There is so much that goes into mobile app development before an app is even ready to be fully marketed to the public. You can spend a lot of money on fancy ads and impressive influencers, but that will fall to the wayside if you fail to build a strong foundation based on value and proper development.
However, actual development is a very intricate process, which is why at SEM Nexus we are proud to have an in-house software developer whose expertise shines through all of the apps we work on. If you’re stuck on how to successfully get through the process, or simply curious about what goes on behind the scenes, read ahead for an inside look at our custom approach to mobile app development.
SDLC Mobile App Development Process
What is the SDLC process? SDLC stands for software development life cycle, which is the combined execution of the various steps required for developing software applications. The SDLC life cycle has multiple phases and steps which can be broken down in multiple ways. Here at SEM Nexus, we have tailored our own approach to the SDLC which works best to serve our clients and accomplish our shared goals.
Mobile App Development: Discovery
The discovery phase is the first phase of the development process. It is the foundation upon which your app will be built. The steps include:
- App purpose – What does this app do? This is where we generally define the objective the app should achieve, whether it is to provide a landscape for dating for a certain demographic or to be a delivery service specifically for vegan food.
- Who uses it? – Who will be the target audience of the app? This is key not only for marketing down the line, but also for development now in terms of features included in the app and the app design as well.
- Why are they interested in building it? – It’s important to know the motivations behind creating an app. The key to creating a successful app is ensuring that the app solves a problem for the target audience. And the quickest way to assess whether the app does so, therefore providing value, is to analyze the catalyst behind the objective to build an app.
- What are the target issues? – As mentioned before, these are the core issues that you want to address with your app. What is missing from your app’s industry that you hope to provide? Or what problem did you find yourself with that the app aims to solve? Hitting these “Pain points” as they’re often called will be an effective way to market toward your target audience and to provide them with value.
- Main competitors? – It’s important to take stock of the market that your app occupies. Knowing about your competitors can help you to further specify your app and to even avoid pitfalls that have tripped others up.
- How will it be monetized? – The ultimate goal for all app developers is to monetize their apps. After all, it’s great to have a dream, but you must be able to sustain it. Starting off with a plan for how you will monetize the app is the best way to be sure that you will actually achieve that goal by the end of the process.
Mobile App Development: Design
After discovery, we will move onto the design phase. This is the phase in which we begin to build the app into the tangible product that it will become! There are many pieces to put together in this stage and it is crucial that they are carried out meticulously now in order to make the later stages of the process easier.
- Wireframes – A wireframe is an image or set of images which displays the functional elements of a website or page, typically used for planning a site’s structure and functionality. These are the barebones of your mobile app design that will be built on later in the process.
- Develop prototypes – The prototype is the earliest version of the app’s development that includes the look and feel of the app. This is also the last point in the process in which you can easily make changes to the app. During the prototype phase, the app looks exactly as it will once it’s completely functional. You can even click through interactive features to experience them. But, the app is not yet in the software coding phase. Because of this, it’s much easier and cheaper to make any changes you would like during this phase than later on.
- User testing – App testing is an essential part of the process for success. After all, you need to know that your app will appeal to users enough for them to download it, use it continually, and even purchase upgrades or subscriptions inside.
- Build brand development – There are many different components to building brand development. These include fine tuning your target audience, creating brand awareness through app marketing and advertising, and design elements such as a unique and recognizable logo and easy user interface.
Mobile App Development: Software Development
After the design phase, we move onto the phase of actual development. This is the stage where the computer is filled with coding that looks most like what you probably see fly across the screen in the hacker scene of a film! But in real life, it’s a bit less dramatic. Code is simply another language – the language that computers and programs speak in order to get things done.
- Agile, Sprint, development – The SEM Nexus development process can be described in two parts. Agile software development refers to the way in which the development is executed incrementally. A great illustration of the process is to think of your app as a house. We paint a wall, ask if you like it, and either paint the entire house if the answer is yes, or change the color if the answer is no. This allows us to move as efficiently as possible by finding solutions as we go rather than creating the entire app and then going back over every little feature.
- Sprint refers to the timing of our development process. We work in sprints, meaning that tasks have a set time frame for completion. Every two weeks, a stage of development (or a wall of the house) will be ready to go for client approval. This process creates accountability and allows for the utmost focus on each stage of the process.
- iOs, Android, and AppleWatch systems – Apps can be made to run on iOs, Android, or the AppleWatch systems. While iOS and AppleWatch are both Apple technology, apps on AppleWatch can be either dependent on or independent of iOS, meaning that they can be created only for AppleWatch or for both the AppleWatch and iOS devices. Additionally, apps can be created specifically for Android devices, or to work across multiple types of mobile devices.
- Native vs. Hybrid – A native app is one developed specifically for a device such as iOS. Conversely, a hybrid app is one developed independently of a mobile operating system that can be wrapped into a native container for the operating system. Which method you choose depends on your needs and goals, but SEM Nexus is able to provide both.
Mobile App Development: Testing and Store Approval
Finally, we reach the testing and store approval phase. This is the last hurdle to clear in order to present your app to the world. Sometimes it’s finished quickly, and sometimes it can require a bit of editing and reworking in order to make sure everything is in order. But once this step is done, you will be the proud creator of an app on the market!
- Each platform has its own rules about what can and cannot be permitted in their store. For example, Apple is very strict about not mentioning other platforms on their site. So, if you have Google Play Store in your Apple Store description, your description will not be approved.
- In the Google Play Store, they are more lax about competitors. However, they are particular about the way that you phrase things like titles and subtitles. If you are too vague, your app will be lost in a sea of others and you’re unlikely to ever see the amount of downloads that you wish to reach. Additionally, you are required to include certain things in the terms and conditions of your app in order to receive app store approval. The process can be involved, but a competent app development agency will take care to be sure that your app has everything it needs to succeed.
Again, mobile app development is a complicated process that requires patience and very specific skills. It is something you can troubleshoot on your own, but you don’t have to. If you’re in need of help making your app a functional reality, visit SEM Nexus, and get in touch with our team so we can get started!