App Development Glossary: Basic Terms for Product Owners

App Development Glossary: Basic Terms for Product Owners

Get to know elementary terms that come in handy at each stage of the mobile app development process.

Why should you know these particular terms?

First, a disclaimer – there are many important terms specific to app development. Enough to make a specialized dictionary (and for sure, someone has already taken care of this).

Why did we choose only a few? The selection presented in this article includes the basic terms that we use very often. Knowing this elementary vocabulary will give you many advantages.

  1. It allows you to cooperate with the development team more efficiently.
  2. It helps you better understand what it takes to build mobile apps.
  3. It lets you make informed decisions regarding the development of your digital product.
  4. It gives you a chance to prepare well for the tasks to come.

Ready? So, let’s get to it.

Product Discovery

This is the preliminary phase when we collect and analyze info about the potential users and the business. As a result, the team gets a better understanding of the client’s target group. We also know what your business needs to thrive. The goal is to discover the possibilities the app should offer. These findings help us throughout the entire development process.

Useful terms:

  • Individual In-Depth Interview (IDI) – it’s a qualitative research method in which the moderator talks with a respondent. Thanks to IDIs, we get to know the potential users better. We can discover their motivations and find out what stops them from achieving their goals. Knowledge about their needs and problems helps us design products that have real value.
  • Product Design workshop – during this workshop, members of the development and the client’s team work together. First, we collect and analyze the info about the business and users. Then we move on to exercises that aim to uncover new possibilities and find solutions to the target group’s problems.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – they tell us what you want to achieve as a result of this project and how to measure it. When the team knows your KPIs, we can propose solutions that are better adjusted to your needs.

Would you like to increase your chances of building a marketable product? Get to know the Discovery phase better.

Project Kickoff

Both the client and the development team must take part in the project kickoff meeting. Its purpose is to discuss the organizational side of the project. We talk about the goals, tasks, and tools, among others.

Useful terms:

  • Roadmap – it’s a document with the info about the product’s main elements or features, business goals, and preferable time frames.
  • Project scope –  it describes what must be done to develop the app. Scope informs you about the project goals, tasks needed to complete it, necessary resources, the estimated time it should take to finish the project, and the expected results.
  • Sprints – agile methodology divides the software development process into iterations called sprints. An iteration usually lasts about one or two weeks. As a result of a sprint, you get a new element of the app.

UX/UI Design

When we know what the main project goals are and how the app is supposed to work, we can start designing its interface. It has to be user-friendly, intuitive, functional, and accessible to people with various impairments. The overall design should also look appealing and build a positive user experience.

Useful terms:

  • User flow diagram – it shows us what paths users can take in the app and what actions they can take to complete a task. With this diagram, it’s easier to analyze the app with usability in mind. It also allows us to quickly check, what actions a given element should enable.
  • Wireframes – the outlines of the design project. They show us what the app should look like and what elements must be implemented. Wireframes aren’t interactive but they allow us to see what actions users should be able to make. It’s a way of presenting the structure of the app.
  • Prototype – it’s an interactive model of the app. Not only it allows us to see what it should look like but also how it must work. We use prototypes to test the design and to help other team members understand what we want to achieve.
  • Usability tests – before developers start coding the app, you need to make sure that its design is as intuitive as expected. For this reason, we can conduct usability tests with potential users. This way, we find out what elements of the app should be changed to improve user experience. When we detect such issues at the design stage, the cost of fixing the errors is the lowest. So, usability tests allow you to save time and money. They also help us create products that better answer people’s needs.
  • Style guide – a document that states what fonts, text sizes, colors, and other visual elements should we use in the app, how, and when. Style guides let us keep the design cohesive with other solutions your brand offers (such as a web app). If you like, we can create a second style guide exclusively with the mobile app in mind.

Writing code and testing

At Holdapp, we develop apps in agile methodologies. Based on the wireframes, developers write the code of new elements and QA specialists test them to ensure the highest quality of the software.

Useful terms:

  • Frontend – every element of the mobile app that users see and are able to interact with.
  • Backend – its role is to store and process the data. It’s also responsible for delivering it to the frontend, so users could see it (for example, in a form of search results, product recommendations, notifications, etc.).
  • Code review – when one developer writes the code, another one analyzes it to find bugs. If there are any recommendations for changes, the reviewer tells the author what needs to be improved and also what has been done well.
  • QA tests – when developers finish coding a new element of the app, testers check if it works according to requirements. This way we can provide users with an app that works flawlessly and fast.
  • Acceptance tests (UAT) – before the app goes to the store, we test use cases to check if they meet the necessary acceptance requirements.
  • Regression – it takes place when all the bugs are fixed. During the regression, we test if these fixes didn’t cause any errors in the modules related to the one the team was working on during the given sprint.
  • Sprint planning – product owner and project manager write down the goal of the next sprint and tasks that must be completed to achieve it. It should be clear which tasks are the priorities.
  • Daily (stand-up) – a short meeting that takes place every day during a sprint. The entire development team takes part in it. Specialists discuss the status of their work and current tasks.
  • Backlog refinement – product owner and project manager need to update the backlog and make sure that all the tasks are well described and prioritized.
  • Retrospective – the meeting of the team members. It’s when they discuss the good and the bad of the development process. As a result, they know what needs to be improved and left unchanged.

Find out more about the coding and testing stage.

Product release

When the mobile app is almost ready, you can run additional tests and then move on to the distribution process.

Useful terms:

  • Internal tests (Google Play Store) – up to 20 people can take part in internal tests and check the app; they need to have a unique link that allows them to find the app on the store and install it.
  • Closed tests (Google Play Store) – there are two types of closed tests: alpha and beta (the first and the second version of the app). During such tests, the app is available on Google Play Store but only for selected people.
  • Open tests (Google Play Store) – they enable more people to test your app and send their feedback.
  • Internal testers (Apple App Store) – members of your App Store Connect team who are notified every time a new build is ready for testing. You can have up to 100 internal testers of your app.
  • Beta testing (Apple App Store) – up to 10 000 external testers can check the beta version of your app before its release.
  • The app review – if you want to release the app in the stores, it must pass a detailed review process. The stores need to make sure your app meets their requirements.
  • App Store OptimizationASO is the process that makes it more likely for the app to appear in the top positions in the app stores’ search results. It increases the app’s visibility, so more people are able to find it.

The distribution process is different depending on the platform. Check the difference between Apple App Store and Google Play Store.


App development is a process, not a one-time event. After the release of the first version of the product, you need to maintain it – fix bugs, update the app, and overall, take care of its quality.

Useful terms:

  • Mobile app analytics – collecting and analyzing data that helps you see how customers use your mobile app. Based on the selected metrics, you can get a better understanding of your users and make changes that improve the UX. Analytics tools also make it easier to monitor technical errors, so we can fix the bugs earlier.
  • UX audit – app analysis that concentrates on the user experience. It tells us what elements of the app should be changed in order to improve its usability. Such an audit explains what causes the problems that result in poor UX and recommends solutions.
  • Technical audit – this type of app analysis focuses on the technical aspects of the software. It tells you why the app’s performance isn’t as good as expected and what can be done to fix this.

Hopefully, this short glossary will help you during the app development and even before, when looking for the best software company. Write us a line if you’d like to know details about this process.

Justyna Zielonka

Content Marketing Manager

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