A Step-by-step Guide to Building Apps
With almost everyone being connected to World of Apps through the use of a smartphone or a tablet, the mobile app market is trending. People can easily go online and start to create their own apps; for people with coding knowledge open-source tools such as the SDK Andriod Developer Kit have allowed people to create their own mobile apps which anyone across the planet can use and (potentially) benefit from. For those who don’t have prior knowledge platforms such as e-learning services such as Codeacdemy and udemy make it cheap and at times even free to learn language, practice and even start app development in a matter of weeks.
Let’s take a step back first and really understand what it means to create your own app. I’m sure you’ve come across apps which have been totally useless or plain or simply horrible. Have you ever used the ‘Floating Miley Cyrus’ app? Yes you guessed it (I do hope it’s not because you’ve used it), this app lets you place a picture of Miley Cyrus around and wherever you can on your desktop or phone home screen. Now, at the moment; number of apps available is 3 Million combined AppStore and Google PlayStore; possibly meaning there are apps for many different uses. However, the current number of websites in the world is close to 1 Billion, so that does tell you there is room for many, many more.
Now where to begin, the guidelines;
Step 1: Want to build an app but don’t have an app idea? What you really need are problems, and they’re everywhere!
When you look around you, every product and service you use was all created to solve a problem. You wanted to get from one place to another faster, you got a car. You wanted to get from one place to another but didn’t own a car, you got Uber.
So look for problems in your daily life and list each one of them. Once you have an exhaustive list, then start to think on how you can resolve them and shortlist the ones that make most sense.
Step 2: Identify the need. Validation will prove that a demand exists for your app. You can validate your idea by using the Google Keyword Planner tool to look for the number of people seeking out what you’re trying to do, look at Google Trends to understand whether the service is being searched for currently. You could also build a landing page that broadly highlights your app idea and seek user interest through an email signup.
Step 3: Lay out the flow and features. Validation of your app idea means that you’ve got something that people want to use. Now is the time to detail your product onto a document, or if you want to go the extra mile, use a wire framing tool; websites such as Balsamiq help you to turn your app sketches into online app U.I interfaces.
When putting your idea down on paper, remember to be as detailed as possible. Include the flow of how the user will navigate the app as well as all the features envisioned. This will help your developer to clearly understand your expectations.
Step 4: Remove non-core features. From the flow and features document you prepared, start looking closely at features that you can remove. Offer only the core value of your app idea. Do not build features in the first version that are “nice to have” and can always be added later as an update. This will help keep the initial costs of development down and also help you get to market quicker.
Step 5: App Development [Will not focus on in-depth technicalities]. Use the coding knowledge that you have (or hopefully learnt) because this will be the technical side of the guide. The Andriod SDK Developer Kit helps introduce the android interfaces and those who intend on developing Apps for Andriod should look for specific information on the android forums before beginning the SDK process. The iOS development kits are different where you need to use the iOS SDK and just as you would need to get accustomed to the Andriod interface so too for the iOS interface. To begin research through the iOS developer’s membership website.
Step 6: Create developer accounts. You must register for a developer account with the respective app stores to be able to sell your app through their platform. Google’s Android charges $25 a year and Apple charges $99 annually. You have the option of registering as an individual or as a company, if you already have one formed.
Step 7: Integrate analytics. Analytics help you track downloads, user engagement and retention for your mobile app. Make sure you use tools such as Flurry, which is available for free.
Step 8: Get feedback quickly and improvise. Once your app goes live on the app store, the first set of customers’ usage and behavior will give you insight into how to improve and enhance your app. Enhancements and changes are constant, so keep an eye on user feedback and keep building.
Step 9: Introduce features. You built version one with limited features and only the core offering. Now is the time to evaluate and introduce the remaining features that were left out in the initial version. You will know through analytics and feedback whether the features are relevant anymore.
Step 10: Time to get Paid! How do Developer’s make money? Information regarding iOS apps; How Developers earn money; Sale of apps (they get 70% of the revenue), sale of digitized content in-app and revenue generated from ads displayed in the app.