01

Pilot

Introduction

“I have an app idea… now what?”

If such a thought has ever occurred to you, then trust us, you are not alone.

There are a number of geniuses out there that could revolutionize how humans use technology with ideas.

And many have already done that.

From enabling us to fulfill our basic food and grocery needs from the comfort of our homes to receiving critical consultations from doctors anywhere we want — technology has helped us come a long way.

And all the credit goes to the constant endeavors of geniuses out there. People like you. People with exceptional ideas!

The bitter truth is, not every unique idea transforms into a groundbreaking reality.

You see, the app development market is excessively competitive today!

And coming up with a unique idea alone is not enough.

With every passing year, it’s getting harder to stand out there.

The investment is pretty large too — considering both your time + budget.

And still, that’s not the major hitch.

The biggest issue, the most significant cause for most app business blunders, is lack of planning & strategizing.

Going straight for the app development without adequate planning could lead to some costly, discouraging & brand-damaging mistakes.

After all, you don’t straight away hop onto the marathon track without the adequate training, right?

But not many entrepreneurs realize this.

Consequences Of Poor or No Planning

If something does not start right — it’d be delusional to think it could end right. That’s why poor planning & strategizing is the number one reason for most project failures. (Remember Vine? 😅)

So, you must ask, what could be the possible consequences of poor or no planning? Read on — you’ll find out.

Poor Definition Of The Product’s Idea & Objective

The product’s idea, objective, and functionalities are set out at the onset of the design + development stage.

It is important for everyone to have a deeper understanding of the app. Because lack of clarity would lead to numerous bottlenecks later on, such as lack of productivity and output.

Poor Timeline Management

Improper planning & strategizing leads to disruptions of project timelines and delivery schedules.

From fritting time away in nonessential activities to the general time wastage due to lack of scheduling - inadequate planning could wreck your project.

Overflowing Budget

Cash flow issues are bound to happen when teams work with a vague plan & structure of the end-product.

From burning your cash away on unnecessary functionalities to paying your development team for working on those functionalities — lack of planning and strategizing could burn a big hole in your wallet.

Unsatisfactory End Product

Even if your project pans out - there is a possibility that the end product won’t be as good as you expected it to be.

When you fail to meet the original purpose of your project due to the lack of planning or your desire to build Rome in a day — the product could turn out as an utter disappointment.

How Would This Guide Help?

illuminz has been in this industry for 11 years.

And in these 11 years, we have dealt with clients from all walks of life. Some new in the business of apps, and some who have been industry leaders themselves before.

After dealing with all those clients, we learnt that there are certain aspects of mobile app development that every person willing to get his app developed should be aware of.

Both technical and non-technical, these aspects could impact the overall development process in terms of time, quality, and money.

So It’d be safe to say that this eBook will help you plan and strategize better for your app! 😊

02

A Basic App Development Roadmap

Introduction

In order to understand the critical aspects of mobile app development, you first need to dissect, eat and digest the development process properly.

Even though getting an app developed doesn't involve any rocket science, it surely involves quite an extensive pre-planning.

You see, getting your app developed could be as easy as firing up your IDE (Integrated Development Environment, a platform designed to help you code), throwing in a bunch of codes together, wrapping up a testing session, and launching the app.

Nothing fancy. Work done in half a day.

Or you could stick to the ‘right way’ — Follow an extremely committed process involving intricate UI & UX designing, complex development infrastructures, user acceptance testing, and a complete beta builds life cycle followed by a proper launch.

Sounds scary? 😰

It could be, if you don’t know what you’re up to. But isn’t that why we’re here?

To help you unravel these secrets of mobile app development.

Bottomline is — the path you'll choose will shape the future of your application.

Roadmap For App Development

When looking from a bird's-eye view, the roadmap of app development is broadly divided into four significant steps.

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1. Planning & Strategy

This is the first stage of your mobile app development process, where you define your idea & the strategy to evolve it into a successful product. Here, you start with your research:

  • Identify your target users.
  • Do your competition research.
  • Define your app's goals and objectives
  • Do your technical feasibility assessment.

