How to capture requirements in a mobile application development project

How to capture requirements in a mobile application development project

mobile application nickelfox

Mobile is today a centerpiece of every corporations’ technology landscape. Be it a start-up or a Fortune 500 Corporation. Entities of all size are today investing in mobile. In an earlier era while software development projects used to take years to complete, in today’s perspective mobile development projects occupy a slightly different paradigm. Where spending significant time and effort in capturing requirement, and writing detailed specification document Is no longer mandatory.

50-page requirement documents are not necessarily the best way of defining requirement especially of an intuitive platform like mobile. If we look at tools like Balsamiq, Fluid UI and UX Pin, few tools that enable rapid prototyping we can see the direction in which this domain is evolving.

On a parallel note if we look at failures in conventional software development project we can observe the limitation of traditional business requirement specification document. A significant advantage in using Mockup driven requirement gathering process is that the effort spent in prototyping and storyboarding is lesser and specification is much more reliable.

The steps required in outlining the requirement leveraging the prototyping approach is outlined below-

Step 1 – Outline the design in granular parts

In mobile UI development takes quite a bit of time, especially as a few services are being consumed from the back-end, also the interaction between users and apps is through a number of interactions, ranging from pinch and swipe to tap and scroll. The number of data fields that you would want an App user to fill in varies, a reason why it is always helpful to break up the design into smaller parts.

Step 2 – Prioritize

It is important that when we outline the design in small details to prioritize the features that need to be built. First will your first screen be the login screen that asks your users to list out all their details or the focus of the first screen will be to build user engagement. We could argue for one or another as both are important in their own perspective. That is why it is important to wrap this up first. Describing the most important features first; ensure that they get delivered in the initial stages. In an Agile driven development where release dates are fixed but features keep getting reprioritized do not assume that all the screens will ship in the first release.

Software development estimates often go awry but one benefit of breaking up the requirements is that we can now get estimates on every module of the application

Step 3 – Document the Details

The last part of this exercise is to identify the description that developers will need to build an app. A good designer will try to put himself/herself in their shoes. Wireframes and Mockups are awesome because represents this information in a pictorial format, but some minor information which cannot be outlined within them should be described in an easy to understand language.

To conclude

During the outlining of an application, it is vital to design a product which resonates with its target market. It is anything but difficult to get diverted by rival firms, vocal clients, and engineering issues, and you do need to comprehend those requirements, yet in describing a product, the company should focus on value and keep jotting down the challenges faced.

Author: Nilesh Ukey

Mobile App Consultant, IIT graduate with 8+ years of experience in Mobile App & Web Development and Strategising complex projects with substantial architectural design. Nilesh is responsible for accelerating growth and driving new business opportunities while understanding and keeping in the forefront, our clients’ vision. His focus is on guiding end-to-end strategy to advance Nickelfox position in high-growth markets across the globe. He brings a rare combination of creative, analytical and operational skills.