Tips to Create Mobile App Product Requirements Document

Winning ideas shape the most successful apps like Netflix or Uber. But shaping a great idea into a successful app product is not a simple task. It requires meticulous planning powered by well-articulated documentation. Mobile app Product Requirements Document (PRD) precisely addresses this need.

What type of app you are going to build, how it is going to serve your target audience, how you are going to generate revenue from the app, what are the key features of the app, what platform and frameworks you need to use, all these and many other attributes must be documented clearly. In the context of app projects, we refer to this as a mobile app Product Requirements Document (PRD).

A product requirements document (PRD) is the first stepping stone towards a successful app development project. Here we are going to explain the detailed attributes of PRD and the best practices for creating this.

Do you know, improper requirement planning is responsible for 60% more spending in-app budget and development time?

What Exactly is a Mobile App Product Requirements Document (PRD)?

The mobile app Product Requirements Document (PRD) refers to the comprehensive document clearly explaining the objective, value propositions and technical building blocks of a mobile app project. It offers detailed guidance for developing the app product. Most strategic business and development decisions corresponding to the project primarily rely on this document.

When developing an app, the development team refers to this document to understand and communicate what they need to develop, the objective of the app product and the benefits for the end-user. The requirement document keeps everyone including the app developers, designers and clients on the same page regarding the objective and key development specifications of the app project.

More than 30% app projects simply fail because of inaccurate estimation and lack of requirement planning.

Why is a Product Requirements Document (PRD) so important?

For a great app idea to take shape into a successful product, you need an expert development team. But before that, you need to know the particular programming skills and platforms you need to target. After hiring the developer team you also need to communicate the project details and objectives in clear terms. For all these, you need a comprehensive mobile app Product Requirements Document(PRD).

A mobile app Product Requirements Document PRD) works literally as the foundation of the project. Projects missing a very well-articulated PRD often find themselves on the slippery slope of failure. Here are some statistics to prove this.

Let's have a quick look at some of the key benefits offered by a well-documented project requirement.

  • Get Rid of Uncertainty: With a well-articulated and comprehensive project requirement document, you enjoy absolute certainty and control over all aspects of the project including objectives, features, challenges, budget, timelines and quality.
  • Precise Team Communication: A PRD primarily helps you to communicate the app project and all details to your team. You can set objectives and expectations clearly from early on. When you hire remote software developers, you can evaluate their expertise based on this document.
  • Smooth Delivery: Thanks to a well-documented app requirement document you can ensure a better understanding of the project, set detailed priorities and timelines, reduce repetitions and ensure better task management. This results in smooth and timely delivery.
  • Reduce Spending: Because of a clear development path and documented priorities, developers do not need to rework less resulting in less spending. The well-documented development path also reduces the errors resulting in better resource utilization.

Business Requirement Document (BRD)

A mobile app Product Requirements Document consists of the business perspectives as well as technical or functional perspectives corresponding to the app project. The first part refers to the business requirement document (BRD) and it explains how the proposed app is going to serve the business objectives of the company and how it is going to serve its business customers.

Let's have a closer look at the key aspects covered by the business requirement development (BRD) of a mobile app project.

Defining the App Objectives

What problem your app is going to solve, you need to explain. Every app comes as a solution to one or more practical problems. Describe the key value proposition of the app for what users will be motivated to use your app.

Create User Personas

You must have carried out some research on who is going to find your app useful. Based upon this research, describe a user persona that provides an outline of the audience characteristics. The user persona should describe the demographic character, education, occupation, gender, and age of the target audience.

Describe User Journeys

Now, describe every different type of user and their respective user journey. Describe how every type of user is going to interact with the app. Describe how from start to finish they are going to do and the ways they are going to react when facing different options.

Create a Vision Statement

Besides explaining the problem your app is going to solve, describe the characteristics of all your intended users and how the app product is going to add more value to stand out from competition over time.

List the App Features

The features are the constituent parts of any app. Some features remain common to most apps, while others are unique to the particular app. You need to list the app features in the document to give a clear idea about the intended user experience. Some must-have features that remain common across most apps include the following.

  • Registration and Sign-up
  • Splash Screen
  • User Onboarding
  • Push Notifications
  • User Settings
  • Forms
  • App Navigation
  • Social Media Integration
  • Product or Content Menus
  • Search Function with Filters
  • Shopping Cart
  • Mobile Payment Options
  • In-app Calendar
  • App Analytics
  • Loyalty Points and Gamification
  • GPS Location Maps
  • Chatbot Support
  • In-app Video

The above-mentioned features can be extended to include several others as per the objective of the app or a few of them can be dropped as per the project focus. If you are building an MVP app at the initial stage, create a list of priority features followed by secondary ones that you can incorporate in future updates based on user feedback.

