5 Steps to Take before you Develop a Mobile App
Most of us have an idea for a mobile app, and if we don't, we know someone who does. The problem most developers face once their app is released, is how to stand out among the overcrowded app eco system.
Like many other things in life, the best cure for this problem is to take a preemptive stance and prepare yourself for the super competitive app marketplace. At inneractive, we work closely with developers of all mobile platforms, and we see the day to day challenges and triumphs that developers experience.
Of course, we don't want that knowledge to go to waste, so we thought we would share some of our own insights with you of things you should do before you release your mobile app to the universe.
The following are five tips every mobile developer should consider implementing in order to gain the maximum traction and success from their mobile app:
1: Research: Since the app space is so popular nowadays, it is important to stand out and that should come to fruition, first and foremost, with your idea. Every development company knows they need to have someone who knows how to code. What most developers do not know is that they also need someone to do research whether the app exists already, and who your main competitors are.
To clarify, that does not mean there is no room for more than one app that provides a similar experience or functionality, but you need to make sure you have a unique angle. To name one example, take a look at the flashlight apps in the App Store. There are tens of them, and despite it being a very useful utility, chances are none of them are getting millions of downloads.
2: Design: Having a very successful idea for a mobile app is not even half the battle. Besides the development itself, the app's design is probably the most important aspect of a mobile app. Why? Because there are hundreds of thousands of others to choose from. In today's day and age, what we like to call the "Twitter era", in which people want results now and are not willing to wait since there is always something else around the corner, you need to capture the user in the first ten seconds.
If your app is confusing or not engaging, chances are the user will close it and possibly even delete it from their device. Some might say that the design of your app is even more important than the functionality it provides. In fact, apps like Flipboard prove that point. An app that fills a basic need and provides a superior experience will go a long way with mobile users.
3: Simplify: Before the actual development process begins, it is important to sit down with your team and make a list of all the things your app does. Then cut out half of them. Another result of the "Twitter era" is that people like things simple, really simple. Just think about the top ten apps in almost any category and you will see a common thread, uber simplicity.
You want a few examples? Sure. Take the whole photo sharing app category. Apps like Instagram, Picplz, and Burstn (and many more) all pretty much do the same thing with some basic differences. They all enable a user to take a photo, edit it with some fancy filters, and share it across their social networks or within the app itself.
Does that sound like a complicated concept to you? In fact, some of those apps were actually intended to do something completely different, then the company pivoted (that word is way too overused in today's tech world) and simplified their offering. You should too.
4: Make Noise: This specific point is something you should do before you release your app, not before you develop it (of course, the noise should continue after as well). There are plenty of people out there who many like to call "influencers" that would love to take a sneak peak at what you are doing. Of course, it is best to have a prototype to show them, not just an idea but before you release your app to the public, set up a few meetings and show off your work.
History has proven that these people can make or break a mobile app. If you are confident in your idea, (and you should be, otherwise, why are you making it?), then why not make some noise and generate some curiosity surrounding your soon-to-be-released mobile app?
5: Get Ready: While we have heard the wild success stories like the Angry Birds phenomenon, for every one such app, there are hundreds that did not make it. Once you develop and release your app, the process is only beginning. You are going to have to fix bugs, release new features, figure out how you are going to monetize, and most importantly, hopefully you are going to have to make sure your app can handle the pressure and scale.
Before you jump into this process, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. Angry Birds has multiple versions, over 200 levels, and very regular updates. That involves ongoing work and effort, most importantly, it requires dedication.
If you are truly dedicated to your idea and you have completed the above steps, you are ready to embark on the journey of creating the next big mobile app. We wish you luck and just want to remind you, when you are ready to make some money from your app, you know where to find us.