Here is a 15-step guide with tips to help you understand how web apps are developed, so you can create a web app that engages users and meets your business needs.
In the United States, people spend an average of 5.4 hours per day online, checking their emails, navigating social media, watching TV, and shopping on their phones.
In today’s world, consumers expect high performance, personalization, flexibility, security, and scalability across all online experiences. Access to technology and increased screen time have led to high expectations among consumers. You must meet these expectations as a web application development service provider, or you will remain behind.
Taking the 15 steps we outline below, you can create a web application that exceeds customer expectations.
Before we discuss its benefits, let’s first understand what a web application is:
Web applications: what are they?
Web apps can interact with various platforms, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, or desktop computers, since the user interacts with them via their browser.
Google Docs and Trello are web apps designed to work on any device and screen size.
Read this article to learn how a mobile app differs from a web app.
An advantage of web apps over mobile apps
- Users of any device can benefit from responsive designs
- A web app does not require a download since it is browser-based.
- Development and maintenance are less expensive, since they use common code and do not require the development of native apps.
- Due to the decreased development time and the ability to reach Android and Apple users, the time to market is faster. It is important to package and launch the apps separately even if you use cross-platform development. With a web app, you only have one job to do. A web app can be used by anyone once it is launched.
Furthermore, web apps can help turn casual users into engaged users by engaging them with the content and promoting the download of mobile apps.
Web applications types
- An example of a static web application would be a marketing landing page, which contains pre-rendered, cached content that does not offer personalization.
- The dynamic web application provides site visitors with the opportunity to change their page display almost instantly. This is achieved by generating code both server-side and client-side, making it possible for the display of the page to change in real-time each time they refresh the page. A blog is a good example of a dynamic web application.
- In eCommerce, an app manages the order, payment, and product databases in a browser-based environment. Even Amazon offers web and mobile apps.
- A portal web application provides users with access to related applications, services, and links. A typical example would be Google’s service offering, which includes search, email, and social services.
- An example of a content management system is WordPress.com, which allows users to publish blog posts and design content without having to know any technical skills.
- A progressive web app (PWA) is a website which behaves and resembles a mobile app. When you want to create a progressive web app, you need to take account of both mobile and web app development practices.
In order to create an app and deploy a plan that reflects today’s consumer needs, you must first understand the benefits and types of web apps available.
Here are 15 steps to building a web app in 2023
As a first step in new product development (NPD), it is always important to convert an idea into something that works. In order to build the right product and the right one, you need to stay user-centric, focused, enthusiastic, and flexible during the ideation stage of the product delivery lifecycle.
During the ideation stage, we develop ideas, research those ideas, and determine the core functions and differentiations of your app.
1. Ideas to source
You should focus on brainstorming sessions for solving customer problems, generating raw and unproven ideas that can later be shortlisted. Instead of generating foolproof ideas, this phase should focus on brainstorming sessions where solving customer problems is given priority.
If you identify and articulate the pain point (the problem) and the challenges users face, you can brainstorm products to solve those problems. This customer-problem-solving approach to brainstorming starts with the premise that everyone has problems.
2. Conduct a competitive and target market analysis
An essential part of the product development process is user research. The team needs to be able to understand the user, the problem they face, the scope of the issue (how many people are affected by it), and competitors’ solutions.
What you should read: Ensure Product-Market Fit and Problem-Solution Fit
Understanding the user and the competition during the market research stage will assist in determining the technical direction of the web app.
In order to avoid failure, entrepreneurs must find unmet needs and develop differentiated and defendable solutions.” – Tom Eisenmann, Harvard Business School in The Fail-Safe Startup.
3. Develop the web app’s key features and functionality
We need to understand what the web app does at its most basic level at this stage in today’s fast-moving environment.
By applying the MoSCoW approach, you can prioritize key features and functionality of your web app.
- Feature requirements – Mo
- S – Should include
- Co – Features that could be added
- W – Will not need features
This lean product has the basic functionality and features to assist with the early adoption phase. This lean product will assist with the wireframing and prototyping and ultimately lead to the minimum viable product (MVP).
B. User Experience & User Interface Design
As part of the development process of web applications, it is essential to understand how user interfaces and user experiences are interconnected – and how they each influence the design choices.
UI design involves questions such as colors, fonts, positioning, and overall design of the web app. UI design aims to create an aesthetically pleasing interface for users.
The User Experience (UX) manages customer interaction with a product by understanding what they desire and how they feel about it. A user’s experience is open-ended with UX design, which asks them what they want, what they need, and how they can improve it. There are several elements that make up a UX design, including usefulness, desirableness, accessibility, credibility, findability, usability, and value.
The user journey, testing, and asking questions about the user play a major role in UX and UI (see 2022 UX trends & 2022 UI trends).
4. Develop a journey map for the user
Using the user journey map, you can visualize the user’s experience with the web app over time. The user journey map puts the customer in the front seat of everything. Understanding users’ motivations, needs, and challenges – and how better UX design can overcome these obstacles – becomes easier when each step of the user (or customer) journey is mapped.
