Understanding mobile application development
So, you want to build a mobile application for your company - that's a great idea! More than 60% of people access the Internet using mobile devices, and pretty much any company website can be turned into a mobile app. Here are some ideas that will help you determine if you should have a mobile application built for your company or not.
The process begins by determining the purpose of your mobile app. There are millions of applications in Google's Play Store, so another "me too" type of application won't get noticed. Do your competitors have mobile apps? If the answer is affirmative, what features do they have? How many app downloads have they gotten in the Android and iOS stores? And can you make an application that's even better?
To get as much information as possible, involve all your marketing team members. Try to determine the key problems that your app is supposed to solve, as well as its must-have features. Determine your target audience, try to figure out what are the best marketing channels, and then set an app development budget. Be flexible; sometimes it will not be possible to incorporate all the desired features within your budget, so make a smaller list with the required app features or be prepared to go over the set budget, if it is needed.
If you've done your job, you should now be able to draw at least a few of the application's screens on paper. Developers utilize specialized applications to create quick prototypes, but you can use an online wireframing tool to create those screens online and connect them to each other, thus demonstrating the way in which the end user is supposed to utilize your app. While we are here, don't forget to ask the developers to create several application skins, and then pick the one that looks best.
Storyboards and wireframes alone can't do the job, of course. You need to work with a team that includes skilled designers, which will generate several product mockups for you, as well as talented programmers, which will create the required databases and the code that makes them run properly.
A crucial step that many companies are overlooking is to ask the developers to sign NDAs. By doing this, you will protect the ideas behind your app, and thus make sure that no one else is going to use them.
For best results, you should request early prototypes of your app. By doing this, you will save money and ensure that the application goes in the right direction, while also saving the developer a lot of time. Feel free to ask a few prototypes per month; this will also keep the development team motivated to work hard. It is always wise to have one of your team members (always the same person) communicate with the development team, and then let you know how the work progresses.
Once that the application is close to its completion and everything functions as expected, it's time to create accounts at the app stores where you intend to distribute the application. The process can take a few days, so it's best to have those accounts created in advance. The developers can help you understand the rules and guidelines of each application store, thus increasing the chances of your app being accepted from its first official review. Also, it makes sense to create a dedicated app page on your website, and even create a new site from scratch, in case that your application is amazing.
Your app should be fully functional now, and hopefully it will include all the requested features and fit your budget. It's time to test the application thoroughly, ensuring that it doesn't have any bugs. To do that, get the entire team involved and ask them to test the app over and over, trying all sorts of funny things that no sane person would ever do. When you are sure that the app works as expected, upload it to the stores. Hopefully, it will become one of your key business assets in the future.