How To Build a Mobile App in 7 Easy Steps?

Needless to say, that our future is entwined with IT sphere, digits and codes – most of our needs are represented there, in the colorful and gifting world of social media and mobile apps. Ordinary people don’t even wonder about the person or the crew, who made this possible, for them to push some buttons and order whatever they want in seconds, or get in touch with a friend on the other continent...

These hardworking talented individuals, called mobile app developers, make our lives so much easier and joyful. Because almost anything we desire, from purchasing goods to playing games or connecting with someone via Internet, we can get everything, thanks to some very helpful and handy mobile apps. Smartphone, iPhone or iPad? Not a problem – a good developer can create an app for any platform you have.

There are really talented mobile app makers, who don’t even know how farsighted their ideas are. And in most cases, they’re forced to forsake their dreams just because they don’t think it’s possible to design mobile app without knowing how to code. When it is exactly so!

You have a dream, my brave and risky friend, a digital one. Once upon a time... You woke up in the morning and realized, that you want to create some awesome mobile product. But where to start? What are first steps to making an app? Let me help you here: the only thing you need is a strategy.

Strong, well-advised and structured plan on how to make an app easy, fast and as cheap as possible. This means... time to get serious and dive into the fascinating world of startups and IT-solutions to show you, how to make your dreams come true.

7 steps to build mobile app

[Be brave, be bold, be ready to change your future]

How to build a mobile app. Step-by-step guide  

Okay, so you’re excited and full of enthusiasm to create your own mobile app. It’s a very hard and time-consuming process, but we’ll divide it into simple steps, that you’ll have to follow, to make the whole way to your success quite less complicated.

To begin this journey you need the first project, right? Which is tough, like, really tough to do, when the only thing you have right now, is your idea. But don’t panic and keep calm, because the first step will be based exactly on this point!

Here are your steps to make an app. Let’s go, don’t forget to buckle up!

{Step 1} Research the market to find a problem, that can be solved with your app

We all know how big, constantly growing and extremely diversified the app market is. You’re not the pioneer and you’re not the last hero here. And be ready to find out, that your idea isn’t acually so unique as you thought it was. There are over a million apps just in App Store...

So it’s highly recommended to do some market research to find out which niche is more available, where your app could become a sensation or, at least, be attractive to some custom users.

You’ll have competitors anyway — it’s a fact, so don’t be scared. Using sites like Apptopia, App Annie, Google’s keyword planner, Mobile Action or Sensor Tower you’ll be able to see download and revenue numbers for some apps in the category you chose.

Check the reviews for these apps, after this, you can talk to their users and discuss what new features or improvements are they waiting for. Especially, it’s in your best interest, if your app isn’t something completely miraculous, but instead is just a better version of an existing app.

The first step to build mobile app

[Thorough market research is your first big step on the way to your dream]

Next stop in this journey — validate and write down your idea. You need a clear vision and perfect understanding on why exactly you want to create the chosen app. And for it to be a successful competitive mobile product you must answer to yourself and your future audience on the following list of questions:

  • What’s the main purpose of your app? Does it solve a real problem in its market niche?
  • Why should people use your app? Do you provide a service or planning to entertain customers?
  • Is your app better than your competitors? Will it make your users lives easier?
  • Which categories of customers your app will attract? How much profit can you get from its launch?
  • For which mobile platform you want to develop your app? Will it be iOS, Android or both? Which mobile devices do you plan to engage in supporting this app?

As you see, most of this questions are entwined with one term — your customers. And the other part represents technical aspects of the developing process. Let’s take a closer look at this problems.

1. Define and sort out potential audience

It is really important to understand what kind of social groups will use your app and why: what benefits it will bring them and do you have an advantage comparing to more famous and successful startups. Based on the preferences of your users (gender, age, interests, jobs and social statuses, behavior and habits) you’ll be able to improve and modify your app before launching it worldwide.

Listening to their feedbacks and engaging the future audience in the development process will give you the opportunity to avoid some unpleasant pitfalls and save a ton of money on rebuilding or unscheduled upgrades. Put yourself in your customer's shoes: if you were them, what you’d like to see in this new app, what technical qualities you’d expect and appreciate?

Also, you should be always prepared for negative reviews and resistance at first, because people don’t know you and your product, they might not even like the idea, until you promote it with passion and brainstorming campaign.

2. Concentrate on the most valuable and significant features of your app

We reached the point of the technical side of the First Step. Talking about, what makes users choose your product — the killing content. Is your app super easy-to-use? Your concept is so fresh that target some specific niche, where you contestants will lose and you’ll win?

