12 Steps to Publishing Your Mobile App - Apps: Beginner's Guide For App Programming, App Development, App Design (2015)

Apps: Beginner's Guide For App Programming, App Development, App Design (2015)

Chapter 3. 12 Steps to Publishing Your Mobile App

The following 12 steps will give you an overview of the route you need to take, to go from thinking about your idea to actually publishing it. The development tools themselves contain all the help and information you need to build your app so I will not go into any details here.

Define Your Goal

That idea you woke up with this morning is your starting point. However, before you get into the nitty gritty of actually doing something with it, you need to be able to define the mission your mobile app has, what its purpose is. What will it do? What problems is it going to solve? Will it make a part of life better? Which bit?

These are all questions that you need to answer in order to move forward with your idea. Perhaps the most important part is determining what problem your app is going to solve. This is a basic rule of business – the idea is that your app has to help a target market to do something that is going to make their lives easier.

If you haven’t yet thought of an idea for your app now is a good time to do that. So, take a pen and paper and start brainstorming. What are the problems you want to solve? Think about your own life first, and what parts of it could be solved with an app. It doesn’t matter if it’s a huge problem or a tiny little one; make a list of every single problem you can think of. If you can’t think of anything, make sure you have a pen and pepper with you at all times and, as you go through the course of a normal day, be more observant. Note down any problems that come screaming out at you. Not just yours either – think about the people around you. Ask them if there is anything they think an app could help them with. Listen to conversations going on around you and concentrate on “problem keywords”:

· “I hate…”

· “This sucks/isn’t right/could be better”

· “I wish…”

Keep your ears open, you might be surprised at just how often you hear these words or others like them. A simple word with the people saying them will soon have your paper full of ideas that you could potentially solve with an app.

Start Drawing

By drawing out the ideas for the app, you are, in effect, laying down the foundation for the interface that will form part of your app. You need to visualize the features in your app, the layout and the structure. These are just approximations at this stage, something that you can work with later on down the line.

Some of the most important developers in the world place most of the importance of an app on the design. It is, without a doubt, the most crucial part. Have a wander through the app stores and look at the sheer numbers of apps. Do you ever wonder why lots of them fail? I’ll tell you – design. Think about this scenario:

There are two apps, both priced the same, both have the same function and the same extra features. To all intents and purposes, they could be clones of one another. Except of on thing – one of the apps has a design look that is inconsistent and messy while the other flows well, is sleek, clean and easy to use. Which one are you going to choose? The same as everyone else – the good-looking one. It doesn’t even matter if the features aren’t up to standard of the former app; because it looks good, people will buy it.

When we talk about design though, we are not just talking about how it looks but also how it feels. You need to remember that the interface you are designing is what people use to interact with your app. You might have some fantastic features in it but if people can’t use them properly then it’s all been a waste of time.

You also need to keep in mind that each different platform has their own methods and presentations but the principles of design remain pretty much the same – they must have usability. If your audience can’t use or play your app, it will fail; it’s as simple as that. You don’t actually get to decide if your app has usability or not – the consumers get that job and it’s what they think that you have to worry about.

One way to make your apps more usable is though a good interface design. Use colors intelligently to make different parts stand out; add in intuitive controls; don’t put too much on each screen; don’t go overboard with fancy fonts and colors. These are just some of the things you have to think about to make your app more usable.

iOS Apps

When it comes to designing an iOS app, Apple provides lots of different custom templates. However, these are only for apps that are not games. Apple provides all of the tools you need to get your idea into reality with the right design, quickly and easily. However, while it may be convenient to use a template, you should try to code from scratch, its good practice. Again, Apple provides a style guide for you to get some idea from and it can give you a lot of good ideas. Not only that, if you conform to the style guide, you will significantly raise your chances of the app passing Apple’s strict checking procedures for acceptance into the app store.


On the Android developer’s website, there is a page that gives you all the information you need to know about designing your app. It tells you what elements you need to include, and goes over the principles of designing an app. The page has been produced by the Android developer community, people who are doing this all day, very day and, when you are stuck on something, there really isn’t a better place to go for the answers.

As well as that, there is also an Android design ask that you can download, containing all the materials you need to get started on your design. That includes color swatches, stencils, icon packs and much more besides. This will save you a great deal of time and effort and will speed up the entire proves.


Windows Mobile is relatively new so you won’t find so much in the way of templates to use. However, on the Windows developer site, you will find a design guide that tells you all you need to know and gives lots of pointers to put you in the right direction.


Research is vital for developing an app, and you need to research the following four areas:

Are there any other apps that do the same as yours?

Look for inspiration for the design of your app

Look for information on the technical requirements of your app

Find information on how to market your app and monetize it.

You might think that your idea is unique but you could find your hopes dashed in an instant. There are almost 2 million Android and iOS apps out there, not including the other platforms so it is going to be next to impossible to come up with a unique app. However, don’t let this stop you. You must focus your attention on your project and not all the other apps. Use those apps to give you ideas (but do not copy) and learn from their mistakes and the key features they put in them.

The technical aspects of your app are important. You need to find out exactly what they are and what you need to take into account when you are building the app. This will also give you some idea of whether your app will actually work or not form a technical viewpoint. You might find that it doesn’t but you will also find options for continuing but along a slightly different route. Include research on privacy and copyright.

