The Essential Mobile App Development Checklist by Appzoro
197 billion! Huge Number? That is the number of mobile applications been downloaded in 2017-18, globally. Mobile apps have changed how the service industry works, and the consumer also loves the user experience been provided through smartphone and internet from anywhere around the world. If you have a business, the chances are high that you can have a mobile application to simplify your business processes, create a new customer distribution channel, provide engagement and entertainment, directly to your consumers. Mobile application is a gateway for users to reach to your products and services quickly and seamlessly.
"The total number of mobile app downloads in 2017 – 197 billion”
By 2020, mobile apps are forecasted to generate around 189 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising. Some of the most popular operating system-native stores are Apple's App Store, Google's Play Store.
"The total number of iOS app downloads in 2016 – 25+ billion (Source: App Annie)”
There are two major platforms in the mobile app arena, Apple's iOS App Store, and Google's Play Store. Both have over 5 million apps on the platform, which have more than 1.5 billion users interacting with their apps. Choosing a platform depends on what your users are using.
For example, the USA market is dominated by iOS, while a market like India has more than 80% Android smartphones. While it is not easy to create your application, you need to think through the idea, the monetization plan, as well as how you would provide seamless service to your users.
"The total number of Android app downloads in 2015 – 50 billion (Source: Benedict Evans)”
We have compiled a list of 9 points to fastrack your app development journey and quickly brainstorm through each of the levels you'll be going through. Irrespective of the app development being in-house or outsourced, these points will help you to understand all stakeholders perspective, question some of the vital aspects of development and make sure you invest in the right resources.
Once you have answered the below questions, it will also help you to understand scope document from other Information Technology service companies as well as cross question their offerings.
1. Discovery Mode
Before starting your app development process, the app idea is presented by the stakeholders, and a holistic viability test is recommended. Answering vital points like the target market, understanding the strategy of similar applications, and having a distinct feature which will let you dominate the market will be helpful. Competition analysis will assist you to understand the entire landscape of your market as quickly as possible.
1.1 Define your target group.
Type of group (Social Status, Occupation)
Size of the market
Trends in the market
Need/Characteristics of User
User Behavior for current products
1.2. Problem faced by your target group
For example, Uber was built for users who have a problem in booking a private taxi/yellow cab, the working hours of the cab industry and negotiations with drivers. Uber focused on the inefficiencies of the yellow cab industry and provided an efficient solution by providing a service to book taxies from your smartphones.
1.3 Is there any other company offering solutions to their problems through a a mobile app?
1.4 Can you rectify the current and possible competitors in the same market?
1.5 Features provided by competitors.
1.6 App Store and Play Store Reviews (Consumer's give the ultimate verdict of your development, you will find many feedbacks and recommendations on app store reviews)
1.7 Monetization Model used by competitors
1.8 What monetization model will you use. (7 Internet Business Models)
2. Technology Requirements
After making a list of features you prefer in your application and the best one from the competitors, calibrate it to the user behavior, target market and set a clear foundation of your offering.
2.1 Choose the Platform. iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Or both?
2.2 Will the app be native, or hybrid, cross development application? (Saves cost)
2.3 Will it be offline or online and would it require a cloud-based infrastructure?
2.4 Will it be device specific? Mobile, Tablets, AR, VR Devices?
3. User Experience and Interface
The next step is to decide the look and feel of the application and user interface can define the instant reaction you get from their users. If you have a cluttered user interface, your users might not want to come again on your application. Less number of clicks and touches are preferred by the users to complete any given task.
3.1 Create Wireframes, [A sketched version of your app, deciding which screens leads to which screen.]
3.2 Decide the App Orientation? Landscape or portrait? [Games are generally preferred in Landscape Mode. ]
[Portrait Mode usually needs only one hand to use]
3.3 Your color preferences? Will the app have animations?
3.4 Do you have any benchmarks? For example, the Competitor's App
3.5 What will be the primary function of each screen
Softwares like Figma and Adobe X.D. can help you create app prototypes before beginning the development. Wireframes can be iterated after feedbacks.
