In current times, mobile apps have emerged as tools that people utilize daily. Essentially, they have become a tool for commuting, networking, entertainment, and much more.
With billions of annual downloads, they aren’t only tools for the users, but also a great channel of customer communication for the businesses along with a source of profit. Read this blog to know more about everything you need to know about the mobile app development process.
Although there are millions of apps featured on the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store, businesses and entrepreneurs still line up their new digital products.
However, app development process being an entrepreneur, and not a developer, knowledge of what it takes to develop a mobile app right from scratch is essential.
Business can be quite harsh. When you are trying to put these steps together, the competitors may already have reached beta testing and are just a few steps away from turning your innovative idea into simply a bootleg.
Time is money, and here we will discuss the app development process as well as know the answer to the essential question of how long it takes to develop an app.
Of course, the more complex the app sounds, the more reasonable it appears, but longer it takes to develop such an app. Hence, it is quite impossible to predict the time it will essentially take for developing your app until you are well aware of the entire custom mobile app development process.
Table of Contents
Look Out Top 5 Steps of the Mobile App Development Process
Step 1- Ideation and Research
It starts with a great, innovative idea. However, whatever seems quite revolutionary to you, might have actually been incorporated many years ago and even have failed miserably. Hence, research is the first actual step that you need to consider in the app development process.
Also, when you have figured out the app’s purpose, you have to test the idea in the real world. It requires quite some effort, but if you are thorough, the particular research is more likely to become the bedrock of success.
Also, you can start by establishing a target group for your application. Essentially, you need to find what people or businesses may be interested in your app. You need to try to draw a vivid description, which is detailed. Once you know the potential customers, you have to ensure that they will have a good reason to download your app.
There may be a plethora of reasons which can range from the inclusion of a few useful features to offering a unique solution to the problems of the customers. Your app needs to address some pain points of the customers.
After you have got this figured out, you need to determine the market size. You need to check if any apps are providing the same thing, actually how many people are using them, and much more. The answers to these different questions are quite crucial in determining whether to continue with the project or put it in the shredder.
If you have decided that you can easily compete in the market, then you have to devote quite some time researching other products. You should download their apps and utilize them as your consumers would.
Such research takes at least a few weeks. During this time, you would be able to find out the inherent strengths as well as weaknesses of each competitor. A mobile app development company should invest heavily in research.
Step 2- Planning
After you have determined the primary purpose of your app and even know about your competition as well as the target group, it is time to develop the idea.
Now, you can start the planning step using deciding which platform you wish your app to be for. This decision can be driven by the target group, in some cases. For instance, if you are building an app for Apple Watch users, then you are bound to develop your app for iOS only.
However, in most cases, it’s a business decision. The most common question is whether to develop the app for Android, iOS, or both. Also, a few things can make a choice easier.
First, remember that developing an app for both operating systems needs experienced and professional developers. Owing to the fragmentation in Android, you may have to be more patient.
Android app development does take significant time. In case you know what you are doing, then you are easily aware of the common bugs as well as shortcomings and even know exactly what to do and also avoid them. Secondly, deciding the OS that your app will support will be dependent on the first factor.
With more lines of code, meaning more work, which in turn means more costs, in case you are running on a much tighter budget, then iOS may be quite a better choice. Also, the more platforms your app will be supporting, the more customers you will be able to reach easily.
In case you aren’t limited by any budget or have quite a narrow target group, you are more likely to develop an app that supports at least iOS and Android. An iPhone app development company can utilize this fact to its advantage.
After you get this decision out of your way, it is time to think about the functionalities of the app. Essentially, these are the features that you wish your app to include.
Not only the core functions but also details. To provide you with a much better scope of the entire depth of the actual planning stage, let’s consider an instance of a profile overview of a page in the Twitter application.
From this screen, you can make different actions, like going back to the previous screen, editing your profile, writing a tweet, clicking on the links present in the description, and much more.
These are essentially the features you need to think about. Also, this is just one screen, and multiple features appear here that aren’t actionable at this point, like setting up a profile picture, counting followers, and much more.
