1. Gathering Information and Initial Discussion
This is often times the most crucial part of the whole process, as it will dictate how the subsequent steps will look like. It is important to have a clear understanding of what purpose your future web app will fulfill, the main goals you wish to achieve and what audience you want to target. To clear this stage you will most likely need to have answers for the following questions:
- 1. What problems should the application solve?
- 2. How will users interact with the application?
- 3. Why does the application need to be built?
- 4. Who are the main competitors and how does your idea fit in the market?
- 5. Who is the target audience that you want using your application?
Once an asnwer has been found to the above questions, only then can you move forward to the next stage.
At this point in the development lifecycle, the developers create the data that will allow the customer to judge how the application will look like. It is best to create a sitemap that describes how the main areas of your web application will function with one another. This will help with understanding how the users will interact with the final product and how easy it will be for them to find the required information or service when they start using the application.
The sitemap gives insight into the inner structure of the web app but it doesn’t go into full detail about the user interface. At this stage, various mock-ups or wireframes will be created, which are visual representations of the user interface. It does not contain any functionalities or design elements, but rather only describes the elements used and how they will fit in the page.
Lats but certainly not least is to select the development stack – programming language, CMS frameworks that will be used.
3. Design: Page Layouts, Review, and Approval Cycle
During the design phase, your webs app takes shape. All the visual content, such as images, photos, and videos is created at this step. Once again, all the info that was gathered through the first phase is crucial. The customer and target audience must be kept in mind while you work on a design.
The web app layout is the result of a designer’s work. It can be a graphic sketch or an actual graphic design. The primary function of the layout is to represent the information structure, visualize the content, and demonstrate the basic functionality. Layouts contain colors, logos, images and can give a general understanding of the future product.
After that, the customer can review the layout and send his feedback. If the client is not sure about some aspects of your design, you should change the layout and send it back to him. This cycle should be repeated until the customer is completely satisfied.
4. Content Writing and Assembly
Content writing and compiling usually overlaps with other stages of web app creation, and its role can’t be underestimated. At this step, it is necessary to put in writing the very essence you’d like to communicate to the audience of your web app and add calls-to-action. Content writing also involves the creation of catching headlines, text editing, writing new text, compiling the existing text, etc., which takes time and effort.
At this step, you can finally start creating the web app itself. Graphic elements that have been designed during the previous stages should be used to create an actual web app. Usually, the home page is created first, and then all sub-pages are added, according to the web app hierarchy that was previously created in the form of a sitemap. Frameworks and CMS should be implemented to make sure that the server can handle the installation and set-up smoothly.
All static web page elements that were designed during the mock-up and layout creation should be created and tested. Then, special features and interactivity should be added. A deep understanding of every web app development technology that you’re going to use is crucial at this phase.
When you use CMS for site creation, you can also install CMS plugins at this step if there’s a need. The other important step is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is the optimization of webs app elements ( e.g., title, description, keyword) that can help your app achieve higher rankings in the search engines. And, once again, valid code is pretty important for SEO.
6. Testing, Review, and Launch
Testing is probably the most routine part of a process. Every single link should be tested to make sure that there are no broken ones among them. You should check every form, every script, run a spell-checking software to find possible typos. Use code validators to check if your code follows the current web standards. Valid code is necessary, for example, if cross-browser compatibility is crucial for you.
After you check and re-check your web app, it’s time to upload it to a server. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software is used for that purpose. After you deployed the files, you should run yet another, final test to be sure that all your files have been installed correctly.
7. Maintenance: Opinion Monitoring and Regular Updating
What’s important to remember is that a webs app is more of a service than a product. It’s not enough to “deliver” a web app to a user. You should also make sure that everything works fine, and everybody is satisfied and always be prepared to make changes in another case.
Feedback system added to the site will allow you to detect possible problems the end-users face. The highest priority task, in this case, is to fix the problem as fast as you can. If you won’t, you may find one day that your users prefer to use another web app rather than put up with the inconvenience.
The other important thing is keeping your web app up to date. If you use a CMS, regular updates will prevent you from bugs and decrease security risks.
You should always keep in mind that the web app development project doesn’t start with coding and doesn’t end after the day you finally launch your web app. The phase of preparation affects all subsequent stages, defining how productive the development process will be. A profound and in-depth discovery of such aspects like age, sex, and interests of your end-user may become the key to success. The post-launch period is rather significant. Your project should be agile and flexible enough to have a possibility to change your web app according to users’ feedback or spirit of the time. Keeping in mind that there’s no such thing as insignificant web development phase will prevent you from unexpected troubles and give you confidence that everything flows as it should, and you have full control over the project.