Every morning you wake up with the same idea on your mind - to create the ideal mobile application, one that is both interesting and profitable. But you don’t know what to do next and what steps you should take to transform that idea into reality.
This is a quick guide to help you understand what a good development process looks like and which key parameters you need to factor in before you start looking for a development company. Without successful implementation, your idea will remain just an idea in your head, but with the right help, you can turn it into a great mobile app!
Step 1. Create a pitch doc
A common belief out there is that a customer needs to provide detailed software specifications, including all of the nuances and particularities of the idea, to their development company. However, this is far from the truth. It is impossible to forecast and design everything in advance. That is why gradual software specification is common practice. Your first step is to write a small pitch doc. A4 format will be enough for you (and us) to understand how the application should work.
The following points are essential for this doc:
- Do some basic research with regard to your target audience. Find out whether the application will really be useful by asking yourself “What problem does my app solve?”.
- Check for the existence of analogs apps and, if any exist, analyse them. Make a list of what should be changed, added, or borrowed. You will base your “features list” on these pointers.
- Note down your ideas and wishes in whatever form works best for you. This can be as a pencil sketch, simple text, links to other apps with brief details about what you like exactly (such as design, type, functionality, colour scheme, visual effects, etc.). This exercise should help you have a clear image of what you want your end result to look like.
- Choose a priority platform based on your target audience. The most popular platforms are iOS and Android.
Step 2. Get an estimate
Before passing on a pitch doc to a freelancer or an outsourcing company, make sure they sign a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) to prevent anyone from stealing your idea. Ask for an estimate from the freelancer or company. They will provide you with an initial rough idea regarding how much the project will cost and how long development time will be, from which you can get a better understanding of the budget and timeline the project will need.
Step 3. Clarify and negotiate
Once you receive the initial estimate and decide you want to move forward with a company, you can begin to clarify the details of the project and negotiate terms. Discuss the specifics of features (functionality), deadlines, maximum budget, and would-be design. The initial estimate will change and become more precise as the app details are defined more clearly. When both you and the company are satisfied with the details, a Software Development Agreement should be created and signed so that the development process can begin.
Step 4. Wireframing
Wireframe creation is an important part of app development. Wireframing provides you with a draft version of how a user will interact with the app interface. Wireframes give you a good idea of how the final product should look while also enabling you to see potential functionality and layout elements.
The wireframes you receive should answer the following three main questions:
- What? - Main sections of content.
- Where? - Information about the app’s structure.
- How? - Description of user-interface interaction and its approximate visualization.
Step 5. Deciding on design
You can choose to come up with the design for your application or you can delegate it to an external designer (from the development company or a third party). A good designer should provide you with several options that take your wishes regarding the app’s design into account. Also take advice on "Designing websites for mobile devices".
Step 6. Development and testing
After wireframing and would-be design approval, development of the application and simultaneous testing at each stage of progress can begin. Read more about why it’s important (and necessary) to test the product throughout the course of its development here.
Step 7. Support and updates
Your app will most likely need updating, both in terms of functionality and design, after its release. Having timely updates will keep your app relevant and increase its success. Don’t forget to discuss post-release support and future updates with your developer. It is wise to discuss and agree upon this early on so that these terms can also be included in your Software Development Agreement.
Step 8. Find the perfect name
Your app isn’t ready for release until you find a great, catchy name for it. Brand your app accordingly and let the marketing campaign begin! Things to watch out for In the course of app development, some problems may occur. Have a backup plan in case things go wrong and make sure your Software Development Agreement includes details regarding what happens if they do.
Keep your eye out for the following issues:
- mutual understanding with the app developers;
- positive communication between you and the developers (your questions or concerns are being answered quickly with the enthusiasm);
- you are certain about aspects of the development process and well-informed of progress being made;
- you can trust that the developers you are working with are making your dream a reality.
It is important that you keep in touch with the developers and that you agree to work with someone that is trustworthy, reliable, and responsive to you. After all, you are the client and your relationship with the developer should be a positive one.
If you’re having trouble finding a good developer, look no further! We offer full-service development to our clients. Learn more about what we do here.
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