The number of downloaded mobile apps worldwide in 2019 hit 204 billion while the industry’s revenue in the same year amounted to $462 billion. As you might have guessed, now is the right time for you to do something about that mobile app idea you had. Since it’s easier said than done, here’s what you should know before getting down to business and developing your first mobile app.
Define Your Goal
Before hiring developers and project managers you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of your future app?
- What are its core features?
- What problem(s) will it solve?
- How will it improve the lives of its users?
- Why is it better than what already exists on the market?
These questions are not intended to put you off your potentially great idea, but to set you in the right direction. Namely, it’s not uncommon for a concept that seems great on paper to end up being less impressive when executed.
Try to identify what will distinguish your app from a number of similar products. This way you’ll be able to gain a competitive edge and find your place in an oversaturated market.
Finally, if you map everything out in advance there will be little room for going off track during the development process, meaning that you’ll get your product to market faster.
Identify the Need and Establish Core Features
Another important step is laying out the development process and establishing the core features of your app. In other words, you need to do research and find out what people actually need. There are many research tools you can use for this. One good way to do research is to look at how many people search for an app that you plan to build. Researching your competitors is something that can also be useful. There is no need to make mistakes when you can learn from others.
Taking numbers into consideration is also important. This should help you decide whether you’ll develop an iOS or Android app, or perhaps offer both of them. Just so you get an idea, Android boasts a global market share of 74.13%, while iOS holds second place with 24.78%.
Next, think about how you’d like people to interact and engage with your app. This requires you to be detailed about your features. List everything you think could be useful and offer exceptional user experience.
After this, shortlist your options and opt for essential features so that you can develop a minimum viable product (MVP). Such an approach allows you to ship your product earlier at a lower cost and start obtaining feedback and reviews from early adopters. Be ready to face some negative reviews but don’t forget to handle them professionally.
Sketch Your Design
After you’ve made sure that your idea has the potential, it’s time to draw a sketch of your app.
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not taking into consideration the design of their mobile app at this stage of development. Needless to say, this is wrong, because app design is so much more than how your app looks – it has a crucial impact on how your users will experience your app and interact with it. As Steve Jobs famously put it “It’s not just how it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.
With this said, it’s important to envision and sketch every screen of your app and explore different navigation schemes, buttons, and screen flows. These sketches of your design will be very important to developers once you start coding your mobile app. To speed things up and have a better insight into how your app will look like once it’s developed, you could use a wireframing/prototyping tool.
Start Coding Your App
Now you can begin developing the code. The first step of this process is the most important one as it concerns hiring expert developers capable of transforming your idea and sketches into a successful mobile app. That’s why you should be very careful when it comes to your hiring process. Even more important, you should focus on finding the right app development partner.
One of the single most important factors that affect the development speed and overall success of your mobile app is the development management process. Instead of a somewhat obsolete traditional approach, pick the agile development methodology. This is based on an iterative project management framework and will surely save you from many headaches. The entire process will be split into several incremental steps, or smaller pieces, and these will be prioritized by their importance. By dividing your project into these shorter, more manageable cycles, you’ll be able to spot potential issues early on and fix them before they snowball into more challenging bugs.
Finally, make sure to build a scalable mobile app that will easily support millions of users and still be reliable and easy to maintain. You should consider cloud computing as this allows for a great level of scalability and security.
Expand Your Features and Refine Your App
We’ve already mentioned that the first version of your app should be an MVP so that you can feel the pulse of your target audience. This means that your product is stripped down and pretty basic when it first hits the market.
What follows after hitting the market is the process of developing and adding new features that will bring more value to your users. The early feedback will give you an insight into what your users like and what they think you should improve or eliminate entirely. In order to streamline this process, you need to integrate analytics. This way you’ll be able to monitor downloads, user engagement, as well as retention. Bear in mind that the process of enhancing and polishing your mobile app will be constant.
Make sure to create a superb onboarding process because 71% of mobile app users are very likely to churn within three months after the installation. By reaching out to them and helping them make the most of your product, you’ll keep them coming back.
These are some of the basic steps that you should take into consideration if you want to develop your first mobile app. Use them as a guide to help you navigate the complex waters of mobile app development and you will be able to avoid some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make.