Effective App Development Process and Best Practices

An app development team create plans for effective app development process and best practicesPhoto by Brands&People on Unsplash

Nowadays even small businesses are fully digitalizing their business process to cut down expenses by reducing resources, time, and cost. And building and strengthening their online presence more than ever to increase sales and competitive advantage since the tremendous rise of internet users in the past few years.

This leads to demand for app development companies in the market and that leads to enormous advances in app development technologies to ease the development process.

The developer effort to build an app is enormously decreasing because app development technologies are advancing day by day. Therefore an app development company that is experienced and up-to-date with technologies can help businesses to build their app time and cost-effectively by following an effective and proven app development process and best practices.

App development is a continuous and sequential process that needs proper planning, time, dedication, and teamwork. If one of the steps in this life cycle fails that would end up in the failure of the product. So proper planning and following best practices are crucial in app development in order to build a successful end product.

Let’s take a look at what are the common reasons for the failure of apps before we get to the details of the effective app development process and the best practices to follow.

The common reasons why apps fail

Failed to provide value

Providing unique value to the customers is very important and it plays an important role in the success of the app.

Most businesses develop their app for their customers by copying competitors and end up in failure. Businesses should give importance to unique value propositions. If your app provides services to potential customers the same or less than your competitors you can’t win in the market.

Poor user experience

Poor user experience is one of the most common reasons an app fails. If an app is unsatisfying, problematic, and not user-friendly the customers stop using it within the first few attempts.

Higher page load time, complex navigation and accessibility, and poorly designed and unoptimized functionalities and workflows are the most common issues that give unsatisfied experience to customers.

Failed to solve the real problem

The goal of products is to solve a particular problem that potential users are facing. Designing a product and its business process without studying the competitors and market will fail to solve real user problems. This is another reason most apps fail.

And trying to solve widespread problems instead of concentrating on niche one is also a reason to give an unpleasant user experience and ends up the failure of the app. Because when trying to solve a widespread problem the product ends up with cumbersome features and functionalities and most of these are not even useful for potential customers.

Bad monetization strategy

Maintaining and providing services through your app without making a profit from it will be hard to run the business. The apps can fail just because of following poor monetization strategies even after developing them with providing unique value and user satisfaction.

Effective app development phases

Strategy

The first step of the app development process is to create a strategy to launch and run the app successfully. Now you only have an idea. But after building a strategy you will get a clear idea about:

  • What you are going to build
  • What are the goals and objectives of this app
  • Which platforms are needed for the app development
  • Who are the potential app users
  • Which type of users are going to use the app after launch
  • Who are the competitors
  • What kind of values should provide to users to stay in the market with competitors etc…

Analysis and planning

In this phase, your idea is going to have an actual shape. The first step is to hand over the requirements to the development team. If the development team provides product consultation they will help to identify and gather requirements after studying your business process and the potential market.

After identifying the requirements, create a product roadmap. You will be listed all the milestones from wireframe, prototype, design, and development to maintenance and customization of the application in the roadmap.

It’s recommended to start developing the app as a minimum viable product (MVP) if you are facing issues with the time or cost for the development or you are not sure about how the customers are going to welcome and use the app.

Developing your app as an MVP is the best way to experiment with the ideas and business process. After the MVP’s initial production run, you can modify existing functionalities and build new ones according to the user's feedback and make the app user-friendly, and make sure it provides value to users.

For MVP you can list functionalities and prioritize them for initial development. This will cut down the development time and cost and you can launch the app early. Then you can add other functionalities afterward on top of users' feedback.

You can avoid experimenting with your app by building an MVP of it and start developing the app with full product scope if you are 100% sure about the product scope, business process, and customer acceptance of your app.

As part of the planning, you should identify which platforms you need for app development. For instance, if you are planning to build a food ordering application, you may need:

  • An app in Android, iOS, and web platforms to provide the facility for end-users to view the menu and order food.
  • And an app on Android and iOS platforms for delivery partners.
  • A web app or desktop app for restaurant managers.
  • And a web app or desktop app for the super-administrator to manage the platform.

This supporting platform requirement will be different from different business processes and requirements.

After choosing platforms you have to choose the right technology stack for each platform. The development company you hired will help you to do that. An experienced development company can help you to choose the right technology stack and architecture design for your app that helps to cut down resources, time, and costs without losing technical quality.

For instance, you can choose Swift for iOS and Java for Android, and React for web to build the user interfaces. But here you have to create each app for each platform with a separate codebase.

For this problem, we have cross-platform and hybrid app development technologies available today. We can code once in one codebase and use it to build for different platforms. React Native, Cordova, Ionic, Xamarin, Flutter, and Electron are some of the most popular cross-platform app development technologies.

After the analysis and planning, you will get:

  • A better understanding of your customers
  • Get a clear idea about competitors who are in the market
  • How could you reach customers
  • Which platforms and technologies need for the app development
  • A clear understanding of what customers wanted from your app
  • A clear understanding of product scope and estimation of time and cost

And moreover, you will have a better understanding of the current business opportunities in the market that helps to improve your business process in near future.

Wireframe and prototype

It is time to create a blueprint of your application once complete planning and gathering the requirements. The wireframing gives a clear understanding of user interfaces through the raw design and the prototype helps to visualize the behavior and functionalities of the app.

