Mobile App Development Lifecycle: How To Develop an Appealing App & Dip Your Toes in the $380 Billion Fortune 

App Development
Mobile App Development Lifecycle: How To Develop an Appealing App & Dip Your Toes in the $380 Billion Fortune 
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: December 19, 2022

The ever-growing popularity of mobile phones has opened up a new world of opportunities for businesses to reach their customers, apps being the most convenient approach.

According to RiskIQ, there are currently over 8.9 million mobile apps available for download globally, with Google Play and Apple's App Store dominating the market with 2.68 million and 1.64 million apps respectively. 

Is the mobile app development lifecycle so simple that everyone can create apps now? Not exactly—mobile app development is a complex process that requires careful consideration and planning. But it’s so rewarding! 

It is estimated that around 218 billion apps were downloaded in 2020 alone. The latest stats also reveal that in-app purchases account for almost 50% of all app revenue, with global consumer spending on apps reaching $170 billion back in 2021. 

Nowadays, users are spending a whopping $380 billion worldwide on in-app purchases. If we take into consideration that Americans check their phones 262 times a day on average, users spend 190 minutes daily on their smartphones and 88% of that time is spent on apps, you can see the appeal of mobile apps. 

If you want to jump on board and use people’s obsession with their phones to your advantage, stick with us as we explain what it takes to develop an app. 

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Stage #1: Planning 

The mobile app development lifecycle begins with the planning stage where developers create a roadmap for the project. It involves establishing an overall vision and objectives as well as determining the scope of the app's features. This is usually when the initial design and architecture ideas are brought up. 

The planning stage starts with research and review of industry trends in search of answers to questions that can’t be overlooked: what do users need and which mobile technologies are at your disposal to give them what they expect? Competitor analysis and user feedback come in extra handy here. 

Designers must also determine the target audience and platforms, as well as define the MVP (minimum viable product).  After clearly identifying the project’s objectives, they should create a comprehensive plan that includes key milestones, timelines, estimated costs and team roles and responsibilities. 

Stage #2: Business Analysis 

The business analysis stage of the mobile development lifecycle is a key step in ensuring a successful project. Although similar to the planning stage, in the business analysis phase, the project scope and requirements are clearly defined.

It involves critical research and analysis of the end customer’s needs and objectives to gain an understanding of their desired product features, specifications and requirements. This stage also includes gathering information related to budget, timeline restrictions, user feedback from early versions, potential competitor products and industry trends that could influence the final product design. 

Once all this data is collected, it can be used to create use cases and models, which will ensure the proposed mobile solution meets the customer's expectations within the given constraints. Ultimately, this stage helps you make an informed decision thanks to all the data. 

Stage #3: Design

The design stage of the mobile app development lifecycle is a critical step in the creation process. During this stage, developers and designers focus on the user interface, interactivity and UX design for the mobile app.

This includes creating mock-ups to demonstrate how users will interact with the app, as well as developing prototypes to test its design. Just like there are wireframes in web design there are mobile app wireframes too, which can help you outline your application’s structure. With wireframes, you can set the groundwork for an intuitive user experience that is pleasing to the eye. 

At this point, developers discuss more detailed elements such as typography, color scheme, structural hierarchy, navigation flow and other design considerations.  They also address accessibility concerns by making sure it is convenient for people with different (dis)abilities.

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Stage #4: Development

This stage of the mobile app development lifecycle entails a host of activities ranging from designing the user interface, building its architecture, coding the app, implementing security measures and more. It’s when the actual coding and debugging take place. 

Designing the UI is about creating layouts for varying screen sizes and orientations along with considering suitable elements like buttons and menus for a superb user experience. You can’t neglect this as every dollar spent on UX can bring you $100 in return. 

Moving on to building the app architecture, it involves choosing an optimal programming language, integrating backend services like databases and cloud storage and chalking out actions to be taken when certain triggers occur.

It is after this that the actual code is written to meet all technical specifications. Developers often employ iterative approaches to continuously refine the code. Luckily, there are tens of mobile application development platforms that help them work more efficiently. 

Once the code is written, it goes through a cycle of debugging to identify and solve any issues. Directing good coding practices such as proper commenting, structure, and readability throughout this process further helps with identifying any bugs or errors in the later stages. 

40% of users have deleted an app due to privacy concerns, so the developer has to take security measures. These involve encryption techniques and session management protocols for protecting confidential data while also ensuring compliance with data privacy laws.

Stage #5: Testing and QA

Testing and QA are essential parts of the mobile app development lifecycle as they help ensure the product meets its intended purpose.

During mobile app testing, developers use automated tools and manual methods to verify hardware compatibility, application performance, system integration and other critical factors. This helps check if all functionalities work optimally before releasing the app to the market. 

Quality assurance refers to activities designed to measure the quality of products or services against established standards before releasing them into production. This includes:

  • Validating user interface design for usability
  • Scripting automated tests to validate operations in all scenarios
  • Verifying software functionality according to requirements documents
  • Tracking test coverage metrics ensuring each feature included in the product meets customer expectations

Thanks to testing and QA, businesses can benefit from continuous improvement through feedback loops at every stage. In addition, testers will provide an accurate assessment of the mobile app’s stability which helps determine its market reliability.

Stage #6: Deployment

The deployment stage comes once the app is ready for the public eye and is published to an app store thus made available for use.

Deployment involves:

  • Registering accounts
  • Pushing updates through to users
  • Setting certificates and keystores
  • Publishing metadata and screenshots
  • Logging performance data and analytics
  • Submitting the application to store licensing requirements

This stage requires dedication from both the developers and marketers to ensure users have an efficient experience when using their finished product—with any tweaks necessary implemented quickly and effectively.

Stage #7: Maintenance

App maintenance involves ensuring the application is running smoothly. Getting rid of bugs, addressing any user feedback and making regular updates to improve performance and security to keep users engaged are some of the tasks that fall under the maintenance umbrella. 

Moreover, this includes creating processes for monitoring the app and analyzing usage data, tracking bug fixes and updates as well as taking proactive steps to anticipate user needs by introducing new features or changes. It also involves working with stakeholders to ensure their objectives are met within budget constraints, keeping them informed about all changes made in the app.

Taking care of these tasks helps drive long-term success for mobile apps by maximizing customer satisfaction and engagement. The harder you work to retain your customers the higher your profitability will be—increasing customer retention rates by 5% is likely to result in increased profits by 25% to 95%. 

Mobile App Development Lifecycle: Key Takeaways

Mobile applications have become an integral part of our lives and continue to transform how we communicate, shop, work, and play. By 2025, app spending is likely to reach $270 billion. If you want a piece of the pie, developing an app is a must. 

By familiarizing yourself with the mobile app development lifecycle and its stages, you will be better equipped to develop a successful mobile app and achieve your desired outcomes.  If all else fails, you can always hire an expert developer to take care of it all!

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