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The Stages of Mobile App Development

This article is going to go into detail about the stages of mobile app development. It will give you great insight on what to expect and how to be prepared for the process. Hopefully, understanding this process will help you achieve the goal of launching your app.

What are the stages of mobile app development?

The following is a list of the steps we take in a mobile app development process:

  • Idea Workshop– Here you will define what you are wanting to create. Cover the goals for what the vision of your app is and what you want it to do.
  • Wireframe Delivery– this is the backbone of the project. It will serve as the ground between initial ideas and the end product
  • Design & Approval– Create the User Journey Map, design the interfaces, discuss animations, and the general look and feel of your app. Then get approval before creation starts.
  • Developing & Testing– Plan, Code, Build, Test, and Repeat.
  • Acceptance & Launch– Review the completed and app and prepare it to be launched on the appropriate platforms.

Let’s go deeper into each of these stages so we can have a better understanding of what they each include.

Step 1. Idea Workshop

Before you can begin developing your app, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you wish to create. This isn’t always easy, so it’s best to follow some suggested tasks to get you to that point.

An Idea Workshop will be that initial step in the development process where you can work with the development team to convey your vision and goals for what you want your app to be. The development team will know how to translate your goals into meeting the user’s needs. During this idea workshop phase, you should be prepared to focus on the following topics:

  • Reviewing Ideas- What ideas do you have for the app? What will your users think of the app? Can you help them solve a problem with the app?
  • Prioritization- Which features are most important to include in the app? Which ones will be the main focus, and which ones are less crucial?
  • Identifying Potential Users- Who is your target user? How do you want to help them?
  • Planning- What is the scope of the project? How will you measure the end result? How will you communicate with the development team throughout the process?

Of course, this is just a brief overview of what the idea workshop stage would include, but it’s important to come prepared so that you and the development team have a strong foundation to start the project. Ultimately, your goal here is to make sure you are building the app in the way that you see it.

Step 2. Wireframe Delivery

The goal of wireframing is to identify an outline of the content of your app and create a solid foundation for the next steps in the design process. A well-designed wireframe will make the visual and interaction design much easier throughout the process.

The development team will spend time to create and deliver the wireframe for your app. Key things to include in this process are:

  • Sketching out the Core Part of the User Flow
  • Setting Mobile Frames
  • Determine the Order of Information

Keeping these things in mind with assist you and the development team in delivering the wireframe, which will greatly assist in the development of your app. Turning it from an idea, into code.

Step 3. Design & Approval

Next up is the final design of the app. Designers will work to turn your idea into something visual. Setting up the layouts of the User Interface (UI), motions, and giving you mockups to approve.

You’ll likely get some presentations on the design and interface for you to better see the animations and transitions. You will want to be deeply involved in the design stage, after all, it is your product. The team will know this and will communicate often and present results for you to approve.

Once the design is complete and the team has your approval, they will be ready to work on developing your app.

Step 4. Developing & Testing

The developers will begin to write the code and create your app. They likely will be using Scrum to most efficiently develop the app. This means they will be breaking up the development process into smaller milestones and work in cycles. An example of a cycle would include refinement, planning, coding, testing, review, and retrospective.

  • Refinement– this is the act of making sure the backlog of tasks is updated, clean, and ordered.
  • Planning– usually a meeting at the beginning of the Sprint to discuss what will be done in that week. The team will make sure all the tasks are clear with acceptance criteria and that everyone accepts. You as the product owner should be actively involved in this meeting.
  • Coding– the developers will be actively writing the code and working on the app as discussed in the planning meeting.
  • Testing– version of the app will be tested by the team and providing crash reports as needed.
  • Review– during this time the team will discuss what was done during the Sprint. The team will check the tasks that needed to be completed in the Sprint and should send you a summary after the review.
  • Retrospective– this meeting is for you and the team to discuss ways to improve the quality of the process during the Sprint. You can create a plan for implementing the improvements as well.