Once your idea starts taking an actual shape, the analysis, and planning stage begins. Start by defining your use cases and capturing functional requirements.

Followed by that is the preparation of your product roadmap.

Here you would prioritize your key functionalities and group them into project milestones. They will assist you and your development team in tracking your progress over the entire development period.

2. Wireframing & Designing

In order to understand the future functionalities of your app, wireframing is pretty essential. Having detailed sketches of your application solves most of the possible usability problems within the app.

Moreover, wireframing works as a fantastic collaboration & idea-sharing tool between you and the development team. This step aims to get a clear understanding of how your app’s features and functionalities would fuse.

On the other hand, designing is a crucial multi-step process that builds the blueprint of your app — giving the developers a visual direction to move forward with.

The UX designers map out the interactions between various design elements, whereas the UI designers create your app's look & feel.

3. Development & Testing

This is the stage where all the mechanical magic happens — the coding wizards cast their spells and bring your project to life.

Furthermore, they set up all the storage solutions, APIs, databases, backend servers, and of course, the developer accounts.

But before the actual development begins, you being the owner of the app, have to

  • Map out your tech architecture,
  • Select a technology stack,
  • and determine the development milestones.

You could carry out the aforementioned steps alone or in collaboration with the development team. Once you're done with that, the actual development phase would start.

Your mobile app would be made up of 3 integral parts:

Backend Development,which includes the database & server-side objects which together aid the functions of your mobile application.

APIor Application Programming Interfaces are the method of communication between your application & the backend servers.

Front End Developmentis the native mobile app which your end users will be using. Here, the tech stack you used will come into play. While most iOS apps are built using Swift or Objective-C, android apps could be made using either Kotlin or Java.

There is no rule of thumb here, as often more than one technology could be used to give life to your app. But your development team must use the technology that is most suited for your application.

Once the first build, the Testing or QA stage kicks in to ensure your app is stable, secure, usable. This is a vast segment to dabble in; thus, it is essential to cover all the crucial facets.

The app ought to be tested for

  • Useability,
  • Security
  • Interface checks,
  • Compatibility
  • And performance.

User acceptance testing is also an important step where it is tested for whether the intended users would use the app or not.

At the end of the day, testing would tell if your app is functional enough to be launched. If yes, go for the launch.

If not, you need to fix all the bugs and bottlenecks and repeat the testing process.

Do not, just DO NOT launch the app unless it's completely bug-free. Users are not kind with buggy laggy apps!

4. Deployment & Launch

This is the phase where your app is all shiny and ready to be launched in all its glory. So key up for a formal launch - and go for it.

But keep in mind that this isn't the end. Users will use your app now.

Some will love it, others will hate it — and loads of feedback would pour in — and you will need to address those feedbacks in the future version of your app.

Your app will need updates and new features from time to time, so make sure you have the resources to pull that off. Apart from all the capital and time investment you put in for this app, remember that it's a long-term relationship.

Do your part — and it's going to be a good one, we promise! 🤞

03

Business Aspects To Consider

Introduction

Now - the real thing.

We know how important it is to plan and strategize for your upcoming app. Thus, you shouldn’t rush this part at any cost.

The more questions you’d ask yourself & other stakeholders at this point — the more robust your app development would be. 💪

In this chapter, you will find out the vital fundamental parameters, key pointers you need to define before moving forward with the development.

Business Aspects To Consider Before You Get Your App Developed

1. Plan Your Finances; Budget Wisely.

Financial planning for app development is essential.

To start with, this factor determines whether your business will last long or not. It is easy to slip off the track, run out of capital and go into debt if your finances are not sorted.

Thus, you need to define your initial budget, projected revenue, and the fund allocation at the later stages. You need to have both the project as well as the actual numbers to make the plan work.

There are two major cost categories your need to plan for.

