Here’s a blog about the specification of mobile and web applications and what would be the optimal way to prepare it.
You don’t see buildings built without an architectural plan, and that’s exactly the functional specification for web and mobile apps. Without a proper plan, our building will rest on questionable foundations, which will cause us delays and a need to be adjusted in the future. So what is a functional specification? What role does it play and how is it prepared? And can it be prepared without computer know-how?
What is the Web and Mobile Application Specification?
Application Requirements Document or PRD (Product Requirements Document) forms the basis of a digital product. This document should be very accurate in describing all future application functionality. Start with the business idea and goal, go through the characteristics of the target user, and end with the program’s action scenario. Surely you know that a lot of information has to be gathered even before the specifications are prepared and this has to do with: the target group, competitors, or technology. A well-written PRD (Product Requirements Document) leaves no room for speculation.
Even the broadest description of the idea behind the app is just an introduction to the functional specification. Documentation must include all user interactions with the program. If you’re not familiar with the basics of coding, you can use so-called User Stories and fairly specifically explain “what if…” cases with your own words. In addition, a specification should include non-functional requirements and information about the database to be communicated and the API used. Again, just point out the features and functions that are supposed to have their place in the program, such as data security, how to connect to social media or payment methods
As a result, a development studio should be able to estimate the time and technology required.
The architectural analogy
Going back to the architectural analogy, the lack of specifications may correspond to the need to build a house based on information about surface area and the number of rooms. It doesn’t take too long to guess that the final effect could be significantly different from what we might expect. The mobile and web PRD (Product Requirements Document) is like a guide for your development team (whether internal or external) to understand basic functionality, prepare solutions, define threats and prepare for the next production steps already in the planning phase. In the case of an external IT services company and a bundle, this is the only way to set the correct budget size. Underestimations and delays are often the result of poor preparation of the functional specification (or lack thereof). It is in the interest of both parties to plan the details.
How to prepare a Product Requirements Document for a digital product?
The functional specification is not a formality and does not adopt a universal formula. Above all, documentation should be clear and uncluttered. It usually consists of several basic elements: a general description of our business goals, the general operation of the program and the profile of the target user; technology requirements; Features and characteristics; information regarding data formats and file structures; application operating script; any other additional information. Each chapter should answer a wide range of topics but should keep the text brief. This is not to create an essay about how our app will save the world. Above all, the document should be a practical tool for programmers. This is why we will outline the topics that are required to be covered in the mobile and web PRD (Product Requirements Document).
If you are delegating application creation from an external team, you must first mention a few words about yourself
It’s not about writing the company’s storefront and presenting its entire history, but explaining the business goals, logic, and background behind the digital product. A well-defined platform will allow software publishers to quickly identify your company’s needs.
Google Play and App Store have more than 4 to 5 million apps . Each wants to meet the specific needs of the user. Some target narrow and specific groups, such as specific industries, others are web extensions or sales platforms and aggregators, while some are products. indie entertainment targeted to monetize microtransactions and/or advertising. These are just a few examples of the many goals your application might want to achieve. The introduction of a PRD (Product Requirements Document) must precisely define the application and answer the most pressing questions related to application implementation and defining user needs. This is where the information previously collected and the conclusions of the analysis should be reported.
Questions you should have the answer for…..
Is this application an extension of an already existing database? Or maybe it should be written from scratch? Which function is the heart of the product? How will you make money from it and what business goals do you want to achieve? Do you plan to expand it in the future? Who is the app for? For example, you manage a large online store that supplies dietary supplements and you want to create a mobile application specifically for young workers. From the app, you’ll recommend workouts tailored to the user-selected goal.
You will update these exercises according to current trends on the web. Above all, your goal should be to facilitate planning cycles for the best results. Your business goal is to make your product recommendations appear alongside fitness recommendations and make them available for purchase directly from the app. Even this short description gives a lot of valuable information to the development team. At this point, the programmer knows what you want to show the customer and what your business goals are.
