With effective Mobile Strategy being the biggest requirement in the current business scenario, developing mobile applications correctly in one stroke is the key to its success. Some mobile apps fail in the market after the initial months of launch, the primary reason being the lack of a proper development plan or strategy.
Why Planning is a Pre-requisite to Successful App Development?
Pre-planning a mobile app is essential to complete its building up within the set deadline and the estimated budget as well as to meet the pre-determined design specifications.
Stemming at the concept idea — app development planning travels through various stages where it keeps evolving. Any changes in product perspective can hamper the development process, and hence, can happen only in the planning stages.
Steps to Plan your Mobile App
The planning stage of your mobile app must include the basic parameters and functionality of the app. The planning stage must address questions such as:
- What does the app do?
- Who is the key target audience for your app?
- What is the app built on and how does it work?
The following steps are essential to ensure a smooth app development and launch:
Define Functionality Clearly
The apps intended functionality and its usability by the customers must be written down clearly. The various situations and contexts in which the functionality will be used must be specified. This step involves addressing issues such as:
- The solutions the app is going to offer
- The features and functionality expected by the end users of the app.
- The capability of the app in serving and engaging the target audience
- The details on how the app will work and its UX
- The app’s ability to elevate business and contribute to its success
The core concept of the app must be written down, keeping out trivial information. This will aid in guiding the team towards a clearer goal.
Identify the Audience
A clearly defined target audience helps the team to make informed decisions regarding the app design and assists in the marketing of the app after its launch. This is the most crucial stage in mobile application planning as changes can be made to the app simultaneously based on user consumer preferences.
The business needs to track the buying trends and preferences of its consumers over some time to assimilate valuable data. This information can help determine the end user expectations from your app.
This step will help the developer of the app to:
- Understand the potential usage of the app within user groups
- Understand the problems the users are facing currently without the app
- Understand whether the app has enough opportunity to succeed in the marketplace
The above information can be collected through market research, feedback gathering, surveys through forums, social media research, and so on. Questionnaires can give insight into what platforms most consumers are using and how their user experience is.
Detailed consumer research will give a good perspective on what your app must look like and what it must do.
Identify Market Competition and Distinctive Features of Your App
There may be several apps offering similar functionality in the market. Understand their features, cost, solutions provided and look out for what improvements can be made to use this information to your advantage. This helps you to leverage potential market opportunities and gaps.
Evaluate the features of the top competitor apps and make an analysis based on consumer preferences. Brainstorm with the team to understand how you can make your app unique in terms of usage and UX. Incorporate features that the users are looking for but are not in any current app.
Innovate through Brainstorming
With the information collected, bring together the creative team that can brainstorm, and add value to the app. With the knowledge and experience, the skilled team of thinkers from different areas of work can contribute towards the development of the app — ranging from technical and customer perspective to the marketing one.
The app development parameters — such as feasibility to the business in terms of funds and resources must be discussed. Things to consider are whether the app will bring good ROI, will it improve brand engagement, customer loyalty, and whether it should be a paid or a free app.
Define App Testing Plan
Once the app’s intention and target audience is ready, a general testing plan must be put in place. This may involve any of the following methods:
- Share your app idea with your friends, family members, colleagues to garner their feedback and suggestions.
- Share rough sketches of your app from a possible future user group and get their ideas.
- Create a rough prototype with basic functionality to enable real users to test the app and interact with it.
- Throughout the development phase, it is essential to iteratively test your app usage through various use cases within varied user groups.
Planning before creating an application can give any business confidence and build a solid foundation for it to succeed. Delays can be eliminated, costs can be kept to a minimum and enhanced positive user experience can be achieved.