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How to Successfully Develop and Launch a Mobile App Using Spatial Audio

by Emily Iwankovitsch Social Media Marketing Manager

Mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023. Mobile internet usage is rising while desktop internet usage continues to fall. Global consumers are now spending an average of 4.2 hours per day using their smartphones, an increase of 30% from just two years prior — and nearly 90% of mobile internet time is spent in apps.

Certainly, there is a clear signal here.

Are you interested in launching a new mobile application, or reevaluating the effectiveness of your current mobile app development process? Monitoring new and evolving best practices is a good strategy to begin with: As time passes and technology changes, changes in the mobile app development process are bound to happen.

For example, one emerging exciting technology that mobile app developers are beginning to leverage is spatial audio. Clubhouse, the social audio app with 10+ million weekly active users, implemented it earlier in 2021. “We integrated High Fidelity's spatial audio technology with our own audio processing to make Clubhouse conversations feel more natural and immersive,” says Clubhouse’s Head of Streaming, Justin Uberti. “While Clubhouse and other voice chat apps bring people together in virtual social settings, the audio generally sounds relatively flat, like it’s emanating from a single central location. But at the in-person gatherings Clubhouse is meant to simulate, you’d be hearing audio from all around the room, from the left and right of a stage to the various locations in the audience where speakers might ask their questions,” writes TechCrunch’s Taylor Hatmaker.

But more on that later — let’s back up and start from the beginning first.

How to Successfully Develop and Launch a Mobile App: Step-by-Step Process

A couple quick notes before we jump into how to successfully develop and launch a mobile app. What’s the biggest reason people uninstall apps? Because they simply aren’t in use. “The reason they aren’t being used, though, is what businesses need to focus on. As CleverTap points out, survey responses speak to one thing: A poor user experience. Functionality is everything.” Let’s keep this in mind throughout the step-by-step process...

How about what apps people are using most frequently? “Among millennials in particular, the number who list social media apps as their most frequently used category is at 69%. In second place, at 55%, is messaging apps—because again, the most popular use of apps is connecting and communicating with others. If you’re targeting this generation, consider incorporating features in your app that allow users to connect with their peers and be part of a community.”

Being able to have natural conversations on mobile apps has never been so important, and spatial audio is a huge component of that. (Check out the end of this blog post to learn more about that.)

Why Your Business Needs an App In the First Place

We already listed some eye opening statistics at the very beginning about mobile apps, but just to further reiterate, consider these ones:

  • There are currently more than 2.2 million apps available in the Apple Store
  • There are 3.48 million apps available in the Google Play Store

It’s never been more important to invest in building and refining your company’s mobile application(s). Read more info here about this.

How Apps Help Your Business

According to the ContractIQ survey, roughly 62% of businesses already have an app or are in the process of developing one. 50% of these businesses use their apps for support and engagement, 30% for revenue generation, and 20% for branding. Many companies are investing in mobile apps as they help generate new or expand an existing business.”

So how does having an app specifically help your business?

  • Enhances brand visibility
  • Boosts profits and customer engagement
  • Stand out from the competition
  • Builds a loyal customer base
  • Offer a fast, seamless experience by improving efficiency
  • ...And customers already expect you to have a mobile application, anyway!

1. Optimize App Research Phase

Start by defining a clear goal. What is it that you want your app to do? 

  • Check on platforms and devices to support
  • What problems will your app help solve for customers?
  • What features will it include?
  • What is your app's core appeal?

In this phase, you can construct user personas, which will help you understand the goals and obstacles of the real people who are going to be using your app.

“We also look at comparable apps already in the market. This is harder for internal apps which aren’t on the app stores than it is for consumer-facing apps – but by looking across industries, at apps which have very similar user objectives, there are always learnings to be found and applied.”

2. Optimize Design Phase

The design stage is where the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design of your app is conceived and iterated upon until you have a final blueprint for the developers to then build. It’s a little more fluid than other stages, because an input from one of the later steps might require going back to the drawing board to implement it. But generally speaking, we go through five steps, in this order: wireframe, concepts, collaborative design, prototyping, and user testing.”

