How much do you value the success of your mobile app development project?
Did you know that up to 50% of project rework is due to ineffective requirements gathering? That is why we built our bespoke requirement gathering tool to streamline and save costs on mobile app development in the short and long term.
Project failure is not acceptable and amounts to higher investments and poorer results.
Instead, let’s help you understand how requirements-gathering boosts mobile development.
Furthermore, let’s show you 10 easy-to-follow steps to gather and document mobile requirements.
What Are Mobile App Requirements?
Mobile app requirements document the business logic, technical specifications, and development guidelines for mobile app developers to design the application of your business dreams.
It includes the key app’s features, app user personas, and business goals to ensure that multiple team members are on the same page before the software development process commences.
Mobile App Requirements Benefits
At Requiment, we often see that requirements-gathering for mobile or other applications has benefits, including:
- A better overall project development
- Improved project management throughout the software development process
- Enhanced efficiency to document the technical aspects required for an optimal product
- A higher probability for the right target audience that meets the business requirements
- Smoother app development with a better user persona and user story
- Higher chance of success in developing the desired features for the target user
- Target users help develop the right user interface to improve user experience
- A competitive advantage over other apps
- The ability to target different user groups in one mobile app requirements document
- Better scalability with all the features designed for a specific market
- App technology that enhances user loyalty and satisfaction
- Cost optimisation by removing unnecessary features
Types of Apps for Which You Gather Requirements
A technical design document or functional specification could relate to multiple types of mobile applications.
Here are some examples of apps for which you should gather requirements:
- E-commerce app
- Game/entertainment mobile app
- Lifestyle app
- Productivity mobile app
- News/information mobile app
- Social media mobile app
- Utility mobile app
What Are the 4 Types of Mobile Applications?
Also, you have four primary mobile application types, such as:
- Hybrid mobile apps are based on web and native operating systems and offer cross-platform opportunities.
- Native mobile apps are designed to run on specific operating systems, like iOS or Android, and may cater to improved user experience on that platform.
- React JS mobile apps are good for front-end, multi-platform interfaces similar to hybrid environments.
- Web mobile apps use web-based services but may also improve user experience with multi-platform abilities.
Hire ReactJS developers from our parent company, or hire dedicated developers for the right app type.
Can Requiment Help Gather Mobile App Requirements?
Requiment is a product designed by Pulsion Technologies, dedicated to helping you gather the ultimate requirements for your mobile app development project.
Our about us page shares the story of how we help businesses gather requirements, even including tools like:
- A guided process to help any business size start requirements gathering
- Output reports for easily and visually sharable project overviews
- How to create wireframes for team projects
- The update easily tool to change requirements as markets and trends evolve
- Task generation to speed up the process
Using tools and software for efficient requirements management will set your app apart from others.
How to Gather and Document App Requirements for Project Success
We enable users and fellow mobile app developers to understand and prepare everything necessary to develop a highly competitive application.
So, let’s start by sharing the basics and requirements gathering process for multiple team members to hop aboard the development train.
Mobile App Requirements Types
Mobile apps have different requirement types to collect, including:
- Business requirements are high-level requirements that ensure the app will align with business objectives, and the project’s scope, and identify the key stakeholders.
- User requirements are valuable insights into what your target audience needs and wants, how you can solve their problems, and what the audience experiences from your prototyping app.
- Product or system requirements are non-functional requirements and functional requirements that include technical requirements and technical specifications for the engineering team.
A functional specification document will outline the product’s features and how users interact with the app.
On the other hand, non-functional requirements include the technical specification for the app’s quality attributes.
For example, a functional requirement refers to the sign-up button users click on before using your services.
However, non-functional requirements refer to how fast the system responds to the user clicking on that button and how the system protects their data while clicking the button.
Next, let’s show you the steps to gather requirements for a mobile application to ensure you meet the business requirements and key features necessary to develop a profitable product.
Some steps will involve sub-steps to help you gather the right information and requirements for documents.
Step 1: Define Your App Idea and Purpose
Mobile development requirements-gathering starts with a business idea. The first information you need is the idea or purpose of the mobile app.
What purpose will it serve? Does it offer a solution to a potential problem?
You need to identify a problem the app will solve to recognise the idea or purpose behind it.
Requirements gathering and management for mobile apps require some effort with massive results.
