Developing a Mobile App Step by Step – From an Idea to a Successful Project

Do you have an idea for a new mobile app but don’t know how to build it to really make an impact? Developing a mobile app can seem like an ordeal, but if you are familiar with the individual steps and know who to ask for help, there is nothing blocking you from bringing your cool product to life. Get your priorities straight and learn about the steps of the development process.

Idea for a Mobile Application

Literally every single idea has the potential to become a success. Whether you’re still hesitant about the uniqueness of your concept, or you’re convinced that you’re onto something huge but just don’t have anyone to make it into a real thing – remember there always is a way.

Tips for Custom-Made Apps

Experienced developers work not only with the latest programming languages and technologies, but also with artificial intelligence and IoT. The creation of a mobile app thus depends primarily on the programmer’s skills. Professionals can also advise you on how to perk up your idea and will identify the most efficient way of bringing it to life.

The possibilities are indeed manifold so don’t keep your idea just for yourself. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a mobile game, sales app or automation of internal processes. 

Tip: Remember that your app should bring something new to the market and offer added value to users.

Are You Sure What Exactly You Want?

It’s essential to have a concept or draft outlining the appearance and functionalities of your mobile app. This goes hand in hand with a marketing strategy and time schedule. Having a clear roadmap speeds up the development process significantly and eliminates possible misunderstandings between you and the developers.

Tip: It’s helpful to clearly know what the goal of your app is. Is it to simplify purchases for your customers? To make the work for your employees easier? Or to sell your products?

Types of Mobile Apps

Each type of application includes various functionalities and it’s good to know what your app should be able to do. Most apps fall into one of the following categories:

  • Mobile apps for augmented reality (AR/VR)
  • Kiosk apps (e.g. cash register systems)
  • Mobile games (e.g. card games or 3D shooting games)
  • Communication apps (e.g. WhatsApp or Telegram)
  • Content apps (e.g. foreign language learning apps)
  • Apps with in-app-payment features (product purchases, unlocking of premium content etc.)
  • Other mobile apps (e.g. weather forecast or car navigation)

Mobile App Platforms

For which platforms do you want to develop your app? Internationally, the most widely used operation system is Android, followed by iOS. The HarmonyOS operation system is slowly gaining popularity as well.

Other important factors for mobile app development are resolution and device type. Is the software supposed to run on a mobile, tablet, or on both?

Types of Mobile App Development

Three basic types of mobile app development can be distinguished. Each of them works in a slightly different way. 

  • Cross-platform development – Universal solution for multiple operation systems with one stable foundation that can be adjusted according to your needs. This means you can connect your mobile app with smartwatches, TVs or even smart homes. 
  • Native development – A specialised developer team with detailed knowledge of all your selected functionalities is assigned to each operation system. This method is well-suited mainly for complex and robust projects designed for one platform only.
  • Hybrid development – This method of development is used mostly in situations where the software is required to function as an app both on the web and on mobile devices. By developing just one code you get a fast solution for two platforms.

Future Plans

When developing a mobile app, it’s good to “see around corners”. You should have a clear idea where you want to be not only in one year (medium-term plan), but also in five years (long-term plan). These outlooks determine the number of developers you’re going to need, their skills and funding of the project.

Learn even more about mobile apps + FAQs

Lets Get Down to Work! The Process of Mobile App Development

The process of creating a mobile app consists of several essential stages: analysis, UX and UI design, the actual development and final testing.

Are you going to develop the app yourselves, or would you like to hire a freelancer or in-house developer team? Maybe you’re considering outsourcing it? One of the advantages of cooperation is that an expert team can assist you with implementing the project and identify possible weaknesses in your plan.

Analysis

What should your app be able to do? Where is the added value for users? And what should it look like? The analysis will tell the developers more about your goal, and, at the same time, you’ll get feedback regarding possible improvements. This means you can avoid unnecessary modifications and additional costs.

UX design

Now it’s time for the user experience design – UX sketching and wireframing. Make sure to capture all ideas, functioning of the app and the manner in which the user will navigate it. All this should be as convenient as possible. Using the mobile app is supposed to be enjoyable and its environment should be intuitive, transparent and, if possible, entertaining.

Wireframes are usually clickable so you can do some testing of functionality and accuracy of all steps on all screens and of their alignment in this stage.

UI design

Hand in hand with the UX design goes the UI design, or, to be more precise, user experience design including visualisations of all details and the overall appearance of the app. It’s reasonable to proceed to this step only after the wireframes have been approved.

Graphic design appeals to human emotions and should therefore underscore your general intention. Please remember that all graphic elements need to be consistent across the entire mobile app. Pay attention to the font size, button design and colours.

A couple of useful tips:

  • The individual elements should be large enough so they’re easy to tap even for people with bigger fingers.
  • Differentiate between active, inactive, clickable and non-clickable elements.
  • Make sure the texts are well-written and convey clear and pregnant instructions for users.

Mobile App Development

This stage involves coding and programming. It’s up to you how far you let developers go before the app launch.

Generally, it’s recommended to launch the app already in the early version of the system which is called MVP (minimum viable product) and which includes only the most fundamental features without the details to be added later. While reducing the amount of expended costs, you can test if users will actually be satisfied with your mobile app.

This means you can start earning money without waiting until the very last detail has been fine-tuned. Other functionalities and details can be incorporated later when using the mobile app.

How expensive is mobile app development

Tip: First of all, show your app to the “early adopters” – i.e. to fans who will forgive you minor bugs and who will test your app in practice for the first time. Another good idea is to conduct a user survey.

Final testing

Before you send your mobile app into the world, it’s necessary to check whether everything works properly.

In practice, this means to test the behaviour of the app on various mobile devices, check whether the software is easy to (un)install and see how it works in different situations – such as when the user connects headphones or switches from Wi-Fi to mobile data. It’s also good to know the power consumption of the running app.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Thorough testing ensures that users won’t be disappointed by a non-functional app.

Your app has been launched. But it’s not over. Now there is the second most important part – promoting your mobile app on social media, distribution to Google Play and App Store, a special landing page describing all the features and other marketing activities. 

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