Startup Costs:This category includes all the costs you need to start the business (capital investment) & every other cost to keep the business moving. They include:

  • Development Cost
  • Equipment & Software Cost
  • Legal Costs
  • Submission Costs
  • Hiring & Recruiting Costs

Ongoing Costs:As the name suggests, ongoing costs are the ones which you need to incur, well, as your business is running. These costs keep changing over time. They include:

  • Marketing Costs
  • Payroll Costs
  • Operations Costs
  • Hosting Costs
  • Maintenance Costs

2. Map Out A Development Timeline

Well, you need to have a clear picture of the real development timeline for your project. This timeline should include the defined timeframes for each stage of our development process — all the way from wireframing to the final testing round.

Nevertheless, it would be best if you kept in mind that the time will heavily depend on the app’s type, complexity, and team size, of course.

3. Do Your Market Research Thoroughly

Market research must be an integral part of business planning and strategizing as it unearths various relevant details that could be crucial for your business in the longer run.

It’d help you learn the brilliance & follies of your competitors — giving you the perfect opportunity to refine your application and beat your competition.

4. Know who your consumers are

Before you begin your development process, it is essential first to identify what your target audience is — the people who’ll use your app, the people who’ll benefit from your app.

Because you can’t create an app just for everyone. You need to have a set of audiences; people who have similar demographics, interests, and problems.

Key metrics needed to create a target audience are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Language
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status

You could also use specific psychographic demographics to create your target audience. They are:

  • Personality
  • Values
  • Behaviors
  • Habits

5. Check Your Idea’s Market Viability

Once you are done defining your target audience, you need to do a market viability analysis for your application. Market viability is the ability of the app to survive in your target market.

You ought to check the following for parameters while carrying out this research.

Does an app based on a similar idea exist?

You need first to check whether another application based on a similar idea exists in your target market or not. If yes, voila! You have a competitor, and you could use their app as a reference and see how you could beat them.

Government Policies & Restrictions

You also need to check for government rules and regulations, which could cause trouble later on.

For example, if you plan to get a liquor delivery app built in the area - the government regulations refrain you from delivering liquor; in that case, your app idea won’t be practically executable.

6. Do The Technological Feasibility Assessment

The tech feasibility assessment is crucial for evaluating the potential success of your application. It stands for the analysis of all the technical resources available concerning the project requirements.

It basically identifies the capacity of the resources available at the disposal to meet the requirements while assessing the hardware, software & other technical requirements concurrently.

The main points you need to consider while assessing the technical feasibility are:

  • Is your idea technically possible?
  • What is the best way to achieve it?
  • What are the technical requirements for the project?

7. Prepare Your Policies, They’re Important Too

When it comes to your business, only getting an app developed is not enough. This is because the app will only help you make the sales - and the actual work starts once the sale is made.

Oh yes, there could be several scenarios after the sales are made you need to prepare for. It would help if you were ready about how you will handle customer issues & grievances post-sales.

Thus, it would be best if you have appropriate policies for:

  • Returns
  • Replacements
  • Cancellations
  • Disputes

8. Get The Paperwork In Order

No business could function without its documents. You need records to start, operate, and even expand a business.

And the app business is no different.

From getting your app registered — to having the name patent — you need your documentations to be on point.

Here’s the list:

  • A Documentation of bylaws
  • Patents
  • Operating Agreement (LCC)
  • Your Business Plan
  • Compliance & Regulatory Document

9. Set Up A Monetization Strategy

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Let’s talk money now. Let’s talk ROI.🤑

Did you think about how you are going to make money using your application?

If not, you must. That is one of the many factors you are getting your app developed, right?

There are several ways to monetize your app, choosing the right monetization strategy gets extremely difficult.

  • So how would you monetize your app?
  • Which monetization strategy would be right for your business?
  • How could you earn revenue without disrupting the overall experience of your end customers?

You have to figure that out yourself by studying the pros and cons of different monetization methods available. Some of them are:

  • Freemium Model
  • Premium Model
  • Subscription Model
  • In-App Purchases
  • In-App Advertising
  • Sponsorships & Partnerships

10. Remember, You Have To Be Available For Your Product

Not something huge, but you need to understand that getting an app developed is a time-consuming process. Hiring a development team alone is not enough.

