The value of the mobile app market is expected to hit the $6.3 trillion mark by 2021. Additionally, a report by App Annie on the state of mobile 2019 indicates that by 2018, there were more than 194 billion app downloads, with the app stores generating revenues of more than $101 billion.
Going by these numbers, it is evident that every business or brand needs to invest in mobile app development. Market trends already indicate that this is the normal trend in the market. Mobile app development is proving necessary for businesses to stay ahead of the competition.
But jumping on the bandwagon is not enough. Your app development should be guided by the right knowledge, skills, and information. This article will have a close look at some of the key considerations you need to make for a successful app development initiative.
Why mobile apps fail
Typically, the chances of an app development venture failing are significantly higher compared to chances of success. Often, this is attributable to a lack of industry knowledge and a solid strategy. For increased chances of success, it is critical to be cognizant of some of these key pitfalls. Here are some of the top reasons application development ventures fail.
Lack of clearly defined objectives
The allure of creating an application is not enough. Setting goals and objectives is the first step towards the success of any project, including app creation. Without clearly defined goals and objectives, your app is bound to fail.
Lack of a robust strategy
After outlining your goals and objectives clearly, the next step is developing a strategy. A strategy refers to a robust and realistic roadmap of how you are going to transform the needs of the end-user into a creative app that can accomplish specific tasks and optimize user satisfaction.
A proper strategy requires comprehensive market research. This aims to understand your target market better and understand your target users' needs and how best they can be addressed. The market research also entails conducting some due diligence to understand what your competitors are doing.
Poor app design
A poorly designed application is doomed to fail on arrival. The designing phase is where the user experience is defined, planned, and built. Considerations such as UX and UI elements are made at this stage. If not done appropriately with the end-user in mind, your application will be bound to fail.
Even with a proper application design and development, lack of or a poorly designed marketing strategy can dim the prospects of your application succeeding. A marketing strategy is critical for guiding how the app can gain traction and earn more users to serve its intended function.
Part of a profound strategy is outlining a clear roadmap to monetizing your app. Currently, monetization options include paid subscriptions, app purchases, in-app purchases, paid ads, or redirecting users to your online store. Without a clear outline of how to integrate these monetization options into the design of your app, you might fail to raise the necessary resources to advance the application's development.
Types of Mobile App Development
There are various types of application development, and they include:
iOS App Development
iOS app development entails developing mobile applications for mobile devices running on the iOS operating system. These apps are then deployed to the App Store for download.
Android App Development
This forms the largest part of mobile app development globally. It involves developing applications for mobile devices that run on the Android operating system. Android app development provides ideal solutions for more app problems, allowing users to create versatile and user-friendly applications. For startups and young entrepreneurs, Android app development is the most recommended path to application development.
Cross-platform app development
As the name hints, this application development process results in an application that can be published on iOS and Android. This approach is growing in popularity and preference as it helps save on development costs and minimizes development time. However, it is also often known to impact the overall app quality negatively, particularly if the wrong development framework is used for development.
Native app development
This entails creating two applications for iOS and Android instead of taking the cross-platform development path. Essentially, you will have two independent applications, which offer faster, more secure, scalable, and offer peak performance.
Progressive web apps
This is among the new app development approaches. It entails merging the functions of a native mobile app and web app into one. This way, they offer more convenience due to better accessibility.
Minimum Viable Product
This approach to development entails presenting the most basic version of an application to the users. As they interact with the applications, data generated from their insights inform feature additions, further development, and upgrades.
Key Steps in Application Development
Regardless of the development approach you take, these steps cut across all the options. Here, we will outcome the key steps to application development.
Market research and discovery Once you get an idea or generate a concept, it is prudent to test its viability through market research. Thorough market research will help you know whether your idea addresses an existing need in the market, identify the requirements for your application development, and firm the scope of your app project.
Some of the key considerations when conducting market research include:
- Clearly outlining your objective and goals.
- Specifying the target audience.
- Identifying the most important features of your app that would make it stand out in the market.
- Specifying the platform where the app will be published.
- Conducting competitor analysis to identify whether similar apps exist. If they do, what are the most outstanding features and what are their limitations?
Market research is critical in informing the subsequent steps in application development. It is, therefore, important that sufficient time be allocated for conducting robust market research.
