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Mobile App Development Process: A Seven-Act Play

Mobile App | February 27, 2022

Did you know that there are around on the Google Play Store and that almost there monthly? The numbers don’t lie, they’re screaming, “Wake up! It’s time to develop a mobile app.” But how do you develop an app you might wonder? Our comprehensive, yet concise, guide through the cycle will help you with that.

No matter what you’ve decided to build — an enterprise application or a startup app with a wide audience — we’ll put your fears to rest and describe all the steps to creating an app in detail.

With that said, here’s the seven-act play “Mobile App Development Process.”

Client — a business owner who has an app idea;

Project Owner — a person responsible for the project. Probably, but not necessarily a business owner that builds the image of app; 

Stakeholders —all the parties that have an interest in the client and their app idea;

PM — a project manager who controls the development process to achieve the client’s requirements for the project;

Business Analyst — an analytics expert who defines and then prioritizes requirements for a product;

UI/UX Designer — a creator of intuitive and attractive UI;

Developer — an engineer who writes the app code;

QA Engineer — a quality assurance engineer testing the app.

Act #1. Casting or Hiring Developers

who will help you through the struggles of developing an app. Analyze their strengths and their weaknesses and pick the best one for your project.

Act #2. Project Kick-Off

In the final moments before the development team sets off you should: outline roles, development milestones, and monitoring methods, establish agreements and sign the papers.

Act #3. Product Discovery

This act is dedicated to conducting research and strategizing:

These are just some questions that you would have to answer before starting the rough journey through the rough waters of app development.

Act #4. UX/UI Design

Time to find a unique look for your future app! Visuals for user interfaces, wireframes, and all design-related questions should be resolved by the end of this act. 

Act #5. App Development & Quality Assurance

Action! It’s time for the actual coding, production, testing, refinement, and reviewing. The result of this act is a product, ready to go.

Act #6. Publishing on App Stores

After it’s finished, release the application to the app stores. In modern times, publishing an app is easier than ever, just make sure to follow store guidelines for swift approval.

Act #7. Maintenance & Improvement

The journey of app development is never truly finished. When an app is released, there are still many things to do, such as beta-testing, bug fixing, updating and continuously supporting the application.

In the beginning, a client comes up with a mobile application idea. We ask the client to give us the technical specification. If there aren’t any technical specifications, we send a brief for mobile app development. It helps us prioritize work, as well as identify goals and tasks for future application.

In development, we combine two methodologies: . In general, the app development process will be the same for both approaches, the only difference is how you develop an app. The Waterfall model means that the process goes step by step: you create the whole product in a strict sequence. The Agile approach works using iterations regarding specific functionality. Each iteration can include all the stages of the development process and that’s why they’re easy to use simultaneously.

The output:

Act #1. Casting or Hiring Developers

Since we’ve already discussed tips and tricks for hiring app developers, we will focus on the three hiring options you have:

The output:

Act #2. Project Kick-Off

This act is mostly dedicated to organizational moments. This is when everyone in the team has a meeting and agrees on a future workflow. Roles are defined and confirmed, rules and objectives are established. This is a brief example of how the kick-off meeting may go:

Now that all the key points are discussed and everyone agrees on their role, responsibilities and deadlines, you can begin working on  development.

The output:

Act #3. Product Discovery

The mobile app development process doesn’t always include an analytics stage. Sometimes clients do a with their own resources or come to the software development company with ready-made project requirement specifications. Those clients who go through the analytics stage with their software development partner win more — collaborative analysis helps both sides stay on the same page with regard to project vision. We thoroughly estimate the required work and get a detailed budget.

1. Define your target audience and product purpose

At the start of this act, you have an idea for an application. The goal of this step is to get an idea of what your future customers will look like through research:

Answering those questions will help you turn your idea into an established app concept.

2. Conduct market research

Every masterpiece requires a significant amount of reference material. Now that your product has a goal to achieve, see what related products there are in app stores, what’s popular, what’s considered vital functionality. Examine the market closely, learn from rivals, think about how you can improve existing solutions, what new features you can add to make your app stand out.

At this point you may also reconsider and review your original ideas using the research data, weed out unsuitable ideas and pick up some ideas inspired by your competitors.

3. Agree on a project scope

After completing market research and reviewing old ideas:

Resolving problems above, you will establish your project’s scope.

4. Establish requirements

Time to put collected and approved data into functional requirements (what the application will do), non-functional requirements (how the application will do that) and the overall scope of the MVP (minimal viable product) for your project. Ideally, all the specifications may be transformed into software requirements specification documents. Note that, at this stage only technical details, the barebones of an app building, are discussed. We will discuss visual components in later acts.

5. Chart the roadmap

A roadmap for a project is a strategic communication document that defines important milestones, desirable goals and timeframes for said goals as well as milestones to be met. Define objectives and split them into steps that the development team will take to achieve them. Through the roadmap, you will communicate to the team how all the ideas, features and details will turn into a product.

The output:

Act #4. UX / UI Design

User interface (UI) design refers to the aesthetic elements that users interact with, such as buttons, icons, menu bars, typography, colors, and more. User experience (UX) design refers to the experience a user has when interacting with a product. Both parameters are very important in the mobile app development process.

