App Development Questions
App Development Questions

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.

Logistically Speaking

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.

Mobile Web App
Mobile Web App

According to a recent Broadband Search Study, the number of users accessing the internet on their mobile devices has more than doubled in recent years, as has the number of users accessing mobile apps. We are a society attached to our phones and use them for nearly everything. Needless to say, the market for effective, efficient, user friendly mobile apps is only going to grow in the coming years. 

Web vs. Hybrid vs. Native Apps

There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution to mobile app development. In general, you’ll find that you’ve got three choices when it comes to creating an app for your business: native apps, mobile web apps, and hybrid apps. 

What is a Native App?

Native apps are built specifically for mobile operating systems and are downloaded from an app store on mobile devices. Native app development is specific to the platform on which the app will be running. This means that your app will have to be created at least twice – once for the Android platform and once for iOS.

What is a Mobile Web App?

Mobile web apps are essentially websites designed to look and act like apps. Instead of downloading from an app store, mobile web applications are accessed via web browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, etc. The difference between a mobile web app and a website is that mobile web apps provide more functionality and easier interactions. Since the codebase used is the same across all web browsers, mobile web app development is simpler. Web apps run on whichever browser the user chooses. Done and done.

What is a Hybrid App?

Hybrid apps look like native apps and are downloaded like native apps. But they actually function as mobile web apps. Essentially, you’ll download a native-looking “shell,” but once opened the app runs on the web browser. This means that hybrid apps, too, work across multiple platforms. 

Why Choose Mobile Web App Development?

In general, the functionality and performance of a web app is considered inferior to that of a native app; but that’s not to say that web apps don’t have their place. There are several benefits to developing a web app over a native or hybrid app

Benefits of Web Apps

The difference between web development and mobile app development is significant. There are several benefits to opting for a web app vs. a mobile app. 

Easier to develop and maintain – Since all web apps use a single codebase, both developing and maintaining them is much more streamlined than a native app. While there is no software development kit to use when developing web app for mobile devices, there are templates available which make mobile web application development pretty straightforward and relatively quick. 

Additionally, standard browser-based tools are available for debugging apps when issues arise, thus simplifying the troubleshooting and problem resolution processes. Bonus: the fact that mobile web apps are simpler to develop and maintain can make choosing the right developer a little bit less stressful.

Less Expensive – You’ll be charged by the hour for both web and mobile app development. Since web apps are easier to develop and maintain, you’ll end up with significant savings when going the web app route.

Updates are easy – Because they run in a web browser, mobile web apps do not require approval from an app store before release, making updates a non-issue. The newest version of a web app is always available to the user as soon as it’s made live on the website.

No space requirements – Since web apps run in browsers and aren’t downloaded, they don’t take up space on your device. 

Drawback of Web Apps

User experience – Compared to a native app with the same features, a mobile web app will usually provide the less positive experience. This is due, in part, to the fact that web apps are unable to leverage device features such as push notification, vibration, etc. 

That said, progressive web apps – which do allow the browser to utilize these functions – are becoming more popular for use on Google and Android platforms. IOS isn’t yet compatible with progressive web apps.

Additionally, users have to take a few extra steps to access web apps. With a native app you simply select the app on your device’s home screen and that’s that. Web application require that you open a web browser and type in a URL. With consumers placing so much value on ease of use and efficiency, this can be perceived as a negative. 

Lower Visibility – Since mobile web apps don’t require download, they have no visibility in the app store. This means that you’ll have to work extra hard when it comes to branding and marketing if you want to get your product in front of potential users.

Is a Mobile Web App Right for You?

Could be. Here are a few things to consider as a part of your decision-making process: 

Price – Mobile web app development will almost always be more expensive than native app development. It’s safe to say that development of a native app from the ground up will cost somewhere in the $100K range (for a first version!), and you can expect around 20% of that in annual maintenance costs as well. If you’re on a tight budget or want to save your cash until you’re sure your app is ready to hit the ground running, a mobile web app could be the solution you’re looking for.

Timeline – What kind of deadline are you working with? Due to increased complexity and the need to develop for multiple platforms, it will take longer to get a native app up and running. If you’re on a tight deadline, developing a web app for mobile devices might be the way to go.

