Thinking of creating your own mobile app but don’t know exactly what to expect? In this article, we will unfold the process our clients go through at Krootl and share each and every step for developing a successful mobile application.
You'll get familiar with our mobile app development process containing 6 actionable steps to achieve the best possible results.
“Nice to meet you” or the very first meeting
Let’s assume you’ve stumbled upon our website and decided to drop us an email with an inquiry — “Develop a mobile application for food delivery service”. Below is a detailed overview of the whole process you gonna go through including every step from start to finish.
After receiving your request we get back to you for setting up an intro call to unveil your idea. In this initial stage, we’ll get to know each other and discover the purpose of your future stunning mobile app. Our goal here is to understand your needs and see how it matches our opportunities to take this project further.
During a casual 30-minutes conversation you will be interviewed to answer pretty basic but at the same time fundamental questions:
- What’s the purpose of your future mobile application
- Who are your potential customers
- What’s your budget and deadlines
Please remember that the more precise you are, the better-informed Krootl dudes would be to get this going.
After clarifying these details we get a green light to kick off the next stage…
1. Discovery stage — where it all begins
Now we are here at the starting point of ideation and evaluation.
As the name suggests this stage is to discover and evaluate the essential features of your product to accomplish your business goals, mitigate risks and eliminate potential mistakes further down the development process.
We will talk a lot to thoroughly grasp your vision for the project and then convey those details into structured and clear documentation that all team members will use throughout the design and development process. Based on the collected details we will analyze your product type, relevant competitors, prioritized features, and design preferences.
We will do:
- Gather the business requirements
- Identify the user roles
- Convey all details into structured documentation
- Calculate the precise budget and timeline for realization
You will get:
- User flow structure
- User persona
- Feature breakdown list
- Time and Ballpark Budget estimation
- Software development strategy and tech stack
Duration: 1-2 weeks
Before we get any further let’s agree on the communication.
At Krootl we care a lot about building trust with our customers, so communication is the key. Before we start our cooperation we will set up an environment to ensure that you can always be aligned with the current progress:
- Communication plan
- Communication tools (Slack/Jira board/Figma)
2. Designing the user experience
After we flashed out the business requirements it’s time to start giving your product a shape.
Wireframing is one of the crucial mobile app development steps because it combines visual appeal with usability.
Being at the very beginning of the product modeling process we will finalize all structures. This will help us to avoid any failures during the development and supply a precise timeline estimate.
So what does wireframing stand for?
The wireframes can be understood as blueprints for the final product. Together with the designer, our BA portrays all content and functionality for each and every application screen considering its hierarchy and logic structure.
Basically, the main goal here is to understand the whole flow of the system and see how the application will function. Our team will concentrate on:
- How will your users interact with the application?
- How can we make this interaction plain and concise?
- How can we adapt the logic to make it possible for further development?
You will get:
- Low-fidelity project prototype
- Final scope definition
Duration: 1-2 months — depending on the app complexity
3. Designing the user interface with brand identity
After our wireframes are approved we start working on the User Interface design to make your app have a sharp and polished look.
The appearance of the product determines how many people would start using it. It should be built around a robust, frictionless UX architecture that would serve the users’ needs best.
Firstly we work on color, contrast, and typography so that the product complies with the correct perception. We test visual ideas, show them, and evaluate the reaction.
After the design concept is approved, we scale it to the rest of the product.
We will do:
- Create the interface layout
- Suggest visual design and style
- Create microinteractions design
- Establish visual guidelines
You will get:
- UI concept
- High-fidelity prototype (visuals for all product screens)
- Visual guidelines
- Product branding
4. Mobile Development
And now you are here where all the magic happens. Our brainiac engineering team has vast expertise in building mobile, AR, VR, and loT products so they know how to adapt software for a specific business niche. At Krootl we stand for agile, cost-effective, and secure development which is why we use Flutter as a core technology for launching apps fast and effectively.
Speaking of a standard mobile application project it consists of three major components:
- Back-end/server technology
- The mobile app front-end
The backend part is all about server-side that includes databases and other objects to support mobile app functionality.
This should be designed and developed in a way that supports scalability and easy management of your mobile product even after it’s launched. The more robust your backend is, the more powerful your app will be. Depending on the product type at Krootl we use either PHP or Python as core BE technologies but this is only a small piece of technologies available today. We apply only those technologies that we are familiar with and sure of their effectiveness.
API or Application Programming Interface — is a way an application communicates with a back-end server, database, or cloud storage. API’s proper architecture allows us to create a secured and scalable interface for data exchange between the front-end and the back-end of the mobile apps.
The mobile app front-end
At Krootl we use Flutter for making mobile, web, and desktop applications. Cross-platform mobile apps tend to be compatible across multiple platforms like iOS and Android, unlike native ones that are built specifically for one platform.
Cross-platform development allows one to use a single codebase which helps to save development hours and project budget compared to building two native applications.
Moreover, parts of the code could be reused for building a web app later on. There are a lot more benefits that we can talk about, but let’s dedicate the next article to this.
