How to write App specifications documents? + free App Specs Template

We build custom apps for everyone but most of our customers are early stage Start-ups and Entrepreneurs, and we also appreciate the fact that some of our customers who are looking to hire an App Development Company have less or no experience in hiring an app developer before.

Such first-timer customers are of course no lesser good than any seasoned tech savvy customers, they have a great vision about the app they want to make, along with a strategy to promote but can get stuck on the question “How to write an App specification document?” so that each and every aspect of their requirement is well communicated to the App developer. We get such inquires frequently where customer asks us to give them an App requirement specs template which they can easily fill and send across. We’ve uploaded such sample App specs template at this link Sample App Specs Download. Download this sample app specification template, follow the example, fill out and send across to the developer, for a quick estimation of their App Development Costs .

We also like to share the pointers that we use to create an easy to use App Specs Document, so that you can understand the factors working behind, and write better app specifications yourself.

  1. 1. The Executive Summary

  2. No matter how clichéd it sounds, you should be writing an appropriate summary covering the business information about the project, the team behind, the market you are hitting etc. Follow these points:

  3. 1.1
    Introduce the salient offering of the app, its goal, and information on target users.
  4. You can write as “We are looking to develop a taxi app like uber but with a twist related to the occasion of travel, and we are targeting everyone in New York area at first so that they can book cars for occasion like wedding, birthday parties, business meeting, leisure etc and the driver and cab would be tailor made for the occasion.”

  5. 1.2 Brief introduction of your startup, experience, founders.
  6. Tell others what you are upto, are you funding privately or have raised a seed, experience of cofounders, long and short term vision of the startup. Consider you are hiring not just an App Development Company, but a team that should be knowing you and feel confident and glad to be a part. So any information you share is beneficial only.

  7. 1.3 Decision Maker’s contact details.

  8. Well, it’s as simple as it can get. Write something like:-
    Please email your proposal or questions to Mr. John Smith, following are their contact details:-

    Email -
    Designation - Product Manager
    Phone No. – 347-467-1089

Now, following is the important part.

  1. 2. Mobile OS Platforms to target

  2. Mention the devices you want to target. It can be iOS or android only at first, or iOS and Android, or Web and iOS, and Android, Windows and so on. You can always ask separate cost per platform, so mention that as well.

  3. 3. Services Needed from the App Development Company

  4. An App development Company like Agicent offers not only coding services but also many others related ones like following:-

    • App Design & Development services.
    • App Development Services.
    • App Design Services.
    • App Store Optimization, App marketing.
    • Full Stack Development.
    • Consulting Services.

    So you should mention specifically what you are looking for, if you have the design already then you only need app development services, and if you are a developer yourself then you can ask for only app design services. You can ask for App consulting services also when you only have an idea and concept, and looking for a Mobile Consultant to understand everything, create wireframes, propose development approach etc.

    Most of the first time customers need all the services, and we happily offer the same.

  5. 4. Technology Preference

  6. It’s always good to keep technology preference open to discussion, before you’ve finalized your specs though many a times an app publisher is pre-convinced to use a particular set of technology.

    Some most popular Technical Approaches related to app development are:-

    Native App Development (Where you use native tools kits like Xcode and swift for iOS, or java for android).
    Hybrid App Development (Where you use combination of native and cross-platform tools).
    Cross Platform Development (Using tools like Xamarin, Ionic, Cordova, Unity, Phonegap).

    Note that every technology approach has its pros and cons, you may read one of our cool blog postings on the same topic at this link – Cross Platform Vs. Native App Development and decide which way is preferred to you, else just share your project info with us and we suggest you the best option.

  7. 5. Features Description (The core of this App Specs Document)

  8. Describe the app as it flows for all kind of users, like the way we are describing a live App (Experience BarNow) here:-

    1. 5.1 The app shall be having these category of users:-
      1. 5.1.1 End users (People looking to find, review, and go to bars)
      2. 5.1.2 Bar Owners (who maintain their profile, send offers etc)
      3. 5.1.3 Admin (Owner of the app).

