Here is an excellent article by Sophia Martin about what to expect if your company needs to develop a mobile application.
In my experience many clients come to me with a poor understanding of the many aspects involved in mobile app development, or any development process for that matter.
If you’re looking into getting a mobile app developed then doing your homework ahead of time can save you a lot of grief later on. First and foremost you need to have as much detail as possible about what you need the app to do.
Here’s an exercise that will help you think through the process so you know what you need before you talk to a development team:
- Get a pad of paper.
- Sketch the home screen of the app. It doesn’t have to be pretty. You can draw a circle for a logo, wavy lines for text, etc. You just need to get the vision in your head down on paper.
- For every interactive element on the home screen you need to take another sheet of paper to sketch out what that screen will contain.
- Keep going for every screen you can think of. Be sure to jot down notes that seem appropriate. For instance, if you intend to have a user sign in process you can leave that as just one screen — even though it is a multi-screen process — but you do need to think about the options the developers will need to account for. Like do you want to allow users to sign in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts? Do they need to submit an email address? Do users need an email and username? Try to think of every option you can and jot it down. This information is crucial for development.
This process will help you solidify the app in your mind. You’ll find yourself thinking about different things you want for the app. Now this is is very important: as often as you can sit down and sketch out the app again, from scratch, all over again. You’ll find that you make different choices as you think about how the app will work.
If you don’t do this then you won’t notice these little things you want to change until you see it in the app. If you ask for a change then it will cost hours of work and that amounts to hundreds of dollars of development time. A lot of that can be saved if you have an accurate map of what you want the app to do before design and development begins.