Before you can start designing and building your mobile application, you will need to go through the stage of drafting the specifications. The specifications are a document which brings together all the rules which the project manager must comply with. He must present in detail the project, the objectives, the graphic, ergonomic, functional and technical description without forgetting the expected services and the methods of selecting the service providers. We’ll cover all of these points in our blog post.

The specifications, a binding but useful exercise!

Ask yourself the right questions, a big step forward

Writing specifications for a mobile application is not an easy job. With a set of specifications, you will have to project yourself further than you are used to. Indeed, you will have to think of each aspect of the realization of your application before the start of work. This is a must which will also help you to fully mature your project.

Are there any “taboo” questions that you have avoided so far? (Will I really increase my sales thanks to my application? Should I keep the same graphic charter as my website? Will it have to be compatible on each Smartphone? Only Android?) The specifications, which will serve as a framework Throughout the project, you must “force” you to answer all of these essential questions.

A well documented specification is your peace of mind insurance

If your specifications are well written (there is no reason why it should not be), you will have a precious tool in hand to select a provider in charge of the development of your mobile application. It is on the basis of this document that the various agencies and / or freelancers requested will submit more or less detailed quotes which will allow you to select the most suitable provider. It will then define the working framework, development methods, monitoring, etc. In addition, the specifications of your mobile application also have legal value in the event of a conflict with your service provider. If you are still hesitant, this last point should definitely convince you to write one.

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Format and requirements of specifications for a mobile application

Specifications are intended to be a model of clarity and precision

The specifications of a mobile application are generally presented in the form of a well-structured word document which can include all the visual elements useful for its understanding: explanatory diagrams, functional models, logos, screenshots of sources of inspiration , illustration images,… Depending on the projects and their complexity, their size can vary from fifteen to one hundred pages.

Example of a mobile application mockup

When writing your specifications, you must be extremely precise and exhaustive. Detail all the points which can be detailed. You will have to respect a logical thread, a chronology and an overall plan which could be as follows.

  1. Overall presentation of the project
  2. Description of the graphic charter
  3. Functional and technical description
  4. Expected services and methods for selecting service providers

The detailed content of each section is presented a little further down in this article.

Who should write the specifications for your website?

To write your specifications, you will have to be rigorous, not to forget anything and, above all, to know perfectly all of your mobile application project. You will also need to be comfortable writing to make sentences understandable to all of the project stakeholders.

In short, the main proponent of the mobile application creation project must necessarily be the first contributor to the specifications, even if it is not he who devotes himself to writing it. If you work in a company, and you write specifications for a new project, you will have to involve all the departments concerned at least in a consultative manner. Finally, some other qualities are required to write a good specification. Be organized, structured, write legibly without omitting the slightest detail. If necessary, it is even possible to subcontract the drafting of the specifications for your application.

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Our example of specifications for website

Find the downloadable word version of our example specifications at the bottom of this article.

1. Overview of the project

1.1. Presentation of the company:

  • Present the activity of the company: creation date, services or products sold, number of employees, turnover, main areas of development, main competitors, …
  • Explain the role of your mobile application in business strategy
  • If it is a redesign of an existing application, specify: its monthly traffic, some performance statistics (bounce rate, conversion rate, etc.), the number of existing pages to recover, the platforms used, the means of payment used etc.

1.2. The objectives of the application:

Detail the objective (s) of your mobile application. You can split them into two parts: quantitative and qualitative. For example :

  • Should the current conversion rate be improved?
  • Should we create a community around a specific product / service?
  • Is the app just an extension of the website?
  • Would you like to get more data on your customers / prospects?

1.3. The target addressed by the application:

1.4. Quantitative objectives:

This type of information should give an idea of ​​the level of activity on your future mobile application, which can impact the choice of technical infrastructure.

  • How much traffic are you targeting on your application?
  • What download volume are you targeting?
  • How many sales do you hope to achieve with your app?

