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App Development – STEP BY STEP GUIDE 2020

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Randomly I heard people saying I want an app for this or that purpose, which shows how growing market it is. Everyone has lots of apps downloaded in their phones according to their needs. Over 178 billion apps downloaded in 2017, having an app for your business or brand is ideal to engage your clients in an effective way.  So, if you ever cross with a unique idea that you want to turn into an app, here is your step by step guide on app creation.

4 Stages of App Development

  • Ideation Stage
  • Design Stage
  • Development Stage
  • Launch Stage

Step 1: Source an Idea

You can only develop the app when you have a solid idea, which shows your understanding and reasoning and why you want to build that particular app. The first step is always hard and app development in Mercer County is no exception. The idea process stage is the toughest part for many because your idea is like a root on which the whole plant would grow.

Weak roots unable to grow a healthy plant, similarly you need such strong and applicable ideas that can solve someone’s problems. Choose an idea in which you have a sheer interest as interest is the key that fuels your motivation to work dedicatedly when creating an app. The whole process of app development requires loads of effort so it’s important that you enjoy what you’re doing. Prior to starting the process asks yourself some questions like;

  • What is my point of interest?
  • What kind of apps do I enjoy using?
  • How much time I can put to develop this app?
  • How much money this app will save or generate for me?
  • And what kind of effects it put on my life?

Once you’ve solid answers to these questions along with the idea you’re ready to jump to stage 2.

Stage 2: Market Research

Search the market to see if there is a similar product available and if there is a market that exists for this idea. Failure to achieve product-market fit is the number one reason of startups fails. You need to create a product that can fit in a good market and satisfy the market needs. Google, Betalist, Product hunt, and Patent and Trademark Search are some good tools to find about the similar app you plan to develop.

Having similar products means there is a market for this and your future competitors already set the ground, all you have to swoop in to steal the show. If there is no product similar to your idea then congratulations you’re going to be an innovator.

But don’t neglect the possibility that there may be someone tries the same path but hit the dead-end. Keep a keen eye on every possibility and dive deep in the market as much as possible. The following are the things that you’ve to cater in stage 2.

  • Find your Target Market: It’s time to share your idea on platforms related to your target market. anyone who works within your target market can help a lot, explain your idea to them and get better advice or validation from them.  
  • Google Trends: Make a quick search of your app idea to know the relating trends.
  • SEO Tool: Write down all the related keywords to your app and put on Google’s keyword planner. If SEO tool indicates that a good number of people searching for your keyword term means you’ve got a target market.
  • Social Media: Social media is the best platform to present your idea to your target market. Make good use of Twitter or Facebook to attract your market.
  • Events: Keep yourself updated; see if any event is happening that can attract people from your target market must attend it. Present your idea and record the feedback.  

All these steps make you realize whether there’s a market for your product or not. Having a market means there are competitors as well so be prepared to cope with them.

Stage 3: Your App Functionality

You have an idea and there is a market for it, now you need to list everything that you want your app to do. Undoubtedly, new developers want to add plenty of functions but keep in mind that the more functions you add, the longer it will take to make your app and the longer time duration’s often makes people frustrated.

Don’t lose the key factor of fun! Try to add functionality that is mandatory to solve problems. Not asking to eliminate your creative ideas but recommending you to work on one thing at a time to develop a flawless app. Add cool features to provide the perfect solution to users in version 1 of your app. Some of the must-have functions for the simple app are;

  • An account creation function
  • Function to retrieve a lost password
  • Password changing function
  • New contact creation
  • Upload new contacts
  • Users can assign a value to contacts
  • They can write notes under contact
  • Users can filter contacts by the customer, lead or associate and can view the total value of these.

Step 4: Sketch your App

With step 4 we enter the second stage of app development, designing stage. The developer has to go through multiple stages of designing. Completion of steps 1, 2 and 3 gives you a clear idea about your app, target audience and its features.  Next, sketch out the wireframe of your apps UI. Consider the following factors while sketching;

  • Navigation
  • Branding
  • Forms
  • Button
  • Other interactive elements

It is best to sketch two or more versions of your app while considering how its functionality will affect the overall design. Interpret your sketch and outline how its gonna work. Notes taking will help clarify the reasoning behind the designing of certain elements at a later stage. No need to carried away, the sketch is just for communicating and experimenting, not for selling. If you over-complicate the design, it will only create anxiety or frustration.

Step 5: Plan your App Workflow

After sketching now is the time to put yourself in the shoes of your user. Hop to step 2 because we are going to plan apps workflow and you need to look at your market research. Take the list of your competitors and sign up for their free trials and quickly play around with their product.

