So, you’ve got a great idea for an app. Based on your initial research and observations, it’s really great; innovative, unique, and certain to be a big hit. You just need a team to help you throw it together, plug it in to the app store and watch the downloads pile up. Coming up with the idea was the hard part, right? Well, good ideas are indeed valuable, but you have a long way to go to get to your mobile app launch…and the work doesn’t stop there. Let’s go through and identify the five stages of mobile app development, along with the tasks involved, so you can get a better idea of what it takes to follow through and have a successful launch.
Stage 1: Assessing Business Fit
It’s not just having an idea, though that’s a good start. Point is, that first conception will almost certainly go through dozens of iterations, modifications, and testing, and there’s a good chance it may look pretty different after all that. You have to examine the existing market and research exhaustively to figure out where your app idea fits. Envision your target audiences, and get very specific about who it is, what their pain point is, and how you intend to address it. Whether you’re starting from scratch or seeking to improve upon an existing app, you need to make a list of relevant apps already on the market, and how your idea will improve upon and solve issues that bother current users. Consulting with a business analyst at a successful mobile app development business can help you determine need and viability of your app before you get started.
Stage 2: Design
Now that you have researched, consulted and worked through your initial conception, it’s time to start the design phase. This is no small feat, as it involves creative flair, intense technical planning, and organized workflow, all happening simultaneously and collaboratively. At this point, it’s best to create a detailed chart that explicitly lays out everyone’s responsibilities and timelines, including your own. This should include a wireframe architecture of how the page flow progresses, the overall art design (including color palettes, fonts, and any graphics), and how the necessary features are implemented and integrated. You should plan on having several versions of each page and feature, as you have yet to enter the intensive testing phase, and be ready to consider alternate ideations if they make sense.
Stage 3: Development and Testing
Now is the time for everyone on your team to activate, put their heads down, and get to work. This is the perfect time to embrace the iterative process. This is basically defined as a learning process where you try and test single features in the same way repetitively, over and over, record the results intricately, improve the feature towards the direction of the feedback, and repeat the process. This is honestly quite similar to the way scientists conduct their experiments, and it bears examination. Here’s an image to illustrate the process:
Note that there are confirmations and feedback at every step of the process…and it is infinitely cyclical, so, in theory, you can continue to use this process as long as needed to get every part of your app perfect. And, ostensibly, your product should improve slightly with each iteration, even if it’s hardly perceptible.
These individual improvements should be simultaneously building on top of each other in all departments, from coding to UX. All bugs, glitches and scalability issues should be examined and taken care of as launch approaches.. The alternative can be ugly and costly, with massive uninstalls and down time.
Stage 4: Launch
As you approach the launch of your app, you should already have some marketing strategies in place. When you were selecting your beta testers and distributing your MVPs, try engaging and working with some influencers and experts in the field. They can help position your app with reviews and announcements to their thousands of followers. Creating a slick preview trailer to post on social media and building a landing page to showcase your app and capture more emails for your list is also a good move. Set up press releases and create buzz with your email list, and encourage your recipients to share with their friends. You should have selected and tested names, icons, and graphics for your app, and ensure that you have legal protection for your intellectual property. Once you’ve been placed on your app stores, pay particularly close attention to the initial feedback, and set up an analytics dashboard to monitor acquisition and retention rates. According to this report, 71% churn through and uninstall apps within 3 months, so know that early identification and resolution of issues can be resolved and improve your app. Those three months may seem like a short time to truly evaluate the viability of your app, but this is the timeline where fortunes are gained and lost, so stay on top of it.
Stage 5: Support
Obviously, once you’ve marketed and launched your app, you need to continue to test your app for all technical and UX issues, and monitor all feedback that’s coming in. If things aren’t looking good, don’t give up; there are multiple examples of poorly performing apps that have been successfully rescued, like this one. Updates may need to be done, but pay attention to how your users receive these interruptions in service, and consider offering various perks for their patience, like credits or free services. You will likely need a DevOps team to streamline excessive procedures and reduce associated costs.
Keep up the marketing efforts to potential users, and moderate usage of push notifications to inform and educate your users is smart. Keeping a robust review and blog system going on your website will keep your app in the SEO high ground, and establish your app as the leader in its field. Having DevOps services can ensure that your app runs efficiently and without any bugs. More on DevOps in this post.
To wrap it up, this is a never-ending iterative process, and you should be prepared to continue these efforts to keep your app downloaded and retained. Having an agile and progressive app development partner is possibly the best hire you can make, so strongly consider a good hire.
Are you ready to take your app idea to the next step? Read more about our services here and feel free to reach out for a free consultation with our team!