Mobile application development guide for dummies

By Prateek Saxena & Sudeep Srivastava
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 14:35 PM 13 min read
Last update on: July 10, 2019
Image Credits: Robert Stu
Table of Contents

A Handbook for Everyone New to the Mobile App Development Industry

By 2020 there will be approximately 6 Billion mobile users, globally.

The rate in growth of the mobile users is directly proportional with the rise in the number of apps uploaded on the stores on the yearly and even daily basis. What was sitting on 1 million apps in 2016 has now jumped to 3.8 Million apps counts in the Play Store and the App Store too has a similar story to share.

Add this massive audience to the $86 Billion spent by users on apps in the stores and you will get a platform which is ideal for not just finding a user base for your idea but also earn high revenue at the back of it.

But like all things profitable and genuine, making your dream come true from mobile apps also doesn’t come free of effort and confusion.

To lower both, here is a guide for every individual and every business who is looking to make a stable, revenue-generating presence on mobile. Read this as the go-to document to know all there’s to know about bringing your business on mobile.

01. Mobile App Development Checklist

Whether you are a brand or an entrepreneur who is just starting their mobile journey, there are a number of unsureties that mushroom when you enter the mobile app domain for the first time.

You fret about the choice of platform that would bring you closest to your dream to reach the masses, which mobile app development company should you trust to not rip you off financially in the promises of an amazing app, the potential to make money from your app, and the most dreading one - how would you ensure that your app is even reaching the prospective users.

In situations where you are faced with so many unsureties, the two actions that our brain reflexes are either flight or fight. In the former, you leave your dream of developing an app altogether and in the latter, you look for ways to stick and make sense of the meshy domain.

Here is an all-inclusive mobile app development checklist curated for the first timers like you. The app development checklist will give you a very precise idea of the things that you need to consider and at the same time will help you check off the points that you have under control.

02. Why Should You Outsource?

When it comes to getting an app developed, you will have three viable options -

  • A. Develop the app in-house
  • B. Invest in an Offshore Agency
  • C. Invest in a Freelancer Developer

Out of all the three options, outsourcing the service to an offshore mobile app development company is the most common one. It is estimated that around 47% of companies around the world outsource their software development services from offshore companies.

There are some prime benefits that come tagged with outsourcing app development services, such as -

Low development cost

If you look at the app development industry as a whole, the average per hour development cost in countries like the US or Australia would come out to be somewhere between $100 - 150. But if you move East, the rates will show a huge difference. In Eastern countries like India, the development cost would come out to be somewhere in the range of $60 - 80.

Great app quality

Since the offshore mobile app development agencies are used to handling projects coming in from different geographical nations, they are well versed in the market of different locations. This understanding of different audience, makes it possible for the app development companies to develop an app that is engineered to be a success in different locations.

Getting a great quality app at low development cost is exactly what draws a business towards outsourcing of mobile app development service.

Apart from these, there are four reasons that have become the answer to why outsource mobile app development services including Agility and a more concentrated app development expertise is so popular.

Now, even when it comes to outsourcing the mobile app development services, you have two options - Hire an app development company or Hire a Freelance mobile app developer.

Whether you are hiring an app development company or a freelancer, outsourcing in both the cases does not come risk-free. There are a number of things that can go wrong in both the cases.

Let us first look into the details of hiring a mobile app development company before we move on to looking into the hiring requisite for Mobile App Developers.

03. How To Hire A Mobile App Development Company?

The outsourcing industry is filled with several horror stories of how companies shut down the project in the middle or how they fail to understand the project requirement and keep robbing you off in the name of developing a quality product. In situations like this, it is necessary to have the right set of questions that would help judge the quality of the app development agency.

Here are the Five main questions that would help you gauge the authenticity of the mobile app development agency you are planning to partner with -

How did the agency start? Who is the executive team and what is their background? What is the mission of the agency?

Summary of the design engagement from start to finish and a list of deliverables.