The wireframe and prototype help the team to visualize and understand the working of your app before it gets developed. So it eases the further development processes.

It helps the development team to create an estimation of the app development timeline and schedule more accurately than prepare it from product requirements. It also helps the designers to design the app more precisely and effectively.

In wireframe, we don’t concentrate on coloring or designing it for visually looking good. The intention of creating wireframing is to quickly prepare the structure of the user interface to visualize it and do the rectification needed before starting to prototype and design it.

There are a wide variety of tools available on the market nowadays for wireframing apps. Some of the most popular and best wireframe and prototype tools that you can use for your wireframe design are listed below:

  • Sketch
  • Figma
  • Adobe XD
  • InVision Studio
  • UXPin
  • Justinmind
  • Mockplus
  • Balsamiq

User interface design

The purpose of the design process is to construct user-friendly interfaces that do their purpose seamlessly and effortlessly. The success of an application can be determined based on the design of the app. The aim of user interface design is to build an excellent experience for the end-users. Because, they are the people who use the app and it has to be very interactive, intuitive, and user-friendly.

Before starting the UI design you should be aware of the color schemes, which font family needs to be used, and what type of design to be implemented.

While designing the UI, it's recommended to use common UI elements and keep the design as simple as possible. By using this the workflow will be easier, it’ll be more comfortable to the end-users, and it gives a good user experience. And moreover, this will help to reduce the development process, especially it helps to get done design and frontend development quickly.

There are many UI design tools available out there. Some of them are providing advanced features like live design team collaboration. Here are some of the most popular UI design tools available now:

  • Figma
  • Sketch
  • Adobe XD

Develop the application

After the successful designing of the app UI, it is time to develop the application using the technical stacks that are planned to use. In this phase, the frontend, backend, and full-stack developers and test engineers start to work on the development of the app.

Usually, there are three main processes in the app development phase. They are:

  • Frontend developers develop the frontend
  • Backend developers develop the backend
  • Testing engineers prepare tests and ensure quality

The frontend developers are involved in developing user interfaces by converting the UI designs to frontend components and views. They work closely with UI designers, backend developers, and testing engineers.

It is essential to develop an interactive UI for the users according to the business needs. For instance, in some cases, we need the app to work even offline and sync the data to the backend when the internet comes back.

The backend developers are involved in developing master APIs and services development. And they enable the connectivity between the frontend and these backend APIs and services. They will work closely with frontend developers, testing engineers, and system engineers.

The testing engineers will be responsible for preparing test cases, automating the testing processes, improving code coverage, and ensuring usability and quality of functionalities. The testing engineers will be always keen to find bugs and issues in the system before an end-user encounters them.

Test and debug

After the completion of each development process, it has to be passed to the app testing team for validation. The testers will start to do write tests and do manual testing according to the workflow. In the waterfall model testers do the manual testing once the development of a feature is completed. In agile methodology, write test cases and acceptance tests are done during the development.

An app that is tested means the team is deploying the app with confidence. If an app is running in production without being tested means the team is allowing users to encounter the issues in the app. This leads to the loss of existing users and they start to migrate to other services.

Testing increases profitability because the customer acquisition cost is far more than keeping existing customers by providing stable solutions by testing the app properly before public releases.

It is inevitable to keep testing when creating an app or customizing an existing one. You can cut off the unnecessary development cost by ensuring a qualitative app by testing it properly.

Some of the app testing stages are listed below,

  • Functional testing
  • Usability testing
  • User interface testing
  • Compatibility testing
  • Performance testing
  • Load testing
  • Security testing

Deployment

Far now you designed, developed, and tested the app. It is time to deploy the app and make it available to the end-users. After the deployment, the app will be available to access to end-users and they can start to use the services providing the app.

There are many cloud computing, virtual machines, serverless deployment services providing reliable companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft such as AWS, GCP, and Azure. And also you can consider other scalable cloud computing instances providing services like DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, and Heroku. If it is a web app, backend API, or backend service you can deploy it to these platforms.

If it is a mobile app it can be submitted to the Apple App Store for iOS users and Google Play for Android users. If it is a desktop app it can be submitted to Microsoft Store for Microsoft Windows users, App Store for Apple Mac users, and Snapcraft for Linux users.

After the successful deployment of the app, it’s necessary to monitor the usage statistics, user engagements, crash reports and move forward to do the improvements by analyzing them.

Maintenance and support

App development is not a one-time investment or a one-time process. App development is a life cycle. So after the initial release, it needs to be maintained throughout the app's lifespan. Once you complete the initial deployment, you can’t stop the maintenance updates and new features’ development. You have to improve the app for better usability and user conversion as long as the app is available to end-users.

And also technologies are updating day-to-day. So you can’t compete in the market with two or three years old technology. For this, you need a dedicated development team to maintain your app as long as the app runs. You have to request feedback from the users and make appropriate improvements to your app. You have to give priority to the quality of the app rather than the quantity of the features and functionalities. This will make the app as simple, easy to use, more interactive, and better app than competitors’.

We believe that these app development processes and best practices will lead you to make a better app for your needs.

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