Step 2: Gather and Align the App and Business Objectives or Goals
An app idea is fruitless without understanding business needs, business goals, and business rules.
This step encourages you to gather business requirements to understand how the enterprise aligns with the idea from the first step.
Gathering business requirements to document involves these steps:
- Identify the stakeholders for the right mobile application software development based on the business idea.
- Define clear and concise business goals and objectives to understand the project’s scope.
- Elicit stakeholder requirements and user requirements with elicitation techniques.
- Document the requirements in a business requirements document.
- Validate your requirements with stakeholders for a further transparent and opportunistic process.
So, what requirements-gathering elicitation techniques could you use to gather stakeholder requirements for the business requirements document?
Elicitation techniques work for any requirements-gathering type.
Here are some popular and successful techniques to use:
- Analyse similar documents
- Analyse similar external and internal interfaces
- Brainstorm use cases and user stories
- Create user stories and use cases
- Hold stakeholder focus groups
- Host requirements workshops
- Interview all the relevant stakeholders
- Observe documents and case studies
- Prototype visual examples for feedback
- Reverse engineer the processes
- Use online surveys/questionnaires
- Validate ideas with stakeholders
Use our tips for conducting effective stakeholder interviews to enhance this step.
Step 3: Run a Market Analysis and Competitor Analysis
Conduct a market or competitor analysis to truly understand the user’s perspective and design the appropriate user personas.
It also helps your team gather more user requirements for the development company.
The following steps explain the process of gathering user and competitor requirements:
- Identify the direct, indirect, secondary, and substitute competitors for the mobile app. Remember to recognise any businesses offering similar mobile app services or products and those offering different products in a broader niche umbrella.
- Gather competitor information, including products, descriptions, pricing structures, geographic reach, engaging promotions, target market positioning, business reputation, user profiles, and key partnerships to understand what your product needs to compete against.
- Use a SWOT analysis to determine your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You could learn from another app’s mistakes to improve your requirements and identify possibly unique features other apps don’t provide.
The SWOT analysis in a table will help you see what the new product needs to do to compete better with the top market competitors.
Rank each competitor from 1-10 on each key element.
Then, rank what your mobile app aims to have in the requirements, looking for opportunities to improve the numbers.
- Next, determine what competitive advantage you hold over other apps. For example, the sample analysis shows that your product quality is far superior to others. The pricing is also better than competitors. Choose at least three elements in which you wish to compete with other apps.
Step 4: Determine Scenarios and a User Persona
The next major step in mobile app requirements-gathering is to design user personas and scenarios to guide the requirements.
A user persona fictionalises the target users for the mobile app.
It should describe the ideal person who uses the app, with some flexible aspects for alternate users.
The ultimate user person could include the following details about target users:
- Age (also, typical generational qualities)
- Behavioural considerations
- Gender (including non-binary if relevant to the product)
- Geographic location
- Goal or problem the app addresses or solves
- Goal quotes or principles
- Goal-related frustrations
- Motivation to use the app
- Range of hobbies and daily activities
- Typical occupation range
How would you transform user personas into scenarios?
Create a persona scenario or storyboard by focusing on the goals, how their typical behaviours affect them, and how the persona’s background motivates them to respond differently.
Write the scenario as a short paragraph for starters, as you’ll design user stories later. Meanwhile, identifying stakeholders for requirements gathering means creating personas.
Step 5: Gather and Prioritise Functional and Non-Functional Requirements
Your user and business requirements are shaped through the initial steps of app requirements gathering.
You still need to document them, but you’ll do that soon enough.
Meanwhile, start prioritising the functional and non-functional requirements for the technical details, which also design use cases.
First, determine which functional app requirements the project needs.
Here are some examples of functional mobile requirements:
- A complete description of a feature the app offers or software interfaces.
- How the app allows users to sign up, verify accounts, or subscribe to a newsletter.
- Buttons and dashboards users interact with to complete a specified task.
- External and internal interfaces users interact with on the app.
- The necessary administrative functions for different user classes.
- Transaction adjustment, correction, and cancellation functions.
Secondly, determine the non-functional requirements necessary to run your app.
Here are some examples of non-functional requirements in mobile development:
- How fast the app responds to user input.
- How the app protects user and business data.
- Whether the app can work on multiple platforms.
- How much data does the app store and is it scalable?
- How reliable and maintainable the app remains.
- Does the app comply with local laws and regulations?