Prior to starting the development, we always establish the following process to ensure smooth and automated app delivery.
a. Set up a project management and task tracking tool
At Krootl we use Jira for project management, work tracking, and ticketing purposes. PM, Tech team, QA and other staff who work on Jira keep track of all the tickets assigned to them, and make sure to update them appropriately as work takes place. This helps us easily manage the progress and monitor the work done.
b. Set up internal communication tools
To ensure quick and transparent daily communication between the team and our clients we use Slack as well as Jira and GitHub which are also integrated with each other.
c. Set up a repository for code management
This is probably the most important place for your project since we store and manage the code of your future app here. Besides managing the code we also set up a procedure for generating app development builds for further QA testing. A well-set repository makes developers’ life easier as it keeps track of the history of changes our team made and automates deployment using Continuous Integration tools. At Krootl we mainly use GitHub for these purposes, however, we can also work with GitLab, Bitbucket or any other code management service of your choosing.
d. Set up a Continuous Integration tool
This process reduces risks of defects and makes our devs highly productive. CI enables us to run automated tests, build the app, and deploy it to the testing environment. Based on the total result of tests, it either accepts or rejects the code changes so that the most serious bugs won’t leak.
e. Set up a crash analysis tool
The Crash Analysis Tool is extremely important not only during the development but also when launching your app as it informs engineers about the app’s behavior and critical bugs that may occur. In our ‘daily life’ we use Firebase Crashlytics which is de facto the industry standard for monitoring crashes and affected users..
f. Set up a Google Play Store and Apple App Store account
Before publishing iOS and Android apps to the stores we ask our customers to create a developer account on both platforms. You can check the way it works here:
- For iOS: https://developer.apple.com/programs/how-it-works/
- For Android: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/6112435
Version control and work with Git
At Krootl we adhere to the Three-Flow git branching strategy, with the only exception — new commits can be merged if rebase is not feasible.
- There are three branches in origin: [.c]MASTER[.c], [.c]CANDIDATE[.c], [.c]RELEASE[.c].
- [.c]MASTER[.c] branch is protected, no code is pushed directly into it.
- Normal development happens on [.c]FEATURE[.c] branches. When complete, a pull request is created towards [.c]MASTER[.c].
- Features that are incomplete are put behind [.c]FEATURE TOGGLES[.c], ideally dynamic toggles that can be changed without a redeploy.
- To cut a [.c]RELEASE[.c], [.c]MASTER[.c] is merged into a [.c]CANDIDATE[.c] with a [.c]--no-ff[.c] merge commit.
- Any bugs found during a [.c]CANDIDATE[.c]’s QA phase are fixed in the [.c]CANDIDATE[.c] and then merged into [.c]MASTER[.c] with a [.c]--no-ff merge[.c] commit.
- When a [.c]CANDIDATE[.c] is released to production, it’s pushed [.c]--forced[.c] to the tip of [.c]RELEASE[.c].
- Any production hotfixes happen in release and are then merged into candidate which is then merged into master.
All developers work off the “MASTER BRANCH”
5. Application testing
Checking for quality assurance is a crucial part since it ensures the app’s stability, performance, and security.
To gain a great result and fully working product besides the auto-test we have our manual QA engineer who will push your application through the subsequent testing procedures:
- User experience testing
- Functional testing
- Performance testing
- Acceptance tests
- System Testing
- Integration Testing
We separate testing and production versions of the app, so that we can keep testing future upgrades of your app prior to releasing them.
Once the QA finishes checking your app backwards and forwards, we have a green light for the launching process! 🥳
6. Deployment and Support
There we go — the app is designed, developed, and thoroughly tested, and now we have everything to release the application to the stores.
However, to make this happen we have to follow precise regulations to get our app submitted.
Remember we mentioned that we ask our customers to create a developer account on both platforms? There are a few more things that we will do
Speaking specifically about App Store — for each newly-built app it requires preparing metadata that must include:
- Your application title
- Clear and concise application description
- Category your application belongs to
- Keywords for easy recognition of the application
- Launch icon
- App Store screenshots
When an iOS application is submitted to the Apple App Store, it goes through an assessment process. This may take a few days based on the complexity of your application and how strictly it follows the App store’s guidelines. As part of this submission process, Apple requires a test user account especially if your app implies potential users to log in.
Our partnership doesn’t end after we launch your app as we have to keep it up-to-date, providing a bug-free experience to your users. We would say that post-launch support and maintenance is an activity that stands for equal time and effort as the actual development process does.
We have a real knack for mobile support to companies across finance, healthcare, retail, productivity, and business intelligence.
Our support services imply:
- Software updates
- New features development
- Bug fixes
- Stability and performance monitoring
- Compliance with constantly updating mobile and web standards
- User experience improvements
- Security improvements
Supporting your mobile app after its launch will help to maintain its usage and further growth.
We are firm believers that app development is an ongoing process starting from the idea evaluation and all the way up to receiving users’ feedback. Hopefully, this post has shed some light on the way everything works. And now you can ensure following the above approaches for developing your future-unicorn app.
Should you decide to talk about your idea realization — drop us a line and we will be happy to chat about your mobile app or other digital initiatives.