You need to devote your time to every single stage of development.

11. Don’t Forget About The Marketing Costs

While budgeting for their application, most people make the mistake of only considering the development cost as their direct costs, which is, in a way, right. But only developing the app won’t cut the deal.

To get more users or customers, you need to market your application, and marketing services don’t come cheap. This is because apart from reaching and retaining customers, marketing improves the app’s overall survival rate.

The marketing of your application could be divided into three main phases:

  • Pre Launch
  • During The Launch
  • Post Launch

Each phase is equally important, and you should not make the mistake of taking any of them lightly.

12. Seize The Day: Capitalize The Opportunity

There could be a time when you have an opening, an opportunity to enter the market, but your app is not ready. The app has bugs, and it’s glitchy, or the design is not polished as per the industry standards.

Well, don’t let such things stop you from capitalizing on such an opportunity because the app can be fixed on the go — but a good chance, once lost, is not going to come back.

13. Write It All Down — Document Your Plan

Lastly, one of the essential things you could do to make your app development process easy is to document your thoughts and everything you’ve researched.

Having a consolidated document that speaks for every hard work you’ve done so far will serve you & your development team as a reference at every development stage and help them stay on track.

You could mention all the references, inspirations & the facts you have concerning the application to make the knowledge transfer between your and your team easy.

Thus to start with, make sure you have compiled a project brief document, a design specification document & technical specifications too.

14. Get Some Good Consultation

Besides magic, what’s that one thing that turns an innovative idea into a successful reality?

The best answer to this is the perfect execution of the idea. It is essential to understand that most innovative ideas have failed to reach customers’ hands simply because of poor execution.

Many factors could come into play when it comes to causing execution hindrances. And who better could help you get through them than an expert?

Thus, it is crucial to find an expert who could bounce your ideas off to take their expert advice as they have the expertise to improve your idea’s performance while making necessary changes in them to achieve success. They bring objectivity & a fresh perspective to the table, increasing your idea’s effectiveness.

04

Design Aspects To Consider

Introduction

They say the first impression is the last.

And in today’s fast-paced world where decisions are made in a blink of an eye, having a catchy mobile app design is undoubtedly one way to keep your users hooked to your mobile app.

The purpose of a striking, artistic design is to make the app look pretty, but we’d say it’s more about curating a pleasant experience for the users when they open it until they put the phone down.

And it’s your designer’s job to create such a design.

Although that does not imply that you don’t have to do anything about your app design — as there are certain things we feel every entrepreneur should know about the designing aspect of their app.

Let’s discuss some of the most essential (and basic) things you should be mindful of before the design stage starts!

Design Aspects To Consider

1. Be Clear About What You Want To Get Designed

First and foremost, you need to be clear about what you want. The flow of your app should be clear to you — only then the wireframing and design could be possible.

Having certainty about how you want the end product to look and feel like will assist your designing team tonnes. Thus, it is essential to prepare a short description of your app, conveying the design and the application’s idea in simple terms.

In this process, follow the good old rule of design - less is more.

Cut out all the unnecessary things and ideas, leading to much clearer, sharper thinking. 👌

2. Get Your Logos Right

Logos & app icons may seem small — but they make a massive contribution to your app’s success.

Be it about increasing downloads, marketing the app’s look + feel, or communicating the app’s functions, logos and app icons play an important role everywhere.

While getting your logo & app icons designed, keep in mind the following qualities of good logons & app icons:

  • They should be eye-catching.
  • They should be memorable.
  • They should be timeless.
  • They should be workable in every size.
  • They should encompass your app’s vibe.

3. Your Design Inspiration Should Be Feasible.

There could be chances that you might get inspired by a design you saw online. After all, the internet is flooded with unique art pieces daily. But you should keep in mind that the design from Dribbble you fell in love with should be feasible as well.

Design feasibility is a concept that checks for the fact that whether the design meets the requirements, goals, and objectives of the application or not.

