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The Ultimate Guide to App Development

  • 10 min read
  • January 28, 2021
The Ultimate Guide to App Development

Do you have an ingenious app idea and now need to figure out how to get it developed? You need an app development company. This article is here to explain the process and highlight important app features not to be missed. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a far better understanding of app development and a clear idea of your next steps.

KIJO is an app development company that has been working with Birmingham-based businesses for years. We develop all kinds of innovative applications, from industry-leading gaming platforms to educational applications for universities.

Where to Start Your App Development Journey?

Before you think about the intricacies of your app, it’s important to understand the industry and the various options available to you.

What is a Native App?

Natives apps are created for iOS and Android devices and deliver the most advanced user experience and functionality. Users must download native apps to their device before they use them. Although relatively easy, thanks to the simplicity of the App Store and Google Play store, downloads nevertheless add an unnecessary step to the user journey. Everything from slow download speeds to a poor internet connection can cause your customer numbers to drop off. For a native app to succeed, you need a successful app store launch that puts your product in front of your target audience, making it too tempting to ignore.

What is a Web App?

Users access web apps from their internet browser. Web apps simply require a web address and users won’t be asked to download anything. While they don’t offer all of the advanced features that are available with native apps, you can still provide a great user experience.

Summary: Native and Web App Pros and Cons

Native AppsWeb Apps
-Can access device resources, such as GPS and camera functions, which gives you greater app design options.
-Offer more advanced features and functionality.
-Can work offline.
-Generally the fastest and most powerful option.
-App store approval guarantees minimum standards and security.

-User’s don’t need to download anything.
-Accessed via a web browser, they adapt to whichever device the customer is using.
-Web apps update themselves, so users don’t need to.
-Quicker and cheaper to develop.
-Can be launched quickly as they do not require app store approval.
-Require users to download an app and keep it updated.
-You need to build an app specifically for each platform, such as iOS or Android.
-Must wait for app store approval before they can go to market.
-Can be more expensive and time-consuming to develop.

-Cannot make use of device resources such as cameras or microphones.
-Don’t deliver the same advanced features and functionality as native apps.
-Most require an internet connection to run.
-Often slower than native apps.
-Aren’t advertised on the app store and therefore require a dedicated marketing strategy.   

Which is Best: In-house Development vs Hiring an App Development Company?

For tech companies with the resources and expertise, designing in-house is a viable option. If you are in this position, and confident your app will generate enough work and revenue to employ a stable team of experts, go for in-house development. However, establishing this kind of long-term plan will require substantial investment from the outset.

When is an App Development Company the Best Option?

If the above doesn’t apply to you, don’t fear. Often, sourcing the help of an app development company is the wisest business decision. Agencies will have the staff expertise, industry experience and technological know-how to develop your app.

  • If you don’t have the technical expertise required to design and develop an app, find an agency that does. App development isn’t something in which you can become an expert overnight. An app development company will have the staff and software to be able to get to work immediately.
  • When an app is one of many revenue streams and you manage a multi-faceted business, it’s best to hire experts. Don’t be a jack of all trades and deliver a substandard product.
  • If it is a short-term project and won’t require you to employ a team full-time for the long-term, outsource the work and save yourself the extra work.

What Key Features Does Your App Need?

When building an app, there are 3 must-have features to drive user engagement and boost profitability.

Embed AR Experiences into Your Apps

AR is the next big thing for consumer experiences and will transform everything from online shopping to gaming apps. At KIJO, we use 3D builder technology to replace 2D images with 3D models. These can be integrated into eCommerce platforms, so customers can view products from all angles without needing to shop in-store.

AR technology takes this one step further, allowing online users to view 3D models in their physical surroundings. We built an AR app for our client, Crucial Trading. Their customers can view custom-built rugs, to scale, in their home.

The release of this app resulted in significantly more sample orders and an incredible 988% increase in rugs purchased.

augmented reality
Crucial Trading app, created by KIJO.