    Functionality For end user:-

    • Sign up using Facebook, Google, and Phone.
    • Update profile (enter DoB etc).
    • Allows permission to track location.
    • Allows permission to access camera, photo, contacts.
    • App would capture age (should be minimum 21 years), gender, email ID and phone number of party goer.
    • Once user confirms he is 21 or more, he shall see the next screen for bar location (current location or search his city). After choosing your city the user shall then select which type of bar ( for example sports bar, dive bar, speakeasy/prohibition bar, arcade/game bars. clubs for city like Vegas and Miami.
    • After choosing you city and type of bar you are looking for then it should pop up a list of bar (coming from backend) and we should rotate ever two weeks (using admin)which bars are going to be the top 10 in that area if will be easier to do this once we get users downloading and hitting the application because then we can pull data and users comments on who got the most hit and which bars more users seem to be attached to.
    • A user shall be able to check-in the bar on the app, when he physically checks in.
    • Once you chose the bar you want to look at the bars main page will come up and on this it will have a link to the bars website, direction, and also the bar will have the ability to post pics of flyers they have promoting any events (via bar login on web), they will be able to post videos of any past performers that will be coming back soon, their happy hour specials and anything they want to post pertaining to the bar. We can call it bar details screen.
    • Also on the bars page there should be another icon that says feed and on the feed page which shall be live stream on anything party goers and other people are saying about that bar for example Facebook, twitter and instagram post that are associated with the bar ( if there is a hashtag or geo tag location then that should reflect on bar)
    • On feeds page, there shall be an icon that says GO LOVE and with this icon party goers will have the ability to post a 10 second video of them while they are in that specific bar and once they have that video they shall post it to their feed so that way it is another way to show users what is going on in real time in that bar.
    • Party goers should have the ability to go to the feed the feed page they should have the ability to scroll and see what other people have been saying about that bar for example if there is a twitter, instagram of Facebook post with that current location tag of the bar or the bars hashtag if should show up on the feed page for view to be able to see what is going on in real time.

    Functionality of Website for bar owners

    • Signup, registration after authentication (via email ID or phone number).
    • Bars will have their own profile page that they can update with their info (name, contact person, email, Twitter/ fb, location on map, pictures, description, specialty).
    • Bars will have the ability to post pics of their flyer, happy hour specials, any post they want to saying getting people in for the night, videos of past performers that will be returning soon etc.
    • Ability to see total checkins count via app till date.

    Admin features

    • Ability to moderate users and bar owners.
    • Logs into username/ password secured, admin portal on any browser, and see user analytics (number of users on app, new downloads, their email IDs/ contact details).
    • Ability to see number of hits on every bar during a period of time, number of checkins people have reported on the bar.

  9. 6.
    Mock-ups or drawings to depict flow

  10. It is great if you can back your textual description with some drawings or raw mock-ups, so that a developer can visualize it better. You can use tools like Invision , balsamiq , or Mocqups with little a little practice, or ask the App Development Company only to do this for you. We always do it for customers just after taking a brief.

    And if nothing works, pick a pen and a paper, draw the screens, click and send pictures to the developer. The idea is you should describe it as much as you can.

  11. 7. Acceptance Criteria

  12. Now that you’ve described everything you need in terms of functionality, you may go further and create an App Acceptance Criteria as well.

    Mention what are mandatory performance parameters you want app to meet (like “should optimally consume battery, should do background location etc).
    Mention UI related acceptance criteria.
    Write test cases (scenarios in which you want your app to be tested).

    Again, you can write these yourselves or ask your development company to do the same for you. It’s not necessary to write an acceptance criteria when you are looking for only a Quote, but is preferred if you write one. You get more visualization of your own project before going towards development, and its a good thing even for a non tech. App entrepreneur.

  13. 8.
    Some useful information if you are outsourcing Mobile App Development for the first time:-
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