There are some social feeds, sharing buttons or other handy extra options? Keep in mind, that such details can guarantee your success in the battle with much bigger players. 

One more thing to remember: besides remarkable benefits that your app should provide to users, you need to bear in mind the reduce of app’s cost, based on a profitable system of customer experience, productivity enhancements and revenue model. Because it’s critical for your app to be available to the most social groups.

3. Keep your enemy close — find out more about you opponents and their apps

It wouldn’t hurt to analyze the competition: you stepped into the serious and ruthless game, where other sharks are bigger and stronger. So you need to be smart and sneaky.

Check the app stores for similar apps and discover their significant features. Compare them to your own and take a second to be realistic. If you see, that someone already took your idea and pushed it farther... Consider the option to change this idea just a bit to make it a whole new ship of your future success.

Gather all the information you can about your competitors: the value of their service, content quality, ease-of-use, user interface models, navigational controls, price etc. Your goal is to find what gaps your competitors have missed and how you can leverage this against them, by avoiding their mistakes.

{Step 2} One problem at a time — you need a business plan

Moving on to the next step! You’re not an altruist, you came in this industry to make some money. For this purpose, you gonna create a business plan, that suits your idea of profit. Let’s look into some basic points, after which you probably will need to add your own adjustments along the way.

The second step to build mobile app

[Get yourself business model map like this]

1. First of all — don't try to cover many business cases, stay super focused on the main course

Choose one problem, that you want to solve with your app, and keep being creative in the process. You can’t be the best in everything, so instead, try to draw in your customers with one loud and clear message, that your app will satisfy their specific needs, about which no one cared before, for example. 

2. Visualize key elements of your app on some chart to see exactly, where your product’s value is concentrated, what is your infrastructure etc.

With the help of your business model you should identify prospective revenue streams, what resources are needful and how much to pay for the development process.

There are some tips for you to include in business plan:

  • Group of customers you plan to target;
  • How are you going to reach them for communication;
  • Product value;
  • Key activities in the development process;
  • Resources, that you need the whole way;
  • Your partners and investors, who’re interested in your app;
  • What will be the price of your app;
  • How to pick the right metrics for your app;
  • Revenue model.

This last one paragraph we should discuss further. 

3. Revenue model

The app marketplace is huge and the competition is killing. To save yourself from failure, you need to choose very carefully the right revenue model, that will make up for expenses on the development of the app.

There are different ways to get it done for mobile apps: included paid applications, advertisements, separate app and in-app freemiums, subscriptions and pay per download. Also, according to Carter Thomas from “Bluecloud solutions”, you should look into the models of successful apps in your niche, see how they’re making money.

4. Pick the suitable name and icon for your app

It is rightfully one the most crucial points of your mobile app developing process. A good name, unique and easy to remember, as long as the catchy icon, are the first keys to the app’s success. First impression matters the most, and a bad name could set a really horrible impression about your product, which will send you to the bottom of the market.

{Step 3} Choose the effective technology

This one is a serious step up. Here you have a dilemma – what mobile platform to pick for your app to get the maximum positive attention from users and sponsors. What can I tell you? It’s all up to you, because this step depends strictly on your needs and technical specification of the app. Your budget, your target audience – everything will reflect on your choice. But it is highly important to select the right approach to app developing...

Decide whether you want to make an app for iOS or create some app for Android? Or, maybe, it even will be Blackberry or Windows Phone? If this helps, recent statistics says that Android dominates the smartphone market compare to iOS. Windows Phone and Blackberry have a really low popularity level among users. Though, if you plan to build a specific app for some uncrowded niche, you can dig deeper to choose the platform, based on the preferences of your potential users.

So, there are three ways it can go. We’ll try to sort through them to help you a little. Please, check the existing approaches below. Analyze the info and cross-reference it with your app’s purpose.

The third step to build mobile app

[Your choice will depend on what content do you need in the app]    

1. Native approach to app developing

The most reliable and respected approach. Yes, it requires a high-skilled developer to be made and a significant time of work, but in the end, native apps are always delivering the best user feedback, pleasing with quality and precision.

Probably, we should start from what the term “native app” means. In general, it’s an application built on a single mobile platform or for specific user’s device. It is written in a programming language, like Objective-C/Swift (iOS), Java (Android), C# (Windows Phone).

This approach has both positive and negative sides, of course, but still is the most recommended, when you want one platform and a good working app.

2. Hybrid approach to app development

Truth be told, it’s the latest approach you should consider. Because it combines prebuilt native structure with improvised web code to achieve the best of both worlds by creating unique features, and access native APIs not yet available through Java.

