Information on building mobile apps ranges from DIY tutorials to companies promising you they’ll do it all. With so many options and so many voices, what is creating a mobile app really like?
Some people learn how to program in Objective C or Java and build the app themselves. Still others outsource to developers overseas or hire an in-house team. Those are all options that may work for certain companies, but by far the most common (and most cost effective in the long run) is partnering with a vendor. So, once you make the choice to go with a vendor, what happens next? What can you expect?
We can’t speak for every mobile development company out there, but here’s the basic “how it’s made” process for Rocket Jones. Every project goes through our 4-Stage Process.
Stage 1: Explore + Imagine
Our Stage 1 is focused on you and your users. During this stage, we take the time to get to know you and your company. We ask questions, listen, and work to understand your goals. Your users are central to our exploration; we conduct User Experience research to find primary users and key tasks. This stage sets a sturdy foundation and clear goals. It can include:
- Reviewing existing data. We don’t ignore the work you’ve already done; after all, you know your customers and challenges better than we do!
- Gathering information and conducting interviews. We get to know your team, your department, division, or company through questionnaires, meetings, and one-on-one interviews.
- Writing user stories and create personas. Compiling our field research allows more targeted goals and development.
- Identifying platforms and technology. We discuss any technical requirements and help you determine what would best serve you.
Stage 2: Plan + Sketch
Our Stage 2 is all about finding possible solutions to the goals identified in Stage 1. We continue to collaborate closely with you in this stage. Just like you wouldn’t build a house without blueprints, we create detailed plans for your software based on what we learned during Stage 1. This documentation will see multiple iterations as we make decisions and revise together. By getting everything on paper, you can see exactly what to expect, and the documentation gives our developers clear direction. Stage 2 can include:
- Designing necessary data structures. We define the underlying database structures and data sources and map out any APIs. We also plan for future growth opportunities.
- Creating wireframes. Wireframes are line drawings of each screen with notes on functionality and interaction. Planning out each screen on paper allows us to hammer out details before writing code.
- Developing interaction diagrams. These flow diagrams walk you through how the user will interact with the product every step of the way.
- Creating rapid prototypes. These prototypes demonstrate basic functionality and give you a feel for how the app will work.
Stage 3: Build + Test
With a clear design and technical description, we can move forward on construction. Our experienced development team follows best practices to write robust, secure, and scalable code. Stage 3 is where the application is built, and it can also include:
- User testing. Real people perform real-world tasks with your software.
- Automated testing. Automated testing gives you peace of mind knowing that the most business-critical aspects of your app will function well.
- Analyzing feedback and refining code. After testing, we make any corrections needed.
- Launch the app and submit to the App Store or Google Play.
Stage 4: Support + Scale
In Stage 4, we make sure your mobile app stays fast, stable, and scalable. As great as your app is at launch, updates are inevitably needed down the road. We’ll help you monitor performance levels and scale as you grow. Rocket Jones’ commitment to your success extends beyond the launch date. Our lifecycle services give you peace of mind; you’ll know that your app is always up-to-date and performing well. Stage 4 can include:
- Hosting. We provide safe, stable, and scalable servers housed in state of the art data centers for your app.
- Support and maintenance. We pride ourselves on giving you superior support by answering questions and fixing bugs for 60 days beyond the date of your app launch and offering extended support plans.
- Future enhancements. As your trusted partner, we’re available to share our insights, examine your pain points, and evaluate new ideas you may have.
- Technology updates. To ensure that supporting technology is always up-to-date, we deploy security patches, minor updates, and major updates to the underlying software that supports your app.
So, there you go. That’s how we build mobile apps. We do the nitty gritty work, but you are involved in every stage, so nothing is ever a mystery. We’ve been building software for 15 years, so we know how to do it right, including customer support and communication. We answer phone calls and emails, and we stick to the budget. If you have more questions about our process, or if you’d like to see case studies or sample projects, please contact us.