With smartphones marking their territory in the world of technology, apps have become as commonplace as a set of car keys. Apps allows users to navigate the Internet with the touch of a finger, or play arcade games on the go. With the popularity of apps being at an all-time high, it stands to reason that people will come up with a brilliant idea for an app, but become perplexed as to how it can be turned into a reality.
Many may assume that they need to knowledgeable in coding or graphic design to turn their idea into a reality, but the truth is, there are many paths that can be taken when it comes to producing an app.
Whatever route you take, it is likely that you will need to make an investment. Not only do you need to assess whether you need to hire someone to help you with the app, but you also need to ensure that the app is promoted in the correct way. The follow tips can help prepare you when it comes to creating your app.
1. Assess The Competition
Many may be put off developing an app because they’ve seen something similar that’s already available. Don’t assume that just because something is available, it is serving the needs of the end user. Many apps start out with good intentions, but if there is a bug within the app that causes more problems than it solves, then there’s a potential gap for a more robust solution.
Researching your competition will also allow you to brainstorm your idea further, with a view to instil unique features not seen in similar apps, thus giving it a unique selling point. There’s always room for some healthy competition, as long as you’re releasing an app just to capitalise on the success of another.
2. Decide What Features Your App Will Include
While there are apps that are viewed as little more obscure, if you’re looking to make an app to generate some revenue, then it generally helps for the app to be of some use, as well as ensuring that the user engagement is the best it can be.
Although your app may have a sole purpose, in most instances there are other factors to consider. Making a list of features your app requires in advance makes the overall design process easier, as well as giving designers or programmers a broader overview of your app idea.
3. Consider a Non-Disclosure Agreement
Many people with a great idea for an app can be dissuaded from taking it further in fear of someone stealing their idea. This is a normal worry, but fortunately there is a legal route you can take to ensure your idea remains a secret. You may need to hire a couple of people to help bring your vision to life, so those worried about any details about the app being leaked out should consider drafting a non-disclosure agreement.
Having those who are working on the app sign a non-disclosure agreement ensures that details of your app aren’t leaked to the competition, and puts you in a much better legal position should the worst case scenario occur.
4. Determine How Your Will Fund Your App Development
Depending on your app and its primary function, you will need to research how you will be funding the development of your app. While there’s a possibility of you doing much of the work yourself, generally an investment will be needed somewhere along the line.
Knowing when such investments are required not only prepares you from a financial point of view, but it also ensures that there are no instances of the app being neglected as a result.
For many, an app can only require a very small investment. However, there are instances where a larger investment is required. For many, a loan is the most appropriate route, and this is fine, but it’s important that you take a number of factors into account when choosing this option, as it could have ramifications in your personal life if not managed correctly.
Crowd funding has become very popular, with many taking to sites to seek funding for their latest idea, but it’s no easy feat. People generally don’t invest money in the first project they see. They often browse the site, investing in projects that have had an impact on them.
In this regard, it’s important that you focus on the selling points of your app, and how these features will help better the lives of others. It also helps to offer rewards depending on the investment made. For example, a basic investment could see users have priority access to the app before it hits the app store.
5. Consider Your Revenue Model
Unless you have an enormous amount of disposable income, you’re going to need to find a way of generating some revenue to help recoup your initial investment into the app. Depending on the nature of your app, there are two routes you can take.
The first is to offer the app for a fixed price. This means that people will have full access to your app without having to view advertising. However, if you decide to have advertising within your app, then you are in a position to offer it for free.
Use the information you gained from your market research to decide which business model best suits your app. There are other options you can consider, such as a limited free edition of your app, which can be upgraded to a premium version for a fee, or a free game that offers in-game purchases.
All have their pros and cons, but a little bit of research can do wonders to help propel the downloading of your app.
6. Ensure The User Interface is Straightforward
While there are many apps available, not all of them have the user’s best interests at heart. When browsing the app stores, it’s not unusual to come across an app that has been met with much frustration and has affected the overall popularity of the app as a result. When users are given access to an app, they need to know how to use it quickly.