Thus, you should consider — the useability, sustainability, and experience of the designs before you finalize one.

4. Be Willing To Experiment

Do not get fixated on any one particular design language, you are not the end-user of the application. You must be willing to experiment with your app’s design language and see which one is most cherished by your target audience.

Experimentation will expose your business to newer opportunities by giving you real-world data about the likes and dislikes of your end consumers.

5. The Design Should Be Futureproof

The perception that building an app is a one-time thing & it ends once the app is launched is an incredibly wrong approach. To create an app that would reach its full potential & be future-proof, you need to think bigger & better.

You will need a design and development strategy with a long-term investment approach. Because sooner or later, when the design will become outdated when the competitors release better versions, the users might leave.

Thus, you need a scalable design strategy that, when changed, wouldn’t overwhelm the users.

6. Do Not Clutter The Design

When the design is too much, users can become overwhelmed & distracted. And that would lead to poor user experience. 👎

Having a ‘busier’ design impacts the user’s ability to focus on the key information. So, do not select a design that feels cluttered, and do not force your designer to put elements that make your design cluttered either.

Look for designs that have:

  • More whitespace on the side of main content areas.
  • Controlled use of colors in terms of frequency to other ones.
  • Minimum use of contrasting borders & lines.
  • Gives priority to CTAs.

7. Do Not Ask For Too Many Revisions

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Yes, you read it right.

It is not a good idea to ask for too many edits & options from the designers because too many iterations could ruin the design & become a frustrating & exhausting process for the designer.

You should always stick to the scope, deliverables, boundaries & terms of work. That’s why pre-deciding the number of revisions is a good idea.

8. Slow Down A Little

Do you remember Rome wasn’t built in a day?

Neither was Uber or Zomato or any other successful app.

It is essential to go slow in the designing part because all the hard work would go in vain if the design fails. Because people take time to get used to any particular design. Therefore you should get a decently designed application first — launch it — and study the user’s reviews.

It would be a smart move to make design changes based on your consumer’s reviews rather than on your likes and dislikes.

9. Watch Your Competitors

In business, your competitors are your most significant friends (but they don’t know that !🤭)

You should always keep an eye on your competitors in terms of what they are doing. Competitor analysis is a strategy for gathering intelligence and putting that into use.

That’s why you should always watch out for your competitors, what they are doing, how they are managing everything in the industry — so that you could do better than them all the time.

10. Throw In Some Local Touch

When entering any new market, the best thing you could do is make your new users feel at home by incorporating local trends and visual cues of their day to day life.

Reason being, an interface that fits their experience would subconsciously validate your application and make it look a lot more trustworthy.

Design localization goes beyond merely translating the texts to especially designing the UI based on the cultural trends & norms of the target audience.

11. Ethical Design Approaches, Be Mindful Of Them

Ethics, like in real life, are essential in the application designing to protect the end-users’ interest.

We get it. You want users to keep visiting your application again and again. We all NEED people to love our apps. This is because the success of any application is measured by the total number of downloads & the time spent on it.

But for that — you need to make your app appealing & not use unethical design practices.

Thus, you should refrain from the following practices.

  • Use of dark patterns
  • Sneakingly taking permissions you won’t get otherwise.

05

Development Aspects To Consider

Introduction

Finally, we’re here — the much-awaited development stage of your application. 🤩

Even though you might not have much of an expertise in this particular phase of the process, learning a thing or two about the development practices & procedures would help you understand things better when it is on a roll.

Let’s discuss some of the development fundamentals you should chew over before getting your application developed!

Development Aspects To Consider

1. Understand Your Terminologies

Communication is one of the most important things in the entire mobile app development process. It could be between any two parties, but the most important interactions would happen between you and your team.

And we all know that interactions are most effective when we all know what exactly we are talking about. Thus, it is important to be well versed with all the essential terms and acronyms related to mobile app development processes.

Frontend

The frontend is the front or the face of your application — part that you can see & interact with. The font, scrolls, menus, ups-downs, and everything visible comes under this.

