The goal of the entire web application development process is to get software that can be accessed by users from any device and through any web browser. Web apps are gaining popularity very fast because unlike native apps, they do not require downloads and thus do not take up space in the memory of the device. Before we move on to discuss the step-by-step process of designing dedicated web applications, let’s take a look at how this type of software differs from other web services.
Dedicated web applications vs. website and native software
We often confuse web apps with websites or native mobile apps. However, they are not the same thing. A website is a collection of pages, usually built in HTML and CSS, hosted on a server. Its purpose is to present information to the user, who can browse through the pages using hyperlinks. A native application, on the other hand, is software that requires downloading to a mobile or desktop device.
A web application has the features of both a website and native software. The software is hosted on a server and accessed through a web browser. The database is stored in the cloud and once you log in, you can access it from any device, which is extremely convenient. In practice, web applications are very often part of a website.
Why create web applications?
Web applications have many advantages. First of all, as already mentioned, no installation is required for them: thus, users can access them immediately and easily share them with others thanks to a URL. All that is needed to use them is internet access and a device with a web browser.
The web application can also be easily developed. Again, with a native app, the user needs to run updates regularly. Failure to do so prevents the use of the latest software features and negatively affects data security. In web-based solutions, updates are done server-side: all users benefit, without having to download them first. Importantly, web applications do not require separate versions for Android and iOS. So, if you are going to implement software in your company, choosing this type of solution can be a source of significant savings.
There is no doubt that web applications have many advantages, both on the side of the user and the developer. However, their creation is a time-consuming and expensive process, so it is worth knowing how the design and development should proceed in order to make the whole undertaking profitable.
Designing dedicated web applications step by step
In order to create software that will win the hearts of users and that will be compatible with your business needs, it is necessary to properly organize the entire application development process. There are many aspects that need to be taken care of at each stage in order to successfully turn an idea for an application into useful software.
Concept of application development
Web applications cover a very broad functional spectrum: from messaging to scheduling online meetings to supporting B2B relationships. It is impossible to cite all types of web applications. Therefore, before starting to design an application, it is worth thinking about its concept. First of all, you should answer the question: why do you need a web application?
Knowing this, you will be able to develop a specifications, which is the basis of a successful web project. In it, indicate the priority and secondary objectives of the future application, plan the application support, user permissions, or interface characteristics. The specification allows you to later choose the appropriate technology and estimate the budget you need to spend on the implementation of the entire project.
Step 1: Market Analysis
Unfortunately, application demand analysis is often overlooked even though it is an important step in the web application design process. Once software development begins, it is important to make sure that the concept idea is feasible and that users will be interested in utilizing it. This is when market analysis comes into play.
It will help you verify your assumptions, assess the needs of future users of the application, and thus estimate the demand for the application without creating it first. You can use many available tools for this purpose, including Google Trends, through which you will learn the relative popularity of searches for a given phrase in Google. It’s also a good idea to look at your competitors’ products at this stage. Pay attention to anything that is missing from them and what makes them different. Based on the analysis, you will be able to clearly define the market need that the application should satisfy.
Step 2: Create a prototype of your application (UX Design)
Prototyping is the entirety of tasks that focus on the UX Design of a future application. A prototype outlines the layout, screens, and user path of an application. The task of prototyping is not to present the exact placement of all interaction elements, color scheme and expected visual effects. We are not talking about design here, but about mockups. It is therefore a functional, not an aesthetic task. The prototype should include a description of the application’s interactions. In other words, it should explain from the technical point of view, for example, how the transition from one screen to another will take place or what will be displayed on the screen after clicking a given button.
At this stage, you can already run the first tests and see how users perceive your web application. This feedback is very valuable, as it will allow you to make possible improvements to make the software as intuitive as possible.
Step 3: User Interface (UI Design)
Once the prototype is developed, you can move on to creating the interface. This is the graphic design that presents the visual layer of the future web application. It consists of color palettes, fonts, images and other elements that the user interacts with in the web application. It is important that all graphic elements are consistent with each other, both aesthetically and functionally.
If you are designing an application for your business, make sure that its layout is consistent with the visual identity of your brand. The most important task of UI designers is to create an attractive and aesthetically pleasing interface, which should be designed with the best possible experience of future users in mind.
Step 4: Programming the web application
In fact, it is only at this stage that you can start programming the application. Before that, however, important technical decisions need to be made. You will have to choose the right framework, libraries and platforms to develop your web application. There are many dedicated tools available on the market, so it is not worth limiting yourself to one solution. Choose a combination of technologies that will best suit the nature of the application and the expected functionality.
Completed application programming and further software development
The creation of an application and its implementation does not mean the end of the work. In order for the investment to be successful, it is necessary to regularly maintain and update the web solution based on feedback from user interactions. This way you can successively improve its performance and user experience. Besides, regular maintenance and updates are absolutely essential to keep the application secure, running smoothly and engaging new customers.
There is no doubt that every phase of the web application building cycle is important. We hope that this short guide has given you a better understanding of the entire process of designing and developing web solutions. Of course, we have extracted the above stages based on our experience and depending on your choice of technology partner, your workflow may vary slightly. However, the essence remains the same. If you need innovative software for your company – feel free to contact us. We will create a web application, CRM or ERP system that will support the implementation of your business objectives.
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