User Experience – To be honest, this should be the main concern. It doesn’t matter how quickly or cheaply you can build your app. If users don’t like it, they won’t come back to it. It’s imperative that you provide the best user experience possible.

That said, if your app is something that users will only need to access every once in a while, then a web app could definitely work. The other factor to consider here is the complexity of the features users will be accessing. Simplicity is key when it comes to creating a positive experience on mobile web apps.

A web app may be great option if:

  • Your app focuses on collecting data from new users – i.e. filling out forms. 
  • Your app is used occasionally, such as for browsing or checking out of an online storefront. 
  • Your app is intended to curate content, which users then consume. Think recipes, articles, etc. In this case interaction is possible, but not the main purpose of the site.

In the end, it’s best to sit down and really evaluate the needs of your end user. How and when will they be interacting with your app? What do they intend to accomplish with this interaction? How will your app make their lives easier? Once you’re clear on this, the best option between a mobile web application and native application will probably be pretty clear.

Conclusion

We know that the decision to develop a mobile web app over a native app, or vice versa, can be challenging. The good news is that Hungry Media has your back. Our unique approach and methodology will help uncover the best way to leverage your app as a means of connecting with customers and growing your business. Ready to start discussing your great idea? Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

Native vs Hybrid App
Native vs Hybrid App

“There’s an app for that!”

It’s a phrase we’ve heard time and time again. And it’s true! In today’s world, there is very little that can’t be achieved with a mobile app. Whether you’ve decided to build an app so it’s easier for users to interact with your business, or the app is your business, you’ll have some serious decisions to make when it comes time to develop.

Native vs. Hybrid App: What’s the Difference?

Once your idea has been solidified, it’s time to decide which type of app best meets your needs. To make this decision you’ll want a basic understanding of your options, which are: native, hybrid and web apps. While there is definitely plenty to discuss surrounding the web vs. hybrid vs. native debate, web apps function similarly to mobile first or responsive websites. For that reason, we are going to focus on the native vs. hybrid app decision, here. (Don’t worry! We will discuss mobile web app development and responsive vs. mobile apps another time.)

Let’s start by saying it’s important not to choose an approach based on technology or trends, but rather on what you want your app to do. Native and hybrid apps offer entirely different experiences, both on the development end and in terms of user experience.

Native Mobile Design

Native apps are the most common type of app. They are built for mobile operating systems the coding language used is dependent upon which the platform accepts. For example, native iOS apps are developed with Swift or Objective-C. Native Android apps are written in Java or Kotlin.

Both Apple and Google provide app developers with development tools and interface elements specific to their platform.

Advantages of Native Mobile Design

  • Native apps provide easy access to all functionality of the device and operating system.
  • If developed properly, native apps run with fewer errors.  
  • Native apps receive complete support from app stores and the overall app marketplace.
  • The user experience of native apps tends to be superior to hybrid apps.
  • A native app must be approved by its respective operating system, which assures quality, security, and device compatibility.

Disadvantages of Native Mobile Design

  • Native apps use difficult programming languages which require experienced developers.
  • Expenses are more costly upfront for native apps, compared to web or hybrid apps.
  • Several versions of the same app must be developed in order to run on all available mobile devices and operating systems.

Hybrid Mobile Design

Hybrid apps work across multiple platforms but generally behave similarly to a native user interface. A hybrid app is essentially a combination of a native app and a web app. Although this type of app can be installed on a device like a native app, it technically runs in a browser.

A hybrid app consists of two parts:

  • The backend code – hybrid code is written in languages like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.
  • A native shell – this shell is downloadable and loads the code using a webview.

Advantages of Hybrid Mobile Design

  • Hybrid apps have access to a device’s internal APIs and device hardware.
  • Only one codebase is needed for hybrid apps.
  • Hybrid apps can be run on multiple operating systems, which reduces the cost compared to native apps.
  • Assuming great development, users won’t be able to distinguish whether an app is native or hybrid.

Disadvantages of Hybrid Mobile Design 

  • Hybrid apps can be much slower than native or web apps.
  • These apps are dependent on a third-party platform to deploy the app’s wrapper.
  • Challenges can arise if the app requires complex interaction from the user’s device.
  • Bug fixes are more difficult.
  • Hybrid apps are not easily customized.