Owing to the complexity, the actual planning stage generally takes nearly a month.
Then it is followed by wireframing. It is an integral part of the entire UX design. It is similar to drawing a map of the entire app to know where everything goes. UX can easily be mistaken for UI.
Essentially the difference is that the UX developers determine the functionalities of every screen as well as the entire app layout, whereas UI takes care of the entire visual design.
Also, wireframing is generally followed by research, which drives the decision on the entire layout of the app such that users don’t have a difficult time making the best out of the app.
After initial wireframing is completed, another research follows to see if the prototype works as intended. It often means showing it to people to see if they can use it or not.
Things that actually are to be kept in mind is that the prototype doesn’t even have to be clickable. It can easily be a drawing, even though nowadays there is a certain bunch of software that helps with wireframing.
Use scenarios are the final stage of the initial research, and also of UX design. It is mainly about predicting how various customers are going to utilize the app and checking if the app can easily fulfill their own goals.
Step 3- Coding For App Development Process
There are three major elements in this particular stage—basically, the UI, Back End, and the Front End. Based on the app’s complexity, the actual app development takes nearly six weeks.
UI is essentially taken care of by professional graphic designers. This gives the app its appearance. Whenever working on the User Interface, the designers are turning turn the wireframe that is drafted by the UX designers into a finalized, visual representation. This can be compared to switching the conventional Google Maps view to the actual Satellite View.
However, neither the UI nor the prototype is clickable until you start developing the front end of the mobile app. Front-end developers easily turn the UI into utilizing a programming language.
iOS and Android applications differ regarding the actual code since Android uses Java, while iOS makes utilization of Objective-C or Swift.
After a front-end developer develops the UI, you obtain a completely functional prototype. But still, it is only a prototype. This means that actions that are taken with such an app would show up on the app screen but won’t be reflected in its system. Now the back-end developer ties the UI with the data and easily makes them completely functional.
All of these are often created simultaneously. The back end is the actual system behind the app, which makes it function as designed. In case your app takes benefits of popular APIs, that can allow different features and functionalities. Back-end developers of iOS app development services need to connect them in this stage too. Once all is done, the app is truly functional.
Step 4- Testing
It is given that the app will have different bugs that need to be fixed before the release. To find as well as fix as many errors as possible, you need to run Alpha and Beta tests.
Essentially, Alpha testing is generally done in a closed, test environment where the developers continuously try to break the application. They try different as well as unusual scenarios to view if they can cause any sort of mishaps. After that, all these errors need to be duly fixed.
Beta tests are generally public. It essentially means that the Beta version of the application is unofficially released to a certain number of real customers, called Beta testers. It is quite different from the Alpha stage, as real users often tend to treat the Beta version as an official release. Hence they simply use it as normal customers.
Now, the beta app is duly monitored to showcase what can go wrong and what requires improvement. At the end of the entire Beta phase, you can ask the Beta testers for general feedback regarding their experience with your app. It is also an integral part of progressive web app development.
Step 5- Release
Right before you submit the app to the relevant app store, you need to figure out the title of the app along with writing one short and one long description and also prepare a few promotional images.
Use relevant keywords in the descriptions to increase the overall chance of obtaining downloads. The next step is submitting the app for app store approval. Apple has reduced its app approval time to one day, while Google generally takes a few hours.
You need to keep cooperating with the developers to work on regular updates for the app as you have to regularly evolve the product to keep the users quite happy and even acquire new ones. Certainly, these updates can easily bring minor improvements as well as bug fixes or simply introduce great features.
Total Time of A Mobile App Development
Depending on how much work there is actually to be done in every step, you can estimate the time it will essentially take for the app to be developed.
The more amount of time you put into both research and planning, then the more time you will certainly save during the development process. Generally, the apps are developed from scratch to the actual release point in nearly four to five months. However, the app work can never stop in case you decide to offer constant updates as well as improvements.
Mobile apps have certainly become essential as well as an integral part of people’s daily lives. The App development process requires a step-wise approach.
Each step requires a certain amount of time invested. Here we have explained the five key steps of the app development process and the total time it takes to develop a mobile app.