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!

Can the Small Business Owners Benefit from a Mobile App?

There is an App for that

And the same applies to business. App development has come a long way and has become an integral part of a variety of businesses big or small. Unfortunately, this particular marketing medium still goes untapped more often than not. While some corporations have become aware of the importance and potential of mobile marketing, many are still in the dark. However, app development has helped businesses that utilize it. Here is how it can benefit you as well –

Embrace the Mobile Age

People are dependent on mobile technology more now than ever before. Everything from ordering food to making dinner and ticket reservations can be done with a few taps on a Smartphone. This is because the businesses of today realize that while optimizing websites for mobile does give them a competitive edge it is mobile apps that allow them to connect with their target audience on a more personal level.

Let’s explain this with an example. A pizza joint is looking to grow its customer base. However, they weren’t getting many customers during the day. That was before it decided to launch an app that allowed its customers to order and customize their orders on their Smartphones. In time, the pizzeria started getting more calls for lunch orders during the afternoon. Most of their clients were busy professionals who couldn’t eat out because of busy schedules and chose to order instead.

That is what the owner of The Gentleman’s Barber Michael Rechichi did. He realized that his clients would prefer an easier booking process. This prompted him to create an app that utilized push notifications and mobile booking to draw in customers. The initiative paid off. In fact, the idea worked so well that is clientele grew enough to allow Michael to hire new staff members and expand his business. “We have customers who download the app before they’ve even stepped foot in the shop, and push notifications bring them in,” says Michael.

What is the lesson here? The main purpose of marketing resources such as apps is to bring target audiences value. 

Provide a Productive and Fun Mobile Experience

You might be inclined to say no if the word “fun” doesn’t exactly come to mind when you think about your business. However, it is important to keep customer preferences in mind. You can still create an app that features fun social elements that may appeal to your customers even if all your business specializes in are sales. For example, it can have games that allow customers to win fabulous discounts or free gifts.

Will an app benefit my business? Is it worth spending the limited resources I have on an application that might or might not improve my ROI? These are only some of the questions that an owner of a small business asks himself. Remember, the key to app development is to draw people in by providing them with value. Creating apps that have fun elements and using the variety of features that go into app development will make people take notice. Give the prospect some thought before you dismiss the idea.

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.