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How To Build A Mobile App In The Middle East

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A business mobile app, whether you are a startup founder, an SMB, or an enterprise-grade corporation, is a key asset that drives business growth and directly impacts conversion and sales, finances, human capital management, operations, supply chain and customer engagement. Considering the growing number of businesses now investing in mobile app development, here is a quick guide with steps on how to build a mobile app and launch it for monetization success. 

I have divided this guide in three important sections: 

  1. Planning the app development process – these are all the steps I recommend you do before building a mobile app 
  2. The main design, development and testing process – these are the deliverables developers complete for building the technical structure of the app. 
  3. Launching and post-launch maintenance – these steps are required after your mobile app is developed – and ready for download.

Before building a mobile app – The research and product validation part 

Product idea validation

There are countless approaches to roughly validate the initial idea you have for your app. Throughout these approaches, you’ll find app examples, inspirations and even competitors that’ll teach you about managing these startups, features, customer support and marketing. 

As a product strategist I have my complete roadmap to decide if my clients should really continue working on a specific idea – but if you are from a different, non-product background, here are two most common yet effective approaches: 

Problem/Solution Fit

  • Clearly define the problem your app will solve.
  • Validate that the problem is significant and affects a large enough audience.
  • Ensure your app solution is better than existing alternatives.

Value Proposition

  • Articulate the unique value your app offers users.
  • Focus on how your app makes users’ lives better or easier.
  • Differentiate your value proposition from the competition.

Look into the technical, legal and financial feasibility of your idea. 

Then move ahead to market research.

Target Audience and Ideal Customer Profile 

  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, income, education, etc.
  • Psychographics: Interests, values, lifestyle, online behaviour, etc.
  • Pain points and needs: What problems does your app solve for them?

Analyse your competitors 

  • Identify direct and indirect competitors

Analyse their features, strengths, weaknesses, and user reviews.

  • Market share and growth potential

How big is the market for your app and is it growing?

  • Pricing strategies and monetization models

How do your competitors make money?

Recommended Read: Competitor Analysis and Target Audience Research

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Outline the product features  

By now, you already know the type of app you wish to build. You know your target audience and their buyer persona – their attributes and demographics. You know what they actually ‘want’. 

Now decide if you want to build a full-fledged, high-end, commercial scale app and launch it – or, you wish to launch an app with only basic features that are the essentials of your app’s functionality. 

The latter is the MVP development approach – and if you are still planning to test the market waters, have financial limitations, waiting for funding and cash flow or optimising launch timelines before your competitors, this is your way to go! 

Decide on a platform. Do you wish to launch for Android users, or iOS users? A smart move, however, is to launch for both platforms. If you don’t plan to invest heavy budgets in native Android and iOS development, we recommend going for cross-platform development. This approach uses technologies like Flutter and React Native. These apps are close to native experience and you get an asset to host on TWO platforms for the price of ONE. Less development time, less cost – easier to scale in future!. 

In addition to the core features of your app, for example pill reminders in case of a healthcare app, these are the most important features for any mobile app: 

  1. Log in and log out – a guest signup without personal details can be nice to have! 
  2. Push notifications 
  3. Profile creation
  4. Online payment 
  5. Search filters and categories 
  6. Social sharing 
  7. Wishlisting and add to cart – in case of ecommerce development 

Decide monetization strateg

Decide if you wish to launch a free or premium app. Here are monetization strategies for both. As a quick tip, consider the income segment, demographics, age group and professional background of your target audience while deciding the monetization mix. You don’t need to stick to one method – but pick a combination.

Free Apps

These apps are free to download and use – but strategically make money within the app with ads, sponsored content, featured listings and cross-promotion. 


Banner ads: Discreetly displayed at the top or bottom of the screen. 

Video ads: Short video clips that play before or during app use.

Native ads: Ads that blend seamlessly with the app’s content, like sponsored content within a news feed.

Interstitial ads: Full-screen ads that appear between app sessions or levels.

Freemium Model

Provide a basic version of the app for free, with premium features or content locked behind a paywall. This entices users to try the app while generating revenue from those who want the full experience.

Data Monetization

With user consent, anonymize app usage data and sell insights to other companies for market research or targeted advertising. This can be a lucrative option for apps with large user bases and rich data sets.

Affiliate Marketing

Promote relevant external products or services within the app and earn a commission for each purchase made through the app. This works well for apps with engaged users who are open to recommendations.

Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations

Partner with other brands or companies to offer exclusive benefits or content within the app, generating revenue through sponsorship deals. This can be a great way to reach a wider audience and boost brand awareness.

Premium Apps 

Premium apps need to offer compelling value and differentiation to justify their price tag. Focus on delivering a high-quality user experience, consistent updates, and ongoing support to retain your users and build a loyal following in the paid app market.

Upfront App Purchase

The simplest and most direct approach, users pay a one-time fee to download and unlock the full functionality of the app. This works well for niche apps targeting specialised audiences willing to pay for a premium experience.

Freemium Model with Premium Features

Offer a basic version of the app for free, but lock advanced features, additional content, or customization options behind a paywall. This allows users to try the app before committing, while generating revenue from those who want the full suite of features.

In-App Purchases (IAPs) for Consumables and Non-Consumables

Similar to the freemium model, this involves offering additional downloadable content like levels, characters, virtual currency, or subscription unlocks within the app itself. Consumables are used up (e.g., extra lives in a game), while non-consumables offer permanent upgrades or features.


Provide access to the app or exclusive content on a recurring basis, monthly or annually. This creates a predictable revenue stream, ideal for apps offering ongoing value like productivity tools, news services, or fitness trackers.

Donation Model

This relies on the goodwill of users who appreciate the app and choose to contribute financially to support its development and maintenance. Transparency and ongoing updates are crucial for this model to succeed.

Establish a team 

This team is your brain behind the app. These team members typically work in phases – but should be aligned on the discovery phase for a unified app vision.

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Product Manager

This is the product development strategy role responsible for defining the app’s roadmap and ensuring it aligns with business objectives.

Project Manager

Project manager is responsible for keeping the development process on track and ensuring timely delivery. This role follows agile and scrum methodologies to manage design and development KPIs throughout. 

UI/UX designer 

This role designs the user interface of the app – starting from basic wireframes to prototypes to actual app screen mockups for developers. 

Frontend developer

This developer builds the client-side of the app. This is the app’s interface a user directly interacts with. 

Backend developer

Backend developers code the infrastructure behind the app that empowers the overall functionality and security. 

Quality assurance analyst 

This role is responsible for battle-testing the mobile app for performance and functionality, device capacities and load handling. 

Are you looking for a reputable mobile app development company in Dubai? Discuss your app idea with us on a FREE consultation call!

Process of Mobile App Development at CMOLDS

At CMOLDS, we follow agile methodology – we keep building, testing and improving. This way, we have little to fix in the testing stage and absolutely zero bottlenecks when launching the mobile app on marketplaces. 

You can also think of this process as a snapshot of what we do at CMOLDS when clients outsource their app development projects. 

UI/UX Design 

As the name suggests, UI/UX design is the part where designers build the visual structure of the interface of the app. They start with wireframes – the basic skeleton of each app feature – from splash screen to sidebars and show the complete user journey inside the app. 

They turn the wireframes into proper app screens with typical tools like Figma or Adobe XD, depending on the complexity or level of customization required. Typically, designers submit three deliverables at this stage: screen mockups, design assets like buttons and microinteractions, and working prototype.  

Technical Development 

The development stage is typically divided into two steps – and most app development companies in UAE follow more or less the same sequence, unless they are white labelling maximum code. 

Frontend development 

In simplest terms, this part is the face of your mobile app. This is the client-side and interacts directly with the users. All microinteractions, buttons and CTAs, swapping between screens, navigation etc. are part of the frontend development.  

Backend development

The backend, as the name suggests, is the server side of a mobile app. You can think of it as behind-the-scenes of an app’s functionality. There are three most important parts of the backend development: 

Database: mobile apps have strong databases connected in the backend to handle all the personal information, load and traffic rush. Some databases used for mobile app development include MySQL and MongoDB.  

App security: during the development, backend developers perform security best practices like end-to-end encryption to ensure the code is secure and the resulting app doesn’t leak data.   

API integration: APIs, Application Programming Interface(s), are the small code snippets that are used to exchange data between two apps – say your mobile app and a payment method like PayPal. So when an app user makes an online payment in an e-commerce app through PayPal – this API works to smoothly perform the transaction. 

API integration is an important part of backend development – and sometimes, a complex one too if you are building an enterprise application. Some development companies, however, treat API integration as a step separate from frontend and backend development.   

