Building apps is becoming a new popular hobby of enthusiastic people in the modern world. However, navigating through the turbulent market of thousands of different applications and customer needs in pursuit of creating a unique successful product may be quite a challenging thing. Asking how to easily make an app, inspired entrepreneurs sometimes don’t even realize how complex this process is. Even so, it is usually divided into simpler steps that, if correctly understood and followed, make the whole procedure quite clear.
So, If you have an idea but don’t know where to start from, how much it would cost to develop an app and what to take into account not to get lost among the heaps of applications, please find the following step-by-step instructions and useful suggestions on how to build a mobile app.
1. Validate your idea
Once you come up with an idea you should start not from development but from investigating the market and thinking what value your app could bring users. This step can help you not only to save money, but also to understand the needs of your target audience better.
When validating your idea you should take the three following steps:
➡ Identify and analyze your target audience
It is important to consider why people should use your app, what value it will bring them and what their preferences are (colors, behavior, habits etc).
➡ Analyze your competitors and their apps
Having a clear understanding of who your users are move to the next step. You need to check whether there are already similar apps on the market and what their core features are.
➡ Think out the killer features of your application and their value
This is what makes people use your product – the icing on the cake. Your concept may not be unique so as the idea of your app, but tailoring an application for a specific niche can bring success and help you to compete with big players.
2. Develop your Business strategy
In order to successfully penetrate into the market, it is highly recommended to develop a business strategy. For this purpose, a visual chart with elements describing your product’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances can be one of the best options.
Use business canvas to build your business model. You will need to define 9 points:
- Customer segments;
- Channels (through which you are going to reach your customer segments);
- Customer relationship;
- Value proposition;
- Key activities;
- Key resources;
- Key partners;
- Cost structure;
- Revenue streams.
3. Visualize your app structure
One of the essential steps to make an app is to create professional UX Wireframes. This pre-development stage is a must-have. Being a “skeleton” of an application they will help you to get a deep understanding of its mechanics, interactions and structure.
If you know the conventions of mobile platforms you can make them by your own using such tools as Proto.io, Mocking Bot or PhotoShop. If not – it is better to hire a professional UX/UI designer who will build the foundation of your application with you.
4. Create User Interface
If you have UX wireframes ready it’s high time to make UI design for your product. It plays a very important role in the perception of your app. That is why good, attractive, and user-friendly UI design is one of the essential steps to making an app.
By the way, if it is clickable (achieved with the help of InvisionApp or similar tools) you can show it to investors or prepare a short promo video demonstrating how your app will work without actually developing it.
5. Develop your app
IOS, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone?
Choosing the right development platform may seem to be an easy step in comparison with development itself. However, standing in the middle of the road and not knowing whether to build your app for iOS, Android, Blackberry or Windows phone, you should think of your target audience and the country you would like to launch your application in.
For example, the recent stats shows that Android dominates the smartphone market with a share of 82.8%. Nevertheless, if speaking about particular countries iOS is prevailing in Japan and Australia. People from Europe prefer Android to iOS. The United States and Canada used to be the countries where iOS was the leading platform, but the situation has recently changed in favor of Android with more than 50% of the market share.
Windows Phone and Blackberry are not so popular among users (only 2,6% and 0,3% of the market share across the world). Though, if you want to create a niche app (which are also gaining popularity nowadays) you should dig deeper and investigate the platform preferences of your potential users.
Native or cross-platform
From the first sight, a multi-platform app looks quite attractive as it can work on multiple devices. There are a lot of different cross-platform solutions such as PhoneGap, Cordova, Apache, Unity 3D and many others. However, this so-called “write-once-run-everywhere” approach is not as good as it seems to be. Hybrid apps are not so stable as native apps. In addition, they have poor performance and in case a new version of an operating system appears it is difficult to adapt them. The only sphere where cross-platform tools (especially Unity) show good results is 3D-game development. But if you want to build a small app with simple design and features they can help you to save money and to test your idea. Yet, be ready that together with the price it will also reduce quality.
Building native apps is a good choice especially if you want to make a huge enterprise app or an app for business with high-quality and sleek custom design. They are stable and show really good performance.
In a nutshell, if you belong to fresh startups with a tight budget, it is better to start from one platform. For example, create an app for Android first. It will reduce costs and then, if everything goes well, follow up and make an app for iOS.
6. Conduct Quality Assurance
No matter how good your development company is, bugs are very tricky and can get even to the clearest code at any stage. That is because of human nature (humans are not robots and sometimes cannot predict what should happen in an unusual situation) or because of misunderstandings.
Quality Assurance helps to prevent all possible bugs by means of smoke, sanity, exploratory, regression, performance and other types of testing using different tools.
7. Promote your app
Even before your app is developed, tested and ready for release you should also think about marketing and promoting it. Marketing is not about screaming at every corner how good your application is, but about telling what value it can bring.
Using content marketing and publishing various valuable articles and pieces of information (of course, not forgetting to mention your app and how it can help) are a powerful tool to encourage users to use your product.
These are the main steps to create an app. Of course, the process requires a qualified team, a good strategy, and patience but the right approach today will ensure a successful future of your project tomorrow.
We hope that you will find our tips useful, no matter whether you only plan to build an application or are already on your way to your digital dream.