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Mobile App Development Process: Step-by-Step Guide 2023

November 30, 2022 ・7 min read

UX research

With the increasing popularity of mobile phones, the mobile app design standard is getting more sophisticated, and more and more merchants hope to attract new customers through the mobile app as a sales channel, increase user stickiness, and increase sales. Correspondingly, many mobile app development companies have also launched various “rapid app development packages’, using low-cost production to attract customers who do not understand app development and only want to spend less money. 

These solutions are indeed low-priced, but they ignore many details: App security is not high, which means it can be removed from the app store anytime; without Google and Facebook integration, users find it complicated to sign up and give up quickly; low availability leads to low user activity; lack of some system functions such as “Live Maps” and “QR Code Scanner” make the App challenging to use, etc.

The COVID-19 epidemic has accelerated the process of e-commerce. More and more traditional online stores have begun to offer online orders and delivery, pre-orders and pick-up in the store, and electronic membership cards. How to make sure your mobile app plays a role in further strengthening the relationship with Interaction between users, providing a better user experience, and accurately promoting your brand. 

So how to start your iOS or Android mobile app development project in 2023?UXlicious summarizes the app design and development process, model, and technology in this article. Whether you want to make money by developing apps, better work with your team or outsourcers, prepare to find a good app development company, or just have an interest in app development and want to learn more about app making and development, all related information can be found in this article, and you regard it as your Android or iOS mobile app development tutorial.

Mobile App from Idea to Go Live: Step-by-Step Guide

The end-to-end process for mobile app development and publication can be divided into 3 phases:

iOS/Android Mobile App Design and Development Process

The design and development of an app can be divided into 5 stages:

  1. Understand the needs: The mobile app development company first understands the customer’s needs, studies the feasibility of the project and evaluates the workload, and proposes a rough solution and preliminary quotation for the project;
  2. Determine the project plan: After detailed discussion, The App development company formulates the relevant mobile application development plan and detailed quotation and determines the third party (payment gateway, cloud storage, video technology, etc.) needed in the development;
  3. Design App interface: The designer draws an appropriate UI interface diagram considering the key metrics. Usually, for B2C products, we will also conduct a series of UX research to determine customer needs and pain points;
  4. Develop mobile app: The engineers start to develop the App, and the App continues to develop in the way of SCRUM until the last part is completed. Engineers will conduct functional testing, non-functional testing, security testing, compatibility testing, stability testing, user experience testing, etc., and regularly report the implementation status to customers.
  5. Complete Customer UAT: The customer will have a user acceptance test (UAT), which can be used by the customer to test various functions, and also give the developer time to debug; the designer and engineer will evaluate the customer’s opinion to see if it falls within the scope of the project, If it is within the scope of the project, it will be revised.

Publish your Mobile App to App Store

Once the entire mobile app is developed, it will be put on the Apple App Store and/or Google Play App Store. Before listing, you need to register a developer account. Taking an “Enterprise Edition” iOS developer account as an example, the process is divided into five steps:

  • Step 1: Apply for an Apple ID
  • Step 2: Turn on two-factor authentication on your iPhone
  • Step 3: Apply for Dun & Bradstreet Certification (DUNS)
  • Step 4: Apply for a Developer Account
  • Step 5: Payment to complete the application

When applying for an Apple ID, you need to fill in personal information, and phone number and create an Apple ID. It is recommended to fill in stable authorized administrator information, such as the person in charge of the company, secretary, manager, etc., and use the email and phone that the company will continue to use to facilitate the entire two-factor authentication. and application process.

After that, the app can be uploaded. The engineer needs to generate and install the .cer (credential file), Apple ID, and Provisioning Profile in the developer background and then log in to App Store Connect (iOS) Click My Apps and select Add App. We need to fill in the name of the app, main language, category, pricing, description, keywords, support URL, and provide screenshots of the app for each device. Finally, we need to package the app through Xcode and upload it. After uploading, log in to iTunes Connect to see the new version just uploaded. Click “Submit for Review” in the upper right corner, select “Export Compliance Information”, “Content Copyright”, “Ad ID” and other related options, and click “Submit.”

Then there is the process of waiting for the review results. On average, 50% of the apps in the Apple App Store will be reviewed within 24 hours, and more than 90% of the apps will be reviewed within 48 hours. If it is still in the “In Review” status for a long time (more than 7 days), it is recommended to withdraw and resubmit to avoid delay.

