In the 1st quarter of 2018, there were more than 7 million available apps in the leading app stores. Some awesome others not worth the download. To ensure that your live app lands in the awesome category, and excites user, then there are some steps you have to follow.
In this article I’ll will take you through a 10 step guide, that’ll help you to make your app better than the competition.
Step 1 – Conceptualize your idea by creating a rough sketch
Creating a rough sketch is necessary to start the conceptualization of your idea (If you have completed this, you can skip this step and continue by step 2).
This step focuses on making a rough sketch. The sketch helps you focus on your idea and the conceptualization of it. A sketch is in this case defined by writing down the features of your app. Ask yourself questions like:
i) Why should the customer want to download my app?
ii) What features should the app consist of?
iii) What differentiates my app from all other apps?
It is a good idea to write your idea in different ways.
Step 2 – From sketching to an actual product description
After step 1 you have a rough sketch of, what you wish your app to be capable of. This step is about writing your future product down in details. This means that you should specify the appropriate navigation of the whole application.
The purpose of doing so is to find your core value – this means that you have to use your sketch from step 1 and find the most relevant features for your app. This is done to specify the purpose of your app. It is important that you strive towards being as detailed as possible. This helps you determine how to build your mobile app.
Make sure your app consists of unique and popular features because it will affect the success of the app.
Step 3 – Do Market Research
By now you have conceptualized your idea by writing down several ways of how you can realize your idea, and you have found your core value. This step is about validating your idea through a market research and defining the audience for your product. Validation is about making sure, that there is demand for the product.
Market research is about identifying competitors, trends, and market needs. It is therefore important that you know how to collect and transform data into your business value. If your research shows, that there already exists similar apps on the market – then look at their reviews, feedback, ratings and their missings. This will help you differentiate your app.
Furthermore, you can use market research to define demographics about the audience, which make you able to identify what users from these demographics prefer or like. With the knowledge of your audience preferences, you are able to specify your app’s features to cater to them.
A method to gain insights about your audience is for example through questionnaires, interviews or focus groups. The audience determines the success of your app. It is therefore important, that your features meet their needs.
After the Market Research, you are able to update your feature list.
Step 4 – Remove the unimportant features
After identifying your audience, you know what the customer prefers. Ask yourself, are all the features you chose in step 2 promoting the core value of your app idea? If not, you should remove those features. The first version of your app should not consist of features that are “nice to have”.
With the first version, you want the user to understand what needs your app fulfills. You can add the “nice to have” features as an update later on.
By removing the unimportant features you keep the initial cost of development down, and it helps you go live quicker.
Step 5 – Put design first
The design is about how a user will experience the app, which is important in the use of the app. Therefore, keeping up with which current trends to implement is important.
If you are unsure of how to design your app, it can be recommended to do a Five Day Sprint, which is a strong, tested process to test your ideas and get a working prototype within five days.
Step 6 – Create a realistic prototype and test it
It is a good idea to develop a prototype. A prototype aims to show the basic of a proposition but is important to underline that is not a fully functional app.
This step will give you a picture of how your app will look like and how it will function. The purpose of creating a prototype is that people can touch and feel the product.
The physical approach explains an idea much better than even the best business plan or pitch can. Through testing the prototype among target audience it is possible to see if there is enough demand to invest in creating the real app.
Step 7 – From prototype to reality
The prototype has given you an insight into the functionalities of your app and how they resonate with user expectations and behavior.
It will, therefore, give you:
- Insights into which features work,
- which you should improve,
- and what you should add or remove from the app.
To be able to launch the app you need to register for a developer account with the respective app stores.
It is also highly recommended to install and integrate Analytics into your app. This will help you track downloads, user engagement, and retention rates.
By launching the app you should also start marketing the app. You can do self-marketing on social media, reach out to reporters, bloggers etc.
Step 8 – User evaluation and design journey is never ending
The first version of your app consists of only the core offerings. Once you have launched the first version of your app, you can start to collect real user data. The data will show how your audience use your product and the demand for your app. The feedback and data from Analytics will give you an insight into what you need to improve and enhance. Furthermore, you can test and introduce the “nice to have” features from step 2.
So, to sum up, you go from concept to live app through concretizing your idea in as many details as possible, make a prototype, test it and evaluate it, and then finalize it. With 7 million available apps in the market, you need to keep an eye on user feedback and keep on improving. The user experience and design journey are never-ending. The user preferences and market technologies are in constant change. Your success depends on your ability to fulfil the customers’ needs.
This post was written by Sophie Amalie Seide Zimling. She is a marketing associate at Nodes. Nodes is one of Europe’s leading app development agencies, with in-house app developers, designers and mobile strategists. You can also find them on LinkedIn.