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!

Starting a New Venture – Why Execution Matters

Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats

  • Sue Grafton

Business owners that start new ventures know how important execution is. They know that most executed ideas end up being hits or misses more often than not. According to a research paper from the Harvard Business School over 75% of all startups fail. Entrepreneurial ventures might start off with great ideas; but some startups don’t realize that those same ideas are useless no matter how unique they happen to be. Here are other reasons why execution matters when it comes to starting or growing a business –

The Value of Execution

Knowledge might be power, but it is the execution of that knowledge that really matters especially when it comes to business. After all, established brands lead the pack because they had what it took to take their ideas to the next level.

MJ Demarco explains this brilliantly in his The Millionaire Fastlane in which he explains the value of ideas and their execution according to dollar values. Let’s say that an entrepreneur has a range of ideas for growing his business. According to Demarco, a brilliant idea is worth $200 while a bad idea can be worth $1. However, an awful idea can be worth $10 million if it is executed brilliantly. On the other hand, a good idea that is worth $200 will have no more value than it already does if it is poorly executed.

Let’s explains this with a real life example. You decide to design an app as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and plan to test it out. The idea itself is unique and is sure to attract more customers to your hotel chain especially since it will allow them to book rooms online. The only problem is that you don’t know how to make sure that your target audience uses the app. And if your audience cannot use it, you don’t make any money.

Results

Good execution guarantees results; period. Once you are used to being bold in this regard, you improve your own skills as well or find new ways to grow your idea more. If an idea doesn’t give you the results it is supposed to, it is time to think of a new one and initiate it in new ways.

Prepare to Fail

Failure is a great teacher. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs tend to throw in the towel after their first one. A fear of failure often makes people freeze in their tracks. As a result, they don’t see their visions through to the end, no matter how good those visions are.

Keep in mind; if you are not prepared to fail, you risk stunting your business’s growth. People learn from their mistakes and business owners should be no different. Just because you failed to execute an idea effectively before doesn’t mean that you give up. Go back to square one if you have to. But remember to focus more attention on executing your idea than harboring the notion of the idea itself.

How to start planning your first app

One of the most lucrative professions nowadays is creating apps for android and iOS, and if you manage to create a good, or better said popular app, you can build a good reputation for your company. Apps can be classified in the following manner: popular apps (low price, high rate of downloads, almost everyone likes them), Niche Deluxe (high price, low download rate, high quality and created for specific audience), Deluxe popular (high quality, high price, high download rate, and almost impossible to pull off), Failure apps (the majority of apps in the app store, low price, low download rate, doomed to be forgotten and never seen).

Basically, your goal for the first app should be to avoid making a failure app, so it could be a good idea to download a few of them, just to see their major shortcomings. After all, it is far easier to notice mistakes in a bad product, than to find all of the key elements in an app that is harmoniously executed. Here are a few suggestions that can help guide your creative process.

Your minimum viable product (MVP)  

This is the very core of every app – if your minimum viable product is boring or not engaging enough, your app will very likely be a failure. Take a look at flappy bird, the game itself is nothing more than a minimum viable product, and yet it was such an amazing success. So you need to ask yourself – what is the purpose of your app? To help or entertain people? Once you have established that, then you need to know the minimum number of features that your app needs to have in order to live up to its task.

Another good example of a successful MVP is Dropbox, since it was simple for them to explain to the masses what their product does and why they should choose it. Basically, it is the main reason why people choose you as their provider. The same thing applies when you construct a website and want to design your landing page. A landing page should clearly communicate to the visitor what it is that you offer, and motivate them to take action, i.e. make a purchase, subscribe and so on.

Plan your app based on the upcoming season or pop culture trends    

If you are not certain what you first app should be, then all you need to do is focus on a current or an upcoming topic/trend. So, if summer holidays are around the corner, you can make an app that helps people decide where to spend their summer vacation, or you can create themed lock screens with pictures of exotic and beautiful locations. For fall, you can make an app that is connected to Halloween in some way, helping people with costume ideas or hacks for costume creation etc.

The main idea here is to focus on current topics, because this is what most people will be searching for online, so the possibility of your app being noticed increases if it is related to the latest trend. The sooner you start the better, since IT firms usually rush these apps in order to meet deadlines for a specific date, and a lot of them are poorly executed. If you invest a whole year into this project, you can take the market by storm.

Explore different tactics for going viral

In order to secure popularity, you need to have some sort of strategy, so you can utilize the viral potential of your app. As mentioned in the previous part, you can focus on popular trends, and your app should have some level of utility or incite engagement, but that is not all. You need to implement some sort of reward for users who share your app. Moreover, your app should also reward customers who are frequent users. Clearly, it can be hard to know how to perfectly connect all these features in a natural manner. You should attempt to do so nevertheless – after all, this is what it means to be creative.

Finally, always ask for a second opinion before you proceed with the idea. If people around you are not really hyped about your idea, then maybe you shouldn’t go with it. Remember to have your app tested before the release, and use the feedback as valuable input for your future app creation.