The creation of a mobile app requires a fair amount of money and time. That is why it’s very easy to get lost during the development process. If you don’t want this to happen, you need to think about writing the app requirements document. It’s one of the most important parts of the project discovery phase that works as a source of information for everyone involved in the product development process.
Wanting to create a mobile app that will take the leading position on the market, your team has to consider the needs of your audience, even the most obvious ones. A detailed application requirements document is what’s going to help you make your team aware of this aspect.
If you build the app requirements document correctly, you will be able to achieve your goals faster. In this article, we will inform you on how to create a perfect app requirements document that will help transform your idea into a full-fledged, successful app.
What is a Mobile App Requirements Document?
The app requirements document is a document that describes all the details of your future product and the app development process: it outlines the business logic, enlists the technical and functional details, and becomes a guide for the development team from the very beginning to the end point. The mobile app requirements document should answer the question “what your app can do?”.
With the help of this document, you will be able to explain to developers the needs of the target audience. It will help your development team transform an early concept into a fully functional application.
It should be noted that you won’t need an app requirements document if your app is simple and won’t take more than 2 weeks for coding and you don’t need more than one developer to get it done. So, if your app is simple, you can feel free to save your budget on the app requirements document development.
However, if your app is extensive and requires a lot of time and resources, you can’t do without this document.
How to Build App Requirements Document: Top 10 Important Points
You won’t find a universal template that will help you build a perfect requirements document for any app: it’s individual for each type of app. However, we have gathered the most important considerations that are important for almost any app.
1. Business Requirements
All mobile apps are created to solve certain problems of the users. You should describe how the application will meet the needs of the company and users in the app requirements document.
When writing business requirements, you should consider the following points:
- What is the main purpose of the app? What do you want to achieve with its help?
- What problem or problems will it solve? How can it improve your business?
- What should the application do? What are its main functions?
- Are there any design guidelines that the developers should follow?
2. Objectives of the Mobile App
The app requirements document must contain information about the product’s objectives and its role in the users’ lives. For a minimum viable product, you may focus on one problem that the users will be able to solve while using your app. This will allow you to work it out more thoughtfully.
3. User Persona
A user persona is a fictional character that portrays a typical app user. It permits you to clearly understand the needs of your target audience and reduces the chances of your app not being interesting for the users. By creating a user persona, you will let the developers look at the app from the user’s point of view and develop it according to this view.
That is why you should mention the age, sex, country, occupation, and education of your target audience in the document. This will help the developers understand the users’ queries more clearly.
4. User Journeys
It’s important to consider how each group of users will interact with an app (regular users, admin, guest users, etc.). Each team member should take part in the detailed description of the user journeys (this way, you will get the most effective set of permissions for each user group).
By mapping user journeys, you can look at the app from the users’ perspective. You also must think about the ways to encourage the users to create a personal account in your app.
5. Product Vision
The description of your product vision allows you to determine the best path to the end goal of the mobile application. The more details you include in your product vision description, the more likely you are to get exactly what you want. The vision statement should:
- explain who is going to find the app useful;
- why the users will be interested in the app;
- how the app is going to solve the users’ problems;
- what are the app’s advantages over your competitors;
6. List of Features
You need to ensure that your app will provide a simple and convenient user experience. So, when choosing a feature set for your app, you need to keep that in mind.
The selection of app’s features requires a complete understanding of how the end product should look like and what tasks it will solve. Of course, each app has its own set of features, but here is a list of some standard features that you may find useful:
- sign-up and login
- splash screen
- integration with social media
- image gallery
- booking system
- payment system
- product catalog
- shopping cart, favorites
- push notifications
- hardware access to the device
- native maps
- loyalty cards
7. Monetization Model
There are several monetization strategies that you can apply in your app. The choice will depend on the application type, your target audience and on the mobile operating system you are planning to use. The traditional monetization models are as follows:
Ads. You earn revenue by selling ad space and displaying ads in the app. It allows making your app free-of-charge, but note that the majority of users don’t like seeing any kind of ads while using apps.
Pay-per-download. It’s the oldest and simplest app monetization model. Users pay to download your app and get access to all the functionality.
In-app purchases. This strategy allows users to purchase various items in the app. Most frequently, it’s applied for mobile games where the users can buy extra lives, special equipment, in-game currency, etc. According to Statista, “79 percent of gaming apps utilize in-app purchases of items”.
Freemium. People download and use your app for free, but pay for certain features.
Subscription. The users pay a certain amount of money every week, month, or year to get access to exclusive content or functions.
8. Technical Specifications
Each technical specification of a mobile app determines the functional needs that will ensure that the app will work stably. You need to specify the following parameters in the app requirements document:
- What platforms will the app be available on (iOS, Android or Windows)?
- What operating system versions your app should support?
- What are your service needs? Will your app need support in the future?
- Do you have documentation for current API/services?
9. Choosing a Platform
In perfect conditions, the app should be launched on both iOS and Android, but this is hard to realize if you have limited budget, lack of resources and time. You can choose one platform, and run your app on the second platform as it gets successful enough.
When deciding which platform to choose, you should think about the app’s purpose, monetization strategy, and your target audience. Android holds the vast majority of the global market while iOS holds around 15% of it. Android also receives much more app downloads than iOS. Nevertheless, iOS users are showing higher engagement and spend more money on in-app purchases.
So, if you are targeted at the higher income, iOS will be a more profitable choice. Android will be a wise decision if you want to share your app among a wider audience.
10. Requirements of Maintenance and Upgrade
As the app is finished and ready to be presented to the market, it doesn’t mean that it won’t need any support anymore. You have to plan the budget for the app’s post-development maintenance. Even if you are not planning to add any new features in the near future, it’s important to ensure that your app will meet the requirements of new OS versions and won’t have any bugs that could prevent it from working smoothly. The app requirements document should include a long-term vision of the product, taking into account user requirements, possible improvements, and new features of the application for future updates.
Finding dedicated developers team won’t guarantee the success of your app: they need to clearly understand what to do to meet your needs. That is why you need the app requirements document. Bear in mind that its main purpose is to provide the base for a successful application. Make sure to include all technical and business requirements so your team could create the product of your dreams.