Creating a successful mobile application requires a lot of work and preparations. You can have a fantastic idea and highly professional people in your team, but this does not guarantee the success of your project. Bad implementation of the most brilliant idea will nullify all your efforts. In fact, one of the prime reasons why most of the startups or any other businesses fail is because they do not know how to write app development specifications for a project. That’s why it is extremely important to get an insight on preparing technical specs and requirements. The article provides several professional observations that will be useful for you when dealing with the matter.

Plan the software development lifecycle

Team collaborating on a project

The most effective way to ensure smooth and bug-free development is to introduce the so-called software development lifecycle (SDLC). This process divides the development cycle into separate stages, each of which involving testing and security audit. In such a way, you will be able to identify vulnerabilities of the app in earlier stages.

The modern lifecycle of software development includes six stages:

  1. The analysis involves the creation and implementation of an overall strategy for the development process, including system analysis, the addition of new functions, and refinement of develops process. Information obtained from the audit of safety is also taken into account, after which, the guidelines are revised if necessary.
  2. Design implies the preparation for the software design (mockup) based on the requirements obtained from the results of the previous stage.
  3. Implementation involves writing the application code. This stage is the longest and most complex in the whole cycle.
  4. Testing involves the implementation of procedures responsible for determining quality control, which includes software security testing. It is strongly recommended to implement security measures at all the stages of the lifecycle. Only in this case, will it be possible to create a secure mobile application?
  5. The introduction implies the use of ready-made software in combat conditions.
  6. Support includes the elimination of vulnerabilities, problems that may arise during the operation of the application, as well as setting up and adding new functions based on the wishes of customers. Ideally, this entire process is carried out using special methodologies (Agile / DevOps) and assures smooth mobile app project management.

Expert Recommendations on Writing Technical Specs

Apart from ordinary planning each stage of the mobile app development process, it is, of course, necessary to provide a detailed and comprehensive list of specifications on what product you expect to receive. Read further to know how to prepare the spec list or use a product requirements template.

Do not rush to take up the development

Start by analyzing your target audience. Think about the situations when people will use the app, where and when users access it, what they are doing, and how much they spend on it. Try not to miss anything and definitely do not rely on your own habits in using mobile devices. Such studies usually do not take much time. If you do not have enough resources, interview people on the street. The results obtained will be useful for an accurate debugging of both the architecture and the functionality of the application.

Do not overdo with innovation

Most mobiles are equipped with tools for creating a user interface, which allows one to ensure compatibility of the application with the platform. Try not to deviate too much from the standard interface. Of course, innovations are needed to create a mobile application; they will provide positive feedback from users. However, it is also important to be able to recognize when innovation can damage the usability of the product. Clear boundaries and rules do not exist, but making sure that your designer is well acquainted with the platform, try to avoid unjustified deviations from the generally accepted interface within this platform.

Feature map

Notebook with app concept drawings

Create a feature map for your application. This document should be prepared taking into account the functional specification, features, and limitations of the system. Thus, it helps to set the boundaries of the project. Developers will build the platform developing functions so that to achieve the best result with minimal costs. They will also indicate additional options and features of the application, which will be implemented as the product develops. Feature map is used throughout the development lifecycle to assess, schedule, and set project objectives.

Focus on details

The mobile application should be attractive, responsive, and easy to use. That’s why it is extremely important to be attentive to the smallest details, check the app on different devices, and use all its space as productive as possible. No doubt, users will notice and appreciate your attention to details.

Consider a platform fragmentation

Many startups and developers prefer iOS devices when releasing the first version of the application. The main reason is the fragmentation of devices running under other operating systems and, as a consequence, the need to develop additional versions of the product. When creating an iOS application, the developer knows exactly which engine the application will run on and what features it should support. The designer will be pleased, as the resolution of the Retina display (implemented in all devices with the iPhone 4) is twice as much as usual (used in the iPhone 3GS and earlier models), which greatly simplifies the scaling of graphics. Android platform is somewhat different: a large number of various devices that differ in screen resolution and platform versions. Therefore, developing an application for Android takes more time. The great merit of Google is the provision of resources and an active struggle to reduce fragmentation.

Analytics

At this stage, it is necessary to study the market, analog applications, and solutions. As a result, you are to create a detailed functional specification of the application, set the project timeframe, estimate the development cost, and conclude the contract.

Architecture

When planning the application architecture, it is necessary to describe potential users, investigate the usage scenarios and the logic of the application. Afterwards, you are to estimate the size of the target audience, determine the key and secondary functions for implementation. Make sure to invest necessary time and effort in conducting quality control and evaluating the scalability of the product. The result of this stage is the creation of an interactive mockup.

UI / UX

In the next step, it is necessary to create a graphical user interface and model user experience. Using the full list of functions from the specification, you are to think about how users will interact with the application (in the context of all the characters from the list of possible usage scenarios). Determine what buttons and functionality to put on each of the screens.

Design

The layout of the graphical interface is specified and expanded with the help of visual design. Work on the design of each application screen in detail. Determine what are the main and additional screens, buttons, icons, tips, pop-ups, etc. Carefully test each interface created at this stage for usability.

Launch of the project

Map app testing on mobile

Before the release of the mobile application, Apple or Google specialists should conduct final testing. Having received their verdict, developers should make adjustments, if any are required. The application will appear in the App Store / Google Play and will be available for download by ordinary users.

Often release updates

When launching a mobile application you should always remember the main goal and focus on the main functionality of the first version of the application. Do not be afraid to give up opportunities in which you are not 100% sure. This will allow you not only to release the application earlier but also to monitor the metrics and feedback of users. In addition, you can often produce relatively small updates. Thus, users will be closely involved in testing/ improving your application. Adherence to these development principles will ensure accurate and timely identification of problem areas.

Writing technical specifications

Based on the above material, each point from the mobile application development lifecycle should be considered in your specs. Otherwise, you risk releasing a poor-quality product. Thus, when preparing a document for a team of developers, testers, designers, you should pay attention to the following things.

Code

Optimizing the code to improve the speed of the application is always useful. At the same time, the processor runs slower on most mobile devices, so writing better code brings great results. In addition, mobile devices almost always work on batteries. Achieving the same results with less effort requires less energy.

Design

When developing an application, it is necessary to take into account factors such as a smaller screen size, a mode of interaction with the user through a touchscreen, and a constant change in the environment in which users work. All the above things are to be considered in design of the application.

Optimization

If animation is applied in the application, visualization optimization is extremely important. However, it is often not enough to optimize only the code. It is necessary to think through all the visual aspects of the application so that the application is rendered as efficiently as possible.

Summary

Man using phone on a working place

The mobile applications market is developing rapidly; mobile devices are becoming an integral part of human life. The technical capabilities of smartphones are growing, which gives the ground for the development of the mobile application market. If you want to launch your revolutionary, speedy, and bug-free mobile application, then it’s time for you to start planning a mobile app development lifecycle. We do hope that you found this post useful and got all necessary information.  If you want to find out more about the topic, feel free to leave your comments. Those willing to get a professional assistance can always go through the specification creation process with our project manager.