As stated, this is an example of the development process using Scrum and Sprints. It is an effective way to manage the development of the app and keep you involved throughout the process.

Step 5. Acceptance & Launch

Once the first version of your app is ready, it will be time to publish it. This means that the app has met your approval and is ready to be launched. The team should then help you with uploading it to the Google Play Store and/ or the Apple Store. It will then be released to the world and your users can start downloading it!

The Stages of Mobile App Development – Summary

After reviewing this, we hope you have a good understanding of the development stages of a mobile app. From the idea workshop to the wireframe delivery, to the design and development, and finally to the launch of your app. You should be involved in these steps and stay engaged with the development team you are trusting to turn your idea into a successful app.

How To Make Your Intro Meeting with an App Development Company a Success

app development

So, you’ve got a great idea for a new app, what’s next?
The development process for that app can be confusing, and if you’re just getting your feet wet in this new world then you need to be prepared. You will likely meet with app development companies who will help you navigate through this process.

It is crucial that you have a successful introduction meeting with these development companies. Not only will you be seeking out the best company for your app, but the companies will also be assessing you and your idea to determine if they want to collaborate.

For this reason, you will want to do everything in your power to guarantee a successful introduction meeting. In order to do that, here are some highly recommended tips:

Research the Company

If you are planning on doing business with a company, then you should know who you are meeting with. Do some research about the firm; visit their website, look at some of their completed projects, look for some references.

You should also examine what services they provide and make sure it aligns with what you are seeking. Some good questions to ask are:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What kind of projects have they completed?
  • Does the agency provide the service that you need for your specific app?
  • Who will own the product after it is developed by the company?
  • What kind of development method do they use?

Asking questions and doing the proper research will help you narrow down which companies to consider meeting with. It’s a buyer’s market, there are thousands of app development companies in the world, and finding the right one to work with is critical to the success of your app. So, it’s okay to be picky when researching who you want to meet with. This ensures you are meeting with a company that fits your needs and expectations.

Understand Your Idea and Make a Plan

Even if you are new to the industry, it’s recommended to have a plan for your idea. This means understanding what your idea is and having a good plan for how to create it.

You must know what needs to be done in the collaboration. Is it an end-to-end app creation? Maybe you need design and development because you have some work already completed. Or maybe you only need design or only the development. Go into the meeting with the knowledge of what you need done.

Additionally, you should already have a business plan ready to present during the introduction meeting. This will show the development company that you are serious about your idea and are ready to collaborate.

This means presenting a summary of your idea, knowing who the target customer is, understanding how it can be marketed, planning the finances, as well as many other things. Presenting the company with a strong business plan will convince them that they are working with someone who is serious and committed.

Know Your Budget

It will cost money to take your idea and turn it into a live, functioning app. Different companies charge different amounts for the services they render, but the cost will depend on what you need.

  • What features do you want to include?
  • Which platforms will it be for?
  • What is your timeframe for the project?

You should understand what it is that needs to be done and set a true expectation for what you can pay for this work. Remember, you could be paying for strategy, design, coding, and testing of your app. Going into the introduction meeting with the knowledge of what you need and what you can pay will ease a lot of the stress.

During the introduction meeting you should be prepared to discuss the budget you have for this project. If you have a good understanding of how much time and money are needed to develop an app, then you will be better prepared to set a realistic budget for the work that will need to be done to create your app.

Come Prepared

When you are finally in that intro meeting you are going to want to make a good impression. The best way to make a good impression is to be prepared.

Know what you want to talk about. Prepare questions you want the company to answer. Remember that you are the one bringing the idea to them. This means that they should want to work with you just as much as you with them.

You should already know a bit about who they are and what they can offer, so this meeting will be for you to learn everything else you needed to know about this company. Use this time to ask the important questions you couldn’t answer from researching the company.

