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App Development Terms Every Non-Technical Entrepreneur Needs To Know


Tammy Slaughter wrote this article


When it comes to app development, there’s a lot of lingo floating around.

Wireframes? High-fidelities? MVPs? NFPs?

What’s it all mean?

At Chop Dawg, we’re here to help.

We’ve pulled our knowledge to come up with an exhaustive guide to all of the concepts and terms unique to the world of app development and design.

If you’re a non-technical entrepreneur, this App Development Dictionary can get you up to speed quickly and help you keep up with your app’s progress.

Consider this your crash course in App Lingo 101.

Your App Development Dictionary

Android OS – The Android Operating System (OS) is a mobile operating system developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of Linux and other open source software. It is designed primarily for smartphones and tablets.

APIs – Stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’; think of it as a previously developed infrastructure by another company that can communicate with your app. An API provides a set of fixed rules and specifications. An API can be created for libraries, operating systems, and applications. A good API makes it more efficient to develop an app by providing the building blocks for it.

App Funnels – Demonstrates how a user interacts with an app. It includes a series of connected in-app activities that lead to the ultimate result.

App ID – Each app is identified by a unique Application ID and its version. The Application ID for Android can be obtained from Google Developers Console, while the Application ID for iOS is generated only in iOS developer portal.

Apple iOS – Also known as Apple OS, iOS is Apple’s operating system.

App Update – Occurs when a developer offers new features in an app or changes the look or design of an app, keeping the content fresh and up-to-date. Whenever an app installed on your phone gets updated, you are notified.

Augmented Reality – Integrating digital information with a user’s environment in real-time using a live, direct or indirect view of the physical world using computer-generated sensory input such as sound, graphics, video or GPS data.

Backend – Think of this as the behind-the-scenes of your app. These are the functions that are not visually apparent to the user but are the unseen things like the database. It’s what makes your app do what it does.

Badges – iOS uses badges to communicate new messages or in-app notifications. These can be seen from the home screen on any app they are present in the upper right-hand corner with a number, or ‘badge count.’

Beta – This is the version of your app that contains all of the features planned for release but still requires testing and user feedback. During beta testing, clients should distribute their app to a sample of their intended users.

Blockchain – Technology developed to serve as an instantaneous public ledger for transactions.

Book of Genesis – A complete list of desired features and functionalities for your future app, including any necessary third-party vendors and the way you envision it working together. Used to create your project’s scope of work.

Bug – A computer program coding error.

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development – Apps coded to be compatible across multiple mobile platforms, such as iOS, Android and Windows.

Custom API Integration – Custom API Integration is a process that allows a program to connect and communicate with other programs. Most of the business use third-party API integration to run their business operations. Developers can write a custom application that integrates with third-party API. A custom application includes designing of software for a particular user or group of users.

Debugging – Locating and fixing errors in a digital application.

Device Compatibility – An app can only run correctly if it is being run on a compatible operating system, i.e., Android or iOS.

Device ID – A generic term used to describe the unique identifier each iOS or Android device has.

Freemium – The combination of the words: ‘free’ and ‘premium’. It is a model in which the core product is given for free to the base group of users and premium products are sold to a smaller group of the user base.

Frontend – This is the part of the app that users see and interact with.

Interactive Notifications – With Interactive Notifications a user can directly interact with push or local notifications without opening an application. iOS8, Android and Amazon provide push notification with additional buttons that allow users to interact with notifications. With interactive notifications, a user can take an immediate or specific action, make decisions or choices and express preferences.

Iterations – Represents repetition in a sequence either to achieve a series of outcomes or to achieve the desired result. Iterative app prototyping allows developers to cycle through the build-test-rebuild process faster and at a lower cost.

Interstitial Ads – Full-screen ads that cover interface of the application. They are displayed at certain points in the application, such as between activities

IoT – Stands for ‘Internet of Things.’ It describes the network of physical objects like buildings, cars, and objects combined with software, and network connectivity, enabling data sharing.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – It is a way of measuring how well the app is meeting designated business goals.