Next, you’ll prioritise the non-functional requirements (NFRs) and functional requirements for an app.
Priorities determine the tech stack and importance of each function.
The MoSCow prioritisation technique helps with any requirements prioritisation before documenting the requirements.
The technique requires you to put every technical requirement into one of four categories:
- Must Have – The highest-level requirements are critical to the requirements document to ensure the project’s success.
- Should Have – The second highest-level specifications are necessary for the project but won’t delay the progress of development or success.
- Could Have – The medium-level specifications could enhance user experience but aren’t dealbreakers if you don’t develop them right away.
- Won’t Have – The low-level requirements aren’t important to stakeholders at the time of requirements documentation and won’t affect the development process.
Include requirements for user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) with your functional and non-functional requirements.
It helps to have these requirements in place before designing use cases and documenting a key user experience and user flow requirement for app development.
Requirements prioritisation simplifies decision-making for your app.
Step 6: Design Use Cases and User Stories
A mobile system requirements document won’t be complete unless you add use cases and stories.
Design them before documenting the specifications for the development company or team.
Use stories and cases to add visual representation to your documents for mobile app development documentation.
How to Design a Use Case for App Requirements Documents
A use case diagram lets everyone at the development company visualise an overview of how users will interact with the app.
It’s an overview that includes actors, how actors interact with the app, and the sequence of interactions actors will deploy.
Here’s a simple example of a use-case diagram that shows an overview of how actors interact with functional features while non-functional features interact with the app from the back-end stack:
How to Design a User Story for App Requirements Documents
A story evolves the user persona you wrote earlier. Creating user stories lets the development company design an app that meets acceptance criteria.
Transforming a user persona into a story means you must follow the INVEST acronym to guide the criteria.
In other words, every user story must meet the following factors:
- Independent – stories must be independent from each other.
- Negotiable – The what and why of stories should be concrete, while the how shouldn’t be.
- Valuable – Stories should add value for all the stakeholders.
- Estimable – Each story should be capable of estimation.
- Small – Stories must be small enough for sprint completion.
- Testable – Stories must be testable with written acceptance criteria possible immediately.
Here’s a criteria example that depicts a good user story:
- A business logo displays when users load the application.
- Animation includes enlarging the logo until it fills the screen and a slow sideways transition to the next screen.
- The user clicks on a dropdown menu on the top-right tab to search the categories, which include information about the company, shopping categories, FAQS about payment, a help guide, and a Contact Us page as some key features.
- The user clicks on the shopping categories to open a new dropdown menu that includes hats, shirts, pants, and shoes.
- Users click on hats, and the screen changes to show the products.
- The animation includes an enlarging logo with a sideways screen transition.
- Users click on the add to cart buttons when seeing a desired product.
- The button fills with a tick, as the top screen shows a banner that the item was added to the cart.
- The user clicks on the top-left dashboard button to enter the cart.
The criteria can go on but keep it short, as you’ll use different user stories, including one where the user checks an item out of their cart and makes payment.
Step 7: Write an App Requirements Document
Delivering a proper app requirements document means you need to know how to write a mobile app requirements document.
Our requirements-gathering template checklist can help you design a mobile app requirements template, as it works for web and app-based documentation.
Also, check out our effective requirements documentation best practices for beginners.
We guide you to know how to write a software requirements document (SRD), but let’s show you alternative steps.
Alternatively, follow our how-to write a mobile app requirements document steps to get the development process moving.
Mobile application development relies on the requirements document to design proper flow or the best app features and hit the right target audience.
Step 7a: Formulate the App’s Idea Statement
Every app requirements document should include an idea statement that lets every stakeholder and software developer understand the document before diving into the details.
Start your app requirements document with a simple single-sentence statement that aligns with the app’s idea.
Step 7b: Document All Relevant App Details
A detailed description of development plans in the requirements document is instrumental to completing the documentation.
A successful mobile app requirements document includes more than the details of an application and its functions for the development team.
Descriptions to Include in a Mobile Requirements Document
A mobile application requirements document should include a detailed description of functional and technical requirements and the app’s functionality to properly capture and represent the project’s scope.
- Business requirements
- User requirements
- Software requirements specification
- Technical specifications
- Functional specifications
- Non-functional requirements
- Hardware interfaces
- A list of must-have features
- Unique app features
- Internal and external interfaces
- Non-functional key metrics
- User stories
- Acceptance criteria
Step 7c: Prepare a Navigation Sequence
The development team requires a simple navigation sequence they can follow during software development.
