality, forms a list of their weaknesses or strengths.
- Wishes for design. During this stage, all requirements for the design of the future mobile application are fixed. It is important to understand here that some requests for animation or design features may affect the choice of technologies used.
- User stories. The specialist of our company prescribes all the main and additional scenarios for using the application by users in order to identify the missing functionality, the implementation of which is necessary for the full functioning of the project.
- Studying the target audience. A business analyst together with a marketer analyze the characteristics of the audience that will use the application: location (language issue, as well as seasonal offers / promotions), solvency and devices used. Due to this data, your mobile product will be more effective and in demand for your target audience.
- Choice of technologies. There are native (separate applications for Android or IOS) and cross-platform (a single code for two systems) mobile application development technologies. The required budget for a project when using a cross-platform framework will be less than when writing two native applications. However, it is worth considering the fact that if the future project is complex, requires working with the file system, the use of 3D graphics or fingerprints, then native technology will cope much better with solving such problems. For example, when developing a currency converter application, it was determined that it would contain functions that can only be implemented by a native tool (background currency update, online shopping, widgets), so the use of a cross-platform solution for the remaining tasks (displaying a list of exchange rates and a couple of introductory screens) will not be cost-effective.
- Finalization. When the TOR is at the final stage, it is important to re-check whether the application solves the pains and needs that were identified at the start. It often happens that alterations and improvements to the functionality of the application lead away from the original problem, and in the end it will not be solved.
Creating a prototype is an important stage, because visualization is one of the main factors for the success of an application. At this stage, the task of the manager is to draw all the interaction screens.
If the application is convenient (and the foundation of convenience is laid precisely when creating a UX layout – a prototype), then the chance that users will like the application will clearly increase.
In addition, it is at the stage of creating a prototype that the use cases prescribed in the ToR are tested. Also, with the help of the prototype, the functionality that was missed, as well as some logical inconsistencies that were invisible when writing the TOR, can be identified.
When developing a prototype, we take into account the following nuances:
- The main elements of navigation and controls should be at the bottom so that it is convenient to press them with your thumb;
- To save space, the logo can be used not on all screens, but only on the main screen and instead of the download preloader;
- You should avoid placing hints in non-obvious interface elements;
- Navigation elements should not be placed too close to each other, so when clicking, the user can click on several buttons at once, thus requesting an unnecessary action;
- Whether the application will be available in different screen positions – portrait and horizontal or not (you can choose one type of display and fix it at the program level);
For mobile applications, in addition to functional elements, you need a design that will meet all trends and UX requirements. There is a huge competition in the market now and it is important that your product is remembered in the head of the buyer.
The development and creation of a design includes two important components: the needs of the user and the elements of the UX itself. As for the user’s need, this can include: navigation, screen connection, component order, while for UX it is necessary to observe a combination of colors, corporate identity, text sizes and composition of objects among themselves.
Features that we always take into account when developing the design of our applications:
- The font size of the main elements should not be less than 14px, otherwise it may be hard to read;
- The colors of interface elements should prompt the user how to work with the application. For example, which elements are clickable and which are not, whether the user performed the actions correctly, or something needs to be corrected;
- The final design should be adapted to the 5 most popular screen sizes so that the application is displayed equally well for all its users.
After the finished TOR and rendered design for the application, work on the project moves to the programming stage. During this stage, the functionality of the application itself is created. This process is divided into two parts: Front-end (client) and Back-end (server) parts.
To write a Front-end application, we use the following technologies: for native applications – Kotlin for Android and Swift for IOS; for cross-platform applications – Flutter.
The main stack for writing the Back-end part is the Python programming language, the Django framework. This framework is suitable both for developing simple applications, startups, online stores, and for highly loaded services (for example, the most popular Instagram, Spotify, Youtube services are written using the Python Django programming language).
During the development of both parts of the project, there are certain features that you should also not forget about:
- Since the screen of the mobile application is much smaller than the desktop, it is impossible to display the same number of filters and categories that are on a standard site. For this, special dynamic or hidden filters are made.
- Front-end developers are responsible for receiving data from users (geolocation, camera, access to the camera, etc.). We write each element separately in the code so that your application can receive all the necessary data from users for both IOS and Android
- If you want your application to work even when there is no Internet, then the developer will have to create a local database for the application. For example, users of an online store application will be able to navigate the store and add desired items to the shopping cart without any internet connection. They will be able to make payment as soon as the Internet appears.
- In addition to the fact that user scenarios are prescribed in the application, do not forget about such important elements as swipes or scrolls. If you want the application user to have such an opportunity, then this element must be laid at the design stage.
This part of the application, which is no less important than the Front-end, because depending on the speed of loading the application and the display of elements, the popularity of your application depends.
- According to a study by Back-end developer at Mail.ru Group Dmitry Shveenkov, the percentage of users who deleted applications due to slow loading was 70%. In order for the back-end to work and give all responses to requests quickly, you need to think in advance about code optimization and data caching, as well as set aside time for refactoring.
- If people from different countries will use your application, then it is important to make sure that push notifications arrive for them at a convenient time.
- Another important point that needs to be configured on the back-end of the project is the display of special promotions or products depending on the location.
Due to this stage, all bugs and technical inconsistencies in the application are eliminated. Ignoring this stage means losing the first users after launch, since some modules may not work on a particular device.
As with testing websites, the layout and its compliance with the design are first tested in a web application, after which the functional part of the project is checked.
When testing the software part, our team pays attention to two components:
- Operating system version. While testing the application, the resolution of the screens or the year of manufacture of the smartphone is not so important. First of all, the software version is important. Technical requirements for the software must be specified in the terms of reference. We immediately check the latest, that is, the demanded version.
- The inner shell of applications. When developing Android applications, there are some nuances associated with the features of the operating system itself, the built-in shell of the device. In particular, VIVO, Samsung, Realme, Xiaomi, OPPO, Lenovo smartphones have such features. During development, a large proportion of the time is spent debugging the “little things” caused by these shells.
After the application is ready, it needs to be added to the App store and Play market. Unfortunately, this stage is not without problems, as the application must comply with the policies of the platforms, and some requirements can be difficult to comply with. So, in order to comply with the policies of the App Store or Play Market platforms, it is important to remember that the application must contain only high-quality, author’s images, as well as content that does not violate the platform’s policy.
In order for the application to be actively downloaded, you need to add images and videos of the program interface itself to the description on the platform. So the user will understand its meaning and constituent components. Do not forget about ratings and comments. The lower the ratings, the less likely your app will be in the top category for which you are developing the app (education, business, games).
In this article, we talked about the main stages of application development, as well as the technical features that occur during each stage. As you can see, application development is not without difficulties, whether it is writing technical specifications or programming, so it is better to give the creation of such a complex project as a mobile application to a company in which a separate employee is assigned to each stage.
If you want to order the development of a mobile application and want to know how much it will cost, which approach is better to choose (native or cross-platform), then leave your details and we will contact you or just write to us through the form on the site.