So you want to create a Mobile App?

Posted on Mar 8, 2014 in Business Development

The world of mobile apps is filled with intriguing avenues for accessing unique information, services, and one-of-a-kind compilations of just about everything you might ever want to know, use or integrate into your personal and professional life.

Good apps offer solutions to problems, broker brands, and engage users. Great apps provide unique solutions to industry- or user-specific problems, push brands into iconic realms, and produce a symbiotic, interactive experience for users.

Developing an app tied to your business or area of expertise – and addresses oft-discussed, but never acted upon, problems or dilemmas you or your clients and customers face – can elevate your branding to literal cutting-edge status. To ensure your app idea fulfils a sharply defined need, follow a few simple steps.

Determine if your app is exclusive or unique. Great minds think alike and in the enormously creative ocean of apps it is highly unlikely that your idea has never popped into anyone else’s head before. Researching your app is important and will reveal if your app idea (as you envision it) already exists or if other apps exist but are not as comprehensive or as well integrated as yours.

From this point, and using the information you have gathered, you may either re-think your app idea or proceed with developing it. Since your app should solve a user problem, you will also need to consider the key words and phrases that potential users would enter to search for your app. Additionally, you will want to utilise some of the available online resources that reveal user feedback on existing apps that resemble or are within your app idea’s range.

User feedback and existing apps that cover one or more of your app idea’s functions or target audiences can be invaluable in exposing weaknesses in those existing apps, allowing you to strengthen your own app. Even if you discover this type information following your app’s launch, you can implement it, along with your app’s user feedback, for future versions.

Create a prototype of your app. Whether you pursue developing your app on your own or with the support and guidance of a professional designer, using the services of an experienced animator to create an app prototype is vital. This prototype will be an interactive video that produces a demonstration of your app’s functionalities. It can be used as part of an investor pitch package, an operational trouble-shooting tool, and as a concept testing module.

Testing your concept is essential. Before investing further time and capital in your app, you need to gain some real-time, live feedback from your target audience. Armed with your prototype app, contact representative individuals – personally whenever possible – and note their questions, concerns, and compliments. If personal access is unavailable, consider opening your prototype to feedback via social media avenues using a survey approach. Small gratuities, such as gift cards from well-known retailers (Amazon, Starbucks, etc.), can also provide incentive for more in-depth feedback. Concept testing is the fine-tuning that can turn your app from good to great. Remember: your target users will always think of something you missed or could add, so be prepared and open to re-designs.

Your app idea may break the mould and establish a new plateau of user interaction. To kickstart that potential, keep a few things in mind:

• Identify the problem you are solving with your app.
• Research your app to determine if it is unique.
• Create an app prototype for trouble-shooting and concept testing.
• Test your app’s concept by obtaining target user feedback.
• Be prepared to re-design throughout development.
• Utilise the skills and expertise of professional animators and designers.

Finally, consider if your app will be free, purchased, or an extension of your brand marketing. If a free app, would you want to make money from it through advertisers? If a purchased app, what makes it worth buying? If being used to strengthen and add value to your brand, will it accomplish that goal?

Striking out into the app realm can be exciting and taking this journey with the support of a professional designer can ensure that the excitement holds true throughout your experience – and can be the key to a successful launch.