Developing an app is now easier than ever before. However, there are still many careful considerations that need to be made if you want your app to be a success. Below are 10 important things to consider when building an app.
What is the purpose of your app?
You shouldn’t build an app just because it’s the hip and trendy thing to do. There needs to be a clear purpose to building an app – and there should be clear benefits for its users.
For instance, if you own a gym, creating an app could be useful for allowing members to easily scan themselves in, as well as potentially allowing them to track their workout (the app could be linked up to machines in the gym to digitally track performance). You could even offer vouchers to loyal members that can be used in local restaurants or shops, which could serve as an added incentive to download the app, as well as helping to retain members at your gym.
The app may even be your product. Perhaps you have a creative idea for a mobile game or personal finance app. In this case, there is a clear purpose to the app.
Make sure that your app isn’t just a copy of your website or a copy of your company software. You should also make sure that there isn’t an existing app out there that already serves your purpose.
Will you build it yourself or hire developers?
You have two choices when developing an app: build it yourself or hire developers.
If you’re a skilled programmer, you may feel up for the challenge of coding your own app from scratch. There are also free and cheap drag-and-drop app builders out there that require no programming know-how – these are useful for creating simple apps.
Hiring developers may be better suited if you want to create a unique or complex app. Most companies choose to hire developers. There are various different types of developer to choose from including small companies and large companies, depending on the complexity of the app you’re designing, which leads onto the next important consideration…
How complex will your app be?
Will your app have a basic purpose (such as serving as a digital loyalty card)? Or will it be very complex (for instance, an AR app)?
The complexity of your app is important to consider as it will affect the type of developer that you should hire and the amount of maintenance that is likely to be required to keep it running. A complex app is also likely to cost more, which leads onto the next point…
How much will your app cost?
The cost of developing an app can vary. You can code an app from scratch yourself for $100 – or you can pay developers $1,000,000 to create the next Uber or Tinder.
The majority of good quality company apps cost between $10,000 and $100,000. When creating a basic small company app, you should expect the price to be towards the lower end of this range. When creating a complex enterprise app, you should expect the price to be towards the higher end of this range.
Game apps can meanwhile cost between $5,000 and $250,000 to build depending on the complexity.
How will you fund your app?
Most people don’t have $10,000 lying around to spend on an app – let alone $100,000. You should consider how you will fund your app. This could be via a business loan or it could be via the help of investors.
When choosing a business loan, shop around for rates. It’s worth exploring a range of bank loans and private loans. Some app development companies may even offer finance.
When choosing to use investors, consider whether to crowdfund or to pitch to angel investors. Crowdfunding can be more straightforward but slower.
How fast do you want the app to be developed?
You can spend years developing an app or you can develop an app in a series of weeks.
In order to develop an app quickly, you’ll need a team of developers and you’ll need to be willing to pay more. There are some developers that specialise in rapid application development. This is much faster than the traditional ‘waterfall’ development method.
Slower development may be better suited if you are on a budget and feel that there is no rush to get it built.
How much communication is necessary with developers?
Do you want to pitch your idea and leave the rest up to your developers? Or do you want to be involved every step of the way?
Some developers may prefer one method over the other. This is worth enquiring into when hiring a developer so that you can keep the right level of communication. A more hands-off approach may be better when designing a basic app, while a more complex app may require a lot more communication between developer and client.
Which devices will your app be available on?
Separate apps will need to be coded for iOS and Android devices. iOS apps tend to be faster, easier and cheaper to build. That said, there are more Android users than iOS users. In most cases, it’s worth focusing on one first and then building an app for the other platform if this is successful.
How will you test your app?
Testing your app before you launch it will help you to iron out any bugs. Developers will usually be able to do some of this testing. You may also be able to hire third-party testers to look for bugs.
It could also be worth testing your app on consumers. This can help you to make sure that your app is user friendly. Continuous testing could be worthwhile for constantly improving your app and giving customers the best experience.
How will you promote your app?
If you don’t promote your app, no-one will know it exists. The best way to market an app depends very much on the type of app. If you’re designing a company app, you may be able to promote it on your website, via company emails and in your store. Promoting a mobile game app meanwhile may require looking into in-app advertising, getting reviews from mobile game publications and promoting your app on social media. Make sure that you’ve developed a marketing strategy before your app is ready to be made public.