This is where your app transforms from an idea into an app, that will soon be available on millions of devices. Every concept that you had envisioned until now will start taking shape here. Here is your checklist for successful mobile app development.
4.1 Will you be outsourcing the app or create it in-house?
4.2 Are you looking for a generic app development company or niche specific?
4.3 Is the company based locally or internationally?
4.4 Have you checked their portfolio?
4.5 Do you have an in-house manager who will handle their requirements?
4.6 Do you have a timeline in mind?
4.7 Which development process suits your project? Agile, Waterfall, Iteration or Extreme?
4.8 Are you aware of the I.T requirements regarding backend?
4.9 Does the app has a web service?
4.10 Does the app have a server-side component?
4.11 Do you have a push notification system in place?
5. Security is Vital
The 2018-19 year was crucial for User Privacy, and multiple bureaucracies questioned how it affects people, politics and all walks of our life. By providing fantastic privacy and encryption to your app can help to perform distinctly and stand out from the crowd.
5.1 Do you have SSL in your project? (Understand how SSL affects your website/app)
5.2 Does your app have 2Factor Authentication? (Highly recommended for payment apps )
5.3 Do you have Admin section for user control?
5.4 Define roles for the security team
5.5 Does your app comply with industry security standards, like HIPAA or PCI DSS
6. Testing Checklist
It is recommended to have a milestone-based approach in development, test the application from time to time and iterate effectively. At this stage, you have to measure the outcome of app development and understand how users will behave to the specific features which you have created. Are there any bugs, issues? It would be best if you made sure to fix them before the launch.
6.1 How is the performance of Android and iOS?
6.2 Do you have Beta users or is your team testing it?
6.3 Are you testing the app on all levels? Like Battery usage, Hardware Usage, Speed, Responsive across multiple devices
6.4 Do you have localization strategy in place? Will the app be used globally?
6.5 What all features do you need to add in the next update?
6.6 Are you planning to run thorough tests like Q.C. testing, Unit, and User Acceptance testing?
Tip: Don't move ahead before testing and iterating the new version of the app which is bug-free.
As soon as you complete the development, it's time to start branding and promotion. Application marketing plays an essential role in creating a need between the audience, making them aware of the problem, and position yourself as the best solution regarding the issue.
7.1 App Logo & Icon
7.2 Brand Identity
7.3 Does your App icon follows the app store guidelines? (1024 *1024 recommend)
7.4 Is your App, App Store Optimization done right?
7.5 Are you sure your App name is not taken and us unique?
7.6 Have you added real screenshots in the app description?
7.7 Do you have multilingual content strategy ready?
8. App Metrics
App metrics is the reality check of your efforts. When you launch an application in the market, you can track multiple events like user behavior, geographic location, understand where the users are coming from and how they are interacting with the app.
8.1 Number of your app downloads on Android and iOS?
8.2 How many new visitors are on your app?
8.3 How many active users are there on your app any given point of time?
8.4 What is the average session interval of your app?
8.5 Total Revenue of App
8.6 Are you tracking the app store ratings and reviews daily?
Pro Tip: Choosing a Vendor (Optional)
As you can see, there are multiple levels and layers to an app development journey, and it can ask for your dedicated time and resources. While you can outsource the development to a company, but there are some tips to follow before you finalize them. Here is a checklist for you to have selection criteria:
Are they present on the app development companies' review and rating sites like Clutch, Quora, and Glassdoor?
Are they in your time zone? Does it matter?
Have they worked with Start-ups before?
Do they have experience in platform your app is based on?
Have they worked with the features that are to be included in your app?
Do they offer design services or just development?
Do you know of the team size?
Will they communicate with you on your mode? Skype, phone, email,etc.?
Will there be a common report to track performance?
Does the company follow your style of the development process?
Does the company submit apps in the store?
Does the company outsource any part of app development?
Does the company take full payment up front?