Describe a Monetization Model

Now, in the business requirement document, you need to describe how you are going to make a business from the app. You can choose to release it as a paid app or can embrace the Freemium (Free+Premium) approach or can just release it free while opting to make money through in-app ads or in-app purchases. You need to decide on a monetization model based upon your app objective, audience and long-term vision.

Functional Specification Document (FSD

After you have explained all the specific requirements of the app corresponding to the business side, you have to get down to documenting functional specifications now. Referred to as Functional Specification Document (FSD) will explain all technical aspects to help the app achieve the intended user experience through app features and functionalities.

Key considerations for Functional Specification Document (FSD) include the following.

Describe and Explain the Platform Choice

For every app project, there are two main platforms, such as iOS and Android. You can target one platform based upon the user volume representing your target audience or you can decide to build for both platforms simultaneously. This depends upon several considerations such as budget, time constraints, resources, etc.

The choice of the platform also depends upon the project goal. An app mainly focusing on higher audience footfall may decide to go for a platform with a higher presence of their target audience. Another app focusing on business conversion may decide to give priority to one platform based upon what other competitors experienced. If you decide to build for both simultaneously, you can always opt for cross-platform development with native-friendly technologies.

Explain the Dependencies

Now, you need to explain the project dependencies or all the aspects that the app development team focuses upon for fulfilling their objectives. Some of the key dependencies that app projects must consider include the following.

  • Device hardware that will play a key role in the app performance or user experience
  • The API documentation or integrated third party services for the project
  • The credentials corresponding to the platform, developer profile and account
  • The third-party software products the app project depends upon
  • The third-party content, flowcharts, documents, or data the project needs to use

Describe the Assumptions

The app has still not taken shape and hence there will be gross assumptions on different aspects of the final project outcome. You need to describe assumptions such as how according to the developers the users are likely to react to the app. It is always advisable to orient these assumptions with the business objectives and functional attributes to draw a clear hypothetical picture.

Describe the Project Challenges

Every app project faces several limitations or challenges that the developers need to put up with. You need to explain these challenges in clear terms. Some key limitations that most apps face correspond to budget, development time and resources.

Requirements for App Stores Submission

Finally, for publishing your app in the Android Play Store or iOS App Store you need to ensure adhering to certain technical standards and recommended specifications. The functional requirement document should explain these requirements for app stores submission.

When you define these requirements at the start of the project, you can easily make your developers follow the guidelines resulting in easier and faster approval and launch of the product.

Some of the key assets that remain common for both the Play Store and App Store include

  • Appropriately sized icons, such as 1x, 2x or 3x images for iOS and mdpi, hdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi images for Android.
  • Appropriately sized splash screens, such as 1x, 2x or 3x images for iOS and mdpi, hdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi images for Android.
  • Appropriate dimensions for screenshots and the languages
  • The app description in the target languages
  • Target keywords in the respective languages
  • A comprehensive list of devices and OS versions that the app supports

Some assets that are specific to the Apple App Store include the following.

  • The developer account for iTunes Connect
  • Name of the Business Entity
  • Name of the App Store app listing
  • Target keywords for search
  • Bundle id or SKU
  • A demo account for app review
  • App description
  • A dedicated URL for app support
  • A dedicated URL for app marketing
  • Privacy policy document
  • App category mention
  • Copyright information
  • Contact information
  • App icon in 1024×1024 dimension
  • A profile for App Store distribution
  • The identity code of signing authority for App Store distribution
  • App screenshots with recommended sizes for different iOS devices

Some assets that are specific to the Android Play Store include the following.

  • The developer account for Google Play Store
  • App name in store listing
  • Mention of monetization model as Paid or Free
  • A brief app description
  • A comprehensive and detailed app description
  • App icon with 512×512 dimension
  • Feature Graphic in 1024×500 dimension
  • App type
  • App category
  • Rating of the app content
  • Contact information
  • Privacy policy document
  • App screenshots with recommended sizes for different Android devices

Let Our Experts help you Create a Product Requirement Document (PRD)

Are you confused about documenting all these details in a well-articulated manner? Well, at IndianAppDevelopers, we boast of a specialist team of experts with years of experience across diverse app projects to help you with documenting product requirements. We create a product requirement document that gives you absolute certainty regarding all aspects, way before your app enters the development lab.

Conclusion

Creating a comprehensive document covering all aspects of your intended app product is a critical aspect to pave the way for success. With a document that explains every finite detail of the app project, you can easily have a decisive grasp on how the outcome is going to be.

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Written by
CEO
Juned Ghachi is the CEO of IndianAppDevelopers, a professional mobile app development company in India for full-cycle mobility solutions. Having 10+ years of experience in the digital marketing field, he excels at offering the best technical advice to clients.

“We collaborated with Indian App Developers as they really comprehended our goal. They are incredibly professional, host the best talent, and are excellent at project management. We are very impressed with how the app has turned out to be. I must say their dedication & quality is top-notch. Highly recommend them.”

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Will Ben Simpson

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