Native vs. Hybrid App: Which Should You Choose?

Most companies will invest in native mobile design because of its many benefits. To minimize cost up front, it is common to develop for a single operating system at first. Once the kinks are worked out and the app proves successful, you can go back and recreate it for other operating systems. Currently, iOS apps tend to be more profitable than apps released for other platforms. If you have to choose only one, iOS is the place to start.

While the initial cost is higher for native vs. hybrid mobile development, this approach can save money over time. When working with the latest features released for a particular operating system, bugs become a huge concern for hybrid apps and hybrid websites. This carries cost implications and can even extend the timeline for design and development.

By offering a great user experience, better performance, and increased accessibility, native apps generally produce a more personalized, reliable product. This has the potential to result in higher conversion rates and long-term customer loyalty.

Of course, there are several factors to consider before simply making the call to go native. Before jumping into development, consider the following factors:

  • How fast the app needs to run – if speed isn’t a huge concern, a hybrid app could work.
  • What you want the user experience to look like – a simple interface will work well with a hybrid app.
  • The complexity of features you need for your app to work – again, simplicity is key when going hybrid.

Regardless of which type of app you choose or which developer you go with, you want to make sure your app is quick, responsive, and reliable. Users expect more and more from mobile experiences, and your app is an extension of your brand. Mobile experience can make or break your reputation.

Native vs. Hybrid App? Let Hungry Media Help!

Our approach allows us to develop the app of your dreams. Doesn’t matter where you are in the hybrid vs. mobile web vs. native app debate. We’ll take the time to discuss your concept, must-haves, and pipe dreams before we design and develop an app that meets your needs. During the deployment phase we’ll provide rigorous testing and detailed Q&A to get your app launched. We also stay on through your launch to support your vision and our work.

If you’ve got an idea and are ready to get started, we are, too! Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

Mobile First Strategy
Mobile First Strategy

We Live in A Mobile World

Mobile is here, people, and it’s here to stay! So, it’s no wonder the term “Mobile First Strategy” has become a bit of a buzzword these days. 

The phone you keep in your pocket, and are very likely using to read this article, is exponentially more powerful than the computer NASA used to manage Apollo 11’s moon landing or Nixon used to run the country during his presidency. Another interesting statistic: more Americans own smart phones than desktop and laptop computers combined. 

Why are we sharing this with you? Because historically, most web developers have chosen to take a desktop-first approach, with a mobile design as a secondary consideration. In short, they begin with full-sized sites and work their way smaller. It makes sense, or at least it did fifteen years ago – before smartphones became the way of the world and mobile first development strategy became a must. 

But times, they are a-changing. 

What is a Mobile First Approach?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A mobile first strategy takes the typical “desktop down” paradigm of web design and flips it on its head. Mobile first strategy makes mobile considerations the primary concern, with laptop and desktop versions developed from there.  

This is not to be confused with a “responsive design,” in which a desktop-first design changes based on screen size. Navigation options and download speeds of responsive sites remain geared towards desktop users instead of mobile. This isn’t the case with mobile first.

Mobile first design is similar to developing a mobile app which is adapted for viewing on a desktop or laptop. In this case you start small – you can only fit so much on a mobile screen, after all. You’ll decide what is most important to include on that screen and go from there. Compared to typical desktop design, a mobile first design strategy usually includes fast download speeds, simple navigation, shorter forms, and interactive, media-rich content.

Why Mobile First Strategy?

“Why not?” might be a better question. There’s no two ways about it – we’re addicted to our mobile devices. 

Seriously, when was the last time you went a day, an afternoon, or even an hour without looking at your phone? As of 2019, 53% of total internet traffic came from mobile devices. It’s estimated today that 25% of mobile web users are “mobile only” (i.e. they rarely use a desktop or laptop to access the internet). 

Plus, Google’s algorithm favors mobile friendly sites. Currently, when a search is conducted from a mobile device, Google returns responsive sites closer to the top of the list. It stands to reason that as mobile first content strategy becomes the norm, the algorithm will begin to favor sites designed not just responsively, but with the mobile user experience as the top priority. 