Such apps are built on cross-platforms, which means, it’s been developed for all existing platforms (iOS, Android, Windows), using the combination of languages – HTML 5, CSS 3, JavaScript etc. Therefore, they can be adapted for the most mobile devices and launched at all app stores at the same time.

Cross-platform can be created using development tools like PhoneGap, Titanium, Xamarin, Cordova, Apache, Unity 3D and others. It’s relevant to say, that Hybrid apps usually cost less, than Native, because native are developed separately for different platforms. And if you designed an enterprise app for the business company, then cross-platform might be your friend.

Advantages of the approach:

  • App developers have a free space, not forced to work with a certain OS platform, which allows them to build a hybrid app that will work “multi-platform”.
  • Hybrids are an excellent choice for a developer, who want to create a game app.

Drawbacks:

  • Development process requires a lot of time and effort to mimic the native look and feel for the Hybrid app;
  • App store has the right to reject the hybrid app if it doesn’t perform perfectly fluid.

3. Web approach to app developing

Web apps – is a client–server software application in which the client or user interface runs in a web browser. They are quick and cheap if we’re talking about development stage, and can run on multiple platforms as well. These are made by using languages HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript code.

Web apps are less powerful than native or hybrids.

4. Native vs Hybrid. What to choose?

Time to hear from someone experienced.  Katie Allen from “Graph” suggest the following:

Choose native development if:

  • Your application needs full access to all device hardware and functionality;
  • Your application processes video, audio or images;
  • You want a fluid, high responsive user interface;
  • The user interface should feel familiar to users on each platform;
  • Your application performs complex calculations or works with large sets of data;
  • Your application includes encrypted data.

Choose cross-platform development if:

  • You want to develop a quick prototype to test and validate a simple concept;
  • You need a temporary ‘stopgap’ or promotional application which has a limited lifespan;
  • Your application has a simple user interface and has limited user interaction, such as listing and showing news content;
  • Your user interface has limited scrolling and swiping and users will not be affected by a sluggish screen response;
  • Your application does not interact with any device hardware, camera, microphone, geolocation, accelerometer etc.
  • Your application does not process complex data or work with audio or video;
  • You are primarily targeting one OS, such as a corporate application, and you do not need a specific user interface that follows guidelines of each platform.

Source 

Let’s be honest, multi-platform apps are so attractive, but if you look closer, this approach isn’t as good as it seems. Native apps, as proven-in-use, are more stable than Hybrids. The only battlefield, where cross-platform tools are able to crash their opponents, is a 3D-game industry.

Also, if you’re a freshman in a startup with a very small budget, you better start with one platform: create an app for Android to test your abilities and reduce the cost, then, if you succeeded, go on and make an app for iOS.

So, summarizing this up, for displaying a simple content you can choose a cross-platform approach, but to develop a more demanding product it’s better to use a native approach. Even such giant as LinkedIn, after some time and repeated mistakes, said no to cross-platform and upgraded to native.

{Step 4} Develop a prototype for your app

" It's better to see once than hear a hundred times " (c) 

Your next move, after identifying the approach will always be developing a prototype. A prototype is your idea turned into an app with just some basic functions. And you know better than anyone, that it’s a lot easier to sell your idea to potential customers or attract the investors, when they can see some tangible benefits, instead of just some pictures or product description.

But the pre-stage before starting to work on the prototype is to eliminate any non-essential features from your app. Leave only what matters, make it simple and representing a key to the main goal of the app. This way you wouldn’t have to spend extra money on developing process.

In the meantime, you should work on UX wireframes and UI-design, it’s crucial to impress your users by providing them with a very attractive, comfortable and easy-to-use interface.

The forth step to build mobile app

[User interface engineering for mobile devices]

You can look at some common mobile design patterns here:

http://www.android-app-patterns.com/

http://mobile-patterns.com/

http://xiffe.com/

There are also many other handy tools to help you design a prototype and user interface by yourself, such as:

  • Proto.io
  • Flinto
  • InVision
  • Marvel
  • Codiqa
  • POP
  • UXPin
  • FluidUI
  • Skala Preview 
  • Concept.ly
  • Justinmind
  • FieldTest
  • Mockabilly
  • Antetype
  • Sketch
  • JustInMind
  • Mocking Bot
  • Balsamiq Mockups
  • Mockplus
  • Axure
  • PhotoShop

To choose and see the description of these tools, you can visit:

https://despreneur.com/best-tools-to-build-your-app-prototype-in-a-day/

https://blog.prototypr.io/the-7-best-prototyping-tools-for-ui-and-ux-designers-in-2016-701263ae65e8

To create a simple prototype for your app go here.