The process of Google Play listing is similar to that of Apple. Developers need to register a Google Play developer account and fill in the main product details and upload App screenshots. The Android system also requires that all applications must be digitally signed with a certificate before they can be installed. For more information, please refer to the Android developer site. When you create your first version, you can configure Play app signing to determine whether your app uses a Google-generated app signing key or your The chosen app signing key.

When launching the Google Play App, you can choose from “Internal Testing” (you can have up to 100 testers test your app to troubleshoot issues and gather early feedback from your team), “Closed Testing” (you can invite more A large number of people participate in the test, developers can create a list of testers by email address. A total of 20 lists can be created, each list can contain up to 2000 users) and “open testing” (any user can Participate in your tests on Google Play. Users can provide feedback, but their feedback will not affect your public rating). After testing by yourself, there is no problem, you can directly advance to the formal environment, of course, you can also gradually advance from internal to closed to open.

The review of the official version of Google Play generally takes about three working days.

Mobile App Handover and Subsequent Maintenance

For outsourced projects, after completing the development of the project, according to the customer’s requirements, the development company will carry out the follow-up handover:

Handover project: After acceptance, the development team will hand over relevant documents, codes and account passwords. Next, the customer’s team needs to complete the daily maintenance of the App and related background, including the update of the code and API interface files, the upgrade of the security software, the maintenance of software failures, and the subsequent function development. During the warranty period, outsourced companies usually provide maintenance services free of charge.

Maintenance service: Many outsourcing companies will provide corresponding maintenance services, and their engineers will perform software related upgrades and compatibility tests, and cooperate with customers’ next development needs. For companies without in-house engineers, choosing a development company for maintenance work can ensure smooth use of the app and further performance optimisation.

Mobile App Development Methods

There are three common iOS/Android development methods and the prices are sorted from low to high:

White-label Solutions

Some development companies have their own solutions, and users can use their own Logo, product pictures and descriptions. In addition, the existing functions and subsequent development of the App are determined by the development company, and the user’s customised needs for products will not be satisfied. .

  • Advantages: The price is extremely cheap, you can even rent it monthly or try it out, and you can go online quickly
  • Disadvantages: Weak custom development ability, member information cannot be taken away by platform monopoly, need to find other manufacturers after performance growth, which is equal to the cost of paying twice

Outsourced Studio or Freelance

There are many platforms on the market that can hire freelancers and outsourcing companies. The more famous ones in Hong Kong are Freelancer, Upwork, Hellotoby and other three platforms.

  • Advantages: Slightly cheaper and customisable.
  • Disadvantages: Cases are prone to delays or cannot be completed, because the platform is not responsible for the work of freelancers, there will be no way to seek compensation and finally the app cannot be successfully launched.

Full-time Design and Development Company

This type of manufacturer specialises in customised development for customers, and the quotation is not necessarily more expensive. Everything is quoted according to customer needs, and the flexibility to adjust to customer needs is very large, and it is also more secure for subsequent maintenance. In particular, the company’s designers and engineers are complete, which can not only achieve the beauty of UI design but also ensure the quality of development.

  • Advantages: Customised development, quotation according to demand, and follow-up maintenance is also guaranteed.
  • Disadvantages: slightly expensive, UI interface design ability depends on the design ability of each company

Mobile App Development Technology

Mobile App development techniques are roughly divided into three categories:


Native App Development

Native Apps are developed with the development methods provided by the operating system manufacturers themselves. The following development styles fall into this category:

  • Develop with Xcode & Objective-C / Swift, and directly put on the iOS App on the App Store or Mac App Store.
  • Develop with Android Studio & Java / Kotlin or Eclipse, and put it on the Android App on Google Play (or not, directly execute the apk file installation).
  • Developed with Visual Studio & C / C++ / C# / VB.NET / HTML5 + Java Script, put on Windows Mobile Store or Windows Store App in Windows Store.

Native App has the advantages of fast execution speed and good performance. And the native App has better support for hardware devices, and can apply almost all functions on the hardware. For example: camera functions, GPS geolocation, speedometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, etc.

It can be listed on the official online store and set whether people who download the app will pay to earn fees. When using the installed app, there is no need to open a browser and enter a URL. Native apps are suitable for programs that require extremely fast response and high security requirements, complex animations, games, etc.