Being prepared also means having all your needed materials ready. Are you planning on sharing a PowerPoint presentation? Do you have a document you will share? Make sure this is all set and ready before you go into your meeting.

Show Them You Are Ready To Work!

Are you ready to put in the time and effort needed to be successful? 

Coming prepared is important, but so is showing the development company that you are serious about your idea is just as vital. The development process takes time and money, and the agency will want to collaborate with someone they feel confident will be dedicated to the process as much as they are. This means you should be prepared to work with and collaborate with the app development agency as much as they need. Efficient communication influences feedback and quick work on delivery. It also affects the quality and “feeling” of cooperation.
And you know what is happening on a regular basis.
This is, after all, your idea and your app. So be ready to work hard to achieve your goal.

Map Out the Next Steps

Imagine the great feeling you will have after holding a successful intro meeting with the development company that you want to cooperate with. So, what comes next?

Did you make any agreements with the company? Did they offer a proposal of the services they can complete? Were there any legal documents that needed to be signed (Non-Disclosure Agreement or Master Service Agreement)? When you leave that meeting you may be overwhelmed with questions or other information discussed. Can you answer these?

  • When will you meet again?
  • What materials do they need from you, and you from them?
  • When will the project commence?
  • What will the project team look like?
  • Who is the main point of contact and how often will you communicate?

These are all questions that should be answered before you leave your meeting. These answers will help you map out the next steps of the project. Those are the steps that you and the development company will take to realize the end goal of creating your app.

Make the Meeting Yours- Make It a Success

You can look at the introduction meeting as a two-sided interview. You are looking for the best team to take your idea and turn it into the app that you want. But those companies are also looking for partners who are prepared and serious about the work they are presenting to them.

This will take work on your side. Do your research. Know your idea and what your goals are. Come prepared to the meeting with questions. Make the company see your idea the way you do, make them believe in its potential!

If you can do that, then you will be well on your way to having a successful intro meeting. Which will then help turn that app idea, into a reality.  

What Are the Common Mistakes Made during the Development of a Mobile App?

What Are the Common Mistakes Made during the Development of a Mobile App?

It would be an understatement to say that it is easy to create a successful app nowadays. The market is saturated with competition and there are so many options out there for users that it takes real skill and determination to launch something that will have a meaningful impact. Sometimes you may feel like you have done everything right, but the end product can still be unsuccessful.

So, to help you with this we have compiled some common mistakes that are made during app development that can hinder the success of your mobile app.

Can you define the product’s value?

If you are developing an app, you should have a good idea of what value it will bring to the user. Does it solve some sort of problem for them that they couldn’t easily do without the app? Maybe it saves them time, helps them become organized, offers an entertaining diversion, or connects them with new or old friends. Whatever is it, it’s important to be able to define the app’s value.

If the app does not add value to the user, then the chances of it failing are high. Even if you have a good design, a high budget, and limitless resources, all this becomes meaningless if you cannot define the value of your app.

We can refer to many case studies of apps that had put in a lot of work in the development but still failed because the end product didn’t offer added value to the user. Google Wave is a perfect example of this. What was supposed to be a service to combine work tasks such as email and messaging and make employees more productive didn’t take off. Even with thousands of developers and the mighty Google backing, it still was shut down after 6 months because users didn’t see an improvement from using the other apps independently.

The lesson here is that your app needs to have value for the user. Without it, you will have a difficult time getting users to adopt and buy into what you are offering.

What research was done?

Market research is critical to the success of your app. You need to know what your target user is looking for and how they will respond to the app. This requires meticulous insights into what you want/expect from the end product.

Ignoring or even failing to do research leaves too much unknown in the development and launch of the app. This is a common mistake that can be avoided by simply conducting the research needed to be prepared for anything that may come along during and after the launch of the app.

Adaptability!

If you have an app idea that solves a big problem for users and is unique, that’s great! The challenge then is to stay relevant and fresh. Often apps become successful initially because they filled a need, but soon competition came along and left them in the dust.

