6 Questions to Ask Before Building an App

by Robert Kazmi
Blog Post

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably considering building a new app for your organization, or improving on what you already have in place.

While there are certainly some amazing apps being created today, there are also a lot of apps that fall flat shortly after public launch. The apps that underwhelm seem to lack proper planning, or are more of a hassle for users to navigate and get results from than they’re worth.

So, what makes the best of the best mobile apps stand out above the rest? They tend to be built to solve very distinct and precise problems that the user has, and they genuinely make lives easier in one way or another.

The most successful apps are well thought-out, and their creators have spent a significant amount of time researching how to answer a few important questions first.

Read on to learn exactly which questions you should be asking before beginning app development.

Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Building an App

#1. What problem will this app solve?

While this first question may seem relatively simple or obvious, it is a key factor in development planning that often does not get the attention that it deserves.

What makes some apps or software so much more popular than others? They tend to have identified a very specific problem (or set of problems) that are creating some kind of pain point for their target users.

The problem that you are aiming to solve may be as simple as enabling users to use mobile, a device that they are always carrying with them, rather than having to login to their computers to complete a particular task.

Think about what banks have done to enable mobile activity. Whereas previously customers had to log into an online banking website from their computer, now most banks have launched mobile apps that enable customers to complete most of the tasks they would have been completing on the website.

You could also look at open data for vulnerabilities that suggest a problem you can solve. With so much data now readily available to anyone who is willing to spend time on analysis, you can develop some fairly clear ideas about the kinds of problems that need resolving.

The key here is to define the problem entirely, as this will help you to determine your goal(s) and strategy for your new app.

#2. What is the goal for this app?

Chances are you may have more than one goal for your app, and it’s important that you put pen to paper and define these clearly. Otherwise, how will you know if or when you’ve achieved success?

Some typical goals for apps include:

  • Getting an edge over competition by establishing your organization as an innovator
  • Providing better customer service
  • Generating new revenue streams
  • Building and retaining customer loyalty
  • Providing better self-service options and freeing up customer service time

Whatever your goals are, we suggest you make them S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound), as this puts some realistic parameters around what you’re doing.

#3. How and why will this app appeal to our customers?

Customer-centric apps begin and end with, well, the customer!

You might be excited to incorporate some of the latest technologies into your app, but these really don’t matter if your target customer isn’t interested in them, or finds your interface too confusing to use.

Successful app development starts with your pen and paper well before anyone writes a single line of code. How exactly will you design an app that appeals to your ideal target users?

One way to look at this is to think about the goals that a user may have, for example:

  • I want to complete X task in less time.
  • I want an app I can use without needing instructions.
  • I would like fast load speeds.

What goals do your users have that you can appeal to? This is always imperative to consider early in the app development process.

#4. How will this app simplify lives?

This question picks up where the last one left off. No one is interested in an app that ends up forcing them to take extra time doing things, or that is clunky and difficult to follow.

Of course, some apps are built for entertainment purposes rather than for being a useful tool, but even then you must consider usability questions such as ease of use.

#5. Have we validated the need for this app?

You may have carefully analyzed open data, but you really can’t beat validation through listening to the real stories of the people in your target market.

In fact, you’ll find that quite often, getting to know your target market well, talking to them, and asking questions is really the only way you’re going to end up with a useful end-product.

We like to advocate both working with data and with the end user before moving onto any app development.

#6. How are we improving on what’s already available?

This is a particularly important question for any organization that is developing an app in order to create a revenue stream.

“Me too” apps often just add more noise to a crowded market, and really don’t have the success they could if they made significant improvements upon competitor offerings.

How are you solving the problem better than your competitors? And more importantly, do customers really even care?

If you have an app idea that needs to be brought to reality, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Koombea. We have a fully staffed team of experts that can streamline your app development timeline by leveraging years of expertise.

by Robert Kazmi
Blog Post