Backend

Backend is all about how your application works — the backbone of your app.

This section comprises three major components - a server, the app itself & your database.

Database

What on earth is a database, you must be wondering now? 🤔

Well, it is your pedestal, where all your application’s data is stored. From your user’s passwords to the data they have in their accounts, all of it is stored safely here.

User Interface (UI)

This is the prettier part of your app — it is everything the frontend part is made up of, i.e. all the visual part of your app.

User Experience (UX)

The interaction between your users and the application is called the UX. This part is more concerned with the accessibility, usability & functional bit of the visual part.

2. Beware Of The ‘Hidden Costs’

Getting an app developed could range from anywhere between $10,000 to $50,00,000, depending on your application’s type, complexity & functionalities.

However, what not many people are unaware of is that this cost is just the tip of the iceberg.

The lifecycle of the app consists of 3 significant elements:

  • Development
  • Deployment
  • And Maintenance

While most entrepreneurs fixate on the development bit alone while budgeting for their app, it’s the cost of the latter two phases that could cause problems with their entire budget later on.

Thus, it would be beneficial to be mindful of the hidden costs of mobile app development while budgeting for your app.

3. Find The Right Team For Your Project

Your mobile app development team could make or break your application — quite literally. 😄

Hence, it becomes vital to find a reliable, experienced, and credible technology partner for your project.

There are many mobile app development companies in the market, but that does not mean they all will quite understand your vision and needs.

To help you out a little, here are some things which you need to consider or look for in an app development company before you trust them with your project:

Focus on the experiencebecause you wouldn’t want to fly in a plane flown by an inexperienced pilot.

Crystal clear communicationis essential, so look for a team you feel could get along well.

Ask yourself, do you feel comfortable talking to them? Because it would be imperative later on in the development phases.

Word of mouthWhat do others have to say about them? Find that out by looking at their reviews on platforms like Clutch, Goodfirms, etc.

And most importantly, check about the fact that they are able tounderstand your projectwell and give their inputs too — because yes-sayers are not the people to work in this field.

4. And Know The Team Requirements

Post finalizing the company — you need to understand what all people are working on your project & what are their roles and responsibilities.

You should know who your point of contact will be. In case of any doubt, you will be able to ask the right question to the right concerned person — as it’s your right!

But keep in mind that ideally, there should be only one point of contact, preferably the project manager or the business analyst.

5. Have Enough Clarity Of The App’s Flow & Functionalities

There is a possibility that you might have shared your app idea with your close friends, some people who could be your potential customers or, perhaps, investors.

Nevertheless, an idea could become an entirely different thing when translated into an app. This is why you need to have an absolute clarity about your vision, the flow of your app, and the functionalities you wish to incorporate into your app.

Having a sense of clarity beforehand would save you and your team from all the unnecessary hits and trials, eventually saving you a lot of time & money!

6. Understand The Critical Paths; Follow Them

A critical path is the most extended sequence of tasks that must be completed in order to successfully finish the project. These tasks are considered the most vital functions of the project!

So while getting your app developed — it is essential for you to identify your critical path, comprising all the crucial features & functionalities that your application NEEDS to function.

7. Divide Your Project Into Phases

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A person who is getting his app developed, for the first time is most likely to think that a fully functional and polished app could be built in one go. In fact, most of them at least wish for it.

And that is where things go wrong. Because you just can’t get an app built in one go as there are a lot of things at stake — and the most important one being the success of the app.

This is the reason why the development process should be divided into phases. The ideal way to get an app developed should be:

  • First, get the Proof of Concept (POC) built,
  • Then get your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) ready,
  • Once the MVP performs successfully, only then move forward to the commercial builds!

Conclusion

We get that — starting your mobile app development could be exciting. No matter how tempting you find diving straight into it, taking the points mentioned in the book into consideration could save you from a lot of trouble later on.

Considering these points will keep you from uncalled expenses & ensure expedited development of your app.

Having said that, mobile app development is more strategic than a technical one — play it smart.

We hope you found this information helpful.

Good luck! ✌️✨