Make Your App Unforgettable with Push Notifications

Apps provide the perfect opportunity to establish a direct channel of communication to your customers. An intelligent push notifications strategy can ensure the continued use of your app, while competitor apps languish, forgotten, on devices. Use push notifications to advertise your latest promotions, re-engage customers, deliver personalised messages and boost brand recognition. 

Provide In-App Booking Systems

Your app needs to deliver all the functionality your users require. For service providers, this means making booking appointments fast, easy and reliable for your customers. Integrated booking systems are ideal for consumers, but also give you one less process to worry about, leaving you free to get on with providing impeccable service.

The Best App Development Technologies

The technology used to build your app can make all the difference. Choose wisely and your product can have all of the standout features along with fast loading times and faultless performance. Which is best will largely depend on what your app does and on which devices. Before choosing an app development agency, discuss with them the technology they use to make sure it’s a good long-term fit for your project.

At KIJO, we use a wide range of software development tools, but two stand out for the speed and flexibility they deliver.

Fast Apps with React

React is a hybrid framework which we use to build both iOS and Android apps. With it, we can build advanced UI elements without compromising your app’s speed. Apps built using React deliver a seamless user journey as they respond to data changes without needing to reload. It’s fast to build with, fully scalable and ensures a speedy end-product- there’s a lot to like with React.

Smooth Web App Development using Laravel

Laravel is the framework we use to develop web applications. With a highly intuitive interface and some excellent pre-built components, it allows us to speed up time to market without compromising on quality or customisation.


The App Development Process – What to Expect

Before you get started building your app, it’s good practice to familiarise yourself with the basic process so you know what to expect. Here at KIJO, we use a unique, tried and tested process that we have formulated ourselves. After years in the industry, we realised that the key to our success was in our structured, original approach. Our Build the Future methodology is the result of our vast experience and knowledge base.

While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the key milestones in our Build The Future process:


In this initial phase, we identify the project goals and the problems we need to solve. Through a combination of workshops, brainstorming and research, we create our initial solutions.

Preliminary Market Research

Understanding the market you’re entering before you begin app development is crucial. You need to know who you’re up against and make sure your app adds value compared to the products already available.


User-focused and with clear checkpoints, our strategy is where we define our vision to achieve each of the goals outlined in the Discovery phase.


This is where we imagine and create the UX and UI for your app. We create a mood board of design styles, working with you to come up with the app’s visual identity. We create streamlined user journeys that will shape how the app works. Focusing on achieving ideal functionality, we create multiple wireframe designs, before deciding on the ideal choice for your users. With all of the pieces in place, we create the final design system for the project, outlining each of the visual elements.


The building of the application now begins. Our developers create the systems that bring your beautiful app designs to life. The most complex part of the project, we break this process down into milestones that are unique to each client.


The way we operate means that we frequently check in with our clients. There are ample opportunities for you to test prototypes before we deliver the final design.

User Testing

Before we take your app to market, we conduct thorough user testing. Replicating real-world use, this gives us valuable insight, allowing us to make improvements where needed before your app launch.

Go Live

App Launch

Apps only succeed if they reach your ideal consumer. We manage your entire app launch process, giving it the strongest possible entrance into the marketplace.


A successful app store launch is one element of a wider marketing strategy you’ll need for substantial, long-term success. We have created marketing websites for many of our clients, including Duel Gaming and Noti. The websites are relatively quick and simple to build yet provide the ideal jumping-off point for app users.


There are valuable insights to be gained after your product has gone to market. With our analytics suite, you can track performance and identify further areas of opportunity.

Begin Your App Development Journey

This guide outlines everything you need to begin your app development journey and hopefully provides you with the inspiration you need to turn your idea into a profitable product.

The key features your app needs in 2021:

Augmented Reality. Transform games, eCommerce experiences, education platforms and more. AR applications are limitless. 

Push notifications. They provide the perfect marketing opportunity for apps, make the best use of them.

In-app booking systems. Deliver the service and experience users now expect from applications.

For more ideas, check out the rest of our work. If you’re ready to get started, contact us today for more information on exactly what we can do for you.

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