Using a browser interface, a web application (web app) is an application programme that is kept on a remote server and made accessible over the Internet. Although many websites use web applications, not all do; by definition, web services are web applications.
Web applications can be created for a wide range of purposes and used by anyone, whether an individual or an organisation, for a wide range of purposes. Online calculators, web-based email, and online stores are examples of web applications that are frequently used. While some of them might only be available through a specific browser, the majority are accessible without it. DesignLab brings you this article, explaining how to build apps and websites step by step.
Benefits of web applications over mobile devices
1) The flexibility of responsive designs can help you reach users on any device.
2) Being browser-based, web apps don't require downloading. Web apps don't take up any space on the device as a result.
3) With shared code and no need for native app development, they are less expensive to develop and maintain.
4) Reduced development time and the ability to reach users on Android and Apple result in a quicker time to market. Even if cross-platform development is possible, each app needs to be packaged and launched separately. With a web app, there is only one task to complete. Everyone can use a web app once it has been launched.
13 steps for building a web application in 2023
1) Ideation Stage
The first stage of new product development (NPD) is always the transformation of an idea into a viable product. Being user-centric, focused, enthusiastic, and flexible during the ideation phase of the product delivery lifecycle can help create the conditions for creating the ideal product. We will develop ideas, research them, and then develop the core functionality of what your app will do and how it will stand out from the competition during the ideation stage.
a) Cite a source
This stage involves more than just coming up with ideas that are ready for implementation. Instead, concentrate on brainstorming sessions that prioritise solving customer problems, producing untested, unpolished ideas that can be shortlisted later.
b) Examine your competition and target market
User research is the crucial first step for any product. The team needs to have a thorough understanding of the user, the user problem, the problem's size (how many people are affected), and the alternatives that are currently available for solving the problem.
2) Do some market and competition research
User research is the crucial first step for any product. The team needs to have a thorough understanding of the user, the user problem, the problem's size (how many people are affected), and the alternatives that are currently available for solving the problem. Understanding the user and the competition during the market research phase will help guide the technical development of the web app.
3) UX and UI Design Stage
Understanding user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), as well as how they relate to one another and how they each affect design decisions at this stage of web app development, is the first step in designing a web application.
The user interface (UI) of a web application deals with design issues like colour schemes, font selection, content placement, and overall layout. The goal of UI design is to create a UI that is visually appealing to the user.
By comprehending what a user wants and feels, the user experience (UX) manages how a user interacts with the app. UX design is open-ended; at each stage, it inquires into the potential needs, wants, and feelings of the user as well as ways to improve those feelings and lessen friction. UI design components include being useful, desirable, accessible, credible, findable, usable, and valuable.
4) Create a user journey map
The user journey map shows how users interact with a web application over time. It highlights the user's experience and prioritises the needs of the customer. The user (or customer) journey can be mapped out step by step so that the motivations, needs, and challenges users face can be better understood and how better UX design can get around these roadblocks.
5) The app's wireframes
Wireframes are streamlined, digital visual concepts for a future app. They describe the product's hierarchy, structure, and relationships between its constituent parts. Consider the wireframe as the "draught" or "plans" for the app, which include the front and back ends and describe how the mobile app will look and function.
To have a visual workflow to refer to when coding, the back-end database may be graphically designed as part of the wireframe section. It might also consist of testing certain code segments to see how they work.
6) Create an interactive prototype
The created wireframes can be made more interactive to create a prototype that looks and functions more like a real web app. Before the full development process begins, this prototype can be seen and experienced with enhanced UX elements that simulate the user experience and provide valuable feedback on functionality, design, and the user experience.
7) Visual style
A vital method of experience design that concentrates on a site's or application's aesthetics is visual design. At this stage, UI designers create mock-ups to demonstrate how the app will appear, selecting UI components like fonts, colour schemes, icons, shapes, buttons, sizes and proportions of screen elements, illustrations, and more. This will also, as appropriate, include animations and screen transitions as part of the motion design.
However, more so than the "look and feel" element, the design is primarily influenced by the "usability and functionality" element of UX, aiming for a pleasurable and beneficial user experience.
8) Pick your technology stack
A tech stack combines the frameworks, languages, and services used in the backend (how it functions) and frontend (how it looks).
The workings or foundation of the web app, also known as the back-end (server-side), are all located on the server.
9) Construct back-end APIs
The database (described above), the server, and the web application's logic (code) are all included in backend development. Although there are many options here, the back end starts with picking one of the following:
Multiple Page Application: A traditional web application known as a "multiple page application" (MPA) requests a new page from the server to display each time data is sent back and forth.
Single Page Application: Instead of downloading brand-new pages from a server, a single page application (SPA) continuously interacts with the user by dynamically rewriting the current page. Single-page applications, which have grown to be the most common choice for web apps, call for an API-only framework.
Numerous frameworks can aid development because the back end is complicated (see above). The tech stack decision (if using a framework) influences the framework selection in part.
10) Sync up front- and back-end APIs
To enable data exchange, API integration links the front-end and back-end APIs. Take eCommerce as an example. Every step of the customer journey, including user login, product inventory, and payment processing, requires API integration between the front and back ends.
11) Test and refine your web application
Testing, which should be a seamless and iterative part of the development process, is the defining characteristic of agile development. Positive and negative testing both help to make sure the app can handle unforeseen circumstances.
Unit, component, and integration tests serve as the starting point for testing, which continues through development towards the user experience, where testing then entails specific user feedback.
12) Host your web application
Application hosting enables the web application to be accessible through the cloud, enabling immediate access to the web application from any location in the world. Your decision on your tech stack may or may not influence how you choose a server. Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon are a few well-known cloud hosting companies.
13) Launch your web application
The web application must be transferred from source control to the aforementioned cloud hosting company in this final step. There are tools to support this process of development, such as GitLab, Bitbucket, and Jenkins.
Although deployment is always the end goal of any product development, Agile and DevOps principles suggest that deployment is not a one-time event but rather the beginning of a continuous feedback, improvement, and delivery process to guarantee the constant release of new features and improvements.
The web, mobile apps, and social media are all expected to provide superior omnichannel online experiences for modern businesses. Time-to-market is a key consideration when creating a new web app or turning an already-existing product into a more efficient web app.
DesignLab can assist if you're looking for a seasoned full-stack design and web development agency to shorten your time to market.
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