The mobile app requirements document outlines the sequence in which the software development process flows.
Add the details from step 7b in a sequence that every developer can easily grasp.
Step 7d: Add Requirements Formats for Visuals
Add your user stories from a user’s perspective and the use case overviews you designed to the app requirements document to help stakeholders and the development team understand every aspect of the app requirements document.
Successful software development means knowing the intended users.
Step 7e: Add Cost Optimisation Details
The development team, stakeholders, and the client will appreciate a cost-benefit analysis to ensure cost optimisation throughout the software development process.
You’ll find guidelines for cost optimisation in your business objectives or budget.
Business analysts also insist on adding a cost-benefit analysis to an app requirements document to meet the business needs and have a greater chance of success against competing apps.
Did you know that poor requirements management can lead to projects going over budget?
Step 7f: Add Communication Protocols
Ensure another key element is in your document before delivering the mobile app requirements document to a project manager, stakeholder, developer, or operating environment.
Add communication methods for a collaborative process. Collaboration relies on dependable communication.
The importance of effective communication in requirements gathering outlines why you need it.
Alternate App Requirements Document Process
Alternatively, use a mobile app requirements document template to capture the requirements for app development.
A mobile app development requirements document template speeds up the process for non-business analysts or requirements analysts.
Helpful related post on business analyst requirements gathering how-to guide.
Our product requirements document template for app development will help you document everything.
The requirements document focuses on product or system requirements to develop an app.
It’s a basic app requirements document template that app stores and development teams can follow.
Step 8: Deploy Prototyping and Wireframing
Prototyping and wireframing let you design the user flow of user interfaces and basic app functions.
It also lets you test and validate layouts and transitions between app pages.
Here are the steps to wireframe your requirements for an app, which you will then validate in the next step:
- Map the target user flow.
- Sketch the flow’s core part.
- Set a mobile wireframe.
- Determine the layout with boxes.
- Use design patterns.
- Add intended copy.
- Connect the app’s pages to design a flow.
- Design a prototype.
- Release the initial design to gather feedback.
Also, read about the significance of wireframing in requirements gathering and validation.
Step 9: Validate the App Requirements
Validation is a quality control process you use before launching the final product based on your requirements.
The prototype app collects feedback from stakeholders, and you can invite stakeholders to verify that the app meets the documented requirements. Use the feedback for the final step.
The benefits of collaborative requirements gathering share insights about feedback and collaboration.
Step 10: Apply Agile Methodology
Agile methodology in requirements-gathering means you’ll always adapt the requirements document as per the feedback from stakeholders, testing, and initial product releases.
Agile methodology focuses on user experience and constant testing and validation to further improve your application.
You should know the importance of updating requirement documentation throughout a project.
Summing Up Mobile App Requirements
Gathering the right requirements for a mobile development requirements document follows ten steps, some containing sub-steps with easy-to-follow guidelines.
Our Requiment product helps you through these steps, so don’t forget to sign up for the free trial.
However, our easy-to-access document template for mobile requirements-gathering also sets your project up for success.
Follow the steps in this guide, or check out our complete guide to requirements-gathering in 2024 to ensure a smooth, successful project.
Mobile Requirements FAQs
What Are Android Mobile App Requirements?
An Android app requirements document will need the following additional technical details:
- APK file size
- App permissions
- App version
- Debug and test specifications
- Operating system and SDK version
What Are iOS Mobile App Requirements?
An iOS app requirements document will need the following additional technical specifications:
- A business model
- Accurate meta descriptions for all app features
- Additional documents for UIKit, AppKit, WatchKit, iOS data storage, and app extensions
- An innovative and unique design sample
- Extensive safety features
- Legal and regulatory requirements list
- Performance metrics
- SDK versions and permissions
- User experience design
What Are Native Mobile App Requirements?
A native iOS app requires programming languages like Swift or Objective-C, whereas a native Android app requires programming languages like Kotlin or Java.
The tech stacks in native apps depend on the operating system’s environment, which means adding more details to product requirements documents.
What Are Web App Requirements?
The minimum requirements necessary for a web app include a user interface, database, security features, and backend infrastructure.
Testing and prototyping are instrumental to web app development projects and requirements gathering to ensure your product meets user needs.