Turning your app idea into reality involves a significant amount of planning and research to make it a success. Particularly if you’re not writing the code for your mobile app yourself, it’s all the more critical that you adequately convey your vision to the stakeholders involved, from your investors to your mobile app developers.
Rather than continuing to imagine what your app could look like, you’ll need to take the steps necessary to refine your idea, get others involved, and finally, submit it to the app store.
In the following, we’ll cover several next steps for bringing your app idea to life.
Identify the problem your app will solve.
The first step in making your mobile app idea into a reality is to identify the problem that your app is going to solve. Think about it: Even the apps that we use for fun solve a problem. For example, Facebook allows users to easily connect with their friends and family, while the Amazon app allows users to shop any time and anywhere.
Especially with the millions of apps that are already out there, you want to make sure that you're solving a problem that hasn't already been solved. That said, if there’s already an app out there that’s trying to solve your problem of choice, that's okay. Simply ensure that your app 1) solves that problem in a slightly different way or 2) in an even better way than what’s already out there.
For comparison, think of the difference between the operating systems for smartphones: iOS and Android. They both solve the same problem—the need for an operating system—but in slightly different ways. As such, there’s still an audience for both types of smartphones.
Develop a more concrete idea of your app.
Now that you’ve identified that the problem your app is going to solve, it’s time to think about who’s going to use your app: your target audience. Your target audience will significantly influence what platform (or platforms) your app is designed for to its overall user interface and features.
With your target audience in mind, it’s time to conduct some research to gain a better understanding of their needs and preferences. For example, what types of phones do they use: iPhones or Android devices? Moreover, what features would be most useful to them and, perhaps more importantly, enjoyable for them to use?
During this phase, be sure to pin down the answers to these questions:
What platform will your app function on (iOS, Android, or both)?
What app type will you build (native, cross-platform, progressive)?
What features will be most useful for your audience?
Create an elevator pitch.
If you’re not planning to write the code for your mobile app yourself, you’ll need to hire a mobile app developer. Unfortunately, hiring a mobile app developer is often costly. The cost of mobile app development for the even most basic version of your app will likely be somewhere in the thousands. As such, you may want to garner the financial support of investors to make your app into a reality.
To present your idea to investors, you’ll need to create an elevator pitch for your idea. In your elevator pitch, you’ll want to provide your potential investors with a brief overview of the following: 1) the problem you're trying to solve, 2) who you’re solving the problem for (target audience), and 3) and how your app idea will solve that problem. You’ll also want to be sure to include what type of app you plan to build (e.g., native iOS app) and what features it will include.
Hire mobile app developer.
Once you've gotten investors backing your app idea, and you have a better idea of your budget for the first version of your app, it's time to hire a mobile app developer. Hiring a developer involves finding a person, or team, that’s a good fit for your specific project. An important aspect of this process is to ensure they have the skill set necessary to make your app idea a reality, and one way to do so is by looking at their portfolio.
Your potential mobile app developer’s portfolio can give you a better idea of what they are capable of building. Remember, however, no mobile app is the same. That means your mobile app developer will most likely have not built an app exactly like the one you’re envisioning–and that’s a good thing. Instead, look for what platforms they’ve built apps for, the app types they’ve built, and what features they are familiar with.
As you interview your developer, paint a picture of your minimum viable product, or the most basic version of your app that contains just enough features to solve your users’ problem. Likewise, you’ll want to mention some of the features you’d like to see in the future. That way, your developer can work with you to help maximize your budget as much as possible.
Iron out your ideas with your developer.
When you’ve selected your mobile app developer, you’ll begin your journey into the mobile app development process. While we go into greater depth about this process in another blog post, here are just a handful of things you’ll want to consider as you enter the initial phase of development:
Discuss fees and terms. - Rather than be surprised by additional charges, understand the terms of your contract (hourly vs. fixed) and how it affects any changes you may need to implement.
Have your developer sign an NDA. - An NDA (non-disclosure agreement) ensures that your app idea will remain confidential.
Make sure you receive an SOW. - An SOW (Statement of Work) outlines what your developer promises to provide you.
Review the progress of your app.
Before your team starts cranking out the code for your mobile app, you’ll want to verify that they have a solid grasp of your vision. For instance, most developers create architecture for your app, or a document that lays out the details of your app; you can review this document to ensure it includes every feature you expect. Once you approve of the architecture, you may also request wireframes, which will provide you with a visual sample of your app.
With your stamp of approval on both the architecture and wireframes, your mobile app developer will likely spend a good amount of time doing behind-the-scenes work on your project. That said, he should still provide you with insight into your project’s progress through regular updates and discussions. Much, however, will depend on the method of development your developer follows. If you’d like to be very involved in your project throughout the development process, consider hiring a team that follows the agile method.
Test, submit, and release.
Even when your app appears to be almost entirely complete, your mobile app developer’s job isn’t entirely over. Before submitting your app to the app store for approval, you’ll to ensure that it’s working as it should through testing. Testing often includes several facets, such as functional testing, performance testing, usability testing, and security testing, among others.
After it’s been verified that your app is ready for your users, you can submit your app to the app store. If your developer has built apps in the past, they should be able to help you along with this process. In some cases, your app may require further revisions before it can reach the approval of the app store, so you’ll want to budget time and resources for those potential changes.
When the app store has given you the green light, it’s time to go live. To ensure that your app has a successful launch day, you’ll need to market your app. If marketing isn’t your niche, hiring a marketer (or marketing team) can help to let your audience know about your app.
Achieve on-going success with on-going maintenance.
With your app now available to the public, your journey with development isn't complete. Now it's time to ensure that your app continues to be a success. Just like your car or house, on-going maintenance is necessary to ensure that your app continues to meet your users’ needs and expectations.
For this purpose, you'll want to ask your mobile app developer if they offer maintenance and support packages. If your developer offers on-going support, his support packages will likely vary from simple monthly updates to more extensive packages, which might include security updates, crash to analytics monitoring, reports, and so much more.
By regularly implementing updates and bug fixes, your app will continue to maintain optimal performance. As a result, your users should continue to enjoy using your app and, hopefully, providing you with the revenue you’ve been hoping for.
Ready to Bring Your App Idea to Life?
We hope this brief overview has given you at least a glimpse into how you can start taking steps towards making your app idea into an app on your phone. If there are any steps we’ve missed or questions you may have about building your first mobile app, let us know.
On the other hand, if you’re ready to take the next step and find a mobile app developer, you may have realized that building a mobile app that fits your vision and budget can be a challenge. At ClikGlobal, we’ve developed a solution to this problem: Our process allows us to keep our rates low while providing you with the quality mobile app you deserve.
Let’s start talking about your app idea today—contact us.