How to Launch Your App: Steps to Build a Mobile App People Will Love

November 28, 2018 - 11 minutes read

Have you ever had an idea for a mobile app but didn’t know where to start? It’s no secret that the journey from app ideation to launch can be intimidating and strenuous. This is especially the case if you’re not familiar with the nuances of mobile app development and design.

Since Dogtown Media first started out at our LA development HQ in 2011, we’ve launched over 200 apps in a variety of industries including mHealth, FinTech, artificial intelligence (AI), and more. So it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about the process of launching an app!

We’ve put together this short outline to help you with your mobile app journey. By the end of it, you’ll not only know how to launch your app properly but how to set it up for long-term success as well.

Step 1: Ideation

Like any innovation, your mobile app always starts as an idea. And your creative input at this first stage largely determines your final product’s quality. So you have to answer some hard questions at this point: Has your app idea been done before? If so, what makes yours special? How will you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Talk about tough! Well, luckily, you don’t need to tackle these questions alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Utilize research and market validation to unlock crucial insights into your app concept. This feedback is integral to shaping your app idea into a successful, everlasting one.


You should concentrate on creating long-term value, and this is the step you figure out if your app will still be useful in one year, five years, and even further into the future. That’s why we recommend doing this before you start building your app.

And by the way, it’s totally okay if you receive inspiration from another mobile app. Apple’s App Store houses over 1 million apps. So there’s a good chance that someone has released a similar product to yours. In this case, your goal should be to make objective improvements to the current competitors on the market.

Here’s how Apple’s developer blog explains it: “Before creating your app, take a look at the apps in your category on the App Store and consider how you can provide an even better user experience.”

Step 2: Defining the Scope of Accessibility

After ironing out the details of your idea, it’s now time to define the scope of accessibility for your app. Do you want it available only on the iPhone and iPad? Maybe you’re aiming for Android. Or maybe you’d like all three?

Whatever option you choose, it’s imperative that you’re aware of the subtle nuances between each platform. User experience (UX), user interface (UI), and numerous other factors vary between each of them. So you should have a dedicated roadmap for each platform you’d like to release your app on.

This makes it much easier to account for the minute details that can make a big difference to your users. And getting a head-start on this now and doing it correctly the first time around means you won’t have to retread this step later on.

Step 3: UI/UX Design

Nobody likes a convoluted mobile app. You should strive to strike a balance between sophistication and simplicity. Leaning too much toward one or the other could actually get your app rejected during your App Store submittal. Aim to make your mobile app intuitive to operate but still provide enough valuable features that keep users coming back for more.

Getting this right ultimately boils down to your UI and UX design. Aspects like your branding assets, wireframes, graphical elements, and much more must mesh together to form a simple, elegant experience that users find practical. Like before, the feedback you get from prototype testing and market analysis can help you refine your product greatly in this regard.

Apple, in particular, has incredibly high standards for UI and UX design. But there is a silver lining: if you create UI and UX that users love, then it will probably resonate with the App Store evaluators as well since they are also human. To hone your UI and UX, utilize Apple’s official list of UI Design Do’s and Don’ts.

Step 4: Branding

The choices you make for your UI and UX should carry through to your overall branding. Remember, consistency is key to catching potential users’ eyes in the overcrowded app stores. To see this in action, just look at the top mobile apps for either Android or iOS. Here’s what you’ll find: they’ve all developed their own unique style.

So stay consistent with your UI and UX design choices. Factors like interface copy and color palates can be utilized in your peripheral material like social media. Do not use generic messaging. Your audience pays attention to details, so they won’t pay attention to you anymore if the experience you provide is not personalized and candid.

Caring about your branding is the first step you take toward making your audience care about your mobile app.

Step 5: Development

We’ve finally arrived at the development stage, where your vision starts to become a reality. We won’t sugarcoat this stage: things are going to get technical! So don’t worry about taking on this monumental task by yourself. It’s completely normal to seek out an expert to help you get this step right.

Ensure that the development partner you choose is well-versed in aspects such as core logic, database setup, and dynamic screen behaviors. All of these factors are necessary to deliver a seamless, immersive experience. To help you find a reliable partner, don’t just rely on reviews — download their previous work and give it a go. Use their app with a critical eye.

Once you’ve started work on the development phase with a suitable partner, test your work-in-progress regularly for each of the platforms you plan to launch on. This quality assurance can help catch any potential bugs, glitches, and hiccups before your users see them. And it will also save you lots of money, time, and effort down the line.

Step 6: Launch

Congratulations! You’ve put in a ton of hard work by this point. And now, we find ourselves at the scariest step for most people in the mobile app industry: submitting your product.

There are some large differences between submitting your mobile app to Google Play versus Apple’s App Store. For example, Google Play submissions are usually available to the general public mere hours after submittal. On the other hand, Apple’s App Store can take upwards of 10 business days to approve (or reject) your app.

As if that’s not scary enough, 30% of submissions to the App Store end up getting rejected. And it’s usually due to issues that could have been addressed during the previous steps we covered. Fortunately, if you’ve been following this guide, you’ll be in better shape than most!

If you do find yourself facing rejection, don’t fret. It can happen. And it isn’t the end of the world. Just take this feedback to heart and implement the suggestions you receive from the evaluators. In turn, this can actually help you be a stronger contender in your market once your app finally hits the App Store.

Step 7: Maintenance and Growth

By now, many people assume that this is where the process of launching your app goes on auto-pilot. That’s a fatal fallacy. In truth, your first users give you profound insight into how you can improve your mobile app (and, in turn, its standing in the app stores).

So don’t rest on your laurels just yet. This step often makes the difference between success and failure. You should be ready and expect to adapt your mobile app according to this market feedback. Maintenance and growth can be tricky, and it’s a step that never really ends.

If you remain open-minded and adaptable, not only will you gain traction much faster, but you’ll also be setting yourself up for stable growth and longevity.

If this short guide has fired you up to implement some app ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact our team at Dogtown Media to see how we can help make your mobile app vision a reality.

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