How to develop your first successful app without going overboard in terms of resources and your capabilities? Well, before explaining these, it is important to understand the popularity and corresponding popularity of mobile apps first.
Mobile apps are pretty much everywhere, penetrating every business niche and every sphere of everyday life. In the last year, mobile apps have generated around $188.9 billion in revenue combining revenues from both app stores and in-app advertising.
There are now more than 3.2 billion smartphone users all over the world. Are you wondering about what people are doing with their smartphones? To be honest, 88% of time spent on mobile by people belongs to apps. So, the millions of users day in and day out are using countless apps for all kinds of everyday needs.
If all these statistics tell you about the overwhelming success stories of mobile apps, you also cannot deny the fact that the vast majority of users only remain addictively engaged with a handful of hugely successful apps while there are too many apps that somehow manage to stay afloat as profitable businesses and the rest simply struggle to make ends meet as a business.
So, the app business is equally a challenging one considering the huge competition it needs to deal with. So, when you consider how to create an app, you need to think from the perspective of a competitive business. Let’s explain a few key considerations we found as an app development company in Ireland for good years while helping SMBs & Small businesses with the mobile app design and development needs across Ireland.
How Long Does it Take to Build a Mobile App?
Though there is no straightforward answer to this question just because the development time depends upon the features, project size, niche, available resources and several other key factors, generally an app takes 4-6 months of development time. When you create an app from scratch, it is likely to consume more development time than usual.
A high-quality app is likely to take more development time than usual. A feature-rich app takes a much bigger timeframe than an app with fewer features. The development budget is also a determinant factor for the time required to build an app. Moreover, a development team with cross-platform expertise, full-stack developers and highly skilled and experienced professionals will help in lowering the development time.
How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?
When you consider how to create an app from scratch, consider the development cost the single most stumbling block for many app projects. Many startups just decide about the app features and size of the project based on the budget. For instance, if the app budget only permits building the app in two months, you need to drastically reduce the feature set.
On the other hand, a project without any budget constraint cannot have the liberty of including as many features as possible. Like any successful app project, they need to stick to a product discipline as well.
Today’s app projects find the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach a highly effective one to reduce the development budget and stay in complete control over the app spending. As per this approach, an app project should only focus on the most relevant features for the initial release to keep the budget low and to add new features and bring new changes based on user feedback through future updates. Apart from allowing better control on budget MVP approach also ensures user validated app development.
Is it Better to Build an App For iOS or Android?
For every mobile app project, there are mainly two platform choices, such as iOS and Android. While iOS represents the most consolidated platform focusing on iPhone and iPad device range, Android offers a broader ecosystem with a multitude of device brands across the spectrum. While iOS allows you to build a strong app validated by stringent quality criteria and targeted to a mostly upmarket audience, Android on the other hand helps you to target a wider smartphone user audience.
It is advisable to conduct deeper and extensive market research to know the usual platforms of presence for most of your target audience and the devices they mostly use. If your audience is scattered across both iOS and Android, it is advisable to go for cross-platform app development by using robust technologies like Flutter or React Native that allows developing apps with native user experience and look and feel.
How Do You Make Money With an App?
When carrying on an app project you also need to consider the monetisation methods that are most effective for your app project. You have a wider range of choices ranging from subscription, paid app, in-app purchases, in-app ads, sponsorship and so on.
It is best to have an idea about the appropriate monetisation that works for your niche, from the competitor apps. As of now, rolling out an app for free and then pushing conversion through in-app purchases or in-app ads happen to be the most popular app monetisation method.
What’s the Best Way to Build an App?
Now that the most basic questions are answered, let us briefly provide you step by step app development process for your next app project.
Coming with a great app idea
The first step is to come up with a unique app solution to a problem for a particular type of smartphone user audience. Based upon the idea, you need to decide about the relevant features and user experience attributes important for solving the respective user problems.
If ideation remains the first step in considering how to make an app, it is equally important to validate every app idea before going with it. First of all, consider whether the idea has any semblance with other apps. If yes, where does it look similar and where does it offer something different? What is the key value proposition of the idea that makes it original, unique and sought after? Whether there is a demand for the respective app in the market, is one important aspect of this validation process.
Know your target audience
The second most important step is to know the target audience of your mobile app. You need to have a clear idea about the audience demographics, their preferences and taste, trending attributes, etc.
One of the most effective ways to know about the target audience is to know about the users of your competitor apps. Social media interactions where most people easily vent out their preferences and sentiments is another important channel to understand your target audience deeper. Carrying out social media surveys on the app idea is a great way to have a deeper understanding of the target audience.
Choose the right development platform and approach
When considering how to make a mobile app, choosing the right platform is an elementary consideration. Do you want to build a cloud-based web app or just a hybrid app that works on all platforms or do you like to build a highly platform-specific native app? If you opt for native apps, you need to select your target OS platform as well.
By opting for cross-platform development by utilising robust technologies such as React Native and Flutter you can actually avail the best benefits of both worlds, respectively native and hybrid apps. In spite of reusing maximum code, these technologies ensure delivering a highly native user experience.
Create a prototype
After you select the platform and the corresponding development approach, it is time to create an app prototype. The process refers to the creation of a basic and laid-bare interactive app demo with the core design and some functions. The prototype will basically explain how the app will basically look and feel.
To make things easier, you now have an array of sophisticated prototyping tools to create prototypes that are robust, interactive and meticulously true to the app idea. You can use these tools to create design wireframes offering the basic visual appearance of the app followed by fully-fledged prototype building.
Go for testing
Beta testing is a great way to get feedback about your app from the first batch of users. On the other hand, thanks to beta testing the app ensure better App Store and Play Store visibility.
App testing is one of the most uncompromising aspects of the app development process. An app must go through rigorous bug fixing, performance testing, load testing and user testing to address all the shortcomings before the final launch of the app.
Launch the App
To launch an app successfully, one needs to create a proper plan with adequate pre-launch buzz creation and post-launch quality assurance in the live environments. The deployment and launch should be well planned in advance to make the best of opportunities.
An app launch should be preceded by a robust pre-launch campaign covering all publicity and outreach channels and spanning across a multitude of measures and methods of outreach.
Introducing top development tools
Now that we have explained the key considerations and the steps involved in the mobile app development process, let us provide here some of the top development tools that most app projects find crucial for their app projects.
Flutter: Flutter is the leading cross-platform development framework that uses Dart language for its codebase and offers a plethora of ready to use UI widgets and code components to deliver a truly native user experience across iOS, Android, web and desktop. Flutter also provides the box app testing feature.
Unity: Unity is the world’s leading game development engine widely used for sophisticated and visually engaging 2D and 3D games that can be run across iOS, Android, web and gaming consoles.
Balsamiq: Balsamiq is the leading wireframing tool to create detailed app screens with hand drawn illustrations and then link the screen designs with the interactive app prototypes.
UXPin: UXPin is a robust and fully featured prototyping tool to allow creating fully fledged interactive app prototypes with ease by incorporating the screen sketches and wireframes.
TestProject: It is a robust, cloud-based, free and community-powered test automation tool to help you test your app across all platforms including the Web, Android and iOS. It also helps collaborating with the development team by using Selenium and Appium.
All the key considerations and development steps we mentioned so far here represent the time-honoured experience of several leading development companies. Obviously, in a highly competitive app world you cannot afford to Taher things for granted. You need to be meticulous about almost anything and everything.