After you’re done with the preliminary considerations on how to create an app, now is the time to dive into the actual execution phase.
Having a great app idea, conducting relevant market research, and noting down the essential features is the first part, but starting the real development starts now. This is where we start learning the technical minutiae of app development leading to its completion and eventual release in the app stores.
Before diving in the technical minutiae of the development process, how about a refresher on 1st part of our how to create an app series?
Handpicked content: A Guide on How to Create an App—Part 1
Create app mockups
A mockup represents a rough depiction of your application’s layout, user interfaces and flow. It’s better to start creating mockups of your application before the development phase.
However, it is equally important the elements that won’t be included in the mockups: finely-tuned elements, perfect positioning, and complex color schemes and effects in UI aspects.
Simply speaking, a mockup tells us how the app will look like without getting distracted by unwanted things at the moment. It’s more of a functional approach over aesthetic eye to the app’s design.
The mockup will start by explaining the interaction and flow of the tool. For instance, “What happens when the user taps on a button”, “How do users navigate between two screens?”, etc.
There are a number of tools to help you create mockups such as Balsamiq, InVision, UXpin, Proto.io, Fluid UI, to name a few. Let’s suppose you’re using Balsamiq, the tool comes with various great UI templates, and you experience a nice healthy balance between flexibility and roughness.
Whether a developer is creating an application for a client or a business, a completed mockup is a powerful depiction to display the end product before the actual app development. Guiding the client through the UI becomes easier through mockups and helps the client envision the final app better.
Moreover, it’s also better to create a functional-technical design alongside the mockup. In short, you’ll be describing what the app will do within a single sentence. Some annotations in the mockup software, or even a single text document, will be enough.
Create the app’s graphic design
Now that the client’s application has started to take some shape, move on to create a graphic design of the application. The design will include aesthetically pleasing visual aspects, graphic effects, images, and animations and motion effects (if required).
Here are a couple of approaches you can select from when creating the application’s graphics: Either do it yourself through a graphics template, or simply hire a professional designer.
Apparently, hiring a professional graphic designer is the right choice as the output he/she will provide you quality, better output as compared to a naïve artist.
With a business application project in hand, its advised to hire an experienced designer in order to let you play to your strengths.
However, if you wish to take the matters in your own hands, avoid trying to build something from the scratch. Employ a design template particularly made for iOS applications and save ample time. The template’s building elements allows the users to create their designs and later make customizations, as intended.
There are a number of templates that users have the options to choose from. For instance, the iOS kit in Facebook is quite useful, due to the fact that it comes with pixel-perfect UI aspects of iOS itself. The elements can be used to create thorough mockups through the default iOS UI.
However, be vigilant of the copyright and licensing details when using someone else’s unique work.
You may start by Photoshop, Affinity Designer, Sketch, etc. to create the graphic designs of your application, or any other tool with built-in support for mobile app designs. The tools can export directly to @2x and @3x image assets.
The end product is a collection of images and assets the user can easily import into Xcode. The user can use the graphics file in the Interface Builder or with SwiftUI.
Do note that the user cannot import a Photoshop or Sketch design directly, hence, it needs to be recreated in the Xcode and/or Interface Builder for app development.
Furthermore, you need to study the iOS’s Human Interface Guidelines, the pointers will help you how the design actually works for any app development project.
Create the application with Swift or Xcode
Now that you have the groundwork completed and ready at your disposal, this is where we start the actual development.
You’ll create iOS applications through Swift or Xcode. The Xcode enlists a project manager, built-in documentation, code editor, debugging tools, and interface builder. In other words, all the resources required to build an iOS tool.
While Swift is a powerful, intuitive programming language used to create iOS, macOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS applications. The development is typically divided into: front-end development and back-end development.
When we talk about the front-end development, we build the app’s UI and determine what will happen when the customer interacts with the tool. Furthermore, the developer adds the decided features and incorporate the navigation system.
On the other hand, the back-end development is primarily concerned with the data storage. And many apps now are using a cloud-based back-end infrastructure like Firebase, Parse Server, etc.
When the user creates data in the application in the form of visuals, tweets, comments, social media posts, etc., this data is transferred to the cloud for storage. This data is kept as a backup and updated as new data follows up.
A professional developer know that both the front-end and back-end is integrated with each other. Consider creating a Twitter-like app, a UI will be built to create and view tweets, and the developer will connect the UIs with the back-end databases.
There are a number of tools to step up the development speed, and you don’t have to code each and every line. Thanks to the emergence commercial development tools and a vast open source community, you have a wide array of tools, libraries, and frameworks at your disposal.
Besides the above discussed tools for ios apps, here are some other tools as well that you should take into consideration. For instance,
- Balsamiq mockups and Sketch for UI/UX,
- CocoaPods and libraries like Alamofire, SwiftyJSON and MBProgressHUD,
- Core Data, Firebase, etc. for storage purposes,
- Fastlane to automate your app publishing workflow, and
- TestFlight for beta testing of your app and distributing it up to around 10,000 devices.
How to create an app?
Yes, we are halfway through the odyssey of your app development while detailing all the technical requirements and executions in this article. For further details on digitizing your business through comprehensive digital marketing strategies and entrepreneurial nurturing, readers can also consult top informative blogs for additional learning.
Although, there are a number of tutorials available online on how to create an app, but building a mobile app for your business is no small thing. And clients really need to go all out and try hire a suitable app development company with the aim to acquire a powerful, custom business tool as a means to fulfil their digital objectives.
Apparently, in the 3rd, and final section in this series, we’ll talk about the launch and marketing of a mobile app and how to get it placed in the top draw in the app stores.
Imran Abdul Rauf is a Digital Marketing Strategist, employed at CMOLDS, and specializes in content marketing, email marketing campaigns, lead generation, and other aspects of digital marketing. A content enthusiast by the day, and hardcore gamer by night, Imran is also a regular guest contributor at some of the top tech and digital marketing platforms.