Are you new in programming? Are you planning to build your own mobile app? While some will advise you to hire a developer and invest a fortune in your idea, realists will tell you the risk is too big. There are tons of app building programs out there that can help you make your vision a reality, but the simple truth is with some planning and methodical work on your part, the process is fairly simple.
In this article, we are going to talk about the necessary steps you have to take in order to build your app.
Step 1: Identify your goal
Every app starts with an idea. It doesn’t need to be big, ground-breaking or clever. Just an idea is good enough. Sketch out your app idea with a pen and paper. The goal is to make the idea tangible. You define how your app works and what its features are before you start developing the app. The starting line in the app development word is a pen and paper, not complex coding and designing. Ask and answer the following questions:
- What exactly do you want your app to do?
- How are you going to make it appeal to users?
- What problem is it going to solve?
- How will it simplify life for people?
- How will you market your app?
- What features can you leave out?
- Which feature is a unique selling point or money-maker?
- Are there any features that make your app bloated, or slow-building it down?
Step 2: Do some research
Next, you should research your competitors and your market. The chance of competition in your niche is nearly 100%. Doing market research before you make your app can save you from making a lot of mistakes early on. You validate assumptions and assess the needs of potential customers. Based on your research you can clearly define the problem your app solves, and who you solve that problem for. You use these insights to make an app that serves its users better.
Compare your app to similar apps with similar motives or purposes. Compare yourself to creators and innovators in your selected industry and niche. Comparison is your best tool for contextualizing your app in real terms. Nowadays, there are thousands of apps serving similar purposes. That’s why analyzing your competition is a good way to kick off your project and position yourself to outperform the other apps in your chosen category.
Step 3: Identify your audiences
In order to create a successful app, you have to define a specific target demographic that you will cater to. Some useful metrics are age, gender, location, hobbies, etc.
Another often overlooked metric is the actual phone brands that your target demographic uses. Why is that important you ask? Because phones (just like any other device) have specs and limitations that force you to consider factors such as screen resolution, color saturation and other more technical factors such as hardware performance, battery life, etc.
Step 4: monetization
Is it a onetime fee for the app? Is it free but monetized in some other way? The reason it’s important to take note of this is two-fold:
- How do the users like the way it’s monetized? For example, some people hate ads and would rather pay for an app than to how to deal with ad banners inside the app.
- You can potentially monetize your app differently. For example, if the app is good but too expensive, you can find other ways to monetize your app.
Here are a few ways you can explore as viable ways to monetize your app: in-app purchases, sponsorships, ad revenue, crowdfunding, freemium model, and traditional paid ads.
Step 5: Wireframe
Wireframes are digital sketches of apps or websites/pages. Wireframes provide a series of outlines of buttons, pages, functions and other design elements that can help you get a sense of how elements of your app will fit together. They can be exported into other design tools to help designers create UIs and skins. It’s best to make mockups before you start to build the app. A mockup is a rough sketch of your app’s layout, user interfaces (UIs) and flow.
Wireframes allow you to get a sense of how users will navigate your app and how it will function from a mechanical point of view. If you pack your wireframe with graphics and logos then you’ll get bogged down in tweaking visuals when you should be focusing on user journey and flow.
Step 6: Frontend: UX Designing
Now that your project is taking shape, it’s time to make a graphic design for your app. Your app’s design includes pixel-perfect visual details, graphic effects, image assets, and sometimes even animations and motion design.
You can use tools like Photoshop, Sketch and Affinity Designer to create the graphic design for your app. Visually designing your app is absolutely pivotal to everything from marketing to sales. This is how your app will be visually advertised, the aesthetic attraction it will have to your user base. Everywhere your app goes, its visual design will follow in the form of screenshots and logos.
Once you have your app design done, you can proceed to build your app.
Step 7: Defining the Backend of your app
If you want to skip most of those processes, you’ll need to recruit the service of an app builder.
App builders automate both front-end and back-end design processes, allowing you to quickly create an app with minimal custom programming or development. They’re pretty easy to use and can produce some fantastic results. If you have no experience in app design or programming in general, the app builder route will enable you to quickly and accurately build an app based on your own intuition. App builders are becoming more and more advanced and many now allow for the creation of highly personalized and customized apps.
Step 8: Testing and lunching on App Stores
You should be routinely testing your app after both minor and major changes. The purpose of testing is to find out major issues, crashes, dead ends, dead links, error messages, etc. You should take the time to test your app across many devices. It’s a tough ordeal and you’ll need to use the appropriate services or individuals to help you. If you release an app riddled with functionality problems then you’ll rack up a sequence of low reviews right off the bat.
You want to solve as many critical bugs before launch as possible because the first impression for a user is very important. If your app crashes or doesn’t function then there’s a high chance that the user will uninstall your app right away.
After testing and debugging your app, it is time to lunch it on AppStore and Google Play.