There may be an app for just about everything, but close to fifteen years after the creation of mobile apps as we know them, there are still plenty of untapped markets. What’s more, even if apps in a given niche meet the needs of today’s users, tech changes rapidly. This means that today’s apps can become obsolete in the blink of an eye, and you could be there to fill the void. So, what do you do if you have a great idea for a new app? You move on it. Quickly! Below you’ll find a list of app development questions to ask yourself as you get started.
First and Foremost
What is the Goal of Your App?
Whether the app is your business or it’s a part of an already established business, treat it like a startup. One of the first tasks to tackle as you begin a new venture is to establish your mission and vision statements. Carefully crafted mission and vision statements will naturally help you answer these questions about mobile apps as you move through the development process. Additionally, clear mission and vision will inform every decision you make regarding your new app, from its name to launch logistics. Start by writing your mission statement. Why does this app exist? What value will it provide? Your vision statement is an extension of your mission; it describes where you see your company (or your app) years down the road.
Who Will Use Your App?
While your target audience may seem obvious, don’t overlook the benefit of very precisely defining your end user. Get specific. What does their life look like? How old are they? What is their financial situation? When do they have free time? How do they spend it? The list goes on and on. A clearly defined target audience leads to more effective market research, development plans, and marketing efforts.
What Sets You Apart?
As of today, there are nearly 2 million apps available in the Apple App Store, and over 2.5 million in the Google Play store. Users aren’t short on options. So, why should someone choose your app over another? After you have established what your app will accomplish and who will be using it, it’s time to identify what will make it stand out from the rest. What does your app do that others do not? How can the experience of current apps be improved upon? What set’s you apart?
What is Your Elevator Pitch?
Okay, you have thirty seconds to describe your app, what it does, and how it benefits your users. Annnd, go! Not sure what to say? Time to come up with your elevator pitch. Take a few moments to pare down the explanation of your new app and it’s benefits before moving forward. The clearer you are, the easier it will be for others to understand what you’re aiming for as well as the value behind it. This will save you time, effort, and energy as you move through the next steps of the app development process.
How Can You Protect Your App Idea?
This is one of the most common questions for app developers, and it’s a valid one. First and foremost, don’t go shouting your idea from the rooftops until you have the project well-established and underway. Of course, you’ll have to give some people lots of information early on. For these people, we recommend executing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you divulge all the details. Here’s the thing though. No amount of tight-lipped secrecy will protect your app if someone else has the same idea and moves on it first. So, the best way to ensure this app is yours is to move on it, pronto.
What Type of App Will You Develop?
Should you be creating a native or hybrid app? Should you just go with a straight-up mobile web app? There are several factors to consider when making this decision, including the purpose of your app, your budget, and development time just to name a few. Determine the answer to this question before moving forward, even if that means consulting with a professional to shed some light on which is right for you.
What Category of Mobile App Does It Fall Within?
This may sound like a minute detail or a no-brainer, but you want to make sure your app fits into a clear category such as game, health and fitness, productivity, etc. You can have the best home organization app around, but if you users are looking for “productivity” apps and you list it as a “lifestyle” app, they’ll be much less likely to find it. Determine the correct category to ensure your awesome new app is reaching your target audience when they fire up their app store.
Which Platform(s) Will Your App Run On?
Will you be developing your app for iOS, Android operating system, or both? This is yet another reason you need to be very clear about your target audience. Different groups of users have different tendencies, and the tendency to choose an iPhone over an Android, or vice versa, is one of them. If your app will run on only one platform you have to know which to choose.
How Will You Release Your App?
Will you launch across all platforms at once? Do you want to launch on one platform first (or only)? Will you start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and go from there? These are all valid options, and it’s best to make your decisions before you get too far into planning and development, as this will also impact your next steps.
Design and Development
What Should the Design Look Like?
It should look like whatever will make your audience happiest. There’s a fine line between creatively stepping outside the box and providing something so unexpected that it’s challenging to use or displeasing to look view. In short, user experience should be top of mind when it comes time to designing your app. Just remember it’s not about how you define functionality and aesthetics. It’s all about that target audience!
How Much Will It Cost?
Of course, this is one of the first questions to ask your app development company, but we can give you an idea of what to expect. Business of Apps reports the average cost of developing an app ranges from about $18,000-$28,000. Honestly, cost will depend on several factors including the way you want the app to function, if/how it will integrate with other services, which platform you develop for, and so much more.
How Long Will It Take?
As with cost, this will depend on your specific application. Questions of this nature are tough to answer, but as a general rule, the more intricate and detailed the app, the longer it will take to develop. In general, expect 6-8 months from inception to completion. You can shorten your timeline by being very diligent in your research and taking the time to answer the app development questions included here. You’ll always come up against roadblocks that require you to shift course, but effective research and thoughtful planning can reduce the number of these roadblocks as well as the amount of time it takes to maneuver around them.
Wahoo! Its Live. Now What?
How Often Should I Update?
In the beginning, probably a lot. Bugs and their required fixes are truly a part of the process, as it’s nearly impossible to catch every potential snag prior to launch. So, plan on updating often in the first few months after you hit the app store. This way, when ratings, reviews, or problem reports come in, you’ll be prepared to adjust quickly. Over time you’ll find that you only need to update along with major changes in technology or to meet new security requirements. Other than that, you’ll update when the market (or your creative side) says it’s time for a refresh.
How Will You Define Success?
What matters most to you? Downloads, session time, ratings, revenue? If your goal is to put your app on the phone of every American, then judge your success by the number of times it has been downloaded. If your goal is to be the most amazing resource in your niche, maybe session time is your key performance indicator. Whatever your priority, structure your definition of success around it, and focus on ways to achieve that particular goal. (Hint: a mission and vision statement make answering this important mobile application question a lot easier.)
Hungry Media Can Answer All of Your App Development Questions
Bringing that niggle of an idea to fruition as a full-fledged app might sound a little daunting. But don’t worry. Hungry Media’s unique approach to app development will help you clarify the answers to all of these questions and more. We can’t wait to hear about your great idea and help you get it off the ground! Contact us today to learn more about making your idea a reality.
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer