A mobile app development checklist is very important before you start working on an app project. While planning for mobile app development there are various points that you have to go through to have a successful mobile app. Simpalm is one of the top app development companies in the USA and we have created a comprehensive list for you to have handy before you work on a mobile app project. This list can be used for any type of mobile app project including MVP or enterprise-scale apps.

1. Define your Business Objective

The first point in app development checklist is to define your business objective. You will define and identify key elements of your objectives with app development. Collaborative work with other team members or family is recommended. If you have an app idea and would like to develop an app, the discussion is necessary with business partners or friends or family. During the discussion, you will get some key points and feedback to define your business objective. On the other hand, working with a team needs meetings to finalize all the business crucial decisions. The business objective should consider the following points and visualize how the mobile app will achieve your goals

  • Identify key challenges of business and how apps will help to resolve it?
  • Define your key objectives of making business through your mobile app.
  • Who will get the benefit of using this app?
  • Determine your vision and mission.
  • Explain how you will accomplish vision and mission.
  • Which technology and platforms (iOS or Android or both) will you use to serve your audience.
  • Identify when do you want to start the development and what is your launch plan?

2. Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis will give you several considerable facts and knowledge. You will find new things and would like to have them in your strategy. A comprehensive search and study are needed to find what others are implementing in their strategy. Your analysis should include some successful startups and digital projects.

  • Check how your competitors are working and what is their business strategy?
  • How is their app capable of fulfilling user needs?
  • How have they implemented the idea, and targeted audience?
  • How is their app monetization module?
  • How are their product design and features?

3. Research your Audience

Find out who will be your targeted audience while preparing a business plan. This is the part of the pre-development process and necessary to know the type of users and their needs. How you can build an effective app Whether your audience can be anyone or specific users. The following examples can help you to decide better and implement an app.

  • OnDemand Taxi App can be more useful for local citizens and new visitors in the city.
  • Social media apps can be useful for all age groups.
  • Salon App can be targeted to youngsters.
  • Food apps can have different customer bases. You can launch campaigns to market your app.

4. Decide your Monetization Strategy

A clear business objective and marketing strategy help to quickly decide App monetization plans. This should be prepared with business objectives so that app design and features would be implemented accordingly. Monetization strategies can have different types of revenue generation sources.

  • Free App & Paid App: Running a free version with some features and content for hooking users and increasing traction. If users love your app, they will be willing to download the paid app version as well.
  • In-App Advertising: This monetization option is very good and generates good revenue in certain apps. It is desired to be implemented for Gaming apps, educational apps, audio/mp3 apps, video apps.
  • In-App Purchase: This is the most popular and successful app feature to collect revenue. Users are more comfortable paying through in-app purchase features. Apps related to gaming, education, mp3, audio, video, podcast, dating, premium content must implement in-app purchase function.
  • Coupons: Businesses sell coupons for shopping on physical and online stores and also build the app. They create coupons and make them available in the app. If you have such a business, you can implement in-app advertising, in-app purchase, and credit card payment features to collect revenue.
  • Membership features: Many businesses allow users to become a member and access premium content of the app. Renew their membership and pay for a monthly/quarterly/yearly plan.

Read More: How to make money from apps.

5. Create your Feature List

Preparing a features list is second in our app development checklist after defining the business objective. Use a word document or paper/pen to write features and functions. Here the features list can have both functional and non-functional features. The following questions and suggestions will help you to prepare a features list.

  • Who are the users of this app and what actions they will perform?
  • Think like a user, how would he/she use the app?
  • What actions users will perform after downloading the app? Write step by step actions.
  • Push notifications are an interactive feature and it will update users about the latest activity.
  • Think in which situation the user will get a push notification.
  • Geolocation/map: Most of the apps have search bars associated with the app. The map can be interactive features for your app.
  • The need for third-party services – many apps display data on behalf of third party platforms.
  • Social media login function can allow users to quickly log in and create accounts.

6. Decide the Platform? iOS or Android or Web App

You should decide the platform for a mobile app based on the targeted market, investment, and timeline you have. Whether it is iOS or Android or both? Simpalm has an expert team of app developers in Chicago and is developing mobile apps for both iOS and android platform since 2009.

  • If you are doing business in the USA market, an iOS app makes more sense in the initial stage.
  • Android App is a better choice for the initial version if you want to do business in the Asian and European markets.
  • Many times it depends on the usage, if your employees have iOS or Android phones, you need to make a plan accordingly.
  • To cover several languages, an Android app will be the best choice to move ahead.
  • Consider having both iOS and Android apps because these two platforms cover a majority of the audience worldwide.

