8 years ago, the Apple App Store entered our lives and has revolutionised so many industries. From banks closing branches due to the surge in people using mobile banking apps to Uber becoming a global phenomenon and pioneering in the Silicon Valley boom era. Some apps have been simple and met unexpected success (Flappy Bird) whilst others have been complex (Google Wave) and have come crushing down. But this has not stopped the growth of the App development market, with Android boasting over 2.2 Million apps and Apple also in the 2 million app club there is truly an app for everything. But, is there an app for everything?
So, you have an idea and you discuss your idea with a couple of friends, they give you the support you’ve come to expect (hopefully) and you want to move forward. But where do you begin? Start networking with graphic designers and developers, discuss your idea. Utilise your networks, perhaps a friend tried to make an app once? Find out what they did, what worked and what didn’t. Grow and learn from their mistakes.
The research element of your idea should include some form of feedback from your potential users. If you already have a brand with a web presence, finding out why people choose your brand over others can be key in helping you create the success you deserve. Check out TypeForms if you’re looking for a more interactive way to engage and extract information. Survey Monkey is also an alternative. Research into what your target audience is after and always check up on the competition. Review any similar apps to your idea and see what they are missing. Start reading all the comments section underneath the application to see what they are doing right, what problems they are having and aim to be better.
So you’ve done the market research, you’ve changed a couple things from the feedback you had and you’ve developed and enhanced your idea. The next step is to choose the development path, this can either be outsourcing the development of the app to an external company who specialise in building apps, and be ready to accept this will come at a significant cost. You can also check for freelancers looking to develop their portfolio and good places to find such Developers is on Student Union boards at Universities and free sites such as Bark.com. Always view their portfolio and again, never sacrifice the quality of your idea for a cheap developer. If you are not happy with the quality of their work, chances are they will probably create the same model of work for you. Creative but simple apps have always been great hits, think of games such as Candy Crush and Angry Birds, the concept is simple and it means it can appeal to anyone. Whereas with more complex games such as FIFA, they don’t fare as well on mobile as they do on consoles.
With your development team, hard at work, coding and bringing your beta versions of the app. It is worth to keep an eye on the relevant app store. Monitoring trends on the most popular apps in your genre. Keep up-to-date with their updates, any new apps which have come out since your initial research and prepare a focus group of your supportive friends to test one of the beta versions of your app. Take this feedback back to your developers and enhance your application.
As you approach the last two months of development, it might be worth starting your promotion campaigns. Let your fan base know something is in the pipeline.
Fast forward a month or two, a fully developed app is ready. Thanks, have gone all round and you’re sat there wondering how fast the year has gone. From the day, you spoke about that idea to your friends to when you sat down reading all their feedback. If you decided to launch the app on Android, it’s $25 for a Google Play Store Developer Account which you will need to publish the app. For those who chose iOS, its £86.29 ($99) per year for the iOS Developer program account. For the obscure Windows App Store market, its $19USD one time fee.
The last stage is probably the most difficult. As Tech moves on, screen dimensions change and sometimes mobile apps are not optimised for these changes. When the iPad launched, a lot of developers assumed they could just port over the same app, but visually this just didn’t work. As newer phones come out with new functionality, you should continue developing and enhancing. If your app was a game, it will be easy to convert from Android to iOS and publish on both stores for a wider reach. As most Android apps however are developed using the Java development framework and iOS is developed using Object-C (and now Swift) you would most likely have to rewrite the application in the appropriate coding language to publish on both stores.
Founder of Bantu Tech