App Development: From Idea to App Store

The difference between a successful developer and any other programmer is the idea. With so many mobile apps in the App Store, you need an exemplary concept and stellar execution to rack up reasonable mobile app downloads and a loyal following.

Before even considering putting together a development team, I recommend you run through rigorous market research, idea vetting, and development process analysis to avoid wasting time on a solution to a non-existent problem.

Write it down to give it Some Structure.

Having an idea in your mind isn’t enough. Type it down, or get a fresh notebook and outline the idea.

Writing gives you a chance to think. It will let you flesh out things you hadn’t thought about, like:

  • Possible target audience
  • Oversights on unnecessary parts you hadn’t thought about
  • Blatant feature rip-offs from existing and successful apps
  • Difficult to implement concepts that will require a lot of innovation

Besides helping you think, writing down your app ideas helps you keep everything that crosses your mind on paper. You won’t forget even the smallest and seemingly useless concepts for your mobile applications.

Ideally, you should draft some NDA clauses and papers that you will share with anyone you bring into the team or show your ideas to.

Do Some Feasibility Studies

With the idea all thought out and written down, you can do some bit of market research. This will enable you to find out whether the problem you wish to fix really exists and has no solution similar to yours.

If you are working on a novel concept or fixing a problem other app developers haven’t touched on yet, make sure that you do extensive market research on your target audience.

This ensures that you get most of the things right, from user experience to problem resolution, since you will have actual feedback from potential real-life users.

When extrapolating from existing solutions, ensure that your app brings more to the table rather than being a clone. Outline the extra features and solutions your app will offer on mobile devices.

I find that thinking of how better your app will be and thoroughly vetting the importance of each difference is a helpful way to create a feature list and a set of goals for the development process.

Move on to Prototypes and Looks

When I was a young developer, I would jump straight into an app builder or start writing native apps once I was convinced it was a smart idea.

Over time, I have learned that this ‘cow boy’ approach makes me privy to mistakes and increases the chances of presenting terrible UX.

Learn from my mistakes. Even if user interface design isn’t your forte, find help and start by mocking up different screens and user interfaces within the app.

The biggest benefits of such an approach are:

  • It allows you to design amazing user interfaces, giving your app impressive first impressions. Trust me. First impressions matter
  • You will have graphical mockups of your app’s appearance once it is live on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. You can use social media graphics to create hype around your app and mobile app development.
  • You will separate the user interface design stage of app development from the logic side of the code, making it easier to stay in your element when developing.

Creating graphical mockups of an app or building wireframe designs of your own app is a smart idea. This is because you get to push out a prototype that you can run through or present to critics without spending the hours needed to code the logic.

What to do next?

If your app idea extends beyond the above stage, the next step is to think about how to code the rest of the logic. This will enable you to bring your innovative idea to the Google Play or App stores.

Your decisions at this stage should revolve around:

  • What app builder (like Appy Pie), framework, and programming language will you use
  • Will you hire a development team, or will you do it on your own
  • How much will it cost to build the app to completion?
  • Will you release an iOS app followed by an Android app or both simultaneously?
  • What is your marketing strategy after the app development process?
  • What quality thresholds do I have to meet for my app to be listed in the App Store and Google Play?

Are you wondering why I haven’t talked about monetization? Well, I strongly believe in meeting user intent before meddling with monetization. All successful tech startups and app developer teams focus on making a name for themselves before worrying about profits.

That is my approach, but it won’t hurt to think about how you will make money from your mobile application long before you start feasibility studies.

Amanda Kremer