Designing a web app should not be that difficult but to come up with something that your consumers love is definitely a challenge. According to several studies conducted over the past 2 years, web app usage has grown from 36% in December 2020 to an impressive 57% in one year. There are more users on web apps overall. Close to 54% of internet users use some kind of web app either for their retail purchases or entertainment purposes.
The biggest reason for this massive change in the taste of your audience is that websites and web apps have become more popular. They have a lot more functionalities that combine the features of websites and mobile apps. You need something like that too. Something that can drive consumer growth, engage them for longer, and bring in more revenue!
You also need to make sure that it is highly relevant to your users. You need to come up with a multi-channel web app that is responsive, attractive, can be used across a variety of devices, and has a lot of utility for your users. Let’s have a look at the process you should follow when trying to build a web app that you can be completely proud of. Let’s begin:
1. The Conception Stage Of Web App
Come Up With An Idea
People say that you should think out of the box. Let’s abandon the box completely and come up with a unique idea that can be easily implemented and has a lot of value for your customers as well. You should be able to solve some of their biggest pain points with this idea. You can come up with raw and unproven ideas as well that can be filtered and short-listed later. Brainstorming begins right at this step but if you are not capable of it, you can always ask your friends to pool in a few ideas of their own.
Do Your Market Research
Still missing the idea? Why not begin with proper market research? Understand what your users are looking for. Try to find out what they seek in a product, specifically a web application. Compare your offering or any potential idea that you might have with the products that are already available in the market. Try to find out what exactly it is that you do differently. Assess how much your prospects will be willing to shell out from their pocket for a paid version of your app.
Plan Your Key Functionalities
Now comes the more critical step. There are a few must-have features of a web application that you cannot compromise on. Then there are the features that it should have if you want it to stand apart from the market. Then there are aspects and special additions that your application could have. These are not mandatory but they are certainly going to make your web app special.
2. Designing The User Experience and Interface
The user interface of your web-based application has to be very easy, smooth, and relatable. The fonts, their placement, the color palette, and the overall design should be impressive and inviting. It is essential to create a user interface that is aesthetically pleasing for your user.
Then comes the user experience which can be altered and modified at different stages of app development. Being useful is what matters the most to your users. In addition to this, your web app should be easily accessible, findable, valuable, and desirable. It should have beautiful animations, minimalistic menus, detailed and easy-to-understand labels, and a smooth interface that does away with data limitations and hardware configuration.
You will also have to invest your time and effort in your user journey map. This is the visualization that can help you understand the use of the web app over time. It lets you understand how your user uses your app and where he spends most of the time while he is connected to you. What challenges your users face and what design components they prefer the most can also be analyzed with this user journey map.
So, you have decided to create a different version of your existing web app. You must have a wireframe for the same. This is a digital and simplified visual concept that lays down the structure, hierarchy, and relationship that exists within your future application. All the elements that make up your product or connected with these wires. Your app wireframe is a draft of sorts that explains to you what the backend and front end of your application are going to look like.
As you come up with a prototype, you will have to make it as close as possible to the actual thing that you would want to put out on the market. The prototype should have all the features that you want in the final app. It should have the necessary experience, value, interactivity, and enhanced elements in addition to beautiful aesthetics and functionality.
Visual Attractiveness and Design
The visual design of your prototype should never be compromised. Whether it is a mobile app or a web app, it is never a good idea to ignore its aesthetics and overall presentability. When you are planning a web application, do not forget the “look and feel” factor along with usability and functionality that add to the overall user experience of your application.
3. Development Stage – Let’s Get Serious
The Front End
Now, this is where the real action happens. This is like the engine that is going to carry your app forward. There are varied types of backend technologies that you can use – but the basic elements include (a) a web-server that will run your application code and serve webpages based on users’ requests, (b) a server-side programming language that processes data and provides functional features that you want to offer your users, and (c) a database to store all the data. So a backend server stack may comprise of –
Framework:- Data libraries, general functionalities
Server-Side Languages:- Python, PHP, Ruby, Java, and C++
Database:- My SQL, MongoDB
Web Server:- Apache, Nginx, IIS
Operating System:- Windows, Mac OS, Linux, IOS, Android
Pay Attention To Developing Your Front End
When we talk about the front end, it means client-side application development. This is where all the interaction happens between your user and the web application and the playground is the web browser. The most popular front-end frameworks that you can rely upon are Bootstrap, Foundation, and a few other frameworks that include React, Angular, and Vue.
Backend Development Of Web App
Your backend development process comprises the database, the server, and the actual code of the web application. You must decide whether it is going to be a multiple-page application which is the traditional web app or a single-page application that interacts with your user by rewriting the current page dynamically rather than loading a totally different page with every single request of your user.
Front End And Back End Integration
How can you forget API integration? This helps connect your front end with the back end. It facilitates the easy exchange of data. The biggest example is that of eCommerce platforms. The customer goes through a comprehensive journey that involves API integration between the front and back end. This is necessary for user login, maintaining product inventory, the passageway to the payment gateway, payment processing, and a lot more.
4. The Final Launch of Web App
Testing Your Dream Web App
This is the culmination of your hard work. It is the fruit of your labor and your creativity. But it is incomplete without testing. The biggest hallmark of a responsive and feature-packed application is the test results during and after the development process. Testing your app allows for the identification of any unexpected conditions that can render it dysfunctional or erroneous. The testing process actually begins right at the beginning when the app is capable of a few certain functions. Make sure to incorporate user-specific feedback as you make iterations with your web app.
Hosting Your Web App
Now comes the time to host your web application. You can make it available through the cloud. This allows for instant access no matter where your users are located. Some of the most popular cloud hosting platforms include Google Cloud, MS Azure, and Amazon.
Deploy Your Web App
This is the final step. This is where you deploy your web app. The moment you choose your cloud hosting provider, make sure to not delay the deployment. If you go with Agile and DevOps principles, deployment is never going to be a singular or isolated step. It is going to be a continuous process. You will have to keep on refining your application as you roll out various versions of it. You will have to keep in mind the feedback of your customers and ensure constant improvements and iterations throughout its deployment.
Remember, apart from your dedication and ambition, the most important thing that will help you come up with a fantastic web app is your market research. Whether it is the design of the web app or its development stage, every part of web-based app development must be done while keeping the needs and pain points of your customers in mind. Look for the best web development company that has the most relevant and current technology stack with them. Do not settle for anything but top-notch. This is the only way to create a web app that you can be really proud of.
(Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Zapbuild)
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