Building Mobile App – Where to Start and What to Do

Before we start, here’s a little heads-up: this post is not for developers or designers with over 67 years of experience. This is a simple introduction on how to get started when you get an idea for an app, but are not sure where to begin. If you feel like saying something or have an advice or a suggestion that would be beneficial, please go ahead and comment below.
So, you have had this amazing idea for an app in your head for days, weeks, months, and you are more than sure that people can’t wait to try it and use it every day and tell their friends all about it. If this sounds like you, read on.
But where do you start? Should you look for a developer and talk to him about it first? Or hire a designer who will transfer your idea into screens of beautiful design? Nope, sorry, but that’s not how it works.

Functionality/Purpose
First, let’s define the purpose of your app. Yes, simply write it down in one sentence. Don’t make it overcomplicated. Simplicity is the key. Here is an example of one of the apps we are working on:
• Functionality: App delivers a new quote every morning for you to read
• Purpose: Inspires you with quotes from famous successful people
What problem is it going to solve? Define your goal and the mission of your app.

Target Audience/User Groups
Nothing is worse than putting in all your time and energy into a beautiful product that no one is using. Know your target audience! Ask yourself who this app is for. Without demand, there is no reason to create something. Be specific, pick your niche and create your product around their needs. Here’s an example with our Quotes app:
Target Audience: Entrepreneur, someone with an idea for a new product, or a start-up

Sketching
Shut Photoshop down right now and just do it. If you are not an app designer with a 3-page portfolio, take a pencil, note pad and start sketching. Otherwise, you are spending your precious time on something you are not an expert on. Let the real app designer handle that part.
For now, put your thought on the paper, and if you feel adventurous, use a wireframing tool (HotGloo, Fluid, or UXPin as an example). Just remember to be as detailed as possible. It doesn’t have to be ideal. Do include the flow of how to navigate your app and show all the features you can think of. Visit Dribbble for some great examples and ideas about design and implementation.

Talk to the Developer
By now you might think that most of the work has been done, but the truth is the actual process is just about to begin. You have to explain your app idea to a developer. Most people think app is all about design. They are wrong: it’s all about how a user is going to experience your app. So, look for a developer who puts user experience first! Also, keep in mind that not everything is possible when it comes to coding and the process takes more time then you think. Good developers should also provide you some suggestions on how to improve your idea, and not just simply follow your orders.

Testing Plan
Releasing your app without testing it first is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Of course, to you, it might seem everything is ready, but don’t rush. Ask your friends or talk to your family about testing it. Let people use it and hear their honest feedback. You will be surprised at how many recommendations you can get and it’s a good thing, as this step might help you identify any UI/UX flaws you haven’t noticed before.
This is just the beginning and there are more steps you need to get through to get your shiny app out there. You and your developer will have to set up the backend of your system, decide how to monetize your app, and create a marketing strategy for it, etc. We will cover all this and more in Part 2 of this article!

Marketing your app with social media the right way

Social-marketing

After building your product, the hardest part is to market and promote your app and get the ball rolling with the first users who are willing to pay for it, or even use it for free. The good news it that it’s possible and not very expensive to do. Social media is one of the best platforms to let people know about your shiny new app. As long as you provide some value to people, they are willing to listen.

Know your app’s target audience.

One of the most important lessons I learned is to build an audience before you even have a product you want to promote. That is easier said than done! The idea is that if you create content on a regular basis, saying something worthwhile and helpful, your audience will grow organically. What to write? Think of people you follow, looking forward to the next blog or tweet they post. Aim for similar content.

demografic-marketing

You like their content because you know they will give good advice, describe their experiences or share a new app that they found useful. They don’t often try to sell you something or self-promote. When you develop an audience that values your opinion, they are more likely to check out your new app when you do share it with them. You don’t get the same trust in a relationship with potential customers with more traditional and more expensive marketing, like paying for ads or buying a mailing list.

It’s all about sharing and caring.

