​Mobile app development industry is a growing and competitive industry. There are always a few apps that are successful while many of them fail. Have you ever thought why? Well, let’s just take a look at the entire app development process from the beginning to the end to understand what goes into making a successful app.
Why pre-plan a mobile app?

​Firstly, it is very important to come up with a concept for the app; what is the basic concept of your app, what is the core feature of the app, etc. Is this enough? Not really! When you get an amazing idea for building an app that promises you a good financial income, most app developers do a research on Google or check with family and friends on how to develop on the idea. Well, that’s not really how it should be done.
Pre-planning the app is an important stage before actually starting to work on the app. Mobile apps fail within a few months because of lack of strategy and poor planning. Firstly, it’s important to have a well-laid out concept of the app.
Next, you need to research on market trends, list the goals and determine the target audience. The flow and concept of the application must be noted in the form of a flowchart or bullet points or timelines. A budget must be set. Development and production must be streamlined to ensure that the output compares to the design specifications and is completed in the budget set.

Stages of Pre-planning an Application

You need to list the fundamental parameters of the application such as;

  • What does the app do?
  • Which platform should you build the app on?
  • How will the mobile app function?
  • How you app will make money?

Let’s take a look at the steps below to help you understand the pre-planning process better!

Step 1: Jotting down your concept

The first stage is to write down in 250 words or less the concept of your application. Use simple words to help others understand the basic concept of your app. It should cover the following points:

  • What is the app about?
  • What are the expectations from the app?
  • How the app will produce value to your users? Is it solving a pain point, making things easier or provide entertainment value?
  • How will the app work?
  • How will it engage and be helpful to the users?

In short, include the core idea of the app and the key features and cut out words that are too frilly.

Step 2: Determining your target audience

The next step is to understand your target audience. Who will you be selling the app to? Your target audience can be defined according to an age group, corporate or everyday users, male or female, geographic location, etc. This will help you in build an appropriate app; this will also determine if the app fulfills the need of the audience as you will need to analyze their buying behavior.
The questions that you should be asking are:

  • Who are the users?
  • Is the app solving a problem?
  • Is there a lot of scope in the market?
  • Is there a gap or an opportunity in the marketplace?

Gather feedback to test your concept. Research will help you determine if the concept needs to be refined.

Step 3: Researching apps that are similar to your app

Unless the concept of your app is extremely new or super innovative, you are bound to find competition in the market. So the third step is to understand those similar apps and the problems that they solve. It is important to study them thoroughly and note down loopholes and bugs. This will help you make a better app.
Some of the questions that you must ask during research are:

  • Why is the app successful?
  • Are there any negative comments or issues that are mentioned in the feedback, reviews or blog posts?
  • What are the marketing strategies that are used?
  • What does the app cost? Are there in-app purchases?

Ensure that the app that you are planning to build offers users more value and has better productivity than the competition’s app.

Step 4: Brainstorming with your team

Most times it’s said that too many cooks spoil the broth but in this case, brainstorming with your colleagues will definitely lead you to better results. Every customer has a unique thought process. Similarly, when you brainstorm the team members put forth their opinions and suggestions and problems that they might face while operating the app.
It is recommended to include people from different fields. Ask them to give their opinion about all aspects of the app; marketing, developing, functional, strategic, etc.

Step 5: Preparing a list of outputs expected

The fifth step is to prepare the list of outputs that are expected while developing the app. This tally will ensure that the app is being tested at every stage and the final output will be as close to the one imagined. Discuss the technical feasibility of the concept with your in-house development team or potential vendors. It is important to discuss platform capability, devices, connections, security and support requirements.  Create a list of functional and technical specifications so that you can compare them to the original concept. Keep your app basic and don’t overdo it. Keep it as simple as possible.
Step 6: Create a flowchart

After listing down all the steps, translate your ideas into a simple flowchart. It is the best way to communicate your app idea. When the developers are clear about what is expected out of them at each stage, it becomes really easy to review and then keep working on the app in the development phase. It should include your goals, timelines, budget, deadlines, steps of the development process and the person responsible for each process and stage.

Step 7: Prepare Screen

Draw out a sketch for screen navigation. It will help the developers develop the UI correctly. It will also help you fix minor issues that you might face while doing the same.

After determining and noting down all points for your app, you need to move on to the next stage, i.e. prototyping.

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