A straightforward navigation system with clear icons and subtle colours can do wonders to raise the profile of your app. It’s important that a great deal of time is invested into perfecting your user interface, as a great app is useless if people aren’t able to get at its core purpose easily.
7. Will Your App Be for One or All Platforms?
When it comes to the popularity of apps, it’s no secret that Apple and Android are the most popular platforms. However, that’s not to say that an app wouldn’t be popular if it were released on the Windows platform, as long as the app is adaptable to fit in with that particular communities’ lifestyle.
While it’s important for the app to have a function, it’s also important that you know where this function will be applied. If it will be on all platforms, then an overall release on all platforms is fine. However, if the app is marketed towards a particular community, then a release on all platforms may be deemed pointless.
Each platform will come with its own set of rules. Whereby Google is quite happy for their software development kits to be altered at will, Apple is a little stricter when it comes to iOS.
If you wish to become an iPhone app developer, you will need to sign up for the Apple Developer Program if you are looking to develop the app yourself, you will need to pay a £79 annual fee to Apple, and they will furnish you with the necessary tools to develop and distribute your app.
Of course, if have other people dealing with the design and functionality of your app, you may not need to register, but it’s always worth checking in the first instance so you can ensure your financial records are up to date.
8. Be Open to Feedback
The online world can be far from pleasant at times, with online reviews becoming more and more seething, it can be hard to try and keep the community happy. Although there are many who leave comments to bait others, there are users of apps who offer genuine feedback.
Such users shouldn’t be dismissed, as they are offering you some market research, which in turn can help tweak your app so it meets with the user’s expectations.
You could even look to assign a set number of users to try out a beta version of the app, and offer their feedback. This again can help make tweaks before it is uploaded to the app stores.
9. Ensure You have Access to the Right Tools
Knowing what kind of tools you will need will depend on the project in hand. If you’re looking to code an iPhone app all by yourself, then you will need access to an iMac and Apple’s SDK. If you have someone else working on the design, then you may not a Mac in theory, but you may struggle to see the app in action.
The general rule of thumb is that if you’re designing the app yourself, research what tools you will need in advance, as purchasing them as you go along will only eat into your time further, and should only be done if you have budget restrictions.
If you are really unsure as to what is needed, then maybe take a couple of days out to carry out some research. Browsing the right kind of forums and touching base with an online community is a great way of finding out exactly what you need.
Failing that, you can just instruct someone else to design it on your behalf, but research still has to be carried out. There are many programs out there capable of creating an app, but it can look a little rushed, so you need to ensure that the app developer you use can create the branded app you’re looking for, and not a mish-mash of other apps with a basic navigation screen.
10. Patience is a Virtue
Some assume that getting the app released means that the hard work is over, but in reality it’s only just begun. Just because the app is there, it doesn’t mean that people will automatically know it’s there. Sure, you may get a few downloads from users who are browsing, but to get the numbers that mean something, you will have to dedicate some time to the marketing of your app.
The first thing you should consider is what keywords to use. You shouldn’t look to manipulate the placement of the app by using popular keywords that have very little to do with your app, as you will get views, but no downloads.
Try to reinforce what your app does within the title. For example, if you have come up with a guitar tuner app, try and include ‘guitar tuner’ within the description. You should also look to take advantage of social network marketing and also starting a blog centred on your app.
Also, be sure to try and fix any bugs or glitches within the app ads and when they’re discovered, as this will show people you’re are committed to releasing patches and updates, and therefore will be more likely to download your app as a result.
Overall, there is no generic way of developing your app, the creativity side really boils down to how much you are able to do yourself, and how much you will need for your initial investment. Ensure that you have enough of a budget to see the project through, as well as accounting for any advertising you may need along the way.
App development in the first regard can seem like a costly investment, but if handled in the correct way it could go on to yield big results, but only with the right amount of hard work. Cobbling a ‘make-do’ app with very little marketing will only see your app lie in dormancy for some time, and leave with you very little in the way of profits.
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