We all know about social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. We have heard numerous times that businesses have to use social media for marketing. We have all seen books and tutorials on “Twitter strategies” or “10 Facebook tips for startups”. Yes, you can schedule posts every few days to tweet about your app, or just share random news related to the industry to keep your profile current. But what if you make an extra effort and help your followers by adding more value to your posts and updates, rather than just promoting your app? Effective social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

For example, let’s say you have an app for recipes and cooking. Think why people would need that app. Would it appeal to people with adventurous tastes who want to try new recipes? Are they interested in a more healthy diet? Are they focused on losing weight? If you search twitter for “what diet”, meaning you’re looking for people’s questions, you’ll find tweets like this:

Why not help Sam by replying to him and answering his question? Having social media conversations with real people gives you a chance to learn what people really want, and build connections and relationships at the same time. Remember, there are a lot of real people hanging out on social media, and each one of them is first a potential follower, and then a customer. Even though there is a lot of spam out there, you just have to filter through the noise and find your audience.

Some of my favorite spots.

Product Hunt is a relatively new platform that allows people to discover their next favorite thing. Hundreds of new products (apps, podcasts, games, books) are posted daily. It’s a popularity contest for products. People vote up or down on the products and that’s how the list is sorted. It’s really important to have a great tagline and description when posting on Product Hunt to catch the attention of your potential customers.

Niche websites like Hacker News and Reddit may be a good way to connect with people with specific interests. There are many other niche websites, and it’s hard to know all of them. Every industry has at least one spot on the Internet where people interested in the subject hang out. These can be forums, IRC chat rooms, slack channels, etc. If you can find the niche audience that your app would appeal to, then you have yet another platform to communicate with them.

Customer friendly.

When you DO start marketing your product, make sure that your message is communicated very clearly. When people finally decide to go and check out your app, your website needs to explain what the app does and why people should register (even if it’s free). Don’t expect people to just “Get it”. There are too many junk apps available on the Internet, and you want to differentiate yours from the useless ones. Make the experience a simple and straightforward one for your users: it should be very easy to sign up, download, and start using your app. The fewer complications they encounter, the more likely it is that they will give you (and your app!) a chance.

The Best Apps and Trends of 2015 – An Overview

If recent trends are any indication, it seems like mobile app technologies are here to stay. Some of these are paving the way for great innovations in the future of mobile technologies. Here are some trends in app development that are worth looking into:

   1.React Native by Facebook

The businesses of today need to move their promotional practices towards mobile in order to enhance their presence with end users. This doesn’t come as a surprise since more local users use mobile technologies such as tablets and Smartphones to look for services or products. However, how do businesses deal with enormous frameworks in order to do that?

Facebook’s React Native app solves this dilemma by making it possible for users to break applications down into discreet components. In this way, the view framework makes it easier for users to iterate on their products. In other words, you won’t need to keep an entire framework in mind just to make changes to a part of it.  The app generates data templates and is currently compatible with iOS devices. While Android functionalities have been integrated into the app, it is still at the experimental stage.

  2.Mobile App Development

Businesses are expected to launch products faster now more than ever. However, they are having trouble keeping up with the rise of demand of mobile apps. As a result, businesses are now focusing more on reducing the time between conceptualization to launch. It seems that there will be a rapid growth of app development resources and tools on the market.

  3.Cloud Development

There has been an upsurge in mobile apps this year and it is not showing any signs of stopping. As mobile devices are expected to growing in the coming years, developers are now focusing on the integration and synchronization of apps. This is possible through cloud app development technologies. The purpose will be to make them accessible and functional on multiple devices while retaining the same functionalities.

  4.User Friendly Experiences

Every app developer knows that user friendliness counts for a lot. An app that is easy to use is downloaded more often and has the potential to gain businesses a lot of customers. Needless to say competition, in this regard is bound to go through the proverbial roof.

  5.Location Based Wi-Fi Services

Wi Fi is expected to offer a lot more services than internet access in the future. Data consumption has proven to be a costly endeavor for most businesses due to a splurge of Smartphone users.

Apple has paved the way for offline and online access with iBeacon. Beacon technology is now seen to blur the boundaries between the two which is why it might prove valuable for businesses that specialize in retail and advertising. The tech giant has already integrated the technology in its iOS that can communicate with their iBeacon networks. The term is basically Apple’s technology standard and allows mobile devices that run on Android and iOS devices to react to signals in the physical world.