Sometimes clients reach out to us with a ready-made design for a project. If a client doesn’t have an app design, we make from scratch. Let’s discuss the general elements of a designer’s work.

User Journey Map

The user journey map is a schematic chart that explains user flow through your product. It helps designers understand the product from the user’s point of view. It’s usually presented as a timeline of touchpoints between the user and the product.

To create a useful user journey map, you need to:

Wireframes are schematic illustrations of future user interface design. They include blocks, modules, relationships and the interactions between them. Wireframes are the building blocks of design guidelines. They’re focused on space and content allocation, as well as functionality and behavior rather than style or graphics.

Wireframes allow the client and the development team to look at the product while there is no code written yet. They are easier to review and edit than code. They also help you imagine how the same product will look on different mobile devices.

When a business analyst gives wireframes to the designer, we move to the stage of visualization. We make a ScreenFlow, the important design elements such as logos, fonts, colors, and a detailed prototype including possible use cases. The designer and the analyst work together throughout this stage.

The designing stage defines a style guide for your app, the looks of it, and the user interface.

During the design stage, a UX/UI designer prepares a static prototype and, if clients request it, an interactive prototype of the app. By creating these prototypes, we demonstrate how the app will look, and what behavior it will display. Naturally, these things depend on the specific tasks and client’s needs.  

While the design is being created, the app gets the blueprints and visual direction required for the front-end developers. It’s essential to get feedback from the business analyst and the client at the end of this stage to ensure that the design completely satisfies the initial requirements.

The output:

Act #5. App Development & Quality Assurance

When the app has a detailed requirement specification, design, and prototype, the application development process starts. A development team writes code to implement all the required features and links the app logic to the server-side. We also translate the app design into code by writing all the styles and elements of the UI.

1. Plan

The application development process may be split into basic units called “Sprints” — the fixed periods of time between a week and a month in which developers code. Before the sprint begins, it requires a bit of planning:

It is not only the developers who are involved in sprint planning, you, as the project owner and project manager, may also participate to know exactly what to expect by the end of a sprint.

2. Code

Now it’s time to work on the code. Developers work on goals and features established during sprint planning and QA engineers design future testing phases.

To develop native mobile apps, we apply Java and Kotlin for Android, Objective-C, and Swift for iOS, and modern mobile frameworks and libraries. For cross-platform development, we use React Native and NativeScript. As soon as part of the functionality is ready, we test it and continue working on other features.

3. Testing/QA testing

are involved in the project from the very beginning. They test as often as possible. Once a functional unit is completed, QA engineers do regular tests to guarantee the high quality of the app as critical bugs can cause you to lose your audience, time, and money. The testing phase includes code reviews, performance testing, functional testing, and more.

Here’s how we handle the process of testing:

4. Review

At the end of the sprint, the development team elaborates on the results to project owners and stakeholders. Stakeholders give feedback on completed work, discuss the impact of uncompleted work and provide suggestions for upcoming work. Project owners review and refine the product backlog in agreement with stakeholders.

After the reviewing process is done, the developers may send you:

It’s not necessary for the project owner to participate in the review meeting, they can just receive the materials afterward.

5. Assessment

After the sprint review, the team has another meeting to review the work process of the last sprint. The team answers the following questions:

Ideally, by the end of the sprint retrospective, the team has ideas on what to do differently next time and how these changes might help to improve the product’s quality.

The application development lifecycle consists of multiple repetitions of the steps mentioned above. These steps are repeated until we arrive at the final product.

The output:

Act #6. Publishing on App Stores

Finally, we’ve created a complete product and we’re ready to take on the market! When the tests and updates are finished, it’s time to submit the app to the app stores — App Store, Google Play, and any other designated service the client wishes to use.

Generally, you want to . This includes picking an icon, app name, description, screenshots, banners, and videos showcasing your app features, all the things that will go to the product page and attract users. Stores also require you to pay fees: one-time $25 fee for Google Play (Google Play Developer account) and an annual $99 fee for App Store (Apple iTunes Developer account).

Google Play Store

First, you need to create your app through Play Console and set it up: select a default language, specify if it is an app or a game, free or paid, acknowledge “Developer program policy” and accept the Terms of Service (ToS). Then, you need to manage the apk for your application: set it as draft or active. Finally, you set up the store page for your app with the information we described above. After this is done, you can send it for review. The review is usually done in a few hours.

App Store

For AppStore, it’s recommended to download and test your application on the latest OS releases. If everything is in order, the steps are similar to the Play Store. Submit information about your app to the product page, add legal information and upload your app with Xcode for review. The App Store has a strict policy on applications, but they review them in a short period of time.

The output:

Act #7. Maintenance & Improvement

The story doesn’t end after a successful launch. If the client finds some bugs, when the app is released, we fix it during one year of support. If the first user feedback brings changes, there are two options for further cooperation: to sign a contract for support or to start a new development phase including new data.

Building a successful mobile application isn’t simple. There is no “Get Rich Quick Scheme.” Many stages can be mixed or be completed in parallel with each other. If you’re considering participating in app development, choose a trustworthy, technical partner, contact us at and we’ll help you turn your idea into an app.

Description: Before you start building an app, learn about the development process from our extensive guide.

This content was originally published here.