{Step 5} Gather a team

The fifth step to build mobile app

[Only with a solid qualified team you can achieve good results]

Finally, it’s time to get work done. But remember – you need to hire people courageous and passionate about their job, bold believers with a creative approach. Look for them at the development companies or use sites like Upwork and professional forums.

When you find some interesting candidates, check their previous achievements, apps they built. That way you’ll see their work-style, so you can mark them as the right fit for you or not.

While sorting out candidates for the position in your team, decide what criteria matter the most for you:

  • Experience;
  • High achievements on previous projects;
  • Communication skills, the ability to get along with a team;
  • Required budget.

Once you pick everyone you need, establish a payment plan, workplace and job conditions. 

{Step 6} Develop an MVP

What is this and why should you do it? Well, let’s say, it’s your another ticket to success. According to Techopedia:

“A minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed after considering feedback from the product's initial users.

MVP is the most pared down version of a product that can still be released. An MVP has three key characteristics:

  • It has enough value that people are willing to use it or buy it initially;
  • It demonstrates enough future benefit to retain early adopters;
  • It provides a feedback loop to guide future development.

The catch to this development technique is that it assumes that early adopters can see the vision or promise the final product and provide the valuable feedback needed to guide developers forward.”
Techopedia

The sixth step to build mobile app

[MVP can help you to save some money and improve your app before launching it]

The developer only suggests what functions of the app will be useful, but it’s his users and customers who will be using the product. Here you have to prepare that they would have a different opinion on this matter, that’s why it’s better to create the MVP. Get it released and listen to the first feedback.

Basically, it’s the step where you’re beta-testing your app, your idea which will help you to find and fix some bugs before your launch-time. After taking care of this and reacting properly on gathered reviews, keep testing and improving your app, adding required features.  

As for developing the  MVP, choose some basic features of the app and prototype them. This will allow you go faster through the making process and lower up the amount of money to be spent on constant upgrades after the whole ready app is launched.

{Step 7} Market your app

So, our steps to create an app came to the final one, where you have a fully functional app, that you dreamed of. And all you need to do – is to launch it and promote. There are many ways to do it, not to mention the power of advertising. Tell your audience about the value of your app via social media: Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Quora, Youtube, Pinterest, product’s blog. Create a hype around the app and draw an attention of all your possible users.

For the true success of your product, develop a great mobile app marketing campaign.

The seventh step to build mobile app

[Social media is a very powerful tool these days]

Here it is, we reviewed these main steps to create an app. And what can we say to sum this up? The development process requires a strong strategy, a qualified team, suitable resources and the right approach. Only this can ensure a bright future of your project. 

A quick word

As for us, we know a thing or two about design, development and testing. At TecSynt we always focus on the product rather than on the project to create really polished native mobile apps and get them off the ground.

We start building every new product from walking in the users' shoes to immerse in their needs and see how the product will touch their lives. Committed to the long ­term success of our clients and partners we don't write a line of code unless we believe in the product and its’ opportunity for growth.

We are good at iOS, Android, Wearables & Backend, API Architecture. And we specialize in fast developing of MVPs with following tech support. Also, we develop great native apps. In the process, we use Scrum, TDD, Kanban, Waterfall.

One of our latest projects is “Guzman Y Gomez”, for Australian licensed restaurant chain passionate about everything connected to Latin. They came to us to develop a delivery app for iOS and Android devices. We were very excited to help this big international company to become closer to the clients and improve their GYG food experience.

GuzmanYGomez UI example

[Guzman Y Gomez app’s UI]

So we built the app with an outstanding UI, that allows one to order favorite food in a few clicks. Besides, there is an option to customize a menu according to gastronomic preferences.

Ordering process in GYG app 

[Ordering process in Guzman Y Gomez app]

Technologies we used:

  • Language: Objective-C, Java
  • Backend: C#
  • Server: SQL
  • Tune, LEANPLUM, Fabric, branch.io services, FB analytics, Zendesk support, Digits SDK, Google Analytics, TestFairy, Facebook SDK, Tealium, Reactive programming.

Order in GuzmanYGomez app

[Ordering process in Guzman Y Gomez app]

You can read more about this and other our achievements on our site:

http://tecsynt.com/portfolio/guzman-y-gomez

To sum up

We hope this article helped you to understand the app development process on the basic level. If you need more information please contact us anytime you like. We would be happy to oblige and provide you with our skilled and credible service. We love our customers and always keep in mind their wishes and opinions. Our partnership will be trustworthy and pleasant, as for your product – it will have a high quality and unique features to satisfy your needs!

Tecsynt mobile development company

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