man sitting at a desk with 2 laptops and a pc, working on app development lifecycle

10 Steps to Create a Great App: Your App Development Lifecycle Guide

You have an idea for a mobile application that you believe can change the world (or at least your business). The only thing preventing you from making your app a reality: You know very little about the app development lifecycle (ADLC).

App development can be complex, particularly for people who don’t know where to begin. Let’s take a look at how to make an app and ensure it meets the needs of your target audience. 

What Is the App Development Lifecycle?

The app development lifecycle is a series of steps that will take you through building, testing, and launching an app. It can take anywhere from weeks to years to complete, depending on your app’s complexity and the amount of testing it needs, among other factors. 

You can use ADLC as a roadmap for your app development. Following the lifecycle won’t guarantee app success, but it will help you get an app to market as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Why Does Your Business Need an App?

Apps represent a personal connection with your audience. Building one that your customers want to download and put on their phones is one more step to building brand evangelism. Here are some of the other benefits of creating an app:

You Engage with a Global Audience

You can use an app to instantly send promotions, news updates, and other notifications to end-users around the world. This allows you to extend your global market reach.

You Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences

Your app can include self-service options that allow your customers to make purchases, submit service requests, and more. This leads to outstanding customer experiences that help your business foster trust and loyalty across its client base. 

Apps Boost Brand Awareness

An app lets you use gamification, rewards, and other innovative perks to promote your brand to current and potential customers. It provides 24/7 visibility and connectivity to your audience. 

Once your business recognizes the benefits of building an app, you can start working on a concept that will connect with your customers. A clear understanding of ADLC steps will help you bring your app idea to fruition. 

app developer working on app development lifecycle

10 Steps to Create a Killer App

App development can be fast and seamless. Here are the steps you can use to create an app that hits the mark with your target audience.

1. Figure Out What the Purpose Is

Determine what problem your app resolves and which features you want to incorporate into it. Your app should provide tangible benefits to your end-users.

2. Flesh Out the Idea

Establish a vision for the end-users you want to reach, the mobile platforms you want to support, and your revenue model. Make a budget and timeline for your app. These should not be set in stone, but they can give you a good idea of how much money you can spend on the project and when you should aim to launch.

3. Design the App

Use sketches to flesh out the concept and design for your app, then build wireframes to help map out its functionality. Prioritize usability and the user experience throughout the design.

4. Choose the App Development Approach

Decide if you should make a web-based app, or a mobile app. If mobile, you should decide whether to use hybrid or native technology. It is important to factor in who your target audience is, and what you think their online habits are when deciding whether to start with a web-based or mobile approach.

5. Start Small

One of the most common mistakes that early-stage entrepreneurs make is over-building their first app release. While it is tempting to include every feature you can think of, the most efficient way to develop an app is to start small with a prototype or minimal viable product, which focuses on the key functionalities alone. This way, you can get feedback from real users before investing in building additional features. 

6. Leverage Analytics

Incorporate Google Analytics, Firebase, or another analytics tool into your app. These analytics will provide data that measures audience engagement and helps continuously improve your app and its user experience. If you are in direct touch with your user base, we also recommend surveying users directly for their feedback.

7. Perform Quality Assurance

Quality assurance (QA) is important. The last thing you want to do is release an app that a million people download, only to have 500,000 of them report a fatal bug. Conduct manual, user interface (UI), integration, and unit tests of your app. Review the test results and any feedback provided from testers to identify and address issues before launch.

8. Release the App

Publish your app to the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, and other marketplaces. Include a description of your app, screenshots, and other relevant information to help your target users find the app. Ensure your app is live and easy to download once it becomes generally available on these stores. Remember, each app store has an approval process and specific rules and terms. Make sure you understand these and factor them into your planning timeline.

9. Evaluate App Performance

Collect app metrics and assess them regularly. This allows you to see if downloaders are using and enjoying the app. It also lets you identify potential improvements or features you can incorporate in future updates. 

10. Set Up an Ongoing Maintenance Plan

A successful app is not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. Keep an eye out for bugs or other technical issues and have a plan in place to address them right away. Always explore ways to incorporate new features to improve your app.

Executing the ADLC can be simple and effective, but you need to plan accordingly. This includes identifying potential roadblocks and pitfalls that could derail your app. 

Questions to Consider When You Create an App

Understanding the ADLC is a good beginning, but there are still things you need to know before you begin app development. Questions to consider before building your app include:

  • Are any comparable apps currently available? How is your app different?
  • Who is the target audience for your app?
  • What is your business plan, and is this reflected in your technology plan?
  • What are the essential, core features that you want to include in the first version of the app?
  • Which security measures do you need to have in place?
  • What infrastructure do you need to make sure the app performs as expected with the anticipated usage scale? 
  • What is the plan to scale in the future as needed?
  • What platforms should your app support?
  • Where should you publish it?
  • What can you do to ensure the app will deliver your intended results now and in the future?  

You may need a mobile app development partner to help you achieve your goals. This is a company that knows the ins and outs of app development and can help you quickly release an app that fulfills all your requirements and puts you on the right path to achieving the project’s goals. 

Contact YourCTO Today With Questions About the App Development Lifecycle

The ADLC can be tricky to navigate. You can get help to build your app, monetize it, and ensure it delivers your intended results. Get in touch with YourCTO today to discuss how we can help you bring your app idea to life.

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