Mobile apps have completely revolutionised the way that we interact with businesses. These days, a brick and mortar store simply can’t compete against the selling power and advertising capabilities of an app. Having a well established digital presence, facilitated by an iOS or Android app, is the best way of attracting new customers and keeping your existing ones engaged.
If you’re looking to develop an app — be it yourself or through working with a mobile app development company — read on to discover what steps you will need to take and what factors will need to be taken into consideration, from start to finish.
1. Develop a (compelling) idea
The first step is arguably the most important one — developing a compelling idea.
By some estimates, there are close to 2 million apps available on the App store and just over 2.8 million available on the Google Play store. That’s a lot of apps.
While it’s unlikely that your app is entirely original, you need to be sure that you include some elements and features that will help you stand out from the crowd. Above all, make sure you are passionate about your idea and believe that it has the capacity to either help or entertain people.
2. Undertake market research
Now that you’ve come up with your idea, it’s time to back it up with some cold facts and figures.
There are many tools out there that can help you undertake market research. Start by using Google Trends, a unique website that allows you to discover the type of terms that people in your area (and all over the world) are searching for.
For example, if you’re looking to develop a journaling app that will help people practise mindfulness, you might enter ‘mindfulness app’ to discover user data relating to region, search volume, and related terms.
Don’t overlook traditional methods, either. Speaking face to face with people who you think might be interested in your app idea (and even those who are not) can help you gain valuable insight about the kinds of features you should include and what it is consumers are looking for.
Wireframing involves planning out the layout, structure, and functionality of an application to ensure that you do not miss any important details. Wireframes are typically created early in the development process and are a handy tool for identifying what needs to be completed and potential roadblocks that may pop up along the way.
Literally speaking, a wireframe will resemble a two-dimensional sketch of your app’s interface. You can use wireframes to map out the user journey and to ensure all elements have been included and are easily identifiable.
4. Consider your design
One of the most creative parts of mobile app development is coming up with your app’s design. Are you looking to create a minimal, clean experience? Or would your users prefer a wide range of graphic elements, animations, and sounds?
A good app will combine style with functionality. While your app needs to look good, equally as important is that your design choices contribute to a meaningful, relevant user experience. Light pink font on a white background, for example, might look good, but that doesn’t mean that your users will be able to read your content.
Always opt for practicality and if you want a truly beautiful app, expect this stage of the process to take longer than you think. It will be worth it in the end!
5. Code, code, code!
You’ve laid out your plans, you’ve come up with your colour scheme, now it’s time to get to work.
Coding an app is no easy process, which is why many app enthusiasts turn to a mobile app development company for this step of the journey. Unless you have the time and energy to teach yourself to code, asking for professional assistance can save you significantly in the long-run.
A professional app developer will understand the common pitfalls of development and can translate your vision into a finely-tuned reality.
In fact, a mobile app development company can help you out with every step of the development process. If you are seriously about creating an engaging app that is reflective of your brand, products, and services, contact an expert right from the get-go.
6. It’s launch time
Now that your app has been built (and tested, and tested again), it’s time for the launch.
Both the App and Google Play stores have strict regulations about what kinds of applications can be marketed and sold on their platforms. Apple, for example, requires apps to go through their app certification process before they can be uploaded to the store.
This process is actually for the benefit of developers. For your app to stand any chance of being successful, it has to be of a certain standard — technologically and aesthetically.
7. Marketing and advertising
With thousands of apps out there, you will need a strong marketing campaign to capture the attention of your customers.
Standard SEO strategies (with a slight twist) can be applied to mobile apps to help app stores understand your product and match it with relevant users. You should also look at other traditional marketing avenues — such as social media and print — to get the word out there.
8. Maintenance and updates
Once your app has launched, that’s not the end of the story. The reality is, most (if not all) apps require constant maintenance and updates to ensure they are secure and functioning correctly.
If you have hired the services of a mobile app development company, they will likely take care of this step for you — just another reason to work with the professionals!