1.5. Project scope :

  • Does your application have to be multilingual?
  • The application must be compatible with which media? (mobile, tablet)
  • Must the application be compatible with Apple, Android, Windows …
  • What modules exist on your website to integrate into the application?
  • What are the payment solutions to integrate (PayPal, Bank card, etc.)?
  • What are the specifics that the service provider must know (use of geolocation, account creation, push notification, offline mode …)?

1.6. Description of existing:

  • Is there already a previous version of the mobile app?
  • Are there presentation documents of the company or its products available?
  • What resources are available (logos, graphic elements, texts, etc.)?
  • Are there internal or external human resources already allocated to the project (project manager, web designer, webmaster, etc.)?
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2. Graphical and ergonomic description

2.1. Graphical charter :

Your specifications are also used for the graphic and ergonomic description of your mobile application. If you have basic items that you want to reuse, don’t hesitate to mention them.

  • What will be the color code of your application? What will be the dominant color?
  • Are there variations of the color code depending on the sections or pages of your application?
  • Are there variations of your logo based on the color code of the pages?
  • Do you have visual elements to reuse?
  • Which font do you want? Do not hesitate to give examples of applications!

2.2. design:
Do you have specific requirements regarding the design of your application: Animations, architecture functionalities, etc.?

2.3. models:

What could be better than a model to visualize a project? If you have a model or prototype of your ideas and what you would like to get there, too, include it in your specifications. The models must contain:

  • The application workflow (the different stages depending on the user journey …)
  • Organizing information on the different screens

3. Functional and technical description

If you have detailed functional specifications or any other useful document, do not hesitate to add them as an appendix to your specifications.

3.1 Application tree structure:
Presenting the tree structure of your application in the form of a diagram is often a good idea!

  • What are the main sections of your application?
  • How are the different sections organized?
  • What are the main pages?

3.2. Content information:

  • List the content that the service provider must resume
  • List the content that the service provider must create
  • Should the service provider plan to purchase a photo or create text?
  • Also list the format of the content offered (Text, Photo, Video, etc.)

3.3. Technical constraints :

Also specify in your specifications the technical constraints that your application will surely have to face.

  • Accommodation
  • Provide maintenance
  • Suggest on-call duty for troubleshooting
  • Back office training
  • Integrate third-party services: website, CRM…
  • What solutions will be used with your application (Frameworks, templates, etc.)

4. Expected services and methods for selecting service providers

4.1. Expected services:

In your specifications, you will also have to specify all the services that you will not take care of and that you wish to subcontract. By specifying this, you would therefore like to obtain quotes for the services mentioned:

  • Development
  • Design
  • Integration
  • Redesign the existing site to integrate it into an application
  • Integrate a shop in the e-commerce section
  • Create an app promotion website
  • Host the site
  • Train teams to use the application
  • Marketing support: marketing plan, SEO, SEA, web analysis, etc.)

4.2. Planning:

Add an agenda of the desired dates for the validation of the different stages:

  • Date of creation and validation of models
  • Date of creation and validation of prototypes
  • Date of creation and validation of the application
  • Test dates
  • Date of online posting on the blinds

4.3. Monitoring methodology:

  • Do you want the service provider to use an agile development methodology?
  • How do you want to organize the follow-up of the project: weekly telephone exchanges, regular physical presentation of progress, etc.?
  • Would you like to have access to a pre-production environment?

4.4. Provider selection methods:

  • What elements do you want the service provider to include in their response: presentation of the company with references, technical recommendations, identified difficulties, proposed methodology, presentation of the project team, detailed estimate, etc.?
  • Have you established a criteria grid to assess the providers’ responses?
  • Indicate the contact (s) in case of questions on the specifications as well as the deadline for response
  • If you have a budget estimate for your project you can also mention it

Download the specifications template for mobile application

To download the full version of the specifications, enter your email. You will automatically receive an email with the download link.

For further

If you want to see other examples of specifications, I strongly invite you to browse these articles:

 

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