The internet has broken out of its computer-shaped box, and it is now carried around in our pockets. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

What is a Mobile First Marketing Strategy?

Users make buying decisions based on their ability to access information on products or services immediately; therefore, it’s not enough just to have a mobile friendly website. A mobile first marketing strategy is a must, as well.

According to a bizreport study, while less than half of users actually make their purchase on a mobile device, most use it to research a product before purchasing. As consumers we’re using our smartphones to find inspiration, compare prices, learn about various companies, read reviews etc. If this process isn’t smooth and comfortable, the probability that we’ll move forward with a purchase takes a nosedive.

Even if most of your business transactions occur in person, you’re not immune to the mobile shopping trend. It’s been reported that 82% of smartphone users have consulted their device to research potential purchases while standing inside the store.

A mobile first strategy includes unique content for mobile users, social media integration, and of course web design optimized for mobile usage and viewing. 

So yes, everyone needs a mobile (probably even a mobile first) business strategy. Think about it this way: the content your consumers see on their mobile device establishes brand awareness, develops brand loyalty, and drives purchasing decisions.

Mobilize Your Mobile First Strategy With Hungry Media

To make it in today’s market, mobile is a must. We’re here to help design and implement your mobile first strategy. Contact us at info@hungrymedia.com to get started. We can’t wait to hear from you!

app development
app development

Have you ever thought about a brilliant idea for an app but didn’t know how to take it to fruition?   The idea of where to start, how to start and who to even talk when starting the process of app design can be daunting.  But BEFORE you talk to anyone, please do yourself  a solid and get a non disclosure.  There are dozens of free ones online (just Google “Free Non-Disclosures”). There would be nothing more defeating than having someone steal your idea out from under you and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it.

So, let’s get back to the burning question “Now What?”  We have come up with a list of steps that we feel you need to take to get this app launched.

Step 1: Idea Generating

Get yourself a white board and start writing!  Start writing out whatever comes to mind. It could be a list of features, your end goal, your mission statement…just start writing!  It will come to you the more information you have in front of you.  Outlining how the app works.  Really put yourself in your Users shoes and walk through the process.

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Identify your Audience or the User you think can not live without your app.  You need to think about a specific profession, gender, region, age group, income level or industry. Really try to narrow it down.  Create a focus group of this group.  There are plenty of companies out there that will host the focus group for you.  You will want to hire a moderator to host this focus group for you so you don’t sway their decision one way or the other.  Don’t get defeated if the feedback is not as positive as you would have hoped for. Take the good, the bad and the ugly and make your app better!  Who knows, maybe someone will have feedback that sparks a whole new spin on your app. Another smart thing to do is identify your competition.  Go to the App Store and read the reviews and make sure what you are doing is better than your competitor. 

Step 3: Money, Money, Money

Have a clear answer to “How are you going to make money?”  Go back to your whiteboard and look at any and all avenues of how you will make money.  Maybe it’s from a monthly fee system, or add on cost XX number of dollars. Whatever it is, you need to have it clearly set up.  You don’t need technical skills for this, you just need to be the user. 

Step 4: Find a Developer that is Right for You

Interview Developers and ultimately hire Hungry Media!  Each company likes to use what works for them, but our system makes it very easy.  Our approach is simple.  Discovery, Design, Development and Deployment method. 

We will first meet with you to discuss your concepts, must-haves, expectations, etc. in order to identify specs that effectively outline your ideal product. We will discuss design preferences, existing branding elements, and functionality requirements, while also identifying additional specs for Phase 2 development.

The Design step is where our experience pays off!  From detailed documentation and architecture we will design a beautiful, functional interface, and present your brand as a trustworthy authority in its space. Immediately after initial planning is in place and approved by your team, the build begins. Regular meetings will be held to measure progress and manage expectations. Status reports will also be sent weekly to ensure written documentation of project status.


And finally, Hungry Media will provide rigorous testing, detailed QA, and a formulaic launch process to make sure we are putting your best foot forward. Additionally, we stay on through launch to support the work we create. 

If you have an idea for a new app, get a non disclosure ready and give us a shout. We can always be reached at info@hungrymedia.com