7 stages to developing web applications

by Andy Jones ,
June 22, 2021
Custom Software Development, Web Application Development

Creating the app of your dreams isn’t something that happens at the click of your fingers.

Building a web application and moving through the stages of web app development is an incremental process involving everything from brainstorming the concept to building the functionality and maintaining it post-launch.

With 1.18 billion websites in the world, web apps offer organisations an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by offering a highly interactive experience with features and functions that traditional web applications lack.

However, to get the most out of your web application, it’s important to understand the app development process to avoid any unexpected surprises during the app’s production and ensure that you make an engaging end product for your users.

Below, we’re going to look at the seven stages of web app development that you’ll need to complete to develop the perfect app.

The seven stages of web app development:

1. Create a concept

The first step of the process is to think about the type of web app you want to produce for your users. The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to answer some key questions about your app, such as the following:

  • What type of app do you want to build?
  • Who are your target audience?
  • What pain points is your app going to solve for your users?
  • What are your goals for the app?
  • What’s your plan to make sure your target audience knows about your app? (Optional)

Answering these questions will give you an idea of what type of solution you’re going to bring to the market and what types of pain points your app is going to address and will provide you with a valuable reference point you can use during future stages.

2. Conduct market research

After creating an initial concept, it’s time to start researching the market to see what other competing web apps are in the market. Identifying competing apps in the market is important for verifying that there’s a market for your app and if any other similar apps exist.

You can do this by searching Google for competing apps, searching for trademarks, hiring a market research consultant to study the market on your behalf. Once you’ve identified competitors, try to gather information on their revenue and how they’re monetising their apps.

If there are too many competing apps with similar features, it’s going to be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Likewise, if there are no apps that would be competing with your app, then that may be because there’s no market for it.

3. Start planning

Planning is one of the most underrated stages of web app development, as it’s the stage where you can determine a strategy to deliver your app to your customers. During this stage of the process, your developers will start building sitemaps that will plot out the basic structure of your site and how it will function.

The most important element of this stage is defining the features and functionality your web app will have. This can be as simple as creating a list of features that you want your web app to have.

How long the planning phase takes depends on the complexity of the application and the complexity of the features you want it to have. Typically, the process takes anywhere between a minimum of two weeks to over a month.

4. Design the web app’s UX

The next step is to start creating the web app’s design and user experience, and draft up the UI elements of the app. In practice, that means creating wireframe outlines, deciding on the colour scheme, visual layout, and navigation options that will guide the user experience.

This can be done by sketching the elements on paper or by using digital sketch tools like Balsamiq or Mockitt and by collaborating on designs via tools like Adobe XD and Figma.

Creating preliminary designs of the app’s UX will enable you to assess how user-friendly your app is, and help you pinpoint what design choices would improve the overall user experience, and create multiple iterations of the UX.

5. Start development

Once you have an idea of what the app will look like, it’s time to decide what frameworks and technologies you’re going to use to build the front-end and back-end of the application. Some of these technologies are listed below:

  • Front-end – Technologies that will deliver the visual representation of your app on the client-side include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Back-end – Technologies that will enable the app to function on the server-side, including frameworks, databases, web servers, operating systems, and languages such as Python, PHP, Ruby, C#, C++, GO, Java, and Perl

The stack of technologies you choose is completely down to your needs and what functions your web app provides. Your developers will be able to advise you on what technologies will enable you to meet your goals.

Once you’ve decided what tools and frameworks you’re going to use to build your app, your developers will begin coding.

6. Test the application

Testing is one of the last pre-launch stages of web app development, where it’s time to examine whether your app’s functions work as they should before the app’s released to the public.

During the testing process, you’ll need to test the functionality, usability, accessibility, performance, security, and compatibility of the site. Thorough QA testing will make sure there are no bugs or errors that will adversely affect the user experience or put user information at risk.

Things you should test include the following:

  • The functionality of core features
  • Web forms
  • Hyperlinks
  • Buttons
  • Transitions
  • General performance

7. Launch the app and begin post-launch maintenance

Once you’ve created your app, your customers will be free to interact with your final product. However, to ensure they enjoy a compelling user experience, you’ll need to have your team of developers ready to conduct ongoing maintenance.

That means listening to user feedback, deploying regular bug fixes, optimising performance, and periodically adding new features to increase engagement. Post-launch maintenance is critical for making sure that you get long-term value out of the app and provide an experience that keeps users engaged.

Break development down into bite-sized chunks

Building an application may seem daunting at first, but if you break it down into manageable steps, you can make the development process much simpler and straightforward.

Having an understanding of the stages of web app development and moving through them step-by-step will put you in a position to develop an app with a truly engaging user experience.

Need help building the web application of your dreams? Here at Make IT Simple, we’ve been building web applications for amazing clients for over 15 years! Contact us to find out more and what we can do for you now…

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