Read More: Benefits Of Having A Mobile App For Your Business

7. Select Target Device

It is one of the most important point in app development checklist. iPhone and Android smartphones have various models and OS versions supported. You should prepare a list of devices and OS versions to be supported. These generally lead to device-specific tweaks for both OS versions and device resolutions. An app development firm will help you build an app that supports the latest and older versions. The following factors will help to decide targeted devices.

  • Orientation: decide whether you need both horizontal and vertical orientation.
  • Smartphone and Tablet Support: do you need an app that is compatible with both iPhone & iPads. If yes, prepare a list of OS versions supported.

8. Native or Cross-platform App

A business needs to be present on multiple platforms. Customers are divided into three different segments: iOS, Android, and Web. These platforms will cover a large number of audiences to make a potential business. This can be fulfilled with the use of native or hybrid mobile app development approaches. Simpalm is the best App Programmers for Startups and helps you to decide on an appropriate approach for your project.

Benefits of Using Native App Development Approach:

  • The native app development approach is highly beneficial in the long term for business.
  • Native apps are the best to provide native user experience, look & feel.
  • This approach is better to get Speed, the performance of the app.
  • If your app highly uses device-specific features such as camera, sensors, Bluetooth, microphone, and GPS, you must build native iOS and native Android apps.


Benefits of Using Cross-Platform Approach:

  • Cost-effective and take less time in development.
  • Get two apps ready to publish on iTunes Store and Google Play Store.
  • You will just need to maintain a single code base and need only one resource for maintenance.
  • It is better for small and medium-size apps like video tutorial apps, educational apps, barcode scanning apps, survey apps.

9. Branding Requirement

Your app will be creating brand value for your business. Before starting the development, you must graphical designs, logos, and make custom posters for the app to start marketing. This media content will help you in branding your digital product. There are numerous elements that can attract people to install your app from a sea of millions of apps on the app store. When you ready to publish your app, make sure that the app store page will be your key to success and it should be impressing users to download your app:

  • Follow the app store guidelines and prepare beautiful screenshots with a short description, good app description, and attractive logo.
  • App Name and logo will be your brand impression. It should be catchy and unique.
  • Publish a video tutorial on how to use your app on YouTube and companion site.
  • Making a multilingual app will overcome language challenges. This is also an essential element of branding your digital product.

10. Estimate the Design and Development Cost

Once the business objective is defined and the feature list is finalized. There is a need to get cost estimates for design and development. You should find some best app development companies on Google and B2B review listings. The next step is to share details and sign a mutual non-disclosure NDA. Several app development companies can work from start to end and design, develop, and publish your app. It is essential

Try to develop an app in two phases and breakdown the features. All of these will provide you different quotations and pricing. You need to closely evaluate the development estimates and timeline proposed by app development firms. The following things will help you to find your app development partner:

  • Choose the location, the timezone of your app developer.
  • Either hire an individual design agency or individual designer to create app designs.
  • Select app development company or individual developer to develop your app.
  • If the project is critical, consider hiring a full-time developer or in-house developer.
  • Figure out if you have low investment and work with an offshore app development agency or freelancer.
  • If you don’t want to consider project quality and work with an onshore app development firm.

11. What Will Be Your Marketing Strategy And Cost

It is not sufficient to develop and publish an app. An effective marketing strategy is required to reach out to your customers and engage them. The following

  • What is your social media marketing strategy and cost for sponsored posting?
  • Research options for effective paid marketing tools like PPC, Ads, Banners Ads, Video marketing, and cost associated with it.
  • Which email tool is the best fit for your needs and costs to operate it?
  • A companion website and cost for the development of the single-page site.
  • App store optimization is also essential to boost your marketing strategy.

12. Decide Who Will Work On Your App

It is not possible for a single person to handle everything unless you are a design, development, and marketing expert. It is better to assign tasks to individuals or hire an app development agency to work from start to end. You should read about how to find a good mobile app developer. The following checklist will help you to finalize your app development partner:

  • Decide location, the timezone of your app development company.
  • Check if they are flexible to work in your timezone and how their communication skills.
  • Are they present on honest business review sites like Clutch and GoodFirms? Read their positive reviews.
  • What is their strategy to work with a startup or small business? Are they capable of executing work from start to end?
  • Capabilities of delivering similar projects that you have. Ask them to provide similar work and client references.
  • Do they have a designer as well? What is their team size?
  • Will they be able to publish your app on the app store and provide post-production support?

