What is app development?
Apps are programs or software that are designed to run on mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. Having a bespoke app that has been custom created with your customers’ needs in mind is one of the best ways in which you can offer them an unrivalled user experience.
App development is the term used to describe the process by which these apps are created. This process is carried out by software and app developers, who are experienced in the use of different programming languages and technologies to create mobile apps.
What are the different types of app development?
When it comes to app development, there are three main types.
The first is native apps. These are designed with a particular platform or operating system in mind. For example, Android apps have been optimised for Android (the operating system supported by Google’s Google Play app store), whereas iOS apps have been optimised for iOS (the operating system supported by Apple’s app store and devices).
The biggest advantage of this type of app is that it tends to offer better user experiences. This is because it has been developed specifically for a particular operating system, and has therefore been optimised to display correctly when the app is accessed from a device that uses that system.
Sometimes, native apps may be designed to be cross-platform apps. This means that they are compatible with multiple different operating systems, meaning they will run correctly on a range of smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices.
However, native mobile apps usually have a bigger cost associated with them, as developers will need to build the app effectively twice. Native mobile applications usually have a hefty price tag of $50 000 to more than $100 000.
Hybrid mobile apps
The second is hybrid mobile apps. They’re built in such a way that they get near-native performance while being only developed a single time. This is done by essentially running the app as a web browser, with the working app running like a website.
There are a few advantages to this type of application development, including that the process is much faster, far more streamlined, and more cost-effective.
This is the sort of mobile app we recommend for 90% of our clients, as it is the most cost-effective solution for most small to medium-sized businesses. These sorts of apps tend to range from $10 000 to $40 000.
Web apps share some similarities with hybrid mobile apps. However, whereas hybrid apps need to be installed to your mobile device from your browser, web apps are accessed directly from the web browser.
To be able to offer the best possible user experience, it is important that web apps are optimised so that they are responsive from different mobile devices. This involves changing the layout, format, design, and functionality of the webpage so that it displays better on the smaller screen of a mobile device.
Web apps that have been optimised for mobile responsiveness will typically load in Mobile View, which offers a simplified version of the Desktop View.
The best thing about these apps is that your existing website probably already supports it, all that needs to happen is our expert team to flick the switch. If you’re part of our web maintenance plan we can make this a reality through that.
You can find out more about mobile responsiveness by reading our post: Responsive Design, PWAs, AMPs, and Native Mobile Apps.
Although we can assist with native app, hybrid web app, and web app development at Tomedia, we generally recommend opting for a native app if you can afford it. The reason for this is that native app development offers a number of advantages over other app types, including that they:
- Offer a better user experience
- Can be accessed offline
- Load more quickly
- Are more secure
- Perform better
However, most of the time this is not feasible or cost-effective, so Tomedia will help you choose the best option for your business.
What does the app development process look like?
There are more than 3.4 million apps available for download from the Google Play store, and over 2 million from the Apple store. When there’s so many other apps out there that you have to compete with, it is essential that you understand what makes a good app, and how to make your app stand out from all the others on the market. That’s where we come in.
At Tomedia, we are experienced in all types of app design, including native app, hybrid web app, and web app development. We also have experience in app design for both Android and iOS to ensure your app is optimised for all of your customers, no matter what kind of device they are using.
At Tomedia, the app development will involve a few main steps.
We’ll start by asking you some questions, so that we get to know you and your business. This will also help us to find out more about your business and brand, and what you’re looking for in an app.
Some will be more general, like:
- What does your business do?
- What products or services do you offer?
- Who are your current and potential customers?
- What are your long and short-term goals?
Others will be more focused on your desired app – for example:
- Do you have a name in mind?
- What do you want your app to do?
- What features and functionalities do you require?
- Who will be using your app?
- What operating systems or devices do you want your app to be compatible with?
- What objectives or goals do you have for your app?
We may also ask you some questions about the design of your app, such such as:
- How would you describe your brand identity?
- What do you want your app to look like from a design perspective?
- Are there certain colours or style elements you want used?
- Do you have any particular preferences when it comes to layout?
- Are there any particular pages or screens that are must-haves for you?
- Do you have any ideas that you want to share?
- Do you have any examples of other businesses’ apps that you like?
After we’ve received your brief, we’ll go away and do some of our own research. We will look at who the leaders are in your industry, who your competitors are, and what they are doing with their app development.
This will help us to find out more about what “good” app development looks like for your industry, what your competitors are doing, and how you can make your app stand out from all the others in the app store.
Next, it’s time to start planning out what your app is going to look like, how it is going to work, and how your users will navigate between the different screens of your app. During this stage, we will create a few different types of plans, including:
- Flowcharts (which set out user pathways and journeys within the app – i.e. how they will navigate between different screens, and use different features of the app to complete certain tasks)
- Sketches and rough designs (which will provide you with an approximate idea of your app’s overall structure, look, and user experience, as well as how it will display on different devices)
- Style guides (which will provide you with a more detailed idea about the visual or aesthetic aspects of your app – i.e. things like fonts, colour schemes, and branding)
- Mock-ups and renderings (which will set out a more finalised draft of your app’s layout, user journey, and visuals)
- Prototypes (which will simulate the finished product, allowing you to test it out for yourself before you sign off on the final design)
This phase is where the actual development of the app itself takes place. Once you’ve approved the flowcharts, sketches, style guides, mock-ups, and prototypes that we created in the previous stage, we’ll get to work creating the finished product.
Exactly what this stage looks like will vary depending on the type of app you are wanting, the devices and operating systems you are wanting your app designed for, and the complexity of your design. Essentially though, our software and app developers will be building your app.
5. Quality assurance and testing
Once we’ve finished building your app, it’s time to start the quality assurance and testing process. During this step, our app development team will undertake a range of trials and tests to evaluate your apps:
- User experience
- Responsiveness on different devices and platforms
If any glitches or technical issues are identified during this process, we will make the necessary changes to iron out any last wrinkles before your app is launched.
Then, it’s time to launch! We will submit your app to your chosen app stores to get it up and running in no time.
7. Ongoing technical support
Once your app is launched, we will continue to monitor its functionality and performance over time. We offer our app development clients ongoing technical support, so that if any issues come up post-launch, we can make the required fixes to get things back on track.
We can also help to make any desired changes or revisions to your app moving forward – for example, if you wish to change the layout of a particular page, or add a new feature.
Mobile app development is just one of the services that we offer at Tomedia. If you’d like to find out more about how you can build a mobile app for your business, contact us today at [email protected] or 0419 697 016.