This will give you an idea of how things are working on their apps. Write the good points and pay special attention to the workflow. Write down different workflows for your app while considering the following important points;

  • How my user signup? Did they receive the verification email?
  • How my user login?
  • How they change their password?
  • How my users navigate through the app?
  • How they can change their user settings
  • What will be the payment method?
  • How they can cancel their subscription?

Step 6: Wireframing/Prototyping of your App

At this stage, you will turn your sketches into a wireframe/prototype. Wireframing comes first where you design a blueprint of your app. On the flip, prototyping takes wireframing one step ahead by adding an interactive display. Wireframing or prototyping, the decision is all yours but prototyping is much better as it is easier to communicate your web app when seeking validation. Here are the tools that can be used for prototype and wireframe.

  • Sketch
  • InVision Studio
  • Adobe XD
  • Figma
  • Balsamiq

Step 7: Seek Early Validation

Congratulation! You’ve got a stunning wireframe/prototype which visually defines your app. You work hard till now and get great output so let’s share it with the world. At step 7, you need constructive feedback. Start with a small number of representative users. Approach your target market’s forums, dig holes and their places of work to find out the problems with them, then present the solution through your app.

Building good relationships with this representative will be in your favor so work on it. Test your app development in Islamabad with the sales pitch, take notes and write all feedback. The learning from representatives’ experience and knowledge will help you direct the development of your MEP. You received great feedback and product validation now is the time to start building the app. Let us share some useful tips before moving to the development stage.

  • Attempt to get a small segment of your app fully working, a “Complete Vertical”. It enables you to piece all the scattered pieces together and iron out those creases early. Further, it makes you more motivated when you see something working even in the early stages.
  • Give margin to changing things, you might learn or discover things that you haven’t thought about. Positive thinking plays an important role here, have faith that your hard work will earn you great reward and don’t be afraid to make big changes.
  • Give tools appropriate time to learn. Many of the developers thought that they are wasting time reading or experimenting with ‘hello world’ but learning the right way to do things will bring huge positivity and cumulative effect on your productivity over time.
  • Face the issues that need to be fixed as soon as possible. Remember you’re the creator of this app and these issues will not go own their own instead will grow in stature.

Step 8: Architect and Build your Database

A database is a collection of data that can be stored on disk, memory on a server or both. DBMS or Database Management System is a system that endeavors consistent APIs to;

  • create, update and delete database
  • read and write data
  • secure access to the database by providing leveled access to different areas and functions

The type of database you require for your app is based on data you need to store and things your users need to do. Different types of databases are available for different purposes. SQL, Document Database ae the most widely used database.

Stage 9: Build the Frontend

The Frontend is the visual element of your app that defines ‘what users see and interact with’. It is developed with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Server pages are super easy to get started. Your backend framework is all set up and ready to start creating, a huge benefit lies with server pages. While SPA is a bit trickier because here you need to set up your development environment. The components of the SPA include;

  1. a code editor (VS Code, Sublime Text)
  2. a compilation and packaging framework (Webpack, Gulp, Grunt)
  3. a frontend framework (React, Ember, Vue, Svelte)
  4. Configuring your packaging tool to talk to your backend which possibly runs on a different port on the localhost. This is usually done using the Node’s HTTP proxy. Most of the packaging solution has this as a built-in option or available at plugins.

Stage 10: Build your Backend

Backend usually manages your data and refers to databases, servers and everything that users unable to see within an application. Building backend is one of the most crucial parts of app development. While building your app you have to choose between server pages or a single page.

Many of you wondering, aren’t this frontend? Yes, you can say but it’s your choice that will affect how you develop your backend. If you choose Server Pages, your backend will also be creating your frontend and serving it to the user. On the flip, the single-page app will only serve your static frontend files.

Stage 11: Host your App

Hosting means running your app on a particular server. Follow these quick steps to host your app in case you’re noting using Budibase where automated hosting occurs.

  • Buy a domain
  • Buy/Setup an SSL certificate
  • Choose a cloud provider (Amazon, MS Azure, Google Cloud Platform)

Choose one of these hosting options and they’ll provide you with almost everything you need. Offered community support and ample documentation and are reliable.

Stage 12: Deploy your App

You’re now at the last step of web application development which is deployment. This includes how your app gets from your source control on your computer to your cloud hosting. To deploy your app to your cloud hosting use the following tools.

  • GitLab
  • Bitbucket
  • Jenkins

You can just deploy directly from your machine and that’s it, you’ve developed a web application. Now you’re a proud owner of an app.

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