What to consider when making a Mobile App
So you have a great idea for an app but need to know more about what it takes to make an app. The good news is you are not alone, and we have some information that outlines key considerations when pursuing your app development venture.
What am I trying to achieve with the app, what is my mission statement?
It sounds like an obvious question, however knowing exactly what you are trying to achieve is imperative to the outcome of your app. Let’s take some popular app examples of key tech company mission statements
- We’re building Instagram to allow you to experience moments in your friends’ lives through pictures as they happen.
- To make it easy to do business anywhere
- To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful
- To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers
Who is my target audience?
Understanding your target audience is extremely important. This is not always the user of the app. Let’s look at an example. A children’s mobile learning app target audience is actually the child as the User of the app but equally important is understanding that you are marketing to the Parent of the Child who needs to determine that this is a good app for their child’s education.
In an app such as Uber Eats, for example, there are 3 target audiences.
- The Food Consumer
- The Merchant or Restauranteur
- And The Food Courier
It is extremely important to identify all audiences using your app and look outside the box of the actual user of the app.
Who is my competition?
Understand what is out there. You don’t want to create an app that is below the current standard if there is an existing idea similar to yours in the current market. Therefore do the research to understand what is available and the good and bad points of your competitions app so that you can improve on what is available.
Developing the scope of your works is imperative whether you are designing and building the app yourself or engaging a third party to build it for you. The scope should clearly define
- The app’s purpose
- The apps key features such as
- sharing functions
- Payment gateway
- Images and videos
- Location services
- Push notifications
- Login Requirements
- Social media connectivity (Facebook, Instagram etc)
- Instant messaging
- Define Users
- App users types (eg sellers or buyers)
- Content contributors
- Do you need a backend (Content Management System) to manage the app content
- We generally only think of the front end of iOS applications and android applications. Nevertheless, a backend to the app to administer the content is needed more often than not.
- The backend of the app is usually a web-based CMS that enables the administrators or permitted users to add data to the content management system. This is where you can build in the statistical feedback of your apps data also, including the number of users, the number of purchases, generated revenue, help desk ticketing systems and more. It’s like the control center of the app.
When we get an app inquiry or general discussion from a potential customer the question “how much do you think it will cost” is almost always asked. Well…How long is a piece of string….two times half its length you say…well…actually you are right. However in the case of mobile applications its imperative that you have a clearly defined scope to enable your development partner to quote accurately.
The more preliminary work you do to define your idea, key functions, and features, the more accurate your project financial and timing estimates will be. This is an extremely important part of your app development strategy and is where most app entrepreneurs fail.
Choosing the right partner
Choosing the right partner in life is usually somebody that you connect with, who understands you and brings out the best in you. This is no different to choosing your development partner. Make sure it is somebody that is going to protect your Mobile Application IP, (your baby) like it was their own.
Qualify your idea (proof of concept)
I have been guilty of getting overexcited about an app and wanting to build in every feature under the sun.
Before you build in every feature, scale back the app to the necessary features and “keep it simple” You want to prove your concept before investing too much money into the product. This is called qualifying your idea, seeing how it works in a real environment.
You can soft launch your app with a target group and get feedback, this will not only allow you to qualify the app itself but the infrastructure that support it, such as payment gateways and servers. Dip your toe in and test the water before jumping in.
This is a component of the works that I feel strongly about. It’s not good enough for you to simply provide the idea and then step away waiting for the app to be developed. You should be
- Develop project timing or Gantt Charts
- Monitor project timing
- Complete issue registers
- Hold fortnightly meetings and minute the meets to capture the key project elements, any key discussions and more.
Be actively involved and control the outcome of your app.
Oh my goodness!!! Test, test and then test again. The detail and structured testing are essential. You have heard the saying “first impressions count”. This applies to your mobile application. Do not release an app with bugs, errors and most importantly spelling mistakes.
Develop test lists and an issues register so that both you and your development team can track any bugs and you can monitor the status of the fixes.
Marketing and Exposure
Consider the marketing needed to expose your app to the world. It’s not going to be productive to simply launch your app and leave it on the app store. We are in 2018 and the app store is a sea of amazing apps.
You need to support your app launch with an ongoing marketing campaign. Marketing campaigns do not have to be expensive. We live in a day and age where digital marketing such as Facebook posts and boosts, paying social influencers and even getting your pool of friends and immediate network to share your app can give your product the boost it needs.
Get momentum and keep the momentum
Servers and System Architecture
Don’t forget that the app needs to be stored somewhere. When you build the app you need to consider where the app and content that will populate the apps database will be stored.
If your a company like Instagram you will need an ever growing or scalable solution as your user base grows and more people are posting images and video.
Beyond just scalability os the need to carefully consider your system security. If you are storing user information or any sensitive data you need to ensure your hosting environment is secure.
Just like a car, an app needs ongoing maintenance. The app will need to work with new ios or android software releases, the servers will need maintenance and upgrades and you will need to monitor the data being uploaded if your an app that enables users to add content.
Don’t underestimate these operating costs, it is critical to the longevity of your mobile apps.
Terms and Conditions
I guess in conclusion there are lots of developing an app. To develop any good product takes a good idea complemented by a good process. The above items are only a few tips I can give from my own experiences. Good luck with your app endeavors and don’t be afraid to just go for it. Remember making mistakes is ok and you will learn along the way, it is, however, important to minimize these mistakes and ensure you launch a product. One quote that stuck in my head is a quote from Reid Hoffman the founder of LinkedIn “if you’re not embarrassed by your first version of your product, you’ve released it too late”.