Announcement: The process of developing a mobile app includes writing a specification for it. In this article, you will find handy recommendations on creating informative specifications for all types of apps.
“How do you write an app?” is not the most challenging question for mobile app developers. Writing the specifications for the apps often turns out to be a more demanding task for people whose primary duties are related to code but not texts. In this article, you will find handy recommendations regarding the structure and the contents of the document as well as the overall approach to compiling it. Once you memorize these rules and apply them in practice to a few projects, they will stick in your memory and you will keep using them intuitively henceforth.
Forte Group application development engineers identify that the app development documentation should include the subsequent elements:
- System Features
- External Interfaces
- Questions and Concerns
- Additional Requirements
Below, we will talk about each of these elements in detail. When describing mobile app specifications, you should provide your audience with complete and exhaustive information about the product. Keep your text logical and organized. All the requirements you mention should be testable.
The introductory part
Here, you should briefly outline the purpose of the document and give the definitions of all the terms that you will be using throughout the text. Identify the target audience of the presentation. Provide all the external links that readers might require and briefly describe software features related to business needs. Please keep this part short and convincing.
In this section of your mobile app specification, you should dwell on all those features of the product that will be listed on its page in the applications store:
- Talk briefly about the context of the app and the reasons that motivated you to build it
- Characterize the operating environment of your product — that is, software and hardware platforms as well as other products it is compatible with
- Differentiate user roles and let people know which statuses they might have in your app
- Pay attention to the peculiarities of the app’s design
- Mention the list of user-related documents that will be released along with the product
To make this information more digestible to your audience, compile it in a comprehensive table.
In this section, you should concentrate on the app requirements in terms of the product’s functionality. List all the services that the app provides, outlining the purpose and description of each one. Discuss the triggers that initiate each feature from the viewpoint of stimulus-response sequences.
Specify the functional requirements — that us, user stories and cases. Let people know how they can interact with your product from start to finish, including alternate scenarios and exceptions.
This part of the document covers the following types of interfaces:
The communication ones include browsers, email, server exchange protocols and the definition of message formatting.
Discussing software interfaces, you should pay primary attention to the compatibility of your app with diverse operating systems and platforms, servers, databases, APIs, integrated components and third-party software tools. Tell your audience whether your product can be integrated with social media and which geographic data functionality it supports. Mention push notifications and in-app purchases availability too.
The hardware part touches upon the physical and logical aspects of the interfaces between the hardware and your product. Here, you should talk about communication protocols, physical controls, device models and so on.
Speaking about user interfaces, share with your audience images and descriptions of each screen of your product. Use as many visual materials as possible.
Questions and Concerns
In this part of your application specifications, you should take a critical stance on the product and impartially assess its performance. Focus on the measurable characteristics of the app, such as speed, productivity and so on. Try to evaluate its safety and security by checking whether all the relevant provisions and standards were implemented to avoid data breaches. Think of potential vulnerabilities.
The scope and volume of this section might considerably differ from one app to another. You can share your thoughts on how to calculate test estimation and enumerate the potential problems of the product that still need to be fixed. This section might include a glossary in addition to the one that was already mentioned in the introduction to your application specification. Also, it would be wise to include analysis models with diagrams and other visual modeling results.
Hopefully, this article was helpful and now you will feel more confident when compiling the specifications. Please mind that the structure and the contents of the document should always conform to the mobile apps requirements. Instead of taking the above-described scheme for granted, feel free to modify it and adapt to the needs of your particular project. But remember: regardless of the product you describe, the software specification should always be complete, consistent, accurate and verifiable.