Summary of the project approach - What the app development agency thinks the major variables/risks driving success/failure, would be. What will drive consumer adoption and use? How would those risks be managed on your side?

Summary of the QA process from start to end.

How do they ensure best in class technical documentation?

While these five questions would help you look into the clarity of idea that the app development agency comes with and the standard of the company, here are the 17 questions that you should ask before finalizing an app development company which would give you an idea of whether or not they have what it takes to become your partner.

The questions that you just read above would not just come in handy for the selection of a mobile app development company but also when you are aiming to hire app developer on a freelance basis. In addition to these questions above, you will also have to ask the mobile app developer how will they handle the different mobile app development process as a one-man team.

Lastly, whether you are looking for how to hire a top mobile app developer or how to hire a mobile app development company, it is of utmost importance that you look into their portfolio and talk to some of their past clients.

Once you finalize a mobile app development company or a freelance mobile app developer, you officially enter the circle of the mobile app development process.

Now that you are going to be a part of the mobile app development process, here are two things that you can expect (if you have invested in a reputed mobile app development agency)

A. They will follow an Agile app development process for the creation of your app

While there is a good number of active mobile app development companies that follow the traditional Waterfall model. But when you have to choose between Waterfall or Agile ,the instances of faster delivery and quality app development is higher in case of Agile app development process. Here is a guide to Agile Methodology in mobile app development backdrop, which would give you an idea of how the process works.

B. The first deliverable will be an MVP

The difference in mobile app development companies that aim to be your partner versus those who wish to stick around only until the app is developed, can be gauged from what they deliver.

Let us look into MVP - the deliverable of app development company that aims to be your partner into some more detail -

04. Minimum Viable Product

MVPs are that version of the app that has the most primal features which explain to the users what the mobile app is about but is not filled with all the various advanced level features. The idea behind MVP app development is that you get to gauge how your app idea is accepted by the millions of app store users before you invest in any more money into scaling the app for its next level.

The fact that MVPs give a very clear idea of the app worth at low development cost and efforts have made them the first step toward ensuring the success of the app.

There are a number of brands that started off as an MVP and have now become top-notch businesses, such as - Twitter, Dropbox, Airbnb, Spotify, and Groupon, amongst others.

To get a hang of the idea, here’s a pocket guide on Minimum Viable Product. Apart from giving you an in-depth idea of what the concept is about, the guide will also give you the practical steps to be followed to develop an MVP.

Once you have gotten your MVP developed and have seen its success in the app stores, it is time to scale your app in line with the idea. And to do that, you will have three options - Native app development, Cross-Platform Development, and PWAs. We will look into all the three options to a good extent in the next section.

05. Native App Development

The idea of Native app development is to have two apps individually for Android and iOS. The reason why businesses usually invest in Native App Development is because the aim that they are looking to fulfil with their app is more in sync with one platform than the other.

Generally, when businesses are looking for a greater user base they opt for Android, and when it is revenue that they are after, they choose iOS app development.

Apart from the fulfilment of their aims, there are seven reasons why Native app development is a better solution for a business compared to cross-platform or web apps.

Whatever the number of reasons pushing you to Native route, the platforms that you can scale to, are only two - Android and iOS.

Next, we will look into both the options individually.

06. Android App Development

With a count of 3.8 Million apps on the Play Store as on March 2018, Android apps have emerged as the ideal solution for the businesses looking to take their business to millions of active users, globally.

There are many statistics that hint towards the growth tangent that Android apps are on -

90 Billion

The total number of android app download in 2016

29% Users

people spent most of their time on social networking apps

18-24 Years

of age group spends most of their time on apps per month in the US in 2017


Average numbers of app people use monthly

3 Million

Number of Android apps on Google Play Store

These numbers and facts make Android app development for businesses synchronous to growth and access to the massive user base.

