If you have a great business idea but, at the same time, never dealt with software development before, this can be a real challenge for you. Specifically, one of the main problems in this situation is the lack of understanding of what has to precede the development process itself. That is why we decided to provide you with a small discovery phase guide based on a particular example – launching the scavenger hunt application that turns everyday environments into thrilling quests. In this article, we’d like to provide you with a complete picture of how you need to properly prepare to pass the way from the idea to the first results in a real application.
7 Steps You Should Take Before Developing Your Project
So, what are these essential steps of your project discovery phase? Let's find out right now.
Define your project goals
To maximize the chances of success of your project, you will need to decide on its goals and objectives that would be valuable to its target audience. Using a scavenger hunt app as an example, your goal may be to unite like-minded people who want to diversify their routine lives with adventures through outdoor quests.
Conduct marketing research
You need to understand whether there are competitors in your niche and what you can offer your audience to stand out from them. In particular, you should determine your competitors’ advantages and disadvantages and also find out what considerations guide your audience when choosing a particular application. You should also describe your audience – in the context of the above application, these will be families, organizers of entertainment events, as well as lovers of active leisure.
Develop user personas and user experience maps
Once you have a rough idea of who your end users will be, you'll need to start creating their personas. In a nutshell, a user persona is a card with demographic data, interests, pain points, needs, and preferences of a collective image of your TA representative. Usually, there are several such portraits — in the context of the application we mentioned above, there will be three of them (families, event organizers, and lovers of active entertainment). In addition, you will also need to develop user experience maps that will step-by-step display typical scenarios for how these average users interact with your application.
Determine the highest priority functionality
Next, you should correctly prioritize the functionality of your future solution, highlighting its key and minor features. For example, the main features of the quest application include a user authorization and authentication form, a user interface with an interactive map, dynamic tips, and a table displaying the progress of other quest participants. These features will form a minimum viable product (MVP), a solution with a concise set of features that you can quickly launch on the market to get feedback from the target audience and, based on these insights, develop it into a full-fledged application.
Decide on a technology stack
With an understanding of what features have to be presented in your app, you can choose the best technologies and tools to implement each of them. Typically, if your application is not tied to the unique specifics of a particular mobile platform, cross-platform frameworks like React Native or Flutter can be chosen as a basis – this approach allows you to reach as many percent of your target audience as possible and, at the same time, reach cost-efficiency.
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Get started creating templates and prototypes
At this pre-development step, you have to start developing wireframes – the screens of your software that display its main components and their location. Over time, you can refine them based on feedback from stakeholders, gradually switching to hi-fi app prototyping.
Conduct focus group testing
After your prototypes are finalized, you can begin prototype testing in focus groups to get feedback. This will help you identify unobvious flaws in your solution and eliminate them before full-scale development begins. Using the example of the quest application, this could be optimizing gamification elements, as well as simplifying interaction with the integrative map.
In summary, we would like to once again emphasize the importance of comprehensive preparation for the development of your project, as this process lays a solid foundation for the future success of the application. If you are looking for a team that will guide you through the entire life cycle of your digital solution, taking on all the difficulties and challenges, feel free to contact us.
Why is a pre-development discovery phase essential for a software project?
The pre-development discovery phase is crucial as it lays the groundwork for success. It helps define project goals, understand the market, create user personas, prioritize functionality, choose the right technology stack, and conduct testing. This comprehensive preparation ensures a solid foundation for the app's future development and success.
What is the significance of conducting marketing research during the pre-development phase?
Conducting marketing research is vital to understand competitors, differentiate your app, and identify your audience's considerations. By analyzing competitors' strengths and weaknesses, you can tailor your app to stand out. Knowing your audience allows you to create user personas and better cater to their needs, increasing the chances of your app's success.
How do user personas and user experience maps contribute to app development?
User personas provide a detailed representation of your target audience, including demographics, interests, pain points, and preferences. User experience maps illustrate how users interact with your app. Together, they guide the development process by ensuring the app aligns with user expectations, resulting in a more user-friendly and engaging product.
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