Web App Development

Web App are developed with:

  • Front-end web pages are made using web standard technologies such as HTML / XHTML / HTML5 + CSS + Java Script.
  • The backend is developed using programming languages ​​such as PHP, ASP.NET, JSP, Ruby on Rails, etc., and links to databases or other data sources.
  • Execute after entering the URL through the browser.

Usually on different devices, Web Apps only need to be developed with the same front-end web technology, and do not need to be developed with different programming languages. The Web App executes the test by simply entering the URL using the device’s browser. After the program is modified, it can be tested quickly. If there is any function update, it only needs to be modified on the back-end website host, and users do not need to download, install or upgrade again. There is no need to pay the official developer annual fee, and there is no need to go to the official app store, review or let the official take. 

But, the execution speed of the Web App is not as fast as that of the native application, the support for the hardware device is not good, and many functions on the hardware may not be available.

In addition, Web App relies on browsers to execute, and there are many types of browsers, and their support for web technology is also somewhat different. Although most of them can be executed, the UI screen is different and easy to achieve consistency, and some functions need to be implemented for different browsers. different treatments. Also, in the state of network disconnection, the Web App will not be able to continue to operate at all. (Unless offline support is developed at the time of development).

Hybrid App Development

Hybrid app development here refers to the practice of developing client-side programs in the form of web apps in general, but can finally be packaged and put on the app store like native apps. The following are the development and execution modes of general hybrid apps:

  • The front end is made with web standard technologies such as HTML/XHTML/HTML5 + CSS + Java Script.
  • Interact with mobile hardware devices through framework tools such as PhoneGap, or add some native programs and package them into native App shells.
  • Put it on the app store for people to download and execute.

Just like a Web App, the front-end operation interface can be done using a unified web technology (HTML5 is recommended), which can span multiple device platforms without having to maintain multiple programming language versions for different devices. There are framework tools that allow hybrid apps to control hardware devices like native apps (camera functions, GPS geolocation, speedometer, magnetometer, etc.). It can be listed on the official online app store and set whether people who download the app have to pay to earn fees. When using the installed app, there is no need to open a browser and enter a URL.

In the hybrid App development method, different devices may still need to be compiled and packaged separately through different development tools before functional testing can be performed. Its support for hardware devices is still not as good as native apps. If the app program is updated, it needs to be re-launched and reviewed, and users must also update or re-download in order to use the new functions. For functions or games that require more complex computing, using the hybrid app development method may still not be as efficient as native apps.

Ending: What is the Easiest Way to Build an App

There are many different approach to develop a mobile app based on the requirement and the use case, if we make the wrong choice, we may end up with an app with low performance and full of security issue, which will be rejected by the app store for not able to meet the user experience standards. This is particularly challenging for individuals and companies that are not familiar with the app development process.

UXlicious can provide you with comprehensive end-to-end customised App development for all kinds of mobile applications from min-games, lucky draw, loyalty program to enterprise business applications. The team of our IOS, Android and system engineers, UX/UI designers and product managers have all the expertise and skillsets you need to help you through the development process so your mobile app can help you acquire more customers, increase sales and represent your company’s professional images.

Takeaways About Mobile App Development


  1. Understand the customer's needs and proposes a rough solution and preliminary quotation for the project;
  2. Formulate the relevant mobile application development plan and determines the third party service needed in the development;
  3. Design appropriate App UI interface diagram considering the key metrics and conduct a series of UX research to ensure users can navigate through the flows;
  4. Develop mobile App: The engineers start to develop the App and conduct tests;
  5. Complete user acceptance test (UAT) and fix user raised improvements;

To ensure a mobile app and its backend system function smooth, meets security standard and continue to meet and succeed customer requirement, the engineers needs to perform software related upgrades and compatibility tests, and cooperate with customers’ next development needs. For companies without in-house engineers, choosing a development company for maintenance work can ensure smooth use of the app and further performance optimisation.

App development techniques are roughly divided into three categories:

  1. Native Apps which are developed with the development methods provided by the operating system manufacturers themselves (Xcode, Objective-C for iOS and Android Studio, Java,  Kotlin, Eclipse for Android)
  2. Web App which are developed with front-end web technologies wuch as HTML and backend languages such as PHP, Node JS,Ruby on Rails, etc;
  3. Hybrid app refers to the practice of developing client-side programs in the form of web apps in general, but can finally be packaged and put on the app store like native apps

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