The next step is documenting and wireframing the app. Essentially, all that goes into this stage is drawing sketches of the application to uncover usability issues. This step merely involves tracing and documenting the application's initial architecture based on the information gathered during market research. Nonetheless, it is an important step as it helps you refine your ideas and align the core elements of your design properly.
While wireframing, specify the application's core features and how they fuse to perform the application's overall function. Furthermore, at this stage, the initial design of the user experience and incorporation of your brand happens. As such, it is critical to be detailed through the wireframing phase.
2. Technical feasibility assessment
Up to this stage, all the work has been based on ideas founded on the assumption that all technical requirements are met and can support the creation of a fully functional application. This third phase is where these assumptions on the technology, design, architecture and other unique requirements are tested.
By the end of this phase, you should have identified whether your initial design and functionality were feasible. You will also determine whether the tools, frameworks, and technologies are sufficient to manage your project effectively.
Building a rapid prototype aims to get the app concept in visual form. It is critical to have all stakeholders involved in the project contribute to the prototyping stage for gathering different perspectives on the expected output. This is also useful for validating information gathered during the initial research phase and confirming you have adhered to the market insights and the end-user's needs in your design.
4. UX/UI design
User experience design entails creating a good blueprint of how various elements of your design interact. User interface design entails designing how your app will look and feel. The UX and UI design phase is multistep and often requires multiple reviews. While it is dependent on the available resources, multiple variations of the visual element and app layout should be created, and insights from all key stakeholders in the app development process consulted. The more the uniqueness of your project, the higher the chances of having a unique UX.
Overall, the design phase of your application should provide a clear visual representation of the final product.
5. App development
With all the design work complete, the next step is getting to do the coding. This stage comprises several activities like establishing the development environment, coding the front-end and back-end of the application, testing your application for smooth functionality, and getting rid of bugs.
The server-side/database objects form the core of the functionality of your application. In most instances, back-end development is essentially what entails making an application. It involves making considerations on the tool to use, the programming language for coding, the technology stack, and the complementary services required to support the application's full functionality. Most of the web programming languages and databases can be used for server-side development if the server-side technology supports it.
After coding and creating the various server-side elements is complete, it is also necessary to do configurations and tests to ensure that the components function as initially designed.
Application Programming Interface (APIs)
APIs help in interconnecting the various server-side components. They also serve to interconnect the app with components of the Operating System. The app is to be deployed, and other software systems and tools already in use within your business.
This phase of development entails creating the side of the visual side of the applications that the users will interact with. This entails designing considerations on positions of buttons on the application, the font type, color, and ease of navigation by users.
Typically, Android NDK, Java, and Kotlin are mostly used for Android development, Objective-C and Swift for iOS development, and Flutter, React Native, and Ionic for cross-platform development. Working with an experienced developer is critical to help guide your choice of framework for development.
6. App Testing and Quality Assurance
The testing phase in the mobile development life cycle is important for ensuring your application functions as initially designed. It is recommended that testing be done early and often through the development phase for easy detection of bugs. The farther you advance in your application development, the harder and costlier it gets to detect and fix bugs in the application.
Testing has several facets. Your application should be tested for compatibility, usability, security, performance, stress, and interface checks. User acceptance testing is also a critical component here as it helps you know whether the app serves the needs of the end-users as intended. It is only when the application passes the user-acceptance test that the application can be deployed for use.
There also exist several approaches to deploying an application. You can first deploy the backend before publishing the app for downloads in the app stores, or you can opt for a soft launch with a select group of people or an internal team. Another option is publishing a beta version of the app to get early feedback from users on the application's functionality, effectiveness, and weaknesses.
You can fully deploy the application and publish it in Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or in an enterprise app store once it has been certified to meet all criteria for deployment. The apps stores have unique requirements and specifications that need to be met before the app can be published. Given they vary, with App Store having more strict requirements, it is important to have these requirements in mind through development and testing for easy submission and deployment once development is complete.
8. App support and marketing
With the application now accessible to its target users, quality control and support measures ensure the app functions as intended. Often issues pop up related to the app's functionality, or the need for adding new features for improved functionality might arise. As such, it is important to have a good app maintenance strategy to address any arising needs and concerns.
On your app's marketing, it is also prudent to have a robust plan on how to get the application to as many users as possible, particularly for applications deployed to the public. Your marketing plan should outline clear strategies for driving app discovery, increasing installations, and improving user engagement.
