It seems like everyone or every company has its app these days. And everyone loves an app for their favorite store or activity.
In the first quarter of 2018, Android users had 3.8 million available apps. Apple’s App Store was close behind Android with two million available apps.
Should your company have an app, too? Building an app might be easier than you think.
But how do you get started? We’ve put together an expert guide to show you how to start an app.
1. What’s the Point?
One of the first steps to creating an app is deciding what your app should be or do. You want to build an app with a goal in mind for the user.
Ask yourself some questions:
- What do I want the user to do?
- Will my app solve a problem?
- Is my app a game?
- How will I market the app?
- How will an app support my business or my goals?
Once you figure out what kind of app you want and how it will be used, you’re ready to start mapping out some ideas.
2. Write it Down
Next, you’ll need to brainstorm some ideas.
Do this on paper or on something you can save.
It doesn’t have to be pretty. But you want visuals that describe what the app does and how users can interact with it.
Map out how you’ll generate money to build and support your app. Will it be free for users? Will it have in-app purchases?
Draw out the idea and the roadmap before you move on to the next step.
3. Research Everything
Researching is one of the most important steps in creating an app.
There are a few key things to research before you start building your app.
Is there already an app like your idea?
You’ll need to understand the competition and the marketplace. If there are other apps like yours, how will it be different? How will you market it differently? Is there a need for another app that does what other apps already do?
If you have a brand new idea, you might not find much research for similar apps. But that’s not a bad thing. It could mean the market is ready for your new app idea.
How much will it cost?
Can you build it in-house? Do you need to outsource any of it? How soon will it return a profit?
Factor in design, build time, and labor. Find out how to market a new app and estimate the costs to promote it.
Be sure and research platforms and ongoing costs. When your app is successful, you’ll need enough support to keep it going for as long as it’s in demand.
4. Pick Your Platform
Apps work on specific platforms. If you want your app on more than one platform, you’ll need to budget and build it for each platform.
Choose one platform to start. Research fees and requirements for that platform to host your app.
Platform specifications are critical to making your app more widely available. Note the similarities and differences across the platforms, then build your app accordingly.
5. Focus on the Design
No one will want your ugly app.
Spend considerable time and energy designing something that is visually engaging from start to finish.
You need a design that catches the user’s eye as they scroll through a sea of apps. And the design needs to stay consistent and eye-catching throughout.
Aside from the look and feel, the app’s design needs to be functional. You want your users to have a seamless experience from the time they launch the app until they shut it down for the day.
The Apple App Store provides design templates to help apps move quickly from planning to testing. Android app developers have a community devoted to design tips.
Google goes above and beyond by giving access through the public domain to tools, swatches, and other components.
6. Learn the Language
The most beautifully designed apps won’t do anything until they are built with code.
Platforms use different languages for apps. If you want your app on more than one platform, you must build it with the language specifications for each platform.
Platform languages include:
- Android: XML and Java
- iOS: Objective C, XCode, and Swift
- Windows: C#, CSS3, and HTML5
When you get to this stage, it might be time to consider that outsourcing option again. Find an expert and save yourself some time and headaches.
7. Test it Again and Again
One of the last steps in developing an app is the testing phase.
Your app might look like it works. But until you start beta-testing, you’ll never know where the bugs are.
If you have the time and budget, test the app with new users in a controlled environment. Let them play and poke holes in the app, then document what happens. Fix any issues that come up before the app hits a platform
Once you feel comfortable that it’s working, you’ll test it on each platform. Each platform needs to know that your app works. And testing with a platform’s user audience helps you find any last major problems before you release the app.
8. Release it!
You’ve planned, researched, built, and tested your app. You’re ready to release it on your platforms!
Check with each platform about the differences in marketing your app. Android doesn’t review apps before they go live. But Apple typically reviews all apps before they are available to the public.
Once it’s live, enjoy watching users experience your app.
Choose Experts That Know How to Start an App
If all of this seems daunting, let us help. Our team knows how to start an app, build it, and deploy it when it’s ready.
We build on any platform to bring your app ideas to market. Our engineers provide you with the right solution for your application needs.
Contact us today to get started planning, designing, and building your app. There might be a lot of apps on the market, but the world is waiting for yours.