If there is one constant in the technology world, it is that there will always be change. From established companies working with a pivot to startups hoping to disrupt the industry, there is always something on the go. For better or worse, this constant change also includes the words we use to describe the work we do.
Take some sentences that are very close and dear to us ̵
It is perhaps best to think of it this way: typical app development is a crucial process that can sit in the broader process of digital product development. So at Ranch, we can, for example, develop an app for you as part of a larger digital product development process. You can also find companies that want just develop an app. Ready as mud, right? Don’t worry, we break it all down so you can decide which approach will work best for you and your ultimate business goals.
Digital product development vs application development
To get your own app up and running, you can hire a mobile app development company. But if you need a real partner throughout the process, digital product development is what you are looking for. But what do we mean by that?
To answer that question correctly, it is important to break down their processes.
An application is a group of different software running on a smartphone, computer, tablet or other mobile device. Usually they have a specific feature that is meant to enhance the user experience. App development is best divided into one of two categories:
- Mobile applications – The extensive use of smartphones has changed the way we interact, work and surf. Today, a mobile application is a must-have for almost all major companies. For that, they need native mobile apps aimed at a specific operating system. They can aim for either iOS app development or Android app development, or both.
Web and mobile app development not only ensures that the app is built according to plan, but that it is built Right road. This is made possible via the life cycle for the development of mobile applications, which consists of five main phases.
The five phases of app development
Although it depends on the company, the app and the developer, there are normally five important steps in the development of an app, whether it is a mobile app or an online app.
- The concept phase – Before an app begins web or mobile development, it is the first planning and concept phase. This phase is crucial for further success and involves a careful thought process to decide what you want to build, how it will be used, and how you can ensure that the building supports the organization’s strongest market position. Here at Big Nerd Ranch, we often refer to this stage as Discovery.
- Design phase – After all application requirements have been collected, analyzed and verified, the original app design is produced. This phase includes two servings. First, a prototype that gives the basic feel and function of what the web or mobile app will look like and how it will work. And then, the first iteration, or the first design that is passed on to the application programs.
- Development phase – Once the design is completed and the programming requirements are set, application programmers begin coding to expand it with both front-end and back-end coding segments (in a series of smooth sprints).
- Quality assurance – Each smooth sprint is followed by testing, revision and testing again when you fine-tune the app. Because this is a continuous process, the test is repeated several times. According to DevOps, in most cases the tests will include:
- Compatibility testing – Ensure that the app runs flawlessly on different devices and screen sizes.
- Interface testing – Confirms that navigation, menu and buttons work as expected.
- Device compatibility testing – Testing the app to see how it looks and works on different screen sizes.
- Testing of resources at a low level – Controls how the app works in poor conditions, such as low battery or slow internet connection.
- Safety testing – Ensure that app users’ privacy and data are secure, and that you comply with federal cybersecurity rules.
- Beta testing – To put the application in the hands of test users who have access to the app and then can give feedback.
Digital product development
App development is just a small part of the complete digital product development process. A digital product development team is closely involved in the various intricacies of your business, its business, marketplace and goals.
Many companies that work with digital product development companies have the basic idea, but need more guidance, direction and manpower. Typically, a company will choose to work with a digital product developer to:
- Uncover business problems and solutions – Often companies have some general ideas for design and a concept for the applications needed, but lack knowledge about how they can best achieve the final goals. A digital product development company will conduct an extensive discovery period, which will help get to the roots of the company’s pain points. From there, they can help develop digital product solutions.
- Cooperate Few companies have internal resources to design, develop, launch and then maintain a digital product. Or someone has an engineering team, but needs more expertise or guidance in a specific development area. Digital product development companies provide resources to fill in the gaps, while supporting and guiding the app development process from start to finish. Your complete partner team includes senior engineers, a UI / UX designer and dedicated project strategists to help guide your project through the process.
- Update a product – If you have an existing product that is dated and lags behind the competition, digital product development can optimize the existing code, develop new features or use the latest technologies to speed up the product.
Let us now dive into how that process actually plays out.
The digital product development process
The goal of digital product development is to create a useful program that benefits end users and provides value for your business. A well-thought-out designed and developed digital product has the opportunity to transform the company for the better.
While each company and product is unique, the process usually involves four overall steps.
Unlike app developers, digital product development companies are part of the journey from the very beginning. They can help you review what the project will require and whether your team is able to handle these requirements. The assessment will take into account both the needs of your app users and your company.
To do this, a design and code revision should be performed on your current system and planned product. This will help you see what it takes to reach your goals.
One of the ultimate goals of any digital product is to address the customer’s pain points. So before you start developing the app, you need to expand the concept by defining the desired products and features. A digital product developer helps you ask the right questions, for example:
- How will the product work?
- What problems will it solve?
- What do end users want from it?
- How do I ensure the best possible user experience?
The discovery process involves understanding both your business and users’ needs. Together, this survey helps you map the user experience and then compare the concept with existing apps in the competitive market. By doing this in advance, you can save both time and money. It lets you solve problems from the beginning, instead of letting them get stuck.
3. Product development
This brings us to the application development part of the process that we discussed above. In this phase, the work of design and development begins. Success is largely dependent on the quality of the information gathered in the fact-finding stages. A knowledgeable digital product developer will use the critical data to inform the entire process of developing web and mobile applications, which includes both prototyping and rigorous testing.
A modern company will use flexible iterative development, which means that the product is constantly evolving and adapting to changes. Neither scope, budget nor time is fixed, which results in a better end product.
4. A clear runway for success
You might think that once the product is developed, just send it to the app store or launch the website. However, the development process does not end there (although that is the point when many app developers bend).
Unlike app developers, digital product development companies understand that the process does not stop after development. A good company will guide you through the process of moving from Beta to the market and ensure that the launch to the app stores is seamless. At that time, bugs are hammered out, functionality added or updated, and the app is continuously improved until launch day.
Big Nerd Ranch – Your digital product development solution
While both app development and digital product development have some similarities, you get comprehensive digital product development services and coordination when working with a digital product development team.
At Big Nerd Ranch, our goal is not just to build you an app, it is to be your digital partner, it is to give you the opportunity to go to whole new heights. Our team of nerds can increase team production, strategically support your current infrastructure and build a fully designed digital product that is personally tailored to your business needs and consumer base.
Why work with a mobile app developer when you can get so much more out of a partnership with a digital product developer?
Dev Ops. Understand the life cycle of app development. https://devops.com/understanding-app-development-life-cycle/
Holly brings over 15 years of marketing, advertising and PR experience to the BNR Marketing team. In her role as Director of Marketing, Holly oversees everything from year-long campaigns to representing us at conferences – all in an effort to bring the good news about BNR to as many people as possible.