Mobile app development with nothing but an idea

In the last article I tried to describe the process of mobile app development from the beginning to the very end. It’s time for those who want to create a product with nothing but an idea. You’ll find some useful tips, a detailed description of a process of creating designs and a brief glance on the rest of the process of building a mobile app.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way — make a development plan together with the team

Maybe you’ve been wondering if it’s possible to start the project if you have nothing but an idea written on a crumpled napkin. Well, it isn’t, but the team will help you make it a fully fledged project plan. First of all, try to present your idea in the clearest possible way — write down everything you’d like to tell and hear, maybe even try drawing some sketches? Whatever works for you to show what your requirements, needs, hopes and fears are… 

Don’t be afraid that you’ll be misunderstood because you don’t have any technical knowledge. It happens quite often that a client who wants to have a mobile app created doesn’t know how it’s done and about all the aspects that need to be considered. That's actually why you should think about using an external company’s help. All you have to do is stay in close cooperation with the software developers.  Here’s a post about the advantages of outsourcing your product development: 5 reasons why you should outsource your mobile app development.

One of the ways of facilitating the process is to answer these questions:

  • Isn’t my idea already “taken”? — find your competition. Who are they? Do you want to improve their idea? Or maybe it’s something completely new? 
  • Who is going to use my app and why? — specify your target group and keep thinking about it at every stage of the project
  • What features do I want it to have? 
  • What do I want it to look like? — What will be the style of your app? Can you point out ones with a similar style of app UI?
  • Do I want it to be available both for Android and iOS?

Once you have answers for these questions, it will be much easier and faster to start implementing your idea.

You don't have to know everything

You should trust your software house at all stages of the project as this is a thing they’ve done several times. At FiveDotTwelve, we appreciate the experience of every developer, designer and tester. This makes it possible to advise and help our clients. Not only in cases concerning their ideas and plans, but basically in all aspects of mobile app development, like for example mobile marketing. Description of the whole process of creating a mobile app in our last article.

When developing your business, you might not have time to be up to date with all of the technological innovations. As mentioned before, it’s not essential for you to have any technical skills or knowledge, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of the experience of people from the chosen software house. 

A good project comes from good communication

The first stage of the project is analysis. This is the moment when the team asks as many questions as needed to get all the necessary information to start with the development. There are several ways of doing that, one of them is organizing workshops. They enable the team not only to get to know the client and their requirement, but notably, to find out who are/who will be the end users of the app, what they need and how to make the product useful for them. 

At the beginning of the project the conversations are held even daily and usually go along with making designs or first wireframes. As the research is done, the team can give pieces of advice, line e.g. propose different features and solutions concerning the UI and UX. This is actually the crucial part of your business development. Deciding about these functions and designs will directly affect the usefulness and overall look of your mobile app. In other words, these decisions influence whether the app will be downloaded and liked by users, and will therefore determine whether you’ll be successful. Nevertheless, no choices concerning the project will be made without your approval. So what you should remember is that close cooperation with the team will provide you with success. 

Communication usually takes place in several places. At FiveDotTwelve we always give our clients access to the Slack channel, where the discussions are held, and to Jira or other preferred project management tool, so they can see the work status and give comments on tasks performed by the team. It’s important to stick with 2–3 communication channels instead of using tons of them.
A Project Manager is there to set up communication methods with you and to make it all work finely.

Creating designs & app development

There is no rigid template for design work. It all depends on project characteristics and the way of creating designs depends on your requirements, ideas and specifics of established features and framework. 

Dividing the whole design process, at FiveDotTwelve it usually looks like that:

  • Discussions (analysis) — the team writes down your idea and all of your suggestions, and helps to decide which path the app will take on the basis of the presented targets
  • Wireframes — frameworks that show the simplified appearance of the app screens (rather black and white, without specified features of the components)
  • Prototype — built out of wireframes, a clickable mock-up of the mobile app in which you can see the overall functions scheme
  • Hi-fi screens — final screens (with target design, colors, buttons and other components)
  • Prototype again — built out of hi-fi screens, showing the flow between screens and animations
  • Final version

Still, finishing the designs doesn’t mean completing the project. It’s kind of an iterative process and some parts of the designs require modifications while the development is continued. 

And remember that after every step, your approval is needed. Nothing’s going to be pushed forwards without your consent. At this stage, daily meetings might not be necessary. They generally happen once or twice a week, but it depends on your needs and needs of the team, so they can also be held more often. 

After that, there comes the time to choose the technology for the project, estimations, development, testing and finally launching the app.

  • Accurate estimates are possible only after specifying all the details in the creating designs stage
  • The choice of technology means selecting the best solution for your case — you can go for navite app development (for specific mobile operating systems such as iOS or Android) or cross-platform (apps that can run on different platforms with one single code system)
  • During the development process, you are still in touch with the whole team and keep your ear to the ground
  • Tests are being carried out at every stage of the development process by the Quality Assurance Testers
  • Launching your app means putting it on mobile stores (Google Play, AppStore, Huawei App Gallery).