Marketing and monetization ae the last two bits of research you need to do at this stage. Once you know your app can be built you, need to start thinking about how you are going to market it. It’s no good building an app if no one knows about it so, think about your niche and find out the best ways to target your audience; how to approach them and how to get the value of your app across. Then think about how your app is going to make money. Are you going to charge for the app? Will you give it away free but have ads on it? There are lots of ways you can make money off an app so give this considerable thought.

Wireframe and Storyboard

Now it’s time for your ideas to start coming together with the features you want to add in. Wireframing is a great way of bringing your ideas together into something that is easier to see. In short, a wireframe is a skeleton of the app, similar on a small scale to the blueprints of a building. It is the backbone of the app and it lays out the hierarchy, structure and the relationships between the elements that go into your app.

The idea is to focus on what the screen is doing and not what its looks like. You are not supposed to add in color or graphics to a wireframe, or any other styles and they are certainly not the end design. The process of designing a mobile app is a long one and wireframes are a great help in keeping you on track each step of the way, and help you to refine things later on.

How Long Does a Wireframe Last?

Wireframes must begin at a very early part of the process of designing your app but it must also continue throughout the process. It is a powerful and ongoing part that allows you to see your app building up bit by bit. It allows you to work out where everything fits together and, although it sounds like a long drawn out task, it actually isn’t. Before you try to create the first look and feel of your app, you should create a wireframe for each section. Every possibly way of interacting and every possible result must be planned our and designed so that your app works, no matter how it is used. The wireframe will last until your app is built.

Are wireframes meant to show layout only?

Yes, in a word. A wireframe shows you whether your app will be usable by letting you see and move through each section. It guides you through a complete visualization of the app without the distraction of graphics and design that can draw your attention away from the core of the app. The more you are engaged in wireframing, the more ideas and concepts you will have, and the end result will be an intuitive app that is fully functional and user-friendly.

While you are at it, create a storyboard, a visual map that shows the connection between the screens and shows how the user can move through the app, laying out all possible scenarios.

Define the Back End of Your App

With your wireframes and your storyboard, you can now begin the task of building the back end of your app. Draw up a sketch of the servers, data diagrams and APIs. This is a good reference point for when you come to develop the app and also gives you an ongoing diagram that is self-explanatory for reference. If there are any evident technical limitations, modify your storyboard and wireframes accordingly.

Test out Your Prototype

Ask other people to take a look at your storyboard and wireframes, tell you what they think of it. Ask them to give the app a test and then ask them to provide honest feedback. You need to know if there are any flaws or dead ends that need to be fixed. Ask them to try out the prototype while you are there so that you can see how they use it; watch their actions and then modify your interface accordingly.

The goal here is to get as much done and done right before you move onto the full design process. Once you begin that, it will be a lot harder to shift things around so make it as clear as possible right from the start.

Build the Back End

Now that you have defined your app, it’s time to start building the back end. You will need to have several things set up – servers, APIs, databases and storage. One other thing you must do at this stage is sign up for a developer account with the platform you are designing for. It may take a few days for your account to be approved so don’t leave it until the last minute.

Design the Skins

Skins are the separate screens that you need for the app. Your job at this stage is to create the high-resolution versions of your wireframes. Now you must take into account all of the comments your prototype testers make because, after all, the idea is to build an app that your audience will use. Feedback from testers should help you to provide the perfect user interface.

Test it Again

Once the skins are complete, you need to test it again. What you’ve done so far may look pretty good but there is a long way to go. At this stage, your app concept will be in place for your testers to see, with all the graphics and the text, as you want it to be. Now you can test your app to see how it really feels and looks.

There are a couple of ways to test your app at this stage, using app testing software or people. Find a suitable one and import your designs in, with the right links so that the flow from screen to screen can be fully tested out. You can also use human testers as well.

Do not confuse this stage with the wireframing stage. That was about the framework for how the app would look and feel; this is all about the actual design and how it all works together

Revise and Keep Building

As soon as you have test driven your app and got more feedback, you can take on board the comments from the testers and use them to give your app more polishing. At this stage, there is still time to change the layout and thee is still time to make changes on the back end.

Refine it

As you go through the build process, you should be constantly looking at your app as each stage is developed. With Android, it is very easy to install the app on a mobile device to test it out in a live environment. iOS isn’t as easy as that – you will need to download a specific test platform that you download your app onto and test it out through each stage. This is the final step in the development process and you can use this to constantly monitor your app until it is complete and is ready for release.

Time for Release

When it comes to accepting apps into their stores, each platform has its own set of policies. Android will let your app straight into the app store without reviewing it, although they will get to it at some stage. Once again, iOS is different. Apple will not allow an app into their store until it has been tested and approved. They don’t set a timescale but expect it to be at least 7 days, most likely more, before you hear back from them with an answer.

You can submit your newly built app to a serve called PreApps. This allows you to reach out to those who like to be first to try out a new app and you can get some very early feedback on your brand new masterpiece.

So, those are the steps that you need to follow to be successful at building your app. I have not gone into details about how to write and code your app because that is a subject for another book and relies entirely upon the platform that you choose to use.