Top 5 best app development companies in the world
Saigon Technology is a leading software development company based in Ho Chi Minh and Danang Cities in Vietnam. It was established in 2012 by a team of three engineers but has since grown to a team of more than 180 software engineers. For 8 years, Saigon Technology has specialized in providing organizations and brands across the scale with quality and reliable software solutions to address their unique needs and put them ahead of the competition.
Saigon Technology boasts of a team of highly skilled and talented software engineers with extensive knowledge of the top technologies in the IT industry. Through this team, the company offers:
- Web development services
- Mobile app development services
- Cloud migration services
- Software product development
- Software outsourcing services
Having worked with brands and organizations globally, Saigon Technology has cemented its position as a leading provider for software solutions in the global IT landscape. This is further evident from the various awards and recognitions it has received, including Sao Khue – Award for Top Software Outsourcing Company in Vietnam (2019) and Certification of Excellence in Software Development (2019) Vietnam Software Association.
KMS Technology specializes in providing offshore software development, testing, and consulting services to businesses and brands globally. The company has two locations in the United States, Atlanta, Georgia, and California, and in Vietnam.
KSM’s approach is to put the client’s needs at the core of its solutions. With more than 11 years’ experience and a portfolio of more than 80 clients globally, KMS Technology has sufficient experience in transforming clients’ needs into innovative IT solutions.
KMS Technology has a team of more than 1000 specialists across the three locations with the talent and skilled to transform clients’ ideas into innovative IT and software solutions. The services it offers include:
- Mobile application development
- Software product creating
- Software engineering and maintenance.
- Cloud application migration
- Quality assurance
For over a decade, KMS has built its reputation as a go-to software solutions firm dedicated to helping clients achieve digital transformation with its IT solutions. With extensive experience in the top IT destinations globally, KMS Technology is the best place to take up your app development project.
DMI Inc. is an IT firm specializing in providing IT consulting and services to clients globally. The company was founded in 2002 by Sunny Bajaj and has since grown to provide reliable services to large corporations, enterprises, and agencies, including Fortune 1000 companies and the United States federal government agencies.
With close to 20 years in the industry, the company boasts extensive experience in utilizing available technologies to deliver innovative and reliable IT solutions that meet the highest security and quality standards.
DMI Inc. leverages the latest technologies to deliver solutions to clients. Its scope of services includes:
- Mobile app development
- AI and Machine Learning
- Enterprise application development
- Data platform and analytics
These services cut across various industries, including automotive and transportation, commercial and retail, financial services and insurance, healthcare and life sciences, and state and local government.
While it is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, DMI Inc. boasts of an admirable reputation worldwide as a reliable IT solutions provider. With clients such as the United States federal government among its portfolio of clients, DMI Inc. has earned its position as a leading and trusted app development company globally.
The key services VironIT provides include:
- Mobile app development
- Software development
- Game development
- Web development
- AR/VR application development
- Blockchain development
- IT consulting
30% of its services focus is on mobile app development, 30% on web development, and 40% on software development.
VironIT has been in the industry for over 15 years and has built an admirable reputation as a reliable IT consulting firm for brands and companies globally. By leveraging the latest technologies and innovation, it promises to deliver cutting-edge solutions to meet all your business needs.
IntellectSoft specializes in providing clients with quality mobile app and web development services. This software development and digital transformation consultancy firm was founded in 2007 ad handle helped companies achieve digital transformation with cutting-edge IT solutions.
Since its establishment, the company has demonstrated its reliability by working with a wide portfolio of clients worldwide, including world-class brands such as Audi, Giant Bicycles, Cirrus Insights, EY, Guest Services, among others.
IntellectSoft’s services cut across businesses across the scale in the top industries like healthcare, construction, retail and e-commerce, FinTech, insurance, and travel and hospitality, among others. Its services include:
- Mobile app development
- Enterprise software development
- UX/UI design
- IT consulting
- Dedicated development team
- QA and testing
IntellectSoft leverages the latest disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and Blockchain development to deliver future-proof solutions for clients.
Since it was founded in 2007, the company has grown to a global brand with six offices around the world. Further, it has been the recipient of various awards and recognitions in the industry, cementing its position as a leading IT solutions provider globally. With this admirable portfolio, IntellectSoft is the ideal company for any app development project.
A successful mobile app development process requires adherence to the highest quality standards through all stages of development. Developers' experience informs all the steps enlisted through the years. For assured success, all the key considerations outlined at each stage have to be addressed exhaustively.