Mobile App Development Checklist

For an app developer, one of the most amazing moments in the lifecycle of the app’s development is that one-millionth download. At this point, the app has officially gone viral. However, getting to this point takes a lot of effort, planning, and maybe just a little luck. Although you cannot really account for luck except by helping to increase the chances you experience some, you can create a step-by-step production checklist that focuses on such things as user experience and app functionality. If you make a comprehensive mobile app development checklist and follow it closely, paying strict attention to design and testing, your app might very well go from idea inception to something approaching viral.

1. Research

Your mobile app development checklist should include research as a first step, and it should involve browsing the app markets to determine if any of the existing apps match your idea. If similar apps do exist, you will want to somehow differentiate yourself from these apps. Once you are convinced your app idea stands out, you will want to make a notation on your checklist because this area of differentiation will be critical to your app’s purpose.

2. Market

Before you begin development, you will want to identify your market because this market will partially define how the app should be designed, its functionality, and where it will be deployed. For instance, Google Play is the biggest market for Android apps, but Amazon also has its own marketplace. Other markets include niche markets, such as Appland, Cydia, and GetJar.

3. Sketch

Prior to putting down your first line of code or designing your first button, you should make a digital sketch of your app or sketch it on paper. The sketch should include just a rough idea of the following.

  • Opening screen
  • Loading screen
  • User interface with all buttons
  • A sketch of each page with notes regarding destination of each button when clicked
  • Image placement for each page
  • Text placement for each page
  • Instruction page
  • FAQ page
  • Privacy page
  • Links to social media if desired

Creating a digital sketch allows you to keep your work efforts streamlined and productive, allowing you much more of a chance to include everything you want. Without a sketch, you will likely forget something or spend a lot of time revising.

4. Mobile App Development: Functionality

How your app functions will in large part depend on the engine or methods you use to develop it. For instance, using the wrong online app builder might cause you to be limited to a number of built-in functions. Conversely, building it via Android Studio could leave your options wide open. Using a popular game engine like Unity or even Game Salad will also allow you to include game elements.

5. Monetization

Building a revenue system into your app is called monetization, and you can follow a variety of different strategies.

  • Free
  • Free with ads
  • Freemium, which includes free options as well as paid options
  • Subscription
  • In-game purchases

6. Mobile app development: design

Mobile app design is arguably the most important aspect of the app. For instance, the design should represent the app’s overall purpose as well as the expectations of the market in regards to similar apps.

Games, for instance, will often have a fun or stylistic design while a business app might look more professional. Health apps will often feel bright and cheery while an app for a specific product or company might follow the design of a brand.

In addition to the design’s appearance, the design elements should be optimized for mobile. This includes the images being sized and compressed accordingly. Additionally, the app should be designed such that it is light enough to not crash or hang, and the overall size should be in the range of 30MB to 60MB. Finally, something called proportionate set size (PSS) involves how much memory the app should use. Generally, the PSS should not rise much higher than 50MB.

7. Community

Although engaging with the target community and becoming a trusted voice within that community is not necessarily related to the actual development of your app, doing so will make marketing your app easier.

8. Publishing

Publishing your app involves packaging it in such a way that you can either test it on a phone or simulate it on your production computer. This is a critical step as you will then be able to see the app as others will see it and experience it as they will.

9. Testing

With a published app in hand, you can begin your testing stage. At this point, you should test it against a checklist of desired operations. As you test each item, you can indicate if the item functions or does not function. You can also make a list of stylistic elements that need to be revised.

10. User data

Publishing your app on a marketplace will often require you to include a privacy policy, which will outline how you plan on using user data. Creating this page and making it available on your website or within the app will allow you to shorten the time to market.

11. Revising

After your testing phase, you should actually set your app aside for a few days. Doing so will allow you to return to it with a newbie’s perspective. As such, you will be able to test it against your checklist and make notes as to what still seems high quality and what seems to be suddenly low quality. If you do not leave your app and return to it, you might think everything looks great. However, being able to maintain a critical eye will help you maintain the highest degree of quality.