So you've come up with a brilliant idea for an app? Great! The hard work is about to begin, but don’t be daunted. Building an app is a challenging experience, but it can also be quite a lot of fun, too. Just make sure you’re prepared for the journey ahead with our tips for making those app dreams of yours come true.
1. Do Your Research
Sure, this seems like a no-brainer now, but you’d be amazed how many people get so carried away with their amazing idea that they don’t stop to consider the reality of app development. So give yourself a few hours to peek inside the world of app development – speak to people with experience, read some case studies, and check out a few blogs on the topic. Which you’re already doing – clever you!
(Make sure you don’t spend too long on this process, though. See point 9!)
2. Look for Competition
Again it seems obvious, but a lot of people don’t bother to check out whether or not their app already exists. With 2.2 million apps currently available on the Android Play store (and 2 million on Apple’s App Store), chances are pretty high that someone’s got there before you. If they have, that shouldn’t put you off – you just need to make sure you do it better.
3. Keep the User in Mind
At every stage of the development process, you need to be thinking about the end user. So when you’ve got your idea, ask yourself - will the user actually want it, or is it just me? Keep that thought in mind throughout every stage of the app development process and hopefully, you should end up with an app that people actually want to download. If you’re not sure where to start with this, consider creating buyer personas.
For a more in-depth guide to developing your dream app, download our free PDF by clicking the link below. It’s really good, we promise.
4. Take Your UX Seriously
The best idea and the prettiest design in the world don’t mean a gosh-darn thing if you haven’t got the UX to support it. UX stands for user experience and it basically refers to the look and feel of the app – i.e., how the user will navigate and actually use your app. Take out your phone and look at some of your favourite apps – how do they feel to use? We’ve all come to expect a certain standard of experience with our technology, so make sure it’s a priority.
5. Find the Right Developer for You
Choosing the right app developer is crucial. Don’t just go with the first development company you encounter, or whichever one presents the cheapest price. Meet with as many members of the team as possible and make sure you ‘click’ – because if they don’t understand who you are, you won’t understand the work that they produce. Ensuring that you and your developer can both identify a great opportunity at the get-go will make the process much smoother as you develop.
6. Plan Out Your Budget
We’ve all seen Grand Designs and scoffed when the couple says they definitely won’t go over a certain budget, right? Well, so it is with app development. Do yourself a favour and be realistic with your budget at the earliest possible stage, and – if you are working with an app development company – don’t be shy about asking them about the money. Make sure you’ve got budget aside for every stage of the development journey, and a little extra left over just in case.
7. Don’t Use a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
It’s tempting, with app development, to put your app on every platform available. After all, there are a projected 505 million people using iPhones, so why would you want to miss out on all that possible business by only building for Android? Obviously you don’t – but we’d strongly discourage putting a shoddy iPhone friendly version out there as fast as you can. iOS and Android are completely different platforms with completely different requirements, and trying to force your app to fit into both is a recipe for disaster. Get it absolutely right on one platform first, launch your app, and then work on perfecting it for the next.
8. Keep it Simple, Stupid
Don’t try and do too much. As you step into the world of possibility that is the app development process, it’s tempting to get distracted by all the things your app could do and forget about what you want it to do. The very best apps are the simple ones; ones which answer a specific problem simply and beautifully. So aim for that.
9. Just Dive in!
In truth, our best possible tip for making your app dreams come true is to get stuck in. Think about it first, of course, but realistically you’ll gain all the knowledge you need as you go through the process. You don’t know what you don’t know, after all! Don’t spend so long on the researching that you get overwhelmed. The best place to start, as usual, is at the beginning.
These actions are always helpful, even after you've launched your app. Find out more in our post-app launch checklist.