A great example of this is the social network site MySpace. Initially a leader in the social network industry, it quickly became irrelevant when many other platforms were introduced. Not because the product was no longer good, but because they didn’t stay fresh and adapt to what the users were looking for. The same experience became stagnant and users flocked to newer platforms that offered more ways to engage on the network.

Once you launch your app, you need to be able to adapt to what the user wants and keep things new and interesting to maintain the attention of the user.

What sets your app apart from the others?

Even if your app is not a completely new idea, it still needs to offer something that will set itself apart from the competition. Have you created another scheduling assistance app? Why should the user download your app rather than the thousands of similar scheduling tools?

How many food delivery service apps can you name now? There are so many and most of them offer the same exact thing. It’s a common mistake to just copy a successful app and reshape it in the hopes to take a piece of the market away from the others. Unless you can improve on that experience in a unique and valuable way, the chances of success are slim.

Are you overwhelming the user?

Sometimes simplicity is best. A common mistake is forgetting that it can be easy to overwhelm the user. Too many animations, complicated navigations, information overload, all of these can frustrate or overwhelm the user to the point that they would rather uninstall your app rather than spend the time needed to get comfortable with it.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have a complex app, but this ties in with the research phase. Know your target user, and know what level of complexity is right for them and the app. Your app may have great value and loads of benefits to the user, but if they get stunned by the information overload then you can’t expect the user to stay engaged for very long.

A Lack of Experience & Talent

When choosing a development team, many people assume that every developer achieves what you ask of them. This is unfortunately not always the case. So many things go into building the best development team: experience, skill, ability to communicate., etc. You should feel not only comfortable but confident that the development team can meet the needs of your app development.

This strongly relates to the importance of choosing the right development team to work with. If you can have a great team with excellent communication and who bring the right skill and experience to the table, then you can rest assured that this will not be a mistake made during your app development.

A quick summary of the common mistakes

Being aware of these common mistakes will help you to avoid them. It is vital to keep your app user-focused and remember to have an understandable value, conduct the needed research, be adaptable and unique, don’t overwhelm the user, and pick the right development team!

These common mistakes can make or break the success of your app, so do your best to understand them and anything else that could be a hurdle in the realization of your app.

App Development Cost

The process of creating a new app can be overwhelming. A lot of time and resources are needed to achieve the goal of seeing your idea realized. Part of that means understanding the cost of developing the app. We will break down the cost of the development process for you so you know what to expect and can set a proper budget for your project.

Transparency is critical in this process. The more you know about what goes into the cost of the development of your app, the better you will feel about the money you are investing in your idea.

What are the main factors involved in the cost of developing an app?

Understandably, many things go into determining how much an app will cost to develop. Consider the following factors:

  • Supporting Platforms and Devices – Is the app intended for Android, iOS, or both? Will it be accessible from a desktop as well? The number of platforms the app is available on requires additional development which factors into the cost of the project.

If your app is intended for a single platform then it can be developed as ‘Native’. However, if the app needs to be available with multiple platforms, then it would be considered ‘Cross-Platform’. When deciding to develop your app, it will be important to decide how to make it available to the intended users.

  • Functionality – What features are to be included in the app? How do plan to engage with the users? Will there be device features such as NFC, Location-Based Services, Bluetooth, etc.? The features you plan to have in the app will affect the development time as well as the cost.
  • Complexity – This can range from a simple design of a few screens to a complex setup of dozens of screens. More complex will require more time to develop and will affect the cost. Your app may require a complex build, and it’s important to know what is required to make the app function as you intend. Apps that require a heavy amount of backend development or complex user interfaces tend to cost more.
  • Team Setup – Who you plan to build your app will significantly affect the cost of the app. If you plan to hire a major development agency, you can expect to pay top dollar. Or if you hire a freelance worker, you can save a considerable amount.
    You can also consider outsourcing the work to a development agency, which will change the cost depending on the location of the team. This is a great benefit to use an experienced and skilled team outsourced at a fraction of the cost of a top agency that can offer name recognition.
  • App Maintenance Cost – You need to include the cost to update, fix, and maintain the app after it is completed. This is something that should be discussed with the agency when agreeing to the work that will be done on the app.

