Mobile Applications : The Underlying Process
Mobile Application – The Underlying Process
" Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service. " - Steve Jobs
Mobile apps offer numerous opportunities for businesses of different shapes and sizes, from start-ups to enterprises. But it’s not enough to just create and launch a branded app to boost your sales and customer relations. It’s not enough to just create and launch branded business apps. Even though the opportunities seem endless, a lot of entrepreneurs have been out of their luck. The most successful ones share some common features.
Most mobile devices jumped far beyond the primary goal behind them — making phone calls and sending simple instant messages. Today even quite a simple mobile presents a platform to house various applications for everyday use that turns thousands of people into grateful users of more and more apps. Simple or complex, informative or entertaining, minimalist or packed with bright and catchy details, practical or joyful, meeting the user needing them, they make life better. The variety of apps available today enables users to do the great variety of things using their mobile phone only. Setting an alarm for tomorrow, calculating expenses for the next week or sending mum a selfie via the messenger app, vast majority of users don’t even imagine how many professionals stand behind these simple everyday operations.
The Mobile Application Development process:
- Task Setup & User Analysis - At this point the team of designers and developers obtain maximum information from the client to mark the right way to the goal. The one who walks without a destination in mind, will possibly come nowhere.In product design it works the same way: to get the result, you should clearly set the goals from the very start of the path. If the general goals are not set at the start, the creative process can get easily transformed in a mess.
- The Estimation Phase - The data collected at the previous stage enables business analysts and sales managers to provide the client with the first-level estimation of the time needed for the project and therefore the planned costs. As in any creative process, it is practically impossible to make one totally exact estimation which will stay the same during the whole project: it is the data which should be got back to and reviewed after every stage of design process.
- User & Market Research – User research means getting deeper into details of core target audience to understand their preferences and psychological peculiarities, the influence of different factors like colours, stylistic decisions and logic of interaction on emotions and experience of the defined group. Marketing research means exploring the market segment, primarily in the perspective of creative solutions used by competitors. Visual design presumes creating original and recognizable style that will make the product stand out of the crowd and draw potential customer’s attention.
- UX Wireframing - It is the process of creating general structure of the designed application or website. It’s usually accomplished via the set of schematic screens or pages of low or middle level of fidelity. The aim of this stage is setting clear and orderly structure of all the layout, transitions and interactions on the basis of user’s problems and pains which the product is going to solve.
- Prototyping - The original concept behind the term ‘prototype’ is the sample model of the product that gives the ability to test it and see if the solutions and decisions made about the product are efficient. Prototypes should not be seen as the analogue of the final product as they aren’t those. Their main aim is to enable a designer, a customer and a user to check the correctness and appropriateness of the design solutions.
- UI (User Interface) Design - User Interface is actually a finalized interactive field in which the user interacts with the product. It includes all the tools of increasing usability and satisfying target users’ needs and wishes. All the features of visual perception as well sound and tactile feelings influencing the product use and interaction with is should be analysed and optimized here to the purpose of the app or a website is designed. For example, such aspects as colour palette, types and fonts, shapes and forms, illustration and animation and so on.
- Animation - Animation must be a functional element, not just a decor. Considering motion elements while planning user journey around the digital product, designer should deeply analyse its potential for increasing usability, utility and desirability of the product before making a decision to apply it in the layout or transitions. Animation in UI requires thoughtful approach and always needs to have a clear purpose set behind. Advantages and utility of using it in interaction process have to be obvious and outweighing possible disadvantages.
- Software architecture planning - A noteworthy detail is that scalability is one of the most important things for a mobile application. Planning of software architecture can take place as a stage parallel to design. This is a complex process: it usually includes a lot of iterations, with a constant feedback loop between design team and development team. The main goal of architecture planning is to create constructive and integral plan for the software architecture of the app (front-end and back-end).
- Testing - Testing is one of the crucial phases of the entire app design and development lifecycle, it can help to find bugs before the app is brought out to actual users. App Store will not accept any apps that have compiling errors and bugs, so the mobile app being prepared to submitting has no chances with those kinds of issues. In the majority of cases, users abandon the app if it has functionality problems, no matter how promising and engaging it seems. Even the simplest apps can be successful for commerce, business, advertising and other aims if they work correctly and efficiently, according to target audience’s expectations and solving their problems.
- App’s Release - Finally, there comes the day when the app is alive and ready to be introduced to its users. In order to be submitted to the App Store, it needs to join the iOS developer program. Apple reserves the right to review and approve the app before it can go live. In any case, it is advisable to plan around a week or so to have the information reviewed and approved by Apple. If the app will be used for commercial purposes, additional step to submission via filling in short surveys will be included in the process and will need the separate approval which is usually expected within a day.
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