In a world where almost every person has a smartphone, mobile applications have become something very trivial. Today, it’s hard to imagine a person who doesn’t use apps at all. Needless to say, the App Store has over 2.2 million apps to download, and so does Google Play. No wonder, the total revenue of the mobile applications market is expected to be $189 million in 2020.
Following these trends, more enthusiasts are looking to enter the rapidly growing market. And if you think that a good or even unique idea is enough for success, then you’re on the wrong track already. Applying an effective approach to application development is crucial. That is why we decided to write this guide and tell how to develop an application in the most proper way. But first, let’s find out what it means, “the most proper way.”
The most proper way — what does it mean?
Application development is a complex and time-consuming process, which may require the work of several teams. And in this regard, each new application follows its own unique way, since there are no similar people or similar teams. However, there are some universal foundations that you should stick to. Namely:
- lower costs of development;
- fewer risks during the process;
- fewer resources spent on development.
Performing all the work at the lowest price as fast as possible, and predicting potential risks are universal indicators of “the most proper way”.
Now, let’s discuss this process more specifically.
1. Outline your app idea
This is the obvious and understandable first step. Nothing is needed here except your time, pen, and notebook. Describe the idea of your new application and see how it all looks on paper. Perhaps at this stage, you will be able to understand whether your idea is worth pursuing. This can help you avoid further disappointments and wasted resources.
If it seems to you that the idea is viable, try to describe the features of the future application. A good entrepreneur must seek to develop an app as quickly as possible. You can use the Lean Startup method with the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) at its core. This isn’t necessary. But, understanding what the MVP is and how it is created will help you highlight the most important features of your application and focus on them. Thus, describing the features of your app, divide them into those ones that would be in your MVP (must-have ones) and those ones that can be neglected at the beginning.
Ask yourself, which feature (or features) will monetize your application? Are there any features that might potentially slow down the development process? And so on. We think you got the idea.
One more important point — don’t try to cover the entire possible range of options for your application use. Don’t spend more than one or two business days on this process, you have more important tasks to dedicate your time to.
2. Create prototypes of your app
A prototype (or mockup) is necessary to schematically depict the markup, user interface, and your future app’s user flow.
What exactly should be depicted on prototypes is up to you. However, what shouldn’t be there is a full-featured UI, a clear and residual arrangement of elements, and a full set of colors. All of this will be created at the next stage. Now, it is important to understand what the skeleton of your application looks like without unnecessary details.
In addition, the primary goal of prototyping is to reflect the flow of your application and the interaction between crucial elements. This stage is super important because it will give you an understanding of the basic navigation in the app.
Of course, prototypes aren’t created in a notepad, there are special tools for this. We suggest that you consider applications such as Figma, Balsamiq, Fluid UI, Prott, or others. The choice is yours.
3. Define the platform
After you have become convinced of the viability of your idea and created prototypes, it’s time to decide on the platform for it.
There are two main options:
- Cross-platform application. The main benefit of going the cross-platform way is a wide market reach (because you develop one app that runs on both iOS and Android). The development of a cross-platform application involves the use of appropriate frameworks and kits such as React Native and Flutter. For early-stage entrepreneurs with limited budgets, this is definitely the best option.
- Native (or platform-specific) application. Unlike cross-platform applications, native apps are developed for one specific platform — iOS or Android. Plus, native apps are more expensive to get developed, so for MVP product owners, this is usually not the best approach to apply.
4. Make sure it’s easy-to-get and safe
Simple and intuitive design is a key element of a successful application. The thing is that smartphones aren’t the most convenient devices sometimes. So, the task of developers is to make the use of them as simple and straightforward as possible.
The application should run smoothly and be helpful. Users tend to remove applications that they don’t use every day. Using your application should be the daily routine for the user. Therefore, you should ensure the high performance of your app and release timely updates.
Don’t forget about security. This is even more important if your application deals with financial operations, bank transactions, and the personal data of users. Leaking such information will cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
5. Carry out promotional campaigns
Today, users are literally surrounded by ads and promo information. That’s why you need to approach a promotional strategy with the utmost care and professionalism. You need to correctly determine your target audience and promote your application to those who will really be interested in it.
Measure, learn, implement, repeat
In the end, timely updates, constant interaction with the users, feature reviews should be applied on an ongoing basis. Really useful changes should be made without delay. And this whole process is doomed for reiteration. This is a truly proper way to build an application!