13. Decide Between Agile or Waterfall

Software development world uses two different types of approaches for building any type of software including mobile apps:


The waterfall model is a linear, sequential approach to software development that is popular in software engineering and product development. The waterfall model is a logical progression of steps. It’s like how water flows over the edge of a cliff, with distinct endpoints or goals set for each phase of development and can’t be revisited after completion.


  • Forces structured , disciplined organization.
  • Simple to understand, follow and arrange tasks.
  • Allows for early design or specification changes to be made easily.
  • Clearly defines milestones and deadlines.


  • When an error is found the entire process needs to start over. Not adaptive.
  • Testing will done only after the completion of the development life cycle
  • Not allowing changes, scope adjustments or updates well.
  • Reduces efficiency by not allowing processes to overlap.


An Agile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) model combines the best of both iterative and incremental processes. It focuses on process adaptability, customer satisfaction, and rapid delivery of working software products. Agile methods break the product into small parts that are built, tested and then refined before being released. These builds are released in iterations that typically last from one to three weeks each.
Every iteration involves cross functional teams working together on various areas, such as:

  • Planning
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Testing


  • Is a very realistic approach to software development.
  • Promotes teamwork and cross training.
  • Functionality can be developed rapidly and demonstrated.
  • Resource requirements are minimum.
  • Suitable for fixed or changing requirements


  • Not suitable for handling complex dependencies.
  • More risk of sustainability, maintainability and extensibility.
  • Depends heavily on customer interaction
  • Transferring projects to new team members may be quite challenging because of less documentation.

Depending upon your budget and timeline, you should pick the right development strategy for your project.

14. Decide on Backend Server

A backend server & database is required to manage the backend system of the app. The backend database is required to store user information, credit card details, profile pictures, user activities, chat messages, in-app purchase data, and many more things. There are several database technologies available to build the database.

Popular technologies are the following:

  • MySQL
  • NoSQL
  • PostGres
  • RoR and
  • .NET based databases

To host a database you can use the following:

  • Amazon Web Services (S3, EC2)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Firebase

15. Do you need a Companion Website?

There are millions of mobile apps available on app stores. Users prefer to download the app which appears in the first 30 apps in the search results. Also, there are hundreds of apps listed on the app store homepage. Why would users download your app? A companion website is crucial for the branding and promotion of your app. Web developers for startup can help you to establish a webpage for your app. What can you have in your companion app, see below:

  • Display nicely-created app screens with a short explanation.
  • Provide an app store button with a link to navigate on the app store.
  • Display important app features.
  • Provide an app store button with a link to navigate on the app store.
  • Don’t forget to create the Why App section and entails how the app is helpful.
  • Market the website URL and try to get more visitors.

16. What about App Security?

Many times people don’t think about security measures while developing an app. It should be also considered while preparing a business objective. Users’ data and payment details are important and need to be encrypted. Data breach and security lags need to be considered as important factors for app security. Consider the following security measures while developing an app:

  • Consider a secure sockets layer implemented in the project?
  • Ask your developer to implement two-factor user authentication in place?
  • Control on who would have access to your app?
  • Comply with industry security standards like HIPAA or PCI DSS.

17. Support and Maintenance Strategy

Once you publish your app, you will start getting feedback from app users. Make sure to continuously work on user feedback. While preparing a business objective, add this title in your strategy and decide how long you need support & maintenance after publishing your app. This is essential when an app needs continuous updates and enhancement. The following points you must include in your strategy:

  • How long do you need the support & maintenance of your app?
  • Will you hire an in-house developer to maintain and build new versions of your app?
  • Will you provide support for new OS updates?
  • Will you prefer server-side updates or app side updates?
  • Ask your mobile app development firm how long they will support & maintain your app under warranty. What are their hourly rates for support and postproduction?

Final Words

Simpalm is a top app developers in VA and developed 350+ apps in the last 12 years. When we receive a requirement for iOS, Android, or web app development, we quickly verify things against this checklist to provide the best technical suggestions and recommendations to the client. This checklist is useful in optimizing your app development needs.

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    Piyush Jain

    Piyush Jain is the CEO and Founder of Simpalm. He leads the business and engineering team to build the mobile and web product solution for clients. He loves to write thought leadership articles on IoT, Mobile, Blockchain, BigData, Web and other software technologies.