5. App wireframes
An app wireframe is a digitally simplified visual concept that lays out the structure, hierarchy, and relationships between the product’s various components. In this sense, wireframes are “drafts” or “plans” for how the app will look and function, both on the front and on the back end.
To have a visual workflow to refer to in coding, the wireframe section can include designing the back-end database graphically and testing sections of code.
6. Create a prototype that can be clicked
The prototype can appear and behave like the actual web app by incorporating additional interactivity into the wireframes. In addition to offering interactivity and enhanced UX elements, this prototype also simulates the user experience, enabling valuable feedback on functionality, design, and user experience before the entire development process takes place.
7. Design of visuals
The visual design of a site or application is an essential part of experience design. UX designers create mockups to illustrate how the app will look. They choose elements of the user interface, such as font, color scheme, icons, shapes, buttons, screen element sizes and proportions, illustrations, and more. The motion design element will include animations as well as screen transitions in cases where applicable.
It’s development – which follows design and validation – which involves the actual coding of the application and decision making about frameworks and technologies.
8. Select the right tech stack for your business
Backends (how something works) and frontends (how it looks) are both part of a tech stack.
- Back-end (server-side) refers to everything on the server, representing the backbone of the web application. Back-end technologies include:
- Development frameworks – Libraries and general functionalities that assist in assembling or building applications
- C#, C++, GO, Java, Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, and C#, C++ are common server-side languages
- Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, MySQL
- DBMS – MongoDB, MySQL, MS SQL Server
- Nginx, Apache, and IIS are the most commonly used web servers
- Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Linux, and Android are the operating systems available
Several technology stack combinations are well suited to the development of web apps. LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP / Perl / Python), MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js), MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React, Node.js), and Ruby on Rails (a “full stack” language that covers the front and back end with no fixed stack) are the most common web app tech stacks.
Choosing the Right Tech Stack: What You Need to Know
9. Database architecture
Your web or mobile app code is stored in the database (also called a server). The database also collects, stores, processes, manages, and stores data. With two MySQL almost controlling the database market, there are other options, including MongoDB and PostgreSQL. This makes the decision relatively straightforward.
- The model describes how the database stores data.
- An output or GUI is used to display the model data to the user.
- It helps convert the output from the model to the view component by acting as the central interface between the user and the system.
10. Create a front-end for your application
11. Develop APIs for the backend
There are many options when it comes to backend development, but the process starts by selecting either:
- Traditionally, when data is exchanged back and forth, a new web page is requested from the server.
- Instead of loading entire new pages from a server, single page applications (SPAs) continuously interact with their users by dynamically rewriting them. As a result of their API-only framework, Single Page Applications have become the most popular web app option.
Since there are several frameworks available to develop the back end (see above), they are influenced by the technology stack (if following a popular combination) or programming languages used. A variety of frameworks are available, including Ruby on Rails, Node.js, Flask, Django, Laravel, Swift, and Flutter.
12. API integration for front-end and back-end
A connection between the front-end and back-end APIs allows for the exchange of data. The user login process, the product inventory, and payment processing are just some of the steps in the customer journey that involve API integration between the front and back ends.
13. Test your web application and make improvements
Integrated testing is an essential component of Agile development, ensuring the application will work as expected (positive testing) and may handle unexpected conditions (negative testing).
As development progresses toward the user experience, testing incorporates specific user feedback, beginning with the unit, component, and integration tests.
Getting the finished web application in front of real users is the final stage of development.
14. The web app should be hosted by a third party
Cloud-based application hosting allows web apps to be accessible from anywhere in the world, allowing instant access from anywhere in the world. Servers can be chosen based on your technology stack or may be a personal preference. The most popular cloud hosting providers are Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
15. You’ve just deployed your web application
It is now time to get the web app from source control to the above cloud hosting provider. There are many tools that can assist here, including GitLab, Bitbucket, and Jenkins.
Deployment is the ultimate goal of any product development process, but Agile and DevOps principles suggest that deployment is not the end of the process, but rather the beginning of a continuous process of feedback, refinement, and delivery to ensure new features and improvements are released continuously.
Take your web application to the next level with Revinfotech
Regardless of whether a new web app is being designed and developed or an existing product is being translated into a streamlined web application, time-to-market is crucial.
A full-stack web development and design agency like Revinfotech can help you accelerate your time to market. We have worked with brands like Nike, Sampleboard, and Soaq to build global eCommerce sites, enterprise video portals, and dynamic CMS solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Choose a partner that cares about its clients.
- Never compromise on technology experience and domain expertise.
- Check out your development partners’ portfolios, customer testimonials, and references.
- Observe how they approach communication and how much they pay attention to your vision.
- Ask the right questions to help you choose easily.
- The average outsourcing charges in India are $18 – $40, which is way more affordable than in developed countries like the USA, $38 – $63.
- India has a large pool of native-English speakers who’re highly proficient in their work.
- With an Indian outsourcing partner, you can access 24×7 support and specialized IT talent.