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How to Create a Web Application: An Expert Guide

Date: 02/08/2023

Stuart Watkins

At Devstars, we take immense pride in our 25 years of experience designing, building, and optimising web applications tailored to our client’s needs. Over the years, this has led us to develop successful platforms for Heathrow Airport, G4S, The Ministry of Defense, and countless start-ups.

Why build a bespoke web application?

There is a huge array of off-the-shelf platforms, so why build bespoke? Nobody builds completely bespoke, but for clarity, we are referring to platforms that are mostly bespoke builds.

Understanding the Fundamentals: What is a Web Application?

First off, let’s define the essence of a web application. In simple terms, a web application is a dynamic and interactive program accessible through a web browser. Unlike static websites, web applications allow users to engage, manipulate data, and perform specific tasks, fostering a seamless user experience.

For example, Sort Your Future is a bespoke web application/platform that we developed to give students career advice and for companies and organisations to offer advice, training and careers. The platform needs to work for two very distinct markets with separate interfaces with some clever logic that sits in the middle and provides easy access to the information that both parties need.

bespoke web application for Sort your Future

The Key Ingredients: Essential Components of a Web Application

Every successful web application is a sum of its well-crafted parts. Let’s explore the essential components that contribute to the cohesive functioning of a web application:

Front-End Development: Crafting the User Experience (UX ) and the User Interface (UI)

The front end serves as the face of your web application, determining how users interact with your platform. Using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, our expert developers breathe life into the UI, ensuring an intuitive and visually appealing experience.

Back-End Development: The Backbone of Web Applications

While the front end handles user interaction, the back end operates behind the scenes, powering the logic and functionality of the web application. With our expertise in server-side scripting, database management, and APIs, we create a robust back-end infrastructure.

Database Management: Storing and Retrieving Information

The foundation of any web application lies in its data storage and retrieval mechanisms. Our skilled database architects implement efficient database management systems, guaranteeing seamless data flow and optimum performance. 

Security and User Authentication: Safeguarding User Data

User data’s sanctity is paramount in today’s digital age. As well as being Cyber Essentials accredited, our processes are also audited by Risk Ledger. We recommend you have standard operating procedures that cover every aspect of your build process and ensure that these include pre and post-launch security checklists.

The Art of Development: Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Web Application

Defining Objectives and Scope

A successful web application begins with a clear vision. Our team collaborates with you to outline objectives, scope, and target audience to align the development process with your business goals.

Workshops help us tease briefs out of clients and capture as much information as possible and the project goals.

Wireframing and Prototyping with Design Sprints

Before delving into full-fledged development, we create wireframes and prototypes, allowing you to visualise the user flow and interface design.

The fundamental principle of a Design Sprint is; using user-centred design thinking to rapidly explore, ideate, research and refine a user experience. This process is geared to help explore ideas and opportunities with minimal cost whilst working to validate and improve the early concepts.

Design Sprints provide a time/resource-restricted process for executing work, gaining insights, and delivering solutions. FAST!

Front-End Development

With our flair for UI design and front-end development, we transform wireframes into an engaging, user-friendly interface that adheres to and supports brand values:

  • Be familiar – Users like clean, consistent interfaces. We aren’t trying to revolutionise web design but to present the bar/restaurant in the best possible light.
    Simple Ul and workflow patterns will increase effectiveness and reduce cognitive load—a balance between experience and functionality.
  • Design for delight – Users are looking for great functionality, but providing delight to the experience will help raise opinions and promote the business. 
  • Remember our goals – Define at the scoping stage and use good design practices to support these.
  • Lean on others – Use existing, proven patterns to help ensure core design fundamentals are followed versus reinventing the wheel. Research has shown that people like prototypical designs.

Back-End Development

Simultaneously, our back-end engineers work diligently to develop a robust and scalable infrastructure to support your application’s functionalities.

Database Integration

Our data specialists carefully implement a well-structured database system, facilitating seamless data management. High-volume, mission-critical applications require care and attention to how databases are designed, optimised and queried. 

Testing and Quality Assurance 

Rigorous testing and quality assurance ensure a bug-free and seamless user experience. Standardised operating procedures and checklists allow us to deliver consistently high-quality sites to our clients. 

Deployment and Maintenance

We deploy your web application upon successful testing and provide ongoing maintenance and support.

We create a bespoke service-level agreement for each client that covers reactive and proactive support. 

This can include:

  • Maintenance
  • Content Support
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Support
  • Ongoing development and more.

Conclusion: Empowering Your Digital Presence

In our experience, the most essential factor in building a successful web application is done in the planning stage. By spending time to thoroughly understand the needs of both the stakeholders and the end users, you can make the right decisions.

Workshops and design sprints with regular client follow-ups at the start of the project reap the rewards later on. Simple prototypes for key user journeys can help highlight unseen opportunities and pitfalls at a time when it’s easy to make changes. 

The result of this type of process is that we ensure that the right things are designed (and developed) and in the right way.

Have you got an idea for a web application or platform? Let us know if this has proven helpful to you, and please get in touch if you think we can help with your project.

How to Create a Web Application: FAQs

How much time does it take to create a web application?

The time required to create a web application depends on its complexity and the skill level of the developer. Simple applications may take a few weeks, while more complex ones may take several months.

Do I need to learn coding to create a web application?

While coding knowledge is essential, there are several low-code or no-code platforms available that allow you to create web applications without extensive coding expertise.

Can I create a web application without a backend?

Some basic web applications can function without a backend, but for most applications, a backend is necessary to handle data and business logic.

How much does it cost to create a web application?

The cost of creating a web application varies widely depending on factors like complexity, features, technology, and development resources.

What are some popular web application development frameworks?

Some popular web application development frameworks include Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Django, and Angular.

How can I make money with my web application?

You can monetize your web application through various methods such as subscription plans, advertising, in-app purchases, or by offering premium features.

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