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A 12-Step Guide to Building Your Very First Mobile App

Step 1: Define Your Goal

Defining a clear goal for the app is also going to help you get there faster.
mobile app goal diagram

Step 2: Start Sketching

By developing sketches you are laying the foundation for your future interface. In this step you visually conceptualize the main features and the approximate layout and structure of your application.
mobile app sketch

Step 3: Research

This research has four main purposes:
  1. Find out whether there are other apps doing the same thing
  2. Find design inspiration for your app
  3. Find information on the technical requirements for your app
  4. Find out how you can market and monetize your app

Step 4: Create a Wireframe and Storyboard

In this phase your ideas and features fuse into a clearer picture. Wireframing is the process of creating a mockup or prototype of your app. 
mobile app storyboard diagram

Step 5: Define the Back End of Your Mobile App

Your wireframes and storyboard now become the foundation of your back-end structure. Draw a sketch of your servers, APIs, and data diagrams. This will be a helpful reference for the developer, and as more people join the project you will have a (mostly) self-explanatory diagram for them to study.

Step 6: Test Your Prototype

Revert to your wireframes and ask friends, family, colleagues, and experts to help you review your prototype. Grant them access to the wireframe and have them give your app a test run. Ask them for their honest feedback and to identify flaws and dead-end links. If possible, invite them to your studio and have them try out the prototype in front of you. Monitor how they use the app, taking note of their actions and adapting your UI/UX to them.

Step 7: Build the Back End of Your App

Now that your app has been defined pretty clearly, it is time to get started on the back end of your system. Your developer will have to set up servers, databases, APIs, and storage solutions.
developer

Step 8: Design the App “Skins”

“Skins” are what designers/developers call the individual screens needed for the app. Your designer’s job is now to come up with high-resolution versions of what were previously your wireframes.

Step 9: Test Again (Yes, Again)

Once your designer has completed the design skins, you’re up for another round of testing. Don’t think that you are all set with what you’ve done so far. For the first time you have your actual app concept completely in place, all the graphics inserted, and all text as it should be. Which means you can finally test your app in the way it will really look and feel.

Step 10: Revise and Continue to Build

Once you’ve given your design a test drive and collected more feedback from future users, you should use these new ideas to polish your app idea. You can still ask your designer to change the layout, and you can still tell your developer to change something on the back end.

Step 11: Refine Each Detail

As you continue to build you will want to have a constant look at your new app. On Android, for example, it is easy to install your app file on a device to test its functionality in a live environment. iOS is different. There you will require a platform like TestFlight to download and test your app as it proceeds.
testflight

Step 12: Release Time!

App marketplaces have very different policies when it comes to publishing a new app. Android, for example, does not review newly submitted apps right away. They’ll pass by at some point and check it out but you are able to instantly add your app to Google Play.