The design stage ends with a clear brief that can be handed to the developers. Your app must should meet the following criteria:

  • Has user engagement elements and impressive interface
  • Pixel-perfect graphics
  • Intuitive features and navigation
  • Superlative icon design

Now on to developing your app...

3. Optimize Development Phase

By the end of development, you’ll have the developed product itself. 

What is the most crucial to begin development? “The design stage should have provided you with a wireframe, showing all of the app’s screens and how they connect, and visual designs for each of those screens. There is one final vital component, which sits right at the crossroads between design and development: a detailed technical specification. This takes the wireframe and annotates in more detail – how it will actually work, as well as how it looks.”

To recap, in the development phase, your app must meet the following criteria:

  • Wireframe creation of the app
  • Define the backend of the app
  • Assessment of technical feasibility
  • Build the prototype
  • Incorporate data and analytics
  • Capture metrics to measure user behavior

4. Optimize Testing Phase

You’ll need to be sure that your mobile app will be able to hold up its performance for a number of requirements: Multiple devices, networks, servers/APIs, etc. before any official launching of a project. With proper strategy and procedures, quality assurance will be met.

Here’s a full checklist.

To recap, in the testing phase, your app must meet the following criteria:

  • Usability
  • Compatibility
  • Security
  • Interface checks
  • Performance

5. Perform Pre-Launch and Post-Launch Activities

And there we go: Your app is ready for launch. Along the way, you may have already started on the pre-launch marketing activities. Here’s a helpful in-depth checklist.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s imperative during pre-launch (the above checklist goes much more in depth).

And then… The time has come to submit your app to the app stores! Once your app is approved and in the app stores, it’s time to spread the word loud and proud. Notify your press list and influencers, email list, and get yourself organized by putting a system in place for regularly recording your previously identified Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). “This performance dashboard lays out all of your metrics in one place to keep you both goal-oriented and accountable to your success metrics.”

Within a few weeks of your launch, you should analyze and improve from those metrics.

Here’s a summary of post launch activities: 

  • Monitor feedback streams, reviews, and social signals to assess customer satisfaction
  • Engage your first customers with proactive interaction to combat churn
  • Encourage ratings and reviews with timely and relevant rating prompts
  • Monitor app store rank and trends in download growth

Bonus: Leverage Spatial Audio

"Spatial audio" was mentioned briefly in the introduction, but let's explore it more now.

This step-by-step process to successfully develop and launch a mobile app has been comprehensive — but one way to make your app really stand out is 3D audio.

Clubhouse integrated spatial audio to help facilitate more natural conversations and immersion (as a side note: This is a  — but as a major added benefit, research confirms it actually is easier for people to understand one another.  As Clubhouse's Head of Streaming, Justin Uberti, explained: “[In any conversation], your mind has to figure out who’s talking. Without spatial cues, you have to use timbre… that requires more cognitive effort. Spatial audio makes for a more enjoyable experience aside from more immersion.” Curious to read more of that research? Check it out here. Spatial audio also helps improve speech intelligibility.

If you're building an app with voice, it's also great to know there are clear benefits of voice-only communication vs. using video, too.

You might have heard about spatial audio in the past couple years from Apple, Netflix, or other major streaming services and companies beginning to integrate it. "It was actually back in 2020 when Apple first released iOS 14 that included a new spatial audio feature for AirPods Pro — surround sound, complete with dynamic head tracking. 'Apple’s newest take on sound took the world by storm. Being able to listen to sounds like you’re in a 3D environment is something that you could only dream of a few years ago.'"

But now: Spatial audio is not only something you can dream of, but easily integrate into your native app, too. It is easily possible with the Local Spatializer: Each audio stream is automatically spatialized and designed to be independent of your native application’s user interface. It's a C++ codebase that works with your existing audio streaming.

Curious to learn more? Get in touch with us.

Published by Emily Iwankovitsch December 7, 2021
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High Fidelity’s C++ SDK works with your existing audio streaming. Each audio stream is automatically spatialized and designed to be independent of your native application’s user interface.