Gamification – It is a concept to apply game-design elements and principles in the non-game context. It is done to engage and motivate and solve problems.

Geofencing – Using Global Positioning (GPS) or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. Geofencing is used to send app users offers or messages when they enter a certain range.

Letter of Intent – A signed agreement stating that Chop Dawg has no existing conflict of interests with your app and that you are serious about potentially working with Chop Dawg on the development of their mobile app. This allows us to dedicate our time and effort to writing detailed proposals that bring you, our potential client, more value.

Live Chat – Used to provide immediate customer support to users of your app in real-time.

Local Notification – While similar to a push notification, sending local notifications doesn’t require a server. Local notifications are a lot like a reminder within an app.

High-Fidelities – Phase 2 of our design process. Involves creating pixel-perfect representations of your future app, screen by screen.

Monetization – The ability to make money via your app. Sometimes, through using mobile to display advertisements but there are many other ways to make money through your app.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) – The leanest version of a successful product brought to market to get validation from customers. It’s a common misconception this means you sacrifice quality. In fact, it’s a smart way to do business in the app world. Learn from your users first, then expand to the moon.

Native Application – An application that has been developed for a specific platform or device, so that they can take advantage of the operating system features. Native apps are installed directly on the mobile device and developers have to create separate app versions for each mobile device.

Navigation Style – Navigation is the road map through different screens of the app. Styles include drop down menu, site map, navigation bar, Text links and breadcrumbs.

NFP (Non-Functioning Product) – Essentially, it’s an app without a brain.

Offline Caching – A developer can decide what the app browser should cache and make available to offline users. The app will load and work correctly even if the user is offline.

Opt Out – This allows your app’s users to decline to receive push notifications from your app.

Payment Integrations – Using third-party vendors/ merchants, this involves building your app with money sending and receiving capabilities. Examples include Stripe, PayPal,, Raintree.

Product Flows – Final blueprints after the design phase has been completed and before programming begins showing the entire app’s schematics from start to finish.

Push Notifications – The way your server app notifies your users about an event when the user is not using the app. A push notification is generally shown inside the notification center of the OS. These are generally ill-abused and are proven to be less effective today than traditional SMS messaging.

Project Scope – Defined list of functionality and services we (the app developer) are providing to the client for their mobile app, all carefully detailed in our project proposal.

Quality Assurance Testing (QA) – QA typically takes about one month, and is an important part of the app development process. It involves putting your finished app through rigorous testing, sniffing out any lingering bugs in the process and squashing them. Testing is key.

SDK – This stands for Software Development Kit. The SDK allows developers to create apps for a particular software platform or framework.

Social Integrations – Enhances your app’s functionality and can serve as an extension of your brand and marketing efforts simultaneously by allowing the app to post on behalf of the user’s across multiple platforms.

Swift – Using Swift code developer setup in the application.

Touch ID – It is bio-metric fingerprint recognition feature designed by Apple. It allows the user to unlock their devices and make a purchase in App store, and authenticate Apple Pay online or in the app.

UI – Stands for ‘user interface.’ It’s the design field of human-computer interaction. In this case, would describe where your user’s interactions with your app occur.

Use Case – What are the possible ways that people will use your application?

UX – Stands for ‘user experience’. It’s about the way the user feels and behaves while using an app.

UI/ UX Design – UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Where UX Design is a more analytical and technical field and relates to the ease of you of the app, UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the app’s success.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) – t is a way to connect to a private local area network using a public network, such as the internet. It enables the user to share and receive data across shared public networks. For example, VPNs allow employees to get access to corporate intranet while traveling outside the office.

Wearables – Electronic technology or devices in the form of accessories that can be worn on different parts of the body.

Web App – A client-server software-based application ran in a web browser. Less expensive than mobile app development, and an option to consider if you’re developing an MVP.

Wireframes – Part of the early design process, they’re a black-and-white blueprint that makes up the skeleton of your app. They used to present the functions, structure, and content of your app. Also known as low-fidelities.

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