So you’ve got a great idea for an app. Where do you start? Taking an idea from start to finish can be tricky. Every developer has their own process that they have perfected with each project. Most of these processes include the following six phases:
Every endeavor benefits from planning, creating an app is no exception. You need to thoroughly plan out each stage of you app. Market research, what need do you want to fill? UX/UI how do you want the app to look and feel? Development, will you create it or will you hire a third-party? And most importantly, your marketing strategy, how will you get users on your app?
The most popular apps are the ones that fill a need. Why would anyone download your app? It’s a simple question that gets overlooked too often as more ideas and goals pour in. Look up other apps that have the same or similar idea as yours. How is your idea different and/or better? Think about your use cases and demographic targeting ahead of time and plan for them. All of these questions will guide you not only in creating a solid base for your app, but also kickstart a marketing strategy for the advertising and release of your project.
Design the Experience.
Determine the 3 most important actions and features you want users to accomplish and discover within the first week, two weeks, and 30 days of downloading your app. Those actions and features should be the highlight of your app, with the design constantly pointing to them, creating an ease of use for the user. It’s also important to give your app a polished feel, stay on top of the latest design trends for the mobile platform. We all judge books by their covers, even if we shouldn’t, a bad design will have users looking for a different solution in no time.
Coding an app can be tricky, you have to decide if you have the talent to do it yourself, or if you need to hire a 3rd party to build it for you. The planning you did leading up to this stage is crucial. It’s lot easier to experiment with layouts and feature ideas in a mockup program than it is to code and recode the same screen. Work through your problems ahead of time before diving in to the creation. Testing is also important. Don’t run the risk of scaring off your user base with a buggy app, before each publish review your project thoroughly, ask others to review and test it as well. The more eyes you have looking for errors, the less likely you’ll be to find surprises in the public version.
You may have created the perfect app. It’s beautiful, runs smoothly, is useful, but you still have next to no users on it. During all of the previous phases you need to simultaneously be planning an advertising campaign. Whether that involves Facebook, Twitter, mobile ads, or a combination of them and others will depend on your style and your app. The apps that get the most downloads are the ones that appear at the top of lists in app stores. The secret to getting to the top isn’t complex, but it’s hard to accomplish. Most apps are ranked by the number of users on them. Not just the number of users, but how quickly you gained them. It carries more weight if you gain 30,000 users in two weeks than it does two months.
Version 2.0 and on.
Even after a publish your work isn’t done. You’ll want to keep adding features and streamlining your app as much as possible. Keep pushing your ideas further, keep your users engaged, and keep growing your user base.