Furthermore, it is obvious that the app will have to communicate with your store on multiple levels and you need to access the admin panel to manage assignments and product recommendations. Due to the user profile and the characteristics of the application, the design should be lively and intuitive.
Technology and product requirements
Right in the planning stage, you have to make a series of very important decisions regarding the technical aspect of your application and especially choosing the platform and system target operating. The application can be adapted to work on a computer screen, tablet or smartphone. In any case, the interface layout may be different. A native mobile app dedicated to one system will be more optimized, but transferring it in the future may multiply the required expenses. If you want to release the app for both Android and iOS Apple devices at the same time, a cheaper and more elastic solution is a hybrid.
As far as Android is concerned, you should also define the version from which this app will be supported. Moreover, technological requirements should include information about services, servers, and databases with which the app will communicate and store data (payment systems, internal accounting systems, CRM, and, social media). Will support with maintenance works be required in the future? Does the company have up-to-date API documentation? Will the operation of the application rely on external software? Is it necessary to connect other tools to the application, such as for data analysis? If company employees must have access to the admin panel under different authorization scopes, specify these conditions. All necessary technologies should be listed and the following chapter will explain their use.
Application Function Description and Operation Scenario
The documentation must clearly state the main functionality of the application and identify additional functions that must support it. Best to guide programmers at every step of the user journey.
It is already at the logging stage where the user can have several options for this. Does the application connect to the database and allow the user to use an existing account? Does it offer social networking? Where will user data be stored? What kind of screen will you see after logging in? What should the interface look like? Each of the following actions or functions must be described in all possible scenarios, and the more complex the application, the longer it will take to describe its function.
What should your documentation include?
Other items that should be described in the feature description are: server cooperation, offline activity (data buffering), social media usage and geolocation, payment methods, information push notifications, app menu layout, design, as well as any text Content. Of course, not all modules are necessary. Each subsequent one increases the cost and lengthens the execution time. To test market interest before deciding on the full version of the program, some companies launch a product that only fulfills its basic mission (MVP, minimum viable product). In addition, the document must state all documents that you may provide to the agency. If you take care of the design, content and have technical documentation, this should also be mentioned, as this can significantly reduce the time required. You can also specify the exact scope of work we expect from website or mobile app developers.
Back to the example described above: user can log in with the existing account in the supplement store (and vice versa) and Facebook, after login you will see a human body map For specific muscles, clicking the appropriate button takes the user to a list of the most popular exercises and recommended training cycles. For offline activity, the user only has access to previously opened workouts stored in the phone memory. Each worksheet must include a product proposal with a description taken from the CRM. Push notifications can show reminders about upcoming training and promotions, and more. This is of course just an example of a very clear description. Actual specs should be much more complicated
At the specification stage we can include information about the budget and expected timeframe. due to which, the software house will be able to assess whether the project can be marketed in this form. Some functionality may be too expensive or unnecessary, and you can opt-out without damaging the functionality of the app. You can list the people involved in the project with their contact details in the additional information section. If there is no opportunity for other important comments on the points above, this is the place for all of them.
Why is PRD so important?
The functional specification of the application is fundamental to the agency or independent developer; It is crucial to the acceptance or rejection of a project. On this basis, publishers can assess the work needed to enforce and pre-define any threats. The agency can assess whether it has the necessary facilities and technology. Any delay can be costly for both parties.
Part of the programming team can’t just sit around waiting for a solution to the problem from the client side, and thus the liquidity of the work suffers. It is also possible to check the client’s participation in the project. Specifications can also lay the groundwork for performing essential application performance testing and boundary scenarios. In turn, for the client, an indisputable advantage is the ability to estimate the budget and time required for implementation. Result: the client can pay “upfront” and not worry about the possibility of underestimating or overestimating the scope of the project.
To read about how to write specifications for mobile or web app specification visit https://apro-software.com/writing-specifications-for-a-mobile-app-development-project/