With technical development concluding – secure backend, engaging frontend, APIs in place and databases set, development team forwards the app for testing and quality assurance. Reputable companies typically have separate departments for quality assurance to maintain the integrity and standards of ethical app development.


App testing is a quality assurance (QA) step to ensure your app functions smoothly, delivers on its intended purpose, and provides a positive user experience across diverse devices and operating systems.

At CMOLDS, we use a mix of app testing strategies, like manual and automated, white-box and black-box testing to future-proof the app for potential issues and bugs. 

We follow this specific sequence in app testing:  

Unit Tests: App testers assess individual components of the app in isolation, verify their functionality and logic before integration.

Integration Test: They combine multiple components to assess for compatibility and data flow between them.

Functional Tests: This is a comprehensive step where we assess the app’s overall functionality against its intended behaviour and requirements.

Non-Functional Test: Slightly different from technical tests, these assessments analyse the user experience (UX), performance, security, and compatibility across different devices and OS versions. 

Beta Testing: This method of testing tells more about user experience and is completely different from technical tests performed under professional environments. We create a group of 50 to 100 real users interested in sharing their feedback about the app’s performance, functionality and user experience. 

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We combine the results of all these testing steps and document them in one report – fix all of them and forward the build for client’s approval. 

After Developing the Mobile App 

After we get client’s approval on the app’s user experience, performance, security and functionality, it’s time to deploy the app on relevant hosting and servers. With this done, the app is almost ready for publishing on Google Play and App Store – only with a little preparation session that’s beneficial for launching.

Launching Strategy

Typically, app entrepreneurs already start discussing their apps before the app is ready. This helps them pre-launch the idea and then gather target users for beta testing. 

Some businesses follow a strict launching strategy – with landing pages, social media posts, community discussions, and networking events. While others soft launch, especially if it’s an app MVP and they have plans to scale the app in near future after testing the market fit

The launching strategy has three key components:

App store optimization 

App store optimization is super important if you want your app to be visible for search terms. It starts with strong keyword research. We have an app marketing team that uses this keyword research while creating app titles, subtitles, and descriptions. We then take visually appealing screenshots of the app that show exactly what the app offers.

Once this listing document is ready, it’s time to approach the Google Play and App Store for publishing. 

Social media marketing 

Posting relevant educational and informational content about your app on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn (in case of B2B app) is beneficial for creating anticipation and familiarity. We create calendars with 12 – 18 posts for the month showing benefits, features and interface of the app. 

Website development 

A custom website is important for brand awareness – and in an app’s case, for gaining traffic and visibility to increase app downloads. With a website, you can start with search engine optimization – the strongest digital marketing technique, announce beta tests, host competitions and networking events and share content in diverse forms with your audience – all for lead generation and online conversion. 

Publishing The App 

You have to prepare your app for publishing on Google Play and App Store. Here are five tips on doing so: 

  • Make sure your app doesn’t have malware – this must already be checked during the testing phase but recheck to avoid delays in publishing .
  • Your app shouldn’t infringe the intellectual property rights of other businesses. The design assets and code should be 100% original or open source and public domain for commercial use. 
  • The publisher’s information should be accurate. Both of these stores don’t tolerate misrepresentation. 
  • The app should be secure enough to protect users’ personal data. 
  • The app should have age-appropriate content – especially if it’s a game. 

Speaking from experience, app store approvals typically take an average of 3 weeks. Once published, you’ll receive a notification on the email id associated with the stores. 

Post-launch Maintenance 

Once the app goes live on these stores, we regularly check its performance and functionality for a standard period of time mentioned in our client’s contract. We report any issues, fix bugs and maintain logs of errors and crash reports – if applicable. 

Post-launch maintenance helps us improve the user experience of the app, boost user engagement, reduce development cost for the client and stabilise the app’s health. 

After completion of the post-launch maintenance period, selected clients also create or extend their contracts with CMOLDS for regular app maintenance and support services


This guide concludes – but your app business begins right here. The next business move? Find out how much it costs to build a mobile app in Dubai. If you’re still reading, you definitely have an epic app idea and are looking for an app development team to bring your concept into a full-functional mobile app. And if you are in the Middle East, especially Dubai, you are on the right track. Let’s meet for coffee and discuss how we can help you build, launch and earn from your mobile app in the Middle East!


About Saba Sohail

Saba Sohail is a content marketer with strong interests in mobile app development, tech-led business growth, AI-based business process automation and business-side technologies.

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