The Ultimate Guide on How to Create a Mobile Application

Written by Burcin Genc

Mobile apps dominate the whole world now. According to research, 194 billion apps were downloaded in 2018, and advertisers are expected to spend more than $240 billion on mobile ad spend in 2020—up 26% from 2019.

So, whether you have great app ideas to become an entrepreneur or a huge business that has to enter the m-commerce market, you need to act wisely and be fully aware of the steps to take. Having a balanced roadmap is the only way to catch the wave, be able to go with the flow, and survive.

Due to the overwhelming number of easy-to-use mobile app building platforms, the development process can be underestimated. To avoid setting yourself back, you should follow some basic steps before, during, and after you start building apps, in order to formulate a great roadmap and become a real winner. Otherwise, this whole process can result in the loss of money, time, effort, and cause frustration. 

Let’s look at each step of the process of building your own app from scratch. 

How To Create an App 

Step 1: Start With the Basics: Determine Your Goal

Having an idea to build an app is an important first step. If you want your idea to become a smart business, it needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

Smart Mobile App Ideas And Goals

Start from the basics and try to simply write down what you want to accomplish. Get rid of the development processes on your mind, forget about the design. A good first step is asking yourself the right questions, like

  1. What is the purpose of your app?
  2. Which problems is your app going to solve?
  3. Why would app users find your solution appealing?
  4. Why is your app different from the current ones? What are its unique features?

By asking yourself these questions, you will identify the need, define your business solution, and determine the goals for your app. Remember that how you start is how you finish. Being intentional at the beginning of your development process will lead you on the path to success. 

Step 2: Research Competitors in the Market

We’ve discussed how big the mobile market is already. Even though you think you have a unique idea, the app market you want to enter will have a lot of players in it. Stay confident and try to see the competition as an impulse that will inspire you. You can gather many useful insights and know-how if you study your competitors well enough. 

Competition in the Mobile Application Market

Download and try each competitor’s mobile app, read app users’ reviews, and try to find gaps you can sneak into. You can use these insights about your potential customer’s likes and dislikes while you design your app’s features and functionality.

Step 3: Sketch Your App Features and Functionality

Now that you’ve defined your goals, gathered insights about app users’ needs and market dynamics; you can start thinking about how you’ll shape and create your app. What you’ll do in this step is simply to determine the necessary features and functionalities your app should include in order to outline what your app will look like. 

Try to get creative and stay in line with the goals you’ve set in the first step. Any feature that will add value to your app is a necessary addition. 

Mobile App Features – Sketch

You should decide whether your app will:

  • Have eCommerce integration or offer a paid download
  • Use social media sharings
  • Use forms to collect data
  • Have YouTube or Vimeo integration
  • Use push notifications
  • Have an online chat option

Don’t forget that this sketch of your app will be an extremely useful guide throughout your mobile app development process.

Step 4: Create Wireframe and Mockup

A wireframe is like a blueprint. It is the graphic representation of an app including the most essential features and functionalities. The wireframe is essential for seeing the big picture after you decide on the app’s goals and features. The main features that should be determined in a wireframe can be listed as:

  • Main elements of the content
  • The outline and layout structure
  • The most basic user interface

Mobile App Wireframe

You can create a wireframe just by simply sketching on a notebook or you can use different online tools. This will also help you to map the app flow and start building the most user-friendly app experience.

As we mentioned, a wireframe shows the structures of the product. On the other hand, a mockup is the display of your design. You can set the look of your app and decide on your product’s colour schemes, typography, and style. To create the mockup of your app, you should use mockup tools.  

And don’t forget to decide to build the structure and mockups according to the mobile operating system whether it’s an Android or an IOS app since the UX might differ. 

Step 5: Test, Get Feedback and Revise

After building your wireframe and visual world, it’s time to show your app flow to some friends or a test group and take their feedback to update your app features and the flow. Testing your app will help you see any missing pieces, analyze ease of use, identify points of strain, and check how well your mobile application process flow meets user expectations. 

Mobile Application Testing

In order to moderate the feedback you receive, consider asking your real-time app users these questions:

  • Do you think access to the main menu is simple and visible?
  • Do you find it easy to accomplish all the tasks on the app?
  • Can you reach the content you are looking for easily?
  • Are there any unnecessary or missing options?
  • What did you like the most about the app? 

Step 6: Start Building Your App

After you’ve checked your app’s usability and made updates, now it’s time to start building your app. In the mobile app development stage, you can use online app creators, develop your own app by collaborating with a mobile app development company or by building a development team inside

You can either build a native app or choose a template from app development tools to finalize the design and let the development begin!

Mobile App Development

Never forget that if you want your app to be built from scratch, you should monitor each step to ensure that the end product is in line with your idea and vision. 

Step 7: Last Tests and Updates

Your app is ready for a real run now! If you believe that you have a fully functional app, you can manage the last usability test to see if there are any bugs or pinpoints that still need to be enhanced. 

You can choose to do internal testing, external testing, or both. Internal testing is usually done by the team to catch the bugs and problems with the flow. External testing requires strangers who have no idea about the app to test if there are any issues with the user experience. 

With the external test, you can test your app’s features with real users and make sure the layout is intuitive. Afterward, you can make the last updates according to the test feedback and refine your app to be able to reach the goals you set in the first step of your mobile app development journey.

Step 8: Go Live!

You’ve accomplished all the essential steps of a mobile application development process. And now it’s time to submit your app and share your product with the rest of the world. 

You can simply add your mobile app to the Android store and sell your product on the Google Play store. However, iOS will review your app before taking it to live at the store. It can take a week sometimes to go live on iOS. 

On the other hand, you can start simple marketing activities to get your app onto the devices of mobile app users. Publishing your app on the Pre-Apps would be a great first step as the crowd is already open to new ideas and tools. They can view your mobile application and leave some reviews that would be useful for you.

Never forget that marketing is a must. You can’t just wait for people to discover your product. You should definitely find ways to reach your target audience and get their attention. 

Bonus: App Engagement Planning and Tactics

After creating your app, a strong app engagement strategy allows you to increase the desired actions your website/app visitors or users take. These actions can be subscribing, purchasing, sharing your content on social media, taking surveys, or just staying longer in the app. When planned and managed well, a successful customer engagement strategy will foster:

  • Higher conversion rates
  • More revenue through upsells or cross-sells
  • Brand growth and loyalty
  • Higher Net Promoter Score

Planning your app engagement tactics, as well as creating and executing scenarios with the related growth metrics is crucial for your growth marketing activities. So here’s a helpful guide for you on how to plan website/app engagement tactics step-by-step. Moreover, here’s our tool for Website/App Engagement Planning for you to practice and exercise on how to create new plans and track them easily. 

App Engagement Tactics

Here’s a wide range of Website/App Engagement tactics we have prepared for you to implement in your growth marketing activities. You can choose the tactics according to your main goals (Brand awareness + traffic generation, conversion, and retention) as well as the difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

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