Developing a Mobile App: The Process Explained

By Donald Kim
24 Oct '16

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We've all seen mobile apps that hit the critical mass and exploded with massive downloads in the iTunes and the Google Play App Stores. Who could forget Pokémon GO and Flappy Bird? Have you ever had a fantastic app idea that you know would crush it, but didn't act on designing and developing it, because you just didn't know how to go about it? Did you ever wonder how the mobile app development process appears? What we found at Webilize, was that many businesses and entrepreneurs could significantly benefit from having a mobile app designed specifically for their companies; however, they're in the dark for where to begin.


In this article, we simplify the process by breaking down the general steps in the mobile app development process. Please be sure also to read our other related Blog Posts for App Development: "Best Practices in Developing Apps for Large Android Devices" and" Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps." At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials), we have a dedicated iOS and Android Mobile Development Team.


If you've ever wondered what a typical engagement with an app development agency looks like, below is a summary snapshot of the process. This list can give you a better sense of what to consider if you're just about ready to move forward with your brilliant app idea!


These are a few things that you should consider before reaching out to an Agency:

  • Know thy target market. This knowledge will enable you to strategize how to position your app idea from not only the UX design aspect but also at the marketing level.
  • A storyboarding and functionalities. It's good practice before coming up with the design to storyboard your idea, and have a strong sense of what features you want to offer the users of your app. Have a strong understanding of your deliverables, objectives, and goals.
  • Preliminary wireframes or hand-drawn design. This step will enable you to visualize better how the product may look like in the end.
  • Operating System. Which Operating System do you want to use to create your app base? iOS or Android? Or both? iOS apps placed on the market via iTunes and Android apps set in the Google Play Store.
  • Type of App. Do you require a native app? A web app? Or a hybrid? Learn more about the differences: Native Apps vs Hybrid vs Web Apps.
  • Budget/Capital. Ensure that you either have a budget or you have raised capital. Most development agencies charge an hourly fee, and the overall cost will depend on your requirements and objectives.
  • Time. Taking your idea to fruition takes time. You'll need to be quite heavily involved in the design and development process.
  • Selection Criteria. Make a note of what factors will be relevant to you when selecting an Agency. The consideration can include experience level, business background (i.e. the number of years in business and financial stability), quality, expertise, ability to come through on as many of your stated deliverables as possible.


Below is a list of the typical stages in the process flow of engaging with an Agency:

  1. Initial Consultation. It's important early on to try and engage with the design and development team, to get an idea of their skill sets if they can come through with delivering on your project idea, as well as if there is a good fit for the project. A scoping session to determine your goals, objectives, and deliverables occurs at this stage.
  2. Proposal/Quote. Based on the initial consultation and scoping session, the Agency will draft a Proposal/Quote that details the estimated project details, timelines, and budget costs.
  3. Negotiations/Signing. Once you have chosen an agency to work with or narrowed down the options, you'll typically get into the Negotiations stage with the Agency to determine which firm offers you the best options. Sometimes a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is required to protect your idea. The contract may be time-based or a fixed fee model. If the contract type is time-based, ensure that your deliverables stated clearly.
  4. Wireframing. Once you've signed a contract, the next stage usually entails Wireframing. A wireframe is essentially a screen blueprint that makes up the framework of the app, and it typically lacks the colours, typographic style, or graphics.
  5. Designing. After the wireframes completed, the next stage is the designing phase. Here, the designer will present the client with mockups in .psd files, and the client will be allowed to confirm the logo, colours, fonts, and styling. Once the design approved, it gets passed onto the developers/programmers in the development phase.
  6. Development. The design and development phases must follow proper Project Management processes to ensure that the project kept on time and budget. This step is where the coding and programming take place.
  7. QA Testing. This step is critical to ensure that adequate beta testing and QA testing performed to ensure that there are no bugs and that the app functions the way that it should on different mobile devices and versions.
  8. Launch. It's come to that exciting time to launch your iOS app onto iTunes or Android app onto Google Play Store. Here is an excellent article from Mashable that provides 15 Tips for Launching a Successful Mobile App. Here's an article on How to put your Android app in Google Play.
  9. Post-launch. It's crucial at this stage to receive feedback from your users on how to improve the app for future updates.


Need a Mobile App? Webilize specializes in iOS, Android, and Web Apps. Email or call us.




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