Basic Cost Breakdown:

Our clients know that today’s market has an increased demand to digitize; and as such, the need to invest in the most cost-effective way is crucial to stay competitive. The cost of developing your app will mainly depend on the complexity of the project, below is a breakdown of the estimated cost to develop an app:

A basic mobile app for 1 platform can cost below $10,000

  • A basic mobile app for 1 platform can cost below $10,000
  • A medium-complexity app for 1 platform may cost around 10,000–$30,000
  • A complex app for 1 platform costs more than $30,000

If you are looking for an estimate for your project, contact us HERE and we can quickly get in touch with you and let you know what we can offer.

What level of complexity do you need? Below is a breakdown of what goes into the development of an app requiring different levels of attention.

Basic mobile app for 1 platform costs ~ $10,000

  • The expected work time from the development team is about 325-650 hours
    • No API integration
    • Little or no back-end
    • Simple UI components
    • Basic features (email subscription, social login, calendar, etc.)

Medium-complexity app for 1 platform costs ~  $10,000$30,00010,0000,000

  • The expected work time from the development team is about 650-1100 hours
    • Custom UI/UX features
    • Built-in payment gateway
    • API Integration
    • Back-end server
    • 6-15 screens

Complex app for 1 platform costs $30,000+

  • The expected work time from the development team is more than 1100 hours
    • Multiple languages supported
    • Custom UI/UX design
    • Database integration
    • 3rd-party integrations
    •  Meets high-security demands

These are of course just examples of the estimates of the costs for different complexities of an app. You can look at this as a starting point to better understand the cost of developing an app.

Real-World Examples

Did you know that the average price for a basic startup app in the United States is estimated between 140,000 to $210,000? That is the cost expected to launch version 1.0 of the app. Of course, that price could be lower or high depending on the complexity of the app and who develops it (freelance or big agency). Here are some examples of how much some popular apps had to invest in their app development:

  • Uber raised $200 million to develop their idea
  • Tinder raised $485,000 in 2012
  • Instagram received $500,000 to further develop its app

So, how much will it cost to develop an app?

This is a difficult question that doesn’t have a cover-all answer. Every app is different; they have different purposes, goals, complexity, targeted users, etc. The cost of developing these apps increases with the complexity desired. On top of that, who develops the app will greatly influence the cost, which is why it’s a great idea to consider outsourcing the project.

To make it easier to estimate the cost of the app that you desire you can do the following before contacting the development agencies:

  • Know the number of platforms needed
  • Create a list of app functions
  • Prioritize the app features

With those things prepared you will be well on your way to get an estimate on how much it will cost to develop your app and to get it out into the world!

7 Sins of Startups Working on Their First MVP

Photo by Kai Pilger

Here’s the truth if there ever was one: startups tend to underestimate MVPs. How time-consuming it is to make one. How different what you need is from what you think you need. And so, they make bad calls.

Believe us, we’ve been there, a long time ago, and had to figure it out the hard way. But here’s the upside: now you can learn from the experience of others.

Behold, the 7 sins startup managers make when working on their first MVP!

1. Trying to reinvent the wheel

The idea behind the MVP is to bring the core value to the buyer. But as early as in this stage, new ideas and goals tend to pop up. Why not try to develop a product and software solutions at the same time? Why not try and create your own AWS platform and low-level software for hardware controllers? Why not add this and that, because you can and because it seems so cool?

If this is the case, you need to ask yourself: Is all this work really necessary for you to offer that core value we mentioned?

