Mobile App Development – What is it and How Does it Work?
With over 2.7 million available apps to choose from on the Google Play store and almost 1.82 million apps on the Apple App store, the steadily growing mobile app development industry is becoming increasingly crucial for many businesses. Today, the number of smartphone users surpass over three billion and over the next few years, this number is forecasted to surge by several hundred million. These soaring statistics make it quite unlikely for the industry to slow down anytime soon. However, with new opportunities come heightened competition. Which is why, when developing a mobile application today, it is more important than ever to carefully strategize and plan every step from the basic concept to the finished product.
What is Mobile Application Development?
Mobile application development is a process for creating software applications that run on mobile devices. They can either be delivered as web applications within a web browser or be pre-installed by the user on their phones. Due to intensive competition in mobile software development and the use of different development kits and toolchains across different platforms, application software developers have to take into consideration a significant amount of hardware configurations and specifications, including screen size.
In the present-day smartphone market, two leading platforms, the iOS operating system from Apple and the Android operating system led by Google dominate the development industry.
Major Development Approaches for Building Mobile Apps
Mobile app development can be approached in four different ways:
- Native Mobile Applications – Built using the tools and frameworks provided by platform owners like Apple and Google, and directly run on the operating software of the desired device, they provide the best runtime performance and a direct access to the device APIs. However, they carry high building and maintenance costs and require multiple codebases for each platform.
- Cross-Platform Mobile Applications – These can be written in an array of different programming languages but are ultimately compiled separately onto the operating system of each device. Unlike Native mobile applications, mobile apps created using this approach are easy to build and maintain and only require a single codebase for multiple platforms. However, since native libraries are unavailable, there is a dependency on bridges and open-source libraries in addition to the performance limitations brought about by bridging.
- Progressive Web Applications – PWAs don’t require native or cross-platform development. With this method, app store delivery and installations can be skipped. Instead, they utilize browser capabilities like adding a link to the mobile device in the shape of an app icon. In other words, these are web applications that aim to provide an app-like user experience when run on a mobile device. The same app is available for both web and mobile and no installation is required. But with this method there’s limited support for native device features and the app capabilities and interactivity is heavily dependent on the network connection.
As specified, each mobile app development approach has its own pros and cons. So, there is no right or wrong approach. It is up to the developer to choose the approach that best matches their strategy so that they can achieve the desired native features and user experience based on the available resources, development budget and timeframe.
Mobile App Development Process
When building a mobile app, it is imperative that a step by step development process be formulated.
Strategy – This is the first phase of the development process for transforming an idea into a successful app. Your mobility strategy should answer questions like: What is the app’s objective? Who is the target audience? Who is the competition? What mobile platform will be utilized?
Your strategy should include a ton of brainstorming and market research, until you are ready to move on to the next phase.
Analysis and Planning – At this stage, with a clear strategy in place, you can start analyzing and planning by listing functional requirements and defining your minimum viable product. This includes choosing your technology stack and hiring developers with the necessary expertise. The final step is to finalize a unique name for your mobile application, while keeping in mind App Store Optimization.
UX (User Experience)/UI (User Interface) Design – Perhaps the most important step, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that your mobile application offers the most effortless and seamless user experience. The goal should be to create an interactive and intuitive design, while always keeping the end-user in mind. The more refined the UI design, the more likely the customer is to come back.
The process of app designing includes determining your Information Architecture and creating Workflow diagrams, creating Wireframes, establishing a Style Guide, formulating high-fidelity Mockups, and developing a Prototype.
App Development – This stage includes three important aspects of application development, which are, defining the technical architecture, picking a technology stack, and determining the development milestones.
The mobile backend server technologies, Application Programming Interface (APIs), and frontend development are also integral parts of the development process.
Testing – Quality Assurance (QA) testing is a vital phase in determining the reliability, security, and stability of the developed application. An application must successfully pass through a variety of testing methods like user experience and interface testing, functional testing, performance testing, security testing, documentation testing, configuration testing, platform testing, recovery testing, beta testing, and certification testing in order to produce a perfect application.
Deployment and Maintenance – Now that your mobile application has been appropriately built and tested, it is time to submit it to the relevant app stores and launch it. Once user installations begin, it is up to you to keep up with the competition by monitoring the performance, keeping the user interface updated, ensuring that your app supports the latest software, fixing bugs, and regularly adding new features.
Mobile app development is a continuous process, one that goes on after your initial launch, as and when you receive feedback from users and create additional functionalities. Design Master is one of the first mobile app development company in Kuwait to get its hands on smart phone application development. In an ever-growing industry where mobile apps are predicted to generate over 935 billion U.S. dollars by 2023, we have provided mobile app development services to companies across agricultural, petrochemical, e-commerce, e-book, real estate, consultancy, food, healthcare, fashion, and entertainment sectors. We possess the technical know-how and the relevant expertise for iOS and Android application development that is needed to convert a conceptual framework into a usable application.
Contact us and allow some of the most highly skilled app developers in Kuwait to turn your ideas into successful applications.