The state in which the Android domain is, makes investing in Android app development company for first-time app development ideal for startups and entrepreneurs The platform comes with the benefit of multiple revenue sources, the freedom to customize the app and very low barrier to entry. All the benefits together make it ideal for businesses to make an investment in Android apps.

07. iOS App Development

With over 2 Million apps available to download on App Store, iOS market is chosen by businesses not for its high user base but for its potential to generate high revenue for the brands who make their presence on the store.

Cross-platform revenue comparison: iOs vs. Android

The reasoning behind this difference in revenue can be attributed to the fact that Apple has established its market in some of the most developed, economically sound nations like the US and Australia. And it is due to these factors that have brought in a series of iPhone app development benefits for businesses.

Apart from this, the strict guideline that Apple has set for the brands looking to make an appearance in the App Store, in terms of quality is also something that the users are willing to pay for and brands are willing to invest into an iPhone app development company for.

08. Cross-Platform App Development

While Native App Development is about developing two separate apps for Android and iOS individually, Cross-Platform App Development is about developing one app and publishing it on both Android and iOS together.

Cross-platform apps come with a series of advantages that make it beneficial for businesses looking to make their presence on both Android and iOS at the same time.

Here is our 8 minutes guide to get you started on Cross Platform app development.

There are a number of advantages that are linked to cross-platform app development such as code reuse, low development cost & efforts, and greater audience reach. But at the same time, they even come with a set of disadvantages, such as - difference in UI, slow app updates, and most importantly lack of proper app quality.

The only way to ensure that your app is high on advantages and low on disadvantages is to make a wise framework selection decision. For that, you can either go with the top frameworks that mobile app development companies are relying on or consult your partnered app development agency to get insights on which framework would best suit your needs.

09. Progressive Web Apps

Apart from the Native and Cross Platform app development, this is another option that is soon marking itself as the best option for businesses looking for increase their reach while eliminating the restrictions coming in from the Play Store & App Store.

Progressive Enhancement

Mobile app like experience

Progressive Web Design

Re-engagement at its best

Work Offline

Feature rich

Also, Progressive Web Apps Development has established itself as the future of mobile apps by giving the end users exactly what they want - Quick in and out time and saving of the device memory size.

10. White Label App Development

Other than these three options, businesses also have one more option which, although portrayed as the cost-effective solution by the creators, is not ideal for businesses looking to survive in the mobile industry - White Label Solutions.

White Label App, in its most general sense, is an app that is developed by Company A and then sold to Company B, C, and D to add on their branding elements and use. The idea of White Label Mobile Apps Development is to have a product that can be used as is by multiple companies with a very minimal level of customization flexibility.

While the white label app builders come with the promise of fast go to the market time and very low investment cost of development, there are a number of disadvantages that come tagged with the white label apps development.

Amidst all the disadvantages, the concept is ideal for those who are unsure of their app idea and are looking for a quick verdict on whether or not their app would even survive in the market.

11. Mistakes To Avoid When Developing A Mobile App

Now that you have looked into the different platform options that you have when it comes to making your appearance on mobile, it is time that we acquaint you with the different issues/mobile application development mistakes that come attached with the app development process, which can negatively affect your future in the mobile domain

From not knowing how to choose the right tech stack of your mobile app to not marketing your app enough post-launch, there are nine deadly mistakes that can ruin your app’s chances to be a success.

12. What Would Be The Cost Of Mobile App Development

The last but most crucial part of on which the entire mobile journey of a business is based on is How much does it cost to make an app. There are a number of factors that affect the mobile app development cost, namely - Purpose of the app, the platform it is based on, the level of complexity, size of the app development agency, and even the geographical location where the agency is based out on, among other factors.

Here is the exact cost breakdown structure of How much does it cost to develop and maintain a mobile app. In the page, we have looked at the cost estimates that come tagged with the different process and the app categories. It will give you an idea of the amount that you need to keep in handy in name of mobile app development and post-launch maintenance.

Sudeep Srivastava
CEO, Appinventiv
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