You are supposed to build a Minimum Viable Product. Do just that. Don’t overgrow your MVP. Your target users need to see their benefits, that’s all. You want to give them something that fulfills their immediate needs and nothing more. Focus on the target. Use the most accessible tools to create the exact product that your customer needs. In the MVP, everything beyond that is a waste of time.

2. Popping the cork too early

Sometimes your idea is good, and even your MVP is good, but you introduce it to the market way too soon. It might prove deadly for your product.

Numerous factors have to align in order for you to succeed. You might be 100% right about the innovation that needs to happen, but the market conditions will stop you right on your track. Thus, you need to watch out for any signs that your product may be ahead of its time. In this case, let it sit on the shelf and wait for a better moment.

3. Being overconfident in your abilities

The no. 1 reason for delayed releases are technical challenges. As a Product Owner, you’ve surely heard some optimistic estimations. “Seems easy enough, we can deal with it quickly, 3 months and we’ll get it done.” And then it took 6 months. If you’re super lucky, everything will go exactly according to plan, but frankly, we don’t know anyone with this much luck. Even if you are prepared and experienced, don’t underestimate Murphy’s laws and give yourself a margin of error.

Scalability is another challenge. Setting up new clients manually can take forever, and the demand could outgrow your ability to supply. So it’s not solely about making a product that works, but also about making a commercial package that is ready for the consumers. Be realistic about your software development estimates. For your own good.

4. Being too optimistic about investors

Oh boy, there’s a new investor coming on board literally next week! Everything is going to be just fine! Right?!

Not really. News about investors tends to be overblown. Don’t count on that truckload of money you were promised, even if they seemed really, really interested when you talked with them last week. You can get rejected after months of seemingly successful negotiation. You can get rejected literally at your ultimate meeting.

Stay positive and open, but don’t count your chickens before they hatch. You got the money only when you actually got the money.

5. Having the wrong customer in mind

What is your Ideal Customer Profile? Without knowing and understanding them deeply you won’t create a product that will deliver what they need. If you decide to create an analysis tool and research your users’ view on the product, you might discover that the topmost value is what you consider a secondary feature. They may use side modules while ignoring the primary functionality!

You should remember that not everyone can or should be your client. Determine what kind of client you want. Understand their needs, and this story will have a “they lived happily ever after.”

6. Multiplying bad prototypes

So you’ve finished a prototype, but now someone else wants something similar. Do you jump at the opportunity? Doing so might actually not be the best solution. Evaluate if it’s worth the effort because you’re probably stretching your resources already. One good product will benefit you more than a dozen half-baked prototypes.

In other words: find your focus. Make sure that your software prototyping leads somewhere.

7. Making delusional plans

You know what they say about promising things. Promises are cheap. Your business plan shouldn’t be just an empty promise. In theory, you can plan ahead for years and even take a whole lot of factors into consideration. But trusting such long-term plans on a project that’s just been born is a symptom of delusion.

During the early stages, you should manage your startup like it’s a child that needs your care. Learn by iteration. Try and try again. Never assume that what you wrote on a piece of paper is the ultimate truth. Instead, calculate your resources, then update your calculations next week, and next week. Use Scrum or other methodology for management.

It’s not about improvising along the way or allowing for chaos. It’s about going forward step by step, reaching milestones on the road to the ultimate goal. Observe the monthly horizon, pinpoint objectives, and strive towards them.

It’s about the nuances

Making any of the above-mentioned mistakes doesn’t make your startup, or your startup’s manager, bad. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. It’s so easy to lose what the MVP is about from your sight. Notice that most of these sins are about just that: going for something else than a Minimum Viable Product.

Make your life easier and simply ask yourself three questions:

  • Does your customer need the product you’re working on?
  • Is your product truly viable? (In other words: is it of solid quality?)
  • Does it offer the core value you’re going for?

If it seems simple, it’s because it is. Don